“We, in the deep recesses of our hearts, believe God will withhold rather than direct our care. It is our long-held lie.”
John Enslow, Commonsense Care for Myself
John’s posts about health and healing have been a much-needed shredding of my heart. And when I read what John wrote, it felt like someone punched me in the left kidney. I was utterly exposed by that post! But I’m so glad, because it led to repentance. And as I repented, I recalled the revelation I had about how my values differ from what God values. And then I thought about how I pray for people when they’re sick…and how I pray for myself when I’m sick. Yikes! Do I wait for the Spirit to give me His prayer for the sick, or do I just ask for immediate healing because I value comfort and safety and can’t bear to be physically ill myself?
My Prayer or His?
It should not surprise you to hear that my first prayer for sick people is almost always one for immediate healing. Period. Why? Because I value comfort and safety above whatever move the Spirit is making in that person’s life. Now, I AM learning to wait on Jesus, to listen for His thoughts and His prayer for a person (or myself). More and more, that is happening, and it’s not just because the Spirit is ever at work within my heart to sanctify me wholly. It’s also because I’m tired of unanswered prayer. My flesh-inspired prayers don’t bear fruit for the Lord. And frankly, that gets old. I want to be in the living stream of Christ’s victory, praying His prayers and wielding His love like a battering ram in the strongholds of hate and death and hopelessness.
There’s a season for everything in this life, and I have witnessed that truth firsthand in watching John and Martha. The hidden riches of intimacy with Christ that they have can be directly traced back to the volumes of surrender to God’s will for them – whether it’s sickness or health, poverty or wealth, famine or feast. But the first of these – sickness or health – is THE ground of surrender, I think. Who among us is delighted when our bodies are knocked out of health and into the pain and panic zone? Likewise, when we hear that someone we love is unwell, how many of you (like me!) tend to immediately pray for healing and assume that God blesses that prayer?
Answered Prayer for the Sick
When I’m sick or really hurting, I have a hard time holding on to the love of God. I have a hard time trusting His love for me. And it’s an uphill battle to wait and follow my Shepherd’s lead on my health. It’s not any easier to wait for Jesus to speak when someone I love is in trouble and asks for prayer. But there IS a purpose to every cough and cramp and fever. God says so, and He’s no liar! I don’t want to miss the eternal by resisting His hand in the temporal, neither in His will for my own health or His prayer for someone I love.
‘Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.’
Jeremiah 33:3 NKJV
Jennifer, the verse you give at the end reminded me of a couple of other verses that are showing me a connection. Don’t know them by heart, but one is in the Gospels where Jesus says: when you ask for anything, believe that you’ve received it and it will be yours. And the other is (I think) in the people of faith chapter in Hebrews where God says: by faith these people overthrew kingdoms and (lots of other stuff I can’t remember right now); but goes on that they received what God had promised them. Maybe it’s not my prayer… Read more »
Well, that’s a thought that’s going to roll around my mind! Thank you for the reminder that believing and receiving plays a part in all of this, my faith in Jesus. Only the Spirit can work on so many levels at once! What a relief to know that He’s got it well in hand. Love to you, Pauline!
My flesh-inspired prayers don’t bear fruit for the Lord. WOW I have spent many years (and tears) learning His ways are not our ways, His thoughts our thoughts, or even His prayers our prayers. I’ve had my prayer life turned upside down, inside out, scrubbed, revamped, removed, downsized and utterly changed from what I thought was “perfect”. He now frequently tells me, “Pray only what I give you–no more, no less.” I’m still in the learning process, but it is somewhat of a relief to have Him lead the way. I love you Jen.
It IS a relief, Wanda! The simplicity of the Christian life seems to lie in following the law of the Spirit in everything. The moment I step away and TRY, things tend to get complicated in a hurry. Thank you for this encouragement, love you, too!
Jesus did nothing on His own NATURAL INITIATIVE. His decisions (judgments) weren’t His own but the Father’s. He said that His ACTIONS weren’t determined from Himself but that He DID as He saw the Father DOING. It is ok to ask anything. But our prayers should AGREE with Him.
A timely reminder, Bruce, thank you!
“For God gives wisdom and knowledge and joy to a man who is good in His sight;” Ecc 2:26
Such wisdom in this post.
Well, Tammy, that just about brings me to tears! I can’t say that I see that in any real way, but I choose to receive it in hope and faith as a promise. So grateful for Jesus-in-you – so loving!
OH yes, dear Jennifer, I am just like you praying immediately for healing without MY KNOWING or having a clue to what God wants. I too have been sucker punched in gut with yours and John’s posts on surrender, waiting, listening , asking God for HIS will and way in every situation. But watching sickness and or dying in someone you love is heart retching but hearing the purpose from our loving ABBA is a breathe of life. Bless you for calling me into a real God-lead prayer experience that bears fruit for HIS kingdom on earth. I join you… Read more »
It IS so hard to know that someone I love is ill or hurt, and I hope it’s clear that I’m not condemning anyone (including myself) for asking for healing. I’m not! I have a follow-up that goes into more detail about praying what Jesus is praying and what the Spirit showed me that is so motivating. I hope it will encourage you, too!
Dear Jenn, I didn’t take away any condemnation from you. These postings are giving me motivation and encouragement to seek God’s will with all my heart!!!
Oh, wonderful to hear – love you, Sue!