Sunday, February 15, 2015

WHY PRAY? Part 4 - HEALED, BY FAITH!

”...pray for each other that you may be healed” (James 5:16a)

In Part 3, we gently glided over the topic of HEALING and the spirit and the Spirit requires we spend more time looking closer at this portion of this verse. The verse above says we should “pray for each other, that we may be healed”. In a sense this verse addresses one who is harmed from the sin of another but in the general sense, we must address the healing of the sick. It is James himself who brought it up just a few verses before, when he instructs those who are sick to bring it to the elders.

More and more, elders…and most church leaders have not been devoting themselves to prayer, as they did in generations past.  You see the difference in the worldwide churches according to regional status. The wealthier Western church has layers of bureaucracy (elders/deacons/committees/trustees), while the Third World countries would be fortunate to have even one pastor!  In the persecuted lands, the pastor is the chief cook, bottle wash, intercessor, preacher, comforter and usually the man who takes the wrath of the persecuting pagan authorities, when the time comes.  As a result, prayer is the first order of business, the last order and almost everything in between.  The study of the Word, when they can land copies in their own languages happens, but prayer is their fuel. Reports from countries like Southern Africa, South America and other less fortunate lands are full of testimonies of supernatural healings as the Mighty Hand of the Lord moves among those who have nothing but the shirt on their backs and Faith in Jesus Christ in their very souls. This has led a lot of western church leaders to doubt these healings actually occurred. However they would do well to visit these towns where God Himself has been personally intervening, contrary to what some rich suburban American preacher would classify, in their unbelief, as "snake-oil".

Why is that not the case here? It still is – if one is completely sold out to Christ Jesus and believe in every letter of the Bible.  Godly intervention, in the healing of the sick, only exists in the few places where there is a STRONG belief in receiving that healing, and the appropriate praying heart that travails with the person being prayed upon.  Not a day goes by, without a list of prayer requests, a lot of the emergency prayer requests), of sudden panic by those who want a family member, friend or themselves prayed for NOW, for x, y or z reason.  The situation is like this...and there is absolutely nothing wrong with any of this: the same people with certain health issues are on the prayer sheet on Wednesday nights or on emails, for months or sometimes years on end. Why has not there any movement toward healing, sometimes even in spite of intense treatment or medication etc? 

Well, for one thing, the average American church is cessionist in practice even if their particular “’ism” does not even know how to spell “cessionist” or what it means.  In this case, this particular belief restricts itself and the Power of God, by saying that miracles and healing by faith stopped when the Book of the Revelation ended.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with being a Cessionist about the Bible, by the way! While the Bible is the dynamic Living Word of God, anyone who adds or takes away or rewrites or redefines the closed canon of scripture, will face harsh judgment on the terrible Day of The Lord!  

Jesus Christ – YHWH – Jehovah Rapha is the same today, yesterday and always.  We have not because we ask not.  The baby and the bath water should not be thrown out with those crooked televangelists who permeate the airwaves of popular TV networks. But the real power lies in the fervent power praying of a little old grandmother who spent her life on her knees praying hours a day for everybody…..or the old gentleman in the white shirt and old King James Bible whose simple but heartfelt conversations with Jesus have changed many a life. Or how about the radically changed former tattooed addict whom Jesus rescued from the pit and can’t stop praising God, while praying for others with his little vial of oil from the Christian book store. You can find this wonderful group of folks in almost any church and they are usually less than 1% of the congregation - the real prayer warriors.


Secondly, putting practical "cessionism" aside, the average church in the west - and that includes so-called Bible teaching churches - does not really pray, past the perfunctory opening pastoral prayer or the closing prayer, during the altar call. When praying for healing, the first qualification to receive that blessing is 100% complete and total belief that God would, could or even should actually heal you. A very close family member was discovered to have a severe case of Multiple Myeloma and at age 80, would have been left to die in most places, or just prayed for in passing for "the Lord's Will" to be done as friends and family wait for the time to pass, when the average doctor would then send the person to hospice for the last stage of terminal care.


This person refused to do anything except believe passionately and apparently successfully, that God has already healed her! So how is this possible, and why are the following verses used by those who believe fervently that God can and does heal, even today? Isaiah 53:5 says "But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed." How does someone receive healing from Jesus' wounds on the Cross and even more, how do you explain this from 1 Peter 2:24 "and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed." Well, what seems like confusion first from Isaiah where it says "by His scourging we ARE healed" to 1 Peter 2:24 "by His wounds we WERE healed" is a victory statement from the Lord, of what Jesus really did at the Cross!

So what does this have to do with battling cancer, heart disease or other deadly diseases? First of all, in a sense it does. It does because the healing referred to in both Isaiah 53:5 and 1 Peter 2:24 is primarily and most of all - Spiritual Healing. That is correct - spiritual healing. This is Scripture telling us plainly what God did for the the fatal disease called Sin. Jesus did not die to beat back leukemia or Crohn's disease. He did die to pay the debt, once and for all, for all sin for all time. Isaiah 53:5 is the prophesy. First Peter 2:24 is the explanation of the fulfillment of that prophesy. These two verses represent the foundation for the cure for the terminal disease of Sin and the Christian who camps firmly on them, has secured for himself/herself the necessary Faith to live out this walk, thereby, live out this daily struggle we call LIFE.


This is the Faith - the firm foundation, on which stand our eternal security. Therefore our love, devotion and belief in Jesus Christ and what He has done for us is absolutely clear and evident. This kind of Faith should either let the believer know that she or he will be healed from this particular sickness and/or deadly disease or not. It is a kind of Faith in which the Christian is so boldly secure and in sync with the Holy Spirit that you can even pray for a parking space at the store before Christmas; ask the Lord to show you if you should make this big ticket purchase or not, or even if you should drive down this particular street or not - or take the long way around. 

This is the kind of Faith, born out of the healing of all transgression against God on the Cross, which enables you and I to carry the burdens of the sick and those who do not have the level of Faith, into which God has grown us

This leads to the final point about praying for healing. Galatians 6:2 says "Bear one another's burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ". We are our brother's and our sister's keeper. So we helped them carry this spiritual AND yes, physical healing load. It only costs you some of your time and all of your love, and so by carrying that load (Bastazo in the Greek), we are literally, according to this powerful Greek word, helping to support, helping the sick to endure and pointing them to the Cross of Christ by our active participation of praying for their healing. This also points to the fact that you and I SHOULD let the sick person know we are praying for them, so they will realize it was CHRIST Who was the Great Physician here. We are simply His intercessor to bring the request to the Throne.

Living and operating in the constant, fully devoted and amazing meaning of this Galatians 6:2 verse means so much because it is the fulcrum of Intercession. It is the encouragement to us to do even more, to find that joy in and being the go-to person, or group of people, on whom it can be depended that when you pray, God hears and God acts. Why, because Galatians 6:2 says that when we "carry one another's burdens", we are actually doing this- fulfilling "the Law of Christ"! What IS the Law of Christ? He told us - love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and love your neighbor as yourself (Luke 10:27)! The law of Christ is LOVE! 

And so, you say, can LOVE heal me? The Law and Love and Life of Christ sure can. If you and I love Christ, we will do His Will, and we will believe He can heal us. If He chooses not to, He has a different plan for this particular phase in life and we will do well to persevere, IN FAITH, through it. But we never stop pressing in, interceding and praying with fervent passion. If the disease turns terminal, it is our appointed time. But never give up and never waver or become wearing in praying for each other, in Love, that ye might be healed. The Master has prescribed this, as our assigned portion. Amen
PSALM 103:1-5
1 Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And all that is within me, bless His holy name.
2 Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And forget none of His benefits;
3 Who pardons all your iniquities,
Who heals all your diseases;
4 Who redeems your life from the pit,
Who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion;
5 Who satisfies your years with good things, 
So that your youth is renewed like the eagle.
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