Tag Archives: prayer

Praying For Healing

2 Kings 20; Isaiah 38; 2 Chronicles 32

I sat here and wondered for a time why, when Hezekiah reminded God that he had been faithful to serve God and do what pleased Him, did God heal the king suffering from a fatal disease, and give him fifteen more years of life? I kept thinking how often Scripture tells us our best deeds are like filthy rags, that salvation is a gift and can’t be earned so that no one can boast. So why was Hezekiah saved from that death sentence because of works?

He wasn’t.

I believe he was saved because he went to God, laid it all at the feet of the Great Physician. Scripture says he wept bitterly, but it doesn’t tell us what those tears represented. Were they bitter tears, tears of regret, angry tears, or tears of repentance? It seems to me they were probably tears of surrender (my opinion only), the kind of prayer God still answers today.

However, this is not a recipe for healing. God doesn’t simply heal those who come up with the right attitude, or the right words to pray.

Here’s the thing: if we are faced with a terminal illness or another seemingly impossible situation, and we go to God and pray expecting to be healed, we aren’t really going to God. We are using Him.

But if, when faced with that diagnosis, we go to God, lay our illness or situation, heartache or anxiety at His feet, submit to His will with no strings attached, the outcome of our prayer will be everything He wants it to be!

When we truly put our faith in God, we release all expectations.

That’s why I am convinced the name-it-and-claim-it theology is anti-Christ. God is not our personal genie in a bottle to grant our wishes. How dare we reduce Him to that, and think we are being obedient.

Here’s another thing, and I believe it demonstrates what Paul said in Ephesians 2:8-9:

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.

If you or I or anyone else is saved from sin or disease, we are saved because of God. Period. It’s not about us. It’s about God.

Sadly, after God saved Hezekiah, he became proud. He seems to have thought he had something to do with his healing in light of all the good things he said he had done for God in the past. And he squandered the fifteen years God gave Him.

Then he died.

I guess I feel God would have us consider Who He Is, not just what He can do for us. Do we really trust Him? Do we really have faith in Him? Can we honestly pray, “Not my will, but Thine be done?”

Then it doesn’t matter if we are healed in this lifetime or in death. I believe God wants us to pray for healing:

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. (Ephesians 4:6)

That includes physical healing. Don’t worry about it. Pray about it. Pray with thanksgiving. Present it to God.

When you present something, you don’t hold back, do you? When you present something you trust the receiver with whatever you’ve given. Can we do that with our illnesses and sin?

So pray for healing for yourself or your loved ones. Pray for the salvation of those God lays on your heart. Do what God nudges you to do, go to the doctor, eat more vegetables, take that 20 mile bike ride, spend time with that person, whatever and wherever God leads.

Pray.

Then trust Him. Leave your request at His feet. No expectations, just God. Then Paul tells us that after we present our requests to God:

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 4:7)

I honestly believe that’s how we should pray for healing or anything, knowing God hears and answers our prayers. And we can have His peace knowing for sure that He will answer our prayers according to His own good will.

Stepping Between God and the People

Psalms 105-106

These psalms recount the Exodus of the Jewish nation out of Egypt in the days of Moses, and reminds us how God moved in dramatic fashion on behalf of His obedient children. I think one amazing thing about Scripture, however, is how often we are also reminded how God moves when His children aren’t so obedient, like in these two psalms. God doesn’t sugar-coat anything. I’m thankful for that.

What stood out to me today was in 106:23,30. The Jews were living in blatant disobedience, even after God had blessed them. So God declared He would destroy them. Their disobedience made Him that angry.

But Moses, his chosen one, stepped between the Lord and the people. He begged God to turn from his anger and not destroy them.

So God did not destroy them.

Later, as punishment for yet more disobedience, a plague broke out among the Jews.

But Phinehas had the courage to intervene, and the plague was stopped. So he has been regarded as a righteous man ever since that time.

This morning I am reminded that Jesus has done the same for me. My disobedience angers God as much as the disobedience of the Old Testament Jews angered Him. What makes me think He hasn’t considered taking me out, too?

