Brothers and sisters, I finally decided to address something I have been wrestling with for some time. It is a principle I had always held, but for some reason, faded away. I don’t know why. But after yesterday’s message, I had to finally deal with this. You see, in the depth of my heart, I feel our Lord is expecting us to start utilizing the authority and power He gave us. Now please bare with me, because I am still trying to make sense of it.
You see, ever since I came to the Lord in 1979, I learned to pray for those who were suffering, Haven’t all of us been offering prayers for someone? I mean, isn’t that what we are supposed to be doing? Aren’t we supposed to be praying for each other? Well, the answer is, “no!”
That is what I have been wrestling with for the past several months. I cannot find where Jesus ever told us to “Pray for the sick.” Now that may sound odd to you, but if you can find the passage, please let me know. However, before you do, take a look at what has been troubling me:
“Then He [Jesus] called His twelve disciples together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases. And He sent them to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick . . . So they departed and went through the towns, preaching the gospel and healing everywhere” (Luke 9:1-2, 6).
Now it seems to me, that our Lord is not telling us to “pray” for the sick,. We always thought He was, but He told His disciples to heal the sick! Huh? Now do you understand why I have been wrestling with this? I want to be faithful to the Scriptures, and more importantly, faithful to my King!
Okay, we read His command, but what do we do? Well, let’s say we are in a Home Group or small fellowship, and someone says, “Hey, we need to pray for “So and So.” All of us bow our heads and say our prayers. Other times we have a crisis in our family, and we need our God to move and bring healing to someone close to us.
Well, the reality is that most of the time we pray out of our fear. We pray from a sense of urgency, rather than walking in peace and simply relying on the fact that our Lord will move on our behalf. Jesus said, “If you ask anything it will be done.”
“I can guarantee this truth: Those who believe in me will do the things that I am doing. [In fact]. They will do even greater things [Huh? Why?] because I am going to the Father.”
Did he go to His Father? Yep, that is what we were told. So, that firs step is covered.
I will do anything you ask the Father in my name so that the Father will be given glory because of the Son. If you ask me to do something, I will do it.
Wow! That sounds pretty emphatic, don’t you think? Then he adds:
“If you love me, you will obey my commandments.
All of us shout proudly and emphatically [as we should] that we love the Lord and will follow Him even to our death! And that sounds wonderful! But my friends, we just read what Jesus said: “If you love me, you will obey my commandments.”
The evidence that we love Him is our obedience to Him! Not just our proclamation that we love Him, but if we love Him, we will obey Him! If we are not willing to follow whatever He commands, we cannot claim that we love Him. Our actions will declare our relationship to Him. And one of His commands seems to be to heal the sick!
I will ask the Father, [notice that He said, “The” Father, but now, since we have been brought into His family, it is “our” Father] and he will give you another helper who will be with you forever.
Another Helper? Oh boy! Who could that be?
That helper is the Spirit of Truth. The world cannot accept him because it doesn’t see or know him. You know him, because he lives with you and will be in you.
How can we expect anyone outside of the family to understand any of this? Don’t hold it against nonbelievers, they have no idea what we are saying. But, wow! You do! You know Him because He is living inside of you!
Okay, so what about when the time when He talked about throwing mountains into the sea?
I tell you that whoever [I think that includes us] does not doubt in his heart but trusts that what he says will happen can say to this mountain, ‘Go and throw yourself into the sea!’ and it will be done for him. .
Jesus didn’t tell us to pray to God about our mountain. He said for us to speak to the mountain; speak to the mountain in His Name. Oh, we so underestimate what we are called to do! He is our Lord, and He has commanded us to be His hands, feet and voice in the world! Quit sitting back and thinking you are just filling an insignificant spot in history.
We often pray for our family members; our friends and others we hear about. Folks write to me and tell me that they have the gift of “intercession,” which impresses and excites me. But those of you who interceded for others, do your prayers seem exciting; powerful; fulfilling; like they are moving mountains in the lives of those who receive your intercession? Or do your prayers feel like nothing more than religious exercises that make you feel good about yourself, but never really accomplish anything? But hey, you prayed!
It reminds me of the story about a journalist who heard about a very old Jewish man in Jerusalem who had been going to the Western Wall to pray, twice a day, every day, for a long, long time. So she went to check it out.
A journalist went to the “Western Wall” and there was a man who came two times every day, walking slowly up to the holy site. She watched him pray and after about 45 minutes, when he turned to leave, using a cane and moving very slowly, she approached him for an interview.
“Pardon me, sir, I’m Rebecca Smith from CNN. What’s your name?”
“Morris Feinberg,” he replied.
“Sir, how long have you been coming to the Western Wall and praying?”
“For about 60 years now.”
“60 years! That’s amazing! What do you pray for?”
“I pray for peace between the Jews and the Muslims and the Christians. I pray for all the wars and all the hatred to stop. I pray for all our children to grow up safely as responsible adults and to love their fellow man. I pray that politicians tell us the truth and put the interests of the people ahead of their own interests.”
“How do you feel after doing this for 60 years?”
“Like I’m talking to a wall.”
Well, is that how you pray?
That’s not good enough! How many mountains have we moved? Our prayers should never be an isolated, one-chance-in-a-100-or-1,000 type of occurrence. If we are going to be “praying,” then we should see the results! Healing should be everywhere. It is part of the gospel. We were commanded us to heal the sick!
Yes, we need to pray for the sick. James wrote, “If you are sick, call for the church leaders. Have them pray for you and anoint you with olive oil in the name of the Lord. (Prayers offered in faith will save those who are sick, and the Lord will cure them.) If you have sinned, you will be forgiven” (James 5: 14-15). That appears to be for those in the church, but when I read Acts, I do not see anyone who prayed for the sick. I read that Peter spoke to a lame beggar and said, “I don’t have any money to give you, but I do have something even better! In the Name of Jesus, rise and be healed!” And he did, and he was!
So take a look at what Jesus did say,
“So wherever you go in the world, tell everyone the Good News. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. (Mark 16:15-16).
That much we are familiar with, but it doesn’t stop there:
These are the miraculous signs that will accompany believers: They will use the power and authority of my name to force demons out of people. They will speak new languages. They will pick up snakes, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them. They will place their hands on the sick and cure them.”
After talking with the apostles, the Lord was taken to heaven, where God gave him the highest position.
The disciples spread the Good News everywhere. The Lord worked with them. He confirmed his word by the miraculous signs that accompanied it (Mark 17-20)
Wait a minute! So are we authorized to cast out devils and heal sinners who are sick? Are those two of the signs? Then how come more professing believers are not walking in this power? Folks, this is what has been troubling me! I am spending my time reading, praying, studying, and I don’t know how we are supposed to act on this?
Do we fail to bring healing because we do not believe? Well, it seems that the only qualification, Jesus put on healing the sick, was to believe. So maybe it is because we are afraid. Well, His love breaks us free from any fear. So, is it because we are disobedient? I can’t make that judgment. I know many disciples of Jesus who truly want to obey, who don’t have an ounce of disobedience in their blood and want to serve and serve faithfully!
Do you want me to make it even more complicated? Look at what Matthew recorded Jesus as saying:
“As you go, spread this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven is near.’ Cure the sick, bring the dead back to life, cleanse those with skin diseases, and force demons out of people. Give these things without charging, since you received them without paying” (Matthew 10:7-8)
Whoa! Look at Luke’s report:
“Jesus said, ‘Heal the sick that are there, and tell the people, ‘The kingdom of God is near you!'” (Luke 10:9)
Wow! But did Jesus tell His disciples to pray for the sick? Nope! He authorized them to heal the sick! And I cannot find a passage anywhere is Scripture that says, “Well, those twelve were so special and that doesn’t apply to us anymore.” If you can find that passage, please show it to me.
Evidently, the power is in the proclamation. We simply have to tell them what God will do. And then, we command it! We speak to the sickness, the infirmity, the ailment and allow the Spirit of God to fulfill God’s Word! But I admit that it takes boldness. But it is boldness that will produce more results!
I clearly sensed the Lord wanted more from us than we were achieving. But then I read an article by Bert M. Farias, founder of Holy Fire Ministries.
In his article, he suggested that the next time we see someone who is sick, to go ahead and ask them about their condition: How did happen? How long had they been sick? To just have a casual conversation with them so we can relate to them. Then tell them what Jesus told His disciples to say: “I have some good news for you today! The Kingdom of God has come near you.”
Farias assured us that they would probably look at us funny, but to keep going and offer them a challenge. “If you will give me your hand, the power of God will go into you and heal you.”
Once they give you their hand, the rest will be easy. Command them to be healed! “Flu be gone. Be healed.” “Sickness, be gone, in the Name of Jesus!” Release the power of God into them and realize that once you hands touch them, Jesus touches them.
Now here’s the most important part. Ask them to examine themselves. Tell them to do something they couldn’t do before. Get them to act on the word. Bend over. Twist. Walk. Move the part of their body that was in pain or immobile. Take a deep breath, if their sinus’ were blocked. Just get them to act. Don’t stop. Keep working with them. If you have to, lay hands on them again.
Hey, look at Hebrews 6:1-2 and you will see that one of the elementary (elementary meaning most basic) principles of Christ was the “laying on of hands.” The significance of this is that the Hebrew word used, is s’emikhah, and s’emikhah is mostly used in the Bible to refer to a person in authority assigning someone a task. It was used to transfer their authority to someone else. For instance, when Moses passed the responsibility of leading Israel over to Joshua, he laid hands on Joshua, in essence, acknowledging this transfer of authority.
This same principle applies to a sacrifice. The owner of the animal would lay his hands on the animal, signifying the designation that the animal was a sacrifice specifically on behalf of its owner.
What I am trying to say is that when we are praying for someone, and lay our hands on them, we are transferring the authority Christ gave us to the person needing healing! I have witnessed some of the most amazing results simply by laying hands on a person. In fact, I have two rules before I lay hands on anyone! First, I always ask permission to lay hands on them. Secondly, I wait for permission and directions from the Lord. I don’t just automatically lay hands on them. As I have said many times, “always follow the peace the Lord will give you.”
Farias told a story about a young student who came over to explain why she hadn’t been to Bible school for a couple of weeks. She explained that a log had fallen on her leg and fractured it. The leg was stiff, and she couldn’t bend it. She had no money or insurance to put a cast on it.
Farias laid hands on her leg and commanded her to move it and bend it. At first she grimaced in pain, but he kept telling her to move it because the power of God was in her leg and was working. After about the third or fourth time, she began to weep. There was no more pain. It was gone! And, she was able to bend her leg perfectly.
As she was leaving, Farias saw her from the window of his house walking down the dusty road he lives on with her hands up in the air praising God. “Lovely Jesus,” Farias said. “What more could our Lord do if we only believed?”
Farias taught that the power is in the proclamation! All, we have to do, is tell the person with the infirmity or affliction what God will do. We don’t pray for them. We heal them! There is nothing special about you; the power is in the name of Jesus.. That should remove all of the hesitation and fear! It is the Name of Jesus!
The reality is that our prayers can often be encased in unbelief. It is a feeble attempt at hoping something will happen. Jesus never told us to pray for anyone, He told us to heal the sick. There is no trying to see if it will work. Heaven itself has authorized us to go into all the world and use the Name, the Authority of Jesus. All, we seem to lack, is the boldness to act.
Now do you understand why I have been wrestling with this? Oh! I just realized that now you will have to wrestle with it! Just remember how the disciples responded:
“Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it (Mark 16:20). Amen!
(I send out messages like this each morning in emails, and if you are interested in receiving them, send me your email address and I will add you to the list. However, you can also find these messages at: Thought For The Day)Advertisements