Prayer For Healing
Praying for Healing
This year a close and treasured member of our immediate family became seriously ill. I mean seriously ill. She was really walking through the valley of the shadow. Of course I was moved to pray for her but exactly how? A number of verses jumped into my mind and I found that they guided me in my response. I recognise that these texts have been abstracted from their original context. However, I believe that they also have a broader, more general application.
- Cry out constantly to God for a mind-blowing miracle.
And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ’Grant me justice against my adversary.’ Luke 18:3
Jesus tells the parable of the unjust judge and how a persistent widow kept coming and coming and coming, pestering the judge. The Lord says that if an unjust judge will grant the request, how much more will a living and just God hear and grant the prayers of those who love him. The nature of the request for justice is different to a prayer for healing but the character of God is not.
Thus I feel emboldened to petition to plead to call out repeatedly to Almighty God to hear my prayer.
- Have confidence in God’s awesome power.
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen. Eph 3:7
Medical emergencies often have doctors shaking their heads with dire warnings and grim prognoses. They have statistics over numerous patients and histories of the progress of a disease established by many trials. So the chances of healing can appear almost negligible. Yet the God we serve is not limited by time or space or statistics and he is able to literally gobsmack us. I pray that he will.
- Confess the frailty of my faith.
‘Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, ‘I believe; help my unbelief.’ Mark 9: 24.
Praying for a miracle has always been a tug of war between our trust in the God revealed in the scriptures and our own mortal flesh which wonders whether something as mind-blowing as healing truly will happen. This internal war is magnified in our secular age that derides anything that cannot be scientifically verified. In this scripture the anxious father of a convulsive son puts into words what so many of us feel. It is a great comfort to confess our frailty as we call upon God to hear us.
- Acknowledge the sovereignty of God whatever the outcome.
Naked I came from my mother’s womb and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away, blessed be the name of the Lord.’ Job 1:21
Job, a man with an abundance of earthly goods, has been stripped of his possessions and family. He has truly been brought low but he does not lose his trust in God and acknowledges God’s blessings and God’s right to do as he wills. It is easy today to get conditioned by books, films and secular narratives that have heroes explaining how they once believed but lost their faith when tragedy struck. The story of Job is not so much a story of suffering but a story of faith in the context of suffering. I do not wish to be only a fair weather believer.
During the American Civil War personal tragedy stuck President Lincoln and his family when in 1862, Lincoln’s greatly loved eleven year old son, Willie, sickened and died. Lincoln’s pastor, Dr Phineas Gurley greatly ministered to Lincoln with his funeral sermon which in its conclusion said:
Only let us bow in His presence with an humble and teachable spirit; only let us be still and know that He is God; only let us acknowledge His hand and hear His voice, and inquire after His will, and seek His Holy Spirit as our counsellor and guide, and all in the end will be well.
Those words were written over a hundred and sixty ago. They gave great comfort then and give great comfort now. Our family member’s journey is ongoing but there is every reason to praise God and continue to boldly cry out to him.