But I have a Savior. When I sin and make God angry, Jesus steps between the Lord and me and pleads my case. One day when I stand before the Throne of Heaven, Jesus will intervene for the last time, and I will not be destroyed. He will usher me into Paradise unlike anything I have ever known in this lifetime.

Here is something else that occurs to me. While I am still on this earth, I have the privilege of being a Moses or a Phinehas, one who intervenes for my loved ones, our nation and the whole world, and for you. I can beg God like Moses did, that He would turn from His righteous anger, and give each of us another chance to obey Him.

So today I want you to know that I am praying for you. I am going to step between the Lord and you and beg Him to have mercy. Will you do the same for me?

What Have You Done To Me?

1 Kings 17:8-24

When I think about the prophet Elijah, certain pictures come to mind: ravens, a soggy altar on fire, the starving widow, etc. Today I read about the miracle of the flour and oil in the hands of that widow. During a time of famine in the land, the little bit of flour and oil she had when she met Elijah never ran out. She had enough every day to feed herself, her son, and the prophet. Every day she was reminded of God’s power and provision. Every day she had tangible proof that God is greater than her need.

What rejoicing must have gone on in that house!

Until her son got sick and died. How quickly she seems to have turned on Elijah and, in turn Elijah’s God.

“What have you done to me?” she asked. “Have you come here to point out my sins and kill my son?”

When God shows up, answers prayer, reveals Himself in tangible ways, it’s easy to get on board. It’s easy to believe in a good miracle-working God who meets our needs, then goes beyond to shower us with blessing after blessing.

But what happens when disaster strikes? The death of a loved one. A cancer diagnosis. The loss of a job or a relationship. What happens when we suddenly find ourselves drowning in sorrow or uncertainty?

“What have you done to me, God?”

Now, I am not assuming the widow’s question was a sin or showed lack of faith. Elijah doesn’t scold her for it. It may have been a natural question to ask considering the circumstances. We don’t know her heart.

But we know God raised her son to life again. The death of that boy gave God the opportunity to reveal that even death has no power over Him. Talk about a tangible object lesson!

So the next time trouble comes, ask. Go ahead and let God know your sorrow, your frustration, your questions. Then follow it up with, “Now, what do you want me to do about this, God? What do you want me to do, to say, to be so that You can be glorified?”

James 1 tells us to count it a joy to face trials of any kind. Read what the apostle says about that if you don’t believe me.

Paul, in Philippians 1 tells us he welcomed imprisonment because his troubles advanced the Gospel. Again, read it for yourself.

These men knew God can use the worst possible situation to pour out his greatest blessings. And, when we ask, He gives us the ability to do and be what He intends for our good, and in order to bring Him glory.

What have you done to me, God? Let’s do this!

Daddy, Help

Psalm 86

We are told that we are powerful and capable individuals who can do anything we set our minds to. It’s a great thought. But it’s a lie. And I bet most of you, if you’re honest, would say it’s a lie, too.

Because we aren’t all that. We were never intended to be all that. We were created to need, and receive from God. The truth is, the most empowering thing an individual can do is to submit to God, admit a need, worship him, and receive His power to meet the need. There is something very freeing about admitting we need God.

Like a 2 1/2 foot child stretching, reaching, straining to get to the cookie jar on the kitchen counter. No amount of stretching is going to gain those extra inches he needs to reach his goal, no matter how much he believes in himself.

But let that child say, “Daddy, help!” and that father will take that child into his arms, lift him up, and place him in a position to open the cookie jar. And, more than likely, that daddy who loves his child, will hug that little one and give him a smooch.

Psalm 86:1-7 did that for me today. It reminds me my Heavenly Father is standing at the ready to forgive, to show mercy and love, to make me happy and help me in times of trouble. I just need to call out to Him.

Now, I know my example is imperfect. You might point out the child could pull a chair over to the counter and crawl up there himself to get to the cookie jar. Possibly. (especially if your name is Caleb and you are my great-nephew). But that child would miss out on that special moment with his daddy, the hug, