Sunday, October 13, 2013

Why We Pray What We Do {Healing} -- Part 1

I think about this often -- probably because it is controversial, somewhat.

Sometimes, you run into those people who simply pray for God's will to be done without praying for specifics. Now, while we always intentionally pray for God's will to prevail, we pray for specifics.

Yes -- regarding physical healing. After declaring our ultimate desire for His will to be done, we pray for so-and-so to receive healing in their such-and-such.

"If it is His will not to physically heal so-and-so on this earth, then why are you praying for it?"

Good question.

Offhand, I can think of three examples in the Bible that lead us to pray thus. One, we feel commanded to pray for healing (James 5:16). Two, in 3 John 1:2 he prays that his brethren would enjoy good health -- should we not also pray likewise? Three, James 5 also tells us of Elijah's radicals prayers for it to not rain and then rain. And it happened. And, Elijah was a man with a nature just like ours. Those are some crazy-prayers with crazy-specifics.

That's enough reason for me to ask for miraculous healings, that are according to His will.

Now, let me add an important aside right here: We make it extremely clear that physical healing is for God to get all the glory; it is not just for our desire for comfort and ease. We need to always remember to keep the correct purpose forefront in our hearts, minds, words, and prayers.

Okay... the awkwardness. I will admit that when I pray for someone's physical healing, and, well, that person is not healed right then and there, I can feel discouraged and uncomfortable. Maybe even a little foolish. But, I don't worry about the momentary outcome or my feelings of awkwardness because I feel like I obeyed Scripture and...

Just because it did not happen instantaneously, when you want, doesn't mean anything at all. Many (okay, most all) people assume that because a person has not received their healing quickly, then God must be denying their request. Whether He is denying them or not, they make time out to be god and let time speak for Him. They think time proves God's will. We should let God speak for Himself, not time.

The real problem is our lack of patience and persistence. If He has not said no, do not assume. Jesus told several parables exalting persistence and persistent prayer. Paul asked for his thorn to be removed three times before God spoke up. In other words, he kept asking and only stopped because God talked to him about it. That is an example to me. We should keep knocking and asking until He tells us no or speaks to us about the issue. We should not stop asking or praying just because time has us waiting.

There could be years of silence. But all that means is keep waiting and keep pressing on (with joy in your daily grind) and keep praying. It does not mean that because God did not perform on my timeline, then His answer must have been 'no.'

A friend of mine, a missionary in Haiti, wrote this on her blog recently, about perseverance:
"Luke has been blessing my socks off with story after story of people, MY people, who stepped out on simple faith, radiated truth and belief, and were in turn crucial parts of His story. People filled with the Holy Spirit, people waiting and praying and believing for insane amounts of time. Young and old people -- self-declared bondservants of the Lord -- believing and stepping out in faith that crazy stuff would happen.
So that it could.
As I think upon their long-suffering, their perseverant prayers, their mostly mountain top moments recorded and daily heartbreak/monotony mostly unknown, I am reminded of His many many calls in Scripture to be steady."
Unless He has spoken, do not let deteriorating health or time or silence sway you. Keep believing and trusting and praying -- until you hear his voice about the matter. Embrace the call to be steady. Persevere, my friend. 

{whether praying about physical healing for yourself or for others}

Here's Part 2 and Part 3.