Prayer for the Week of June 19-25
Excerpted from Moving Mountains by John Eldredge:
Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. — James 5:14–15 Updated NIV
What we are doing in healing prayer is bringing the body into a place where the power of God can flow into the affliction — especially into the places of affliction. We are also presenting ourselves to be used of God as channels of that healing power.
Consecrate the Body and the Specific Places Needing Healing.
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. — Romans 12:1 Updated NIV
Consecration brings the consecrated object back under the rule of Jesus, into His kingdom, and therefore available to His blessing. Be as specific as you can. General and unspecific prayers typically see general and unspecific results.
Lord Jesus — we present ourselves to You now to be Your partners in prayer, to be Your vessels of healing. We consecrate to You our body, soul, and spirit, our heart, mind, and will. We consecrate to You our gifting, our hearing, all our prayers. Cleanse us with Your blood, Lord; restore us and renew us. Holy Spirit, fill us afresh; restore our union with Jesus, and restore the power of Jesus in us; we ask You to guide and fill this time of prayer.I bring my body fully under Your rule and under Your dominion. My body belongs to You, Lord, and I consecrate it to You right now fully, totally, completely.
Oftentimes in acts of consecration, repentance is required. This isn’t always necessary, but you will find it helpful if your first pass at prayer does not begin to produce results. For example,
Jesus, I renounce every misuse of my body, and I renounce all forms of sin through my body or against my body. By the blood of Jesus Christ I now cancel every claim I have given the enemy against my body. I cancel every form of access or dominion my actions have given the enemy against my body, through the cross and blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, and I rededicate my body as a temple of the living God, a vessel of His holy life.
Invoke the Life of God.
The mechanics of healing prayer are quite simple: we are invoking the life force of God into the afflicted body to restore it. This is the power that raised Jesus from the dead, the power that gives life to and sustains all creation. There is plenty of it to go around (four hundred billion billion suns’ worth, and more!). As you follow the Holy Spirit, He will lead you. But remember: you are not striving! No amount of anguish or trying hard will increase the amount of life that is flowing through you. In fact, all forms of striving close off the channels of your life to be a vessel of his life. Relax. Settle into it. Use the authority of Jesus Christ given to you. In many of the cases where we see Jesus performing a healing, He actually doesn’t touch the person — He simply commands it!
Give It Time!
Picture an empty well. You are turning on a hose to fill that well; it is going to take some time. “Wait upon the Lord.” Give it time as you pray; don’t rush it. (I’m continually surprised how short most Christians’ prayers are — like, a minute or two.) Stay there, laying on hands if need be; stay and linger, and as you do, repeat the prayers of invoking the life of God into the afflicted place. Worship really helps. Remember — you are looking to Jesus, not to the problem. Worship first, because it rouses the spirit of everyone present to look to Jesus.
Proclaiming is also very helpful. Announcing (and therefore enforcing) truth like:
Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. — 1 Corinthians 6:19–20 Updated NIV
And if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of His Spirit who lives in you. — Romans 8:11 Updated NIV
Address the Demonic.
I find it fascinating that in a number of episodes where Jesus brought physical healing to someone, He actually did it by banishing foul spirits:
Then they brought Him a demon-possessed man who was blind and mute, and Jesus healed him, so that he could both talk and see. — Matthew 12:22
The enemy hates us; his human allies hate us, too, and they curse Christians. So it is very likely that in a number of situations where you are trying to bring physical healing, you will need to break the enemy’s work there as well. Sometimes you will pick it up as soon as you begin to pray — you feel the hatred over his life, or you feel the dark spirits trying to push you away and keep you from praying. Listen and ask Christ, “Is something here causing this? Are there foul spirits here?”
In fact, often before I ever begin the prayer session, or as soon as we get started, I will ask Jesus, “Is this physical, or is this spiritual, Lord? ” My reason for asking is simple: if the affliction is based in spiritual attack, meaning, some sort of demonic assault, then no amount of regular healing prayer will fix it. You have to deal with the warfare, and then you can pray for healing. Then we bring the work of Christ against the assault. It is far more effective when you can be specific; ask Jesus to name the foul spirits involved, so you can kick them out by name.
Another category to be aware of are curses. Ask Jesus if there are curses operating here. Then break their power. This would include self-cursing (which is actually very common). If you seem to be encountering resistance bringing the life of God into his body, ask him how he feels about his body. Have him renounce all judgments, hatred, and self-rejection.
Curse the illness.
Early in the morning, as Jesus was on His way back to the city, He was hungry. Seeing a fig tree by the road, He went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves. Then He said to it, “May you never bear fruit again!” Immediately the tree withered. — Matthew 21:18–19 Updated NIV
The Bible takes blessing and cursing very seriously because it is real; it works. In both Testaments we see godly men and women respecting the power of blessing, and cursing. Jesus does also. Now, yes — we are told not to curse people. But Christ by example does open the possibility for us to curse physical objects, and we have found it effective in cases of difficult illness and even cancer to curse the illness. It is a thief and destroyer. It is a foul presence in the body. It is an intruder! You are banishing it from the body as you pray — you might as well go full-on and curse it directly.
Stay with It!
Physical healing can be immediate. But it can also take time, especially in cases of profound or chronic suffering. I absolutely love this story of Jesus taking more than one pass to heal a man:
They came to Bethsaida, and some people brought a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him. He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. When He had spit on the man’s eyes and put His hands on him, Jesus asked, “Do you see anything?”
He looked up and said, “I see people; they look like trees walking around.”
Once more Jesus put His hands on the man’s eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly. — Mark 8:22–25
Whatever you want to make of this wild story, you have to admit it took Christ more than one pass to fully heal the man.
Surely this was for our benefit, another way of encouraging us to pray and not give up!
May we BOW (Band of Women) together!
Pastor Kathy Hayes