I am asking myself this question: what is the purpose of prayer? Ed Noble, the senior pastor of the church I attend defines prayer this way: “The essence of healing prayer is to bring the presence of Jesus into the afflicted places, for we are restored through union with him.” It seems important that God wants us to move forward in our ability to communicate with Him. If that is a correct definition, then I need to take my prayers to the next level and learn how things work in God’s kingdom in this critical area.
Restoration, peace and healing are possible and that’s one HUGE reason I want to pray! Restoration is what God is all about as His “kingdom comes and His will is done on earth as it is in heaven.” I find myself in need of inner healing, physical healing and warfare healing. It is when I get out of my egocentricity and ask God “what’s going on here?” that I participate with God in what He wants to do. That is when I contend for freedom of all kinds because that is God’s will for all of us.
In the very beginning of human history, God creates man in a perfect environment—the earth, where in the start of time, the kingdom of God reigns. Man chooses to rebel against Him. We have handed our lives, the earth and the history of the human race over to the evil one. This earth is now in the Genesis 3 domain of the evil one and we and our world are broken. All our misery flows from this brokenness and/or the direct influence of the evil forces to whom we gave our authority. But God intervened. He sent His Son to redeem us and restore us. He is bringing His kingdom back to earth where His will is done here “as it is in heaven.” He invites us to participate with Him. We find ourselves in the middle of an epic war for the human race and the planet as we partner with Jesus in the battle for the restoration of His kingdom on earth.
Here is Doctor Luke’s account of one such restoration. “And He was doing some teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath day. And behold. A woman had a spirit that caused an infirmity eighteen years and was completely bent together by a curvature of the spine, and was not able to raise herself up at all. And having seen her, Jesus called her and said to her, Woman, you have been released from your infirmity, and the cure is permanent. And He placed His hands on her. And immediately she was restored to an erect position. And she glorified God. But the ruler of the synagogue answering, being indignant that on the Sabbath Jesus had healed, was saying to the crowd, Six days there are during which it is right and proper to accomplish things. In them therefore you should come and be healed, and not on the day of the Sabbath. But the Lord answered him and said, Actors on the stage of life, playing the role of that which you are not, does not each one of you on the Sabbath release his ox or his donkey from the feeding-trough and lead it off to give it a drink? And this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan bound, just think of it, eighteen years, was it not a necessity in the nature of the case that she be released from this binding restriction on the Sabbath? And while He was saying these things, all those who had opposed Him blushed for shame. And the entire crowd went to rejoicing because of all the glorious things which were being done by Him. [Luke 13:10-17 WUEST]
The ‘religious right’ demonstrate by their suggestion that things that were not in line with the kingdom of God. Jesus did things here on earth as they are in heaven. They argued about the point of law regarding when work should be done. But the Sabbath was the only time that Jesus went into the temple. So how could the woman obtain healing from Jesus other than on the Sabbath? Sadly, the synagogue official was doing what came natural … protecting the synagogue … the same way that mis-guided Christians do today with the church. We get so wrapped up in protocol that we miss the opportunities that are there where the Spirit of Jesus can minister.
Jesus was more interested in restoring people than in following some protocol that superseded God’s intention of bringing healing through His Son Jesus. Jesus spoke to the woman who was probably shunned due to her affliction. Many would be following the cultural myth that she was in that condition due to some sin on her part. Jesus broke the protocol of men in the synagogue to do the will of God. The will of the Father is not in the rules and regulations set up by men but in the ability to listen to God and then go and do what He says. The enemy of God wants us to focus on protocol so that we miss what God is setting in front of us to do in bringing the kingdom of God to those in desperate need of healing. Since Jesus knew the cultural norm for working on Sabbath [‘Sunday’] I have to ask myself why do you suppose Jesus didn’t wait until the end of Sabbath to heal this woman? Looking at His ministry, Jesus did things not out of convenience but from God’s time table. Jesus was demonstrating this principle so that all would see the hypocrisy of this synagogue rule and bring focus to where the real issue lays.
As I have read and studied the Scriptures, the story of Gideon reflects where the presence of Jesus restored and healed someone wounded or broken. Gideon’s story is powerful because Jesus spoke to his fear without speaking to it directly. “Greetings mighty warrior!” That spoken to a man hiding in a wine vat quietly winnowing out wheat so that the enemies would not hear or see him. He was not the image of a warrior. Possibly the first question he asked of himself was “What’s going on here?” We need to be asking God the same question. However, we need to be expecting an answer. And we need to be open to hearing the truth about ourselves. Sometimes when I ask that question I get pushback. The enemy will whisper things like: “This is such a ridiculous question.” Or: “Why would God speak to you?” Or: “You’re not worthy.”
If we are to participate with God in healing then we need to be declaring that Jesus paid a price for us and that our whole self belongs to God. I think that all to often we have made agreements in our hearts that contradict the truth about God and His kingdom? For example: “I’m always going to be sick.” Or: “I’m always going to be depressed.” Or: “God doesn’t do things like this for me.” Or: “God doesn’t care about this particular problem.”
Maybe it is time for you to invoke the presence and life of the kingdom of God. Maybe it is time for you to pray earnestly first “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done HERE and NOW.” Write out this model prayer that Jesus left with us in your own words. Remind yourself that God’s will is to bring you freedom.
Comments? I would love to hear them!