We are all in this together. Not just life. We are all in this mission together. That’s why we talked about being a battleship instead of a cruise ship. Not that we view ourselves as being at war with the world, we are not. But on a battleship, everyone on board has a mission, a role to play. Everyone is also a leader. Everyone is responsible for someone and something, just as they are responsible to someone and to something. They have people under them, and a mission they have to give out, and they have someone they report to and a greater mission that their individual mission supports.
That is our church, that is who we are. And when one of us suffers, is sick or is hurt, we all suffer. When that happens, we need to be a people of prayer. We need to be praying for those in our body, those on our ship who are sick and struggling.
They called on God for the healing of wounded comrades.
Is anyone among you suffering? He should pray. Is anyone in good spirits? He should sing praises. Is anyone among you ill? He should summon the elders of the church, and they should pray for him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick and the Lord will raise him up—and if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. So confess your sins to one another and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great effectiveness. (James 5:13-16)
We need to ask God for healing. I know there is a stigma attached to the idea of praying for healing. I think in large part because God doesn’t always choose to heal. And that is up to him. Just look at the example of Jesus at the pool of Bethesda. This was a place where hundreds if not thousands of sick people would gather and wait for healing. An angel would stir the waters, and they would try to get in to get healed. And when Jesus went there, he healed on person. He didn’t heal everyone who was there, he didn’t even heal most of them. He healed one. He had a reason for who he chose. But, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t pray for healing.
In fact, as we see today, we should do everything we can. We should pray for our own healing, we should summon the elders/leaders of the church to pray over us and anoint us with oil in the name of the Lord. This passage doesn’t guarantee our healing. What it says is that our sins will be forgiven. And that the Lord will raise him up. That word that is translated to the phrase “raise him up” literally means, to save, deliver or protect. To heal, preserve, save, do well, be whole. So, you see that it can mean to be healed, but also to be delivered or protected, saved and made whole.
But, we must also be careful not to tell God what he can’t do. He’s God. He’s bigger than anything you can ask for. And if He has work left for you to do in your mission here in this life, he wants to preserve you to do that work. God does still heal. Remember through the gospels how Jesus talked when he healed someone? He used the phrase – “Your faith has healed you.” We should not fall victim to the mentality that if we aren’t healed we don’t have enough faith. But neither should we let our faith suffer because we don’t believe God is big enough to do immeasurably more than we ask or imagine.
Healing is one of those unknown things in life that we just can’t define or put our finger on. It’s one of the questions I have for us along the same lines of what we discussed yesterday. I don’t know why we don’t see more healing. I wonder if we even know what faith means. We have everything we need. At least in our culture. We very rarely have to trust God for something. And without having to rely on God to move, how is our faith ever built? We must be in the work of building our faith. Whatever it takes for us to do that.
So, start praying today for those you know of who are sick and need healing. Write down who you’re praying for and the date you started praying. Then, as you see God answer your prayers, go back through your journal or wherever you wrote it down and give thanks to God for his work in their lives. This is one way we can build faith. And for where God is leading us as a church, we are going to need faith to get there.
The Three for Morning, Afternoon and Evening.
“Now for Next” Prayer
What do we need to do now as a church to be ready for what God has for us next.
“What’s My Role” Prayer
Pray for God to show us the role we will play individually in accomplishing that mission.
For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all 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, for ever and ever! Amen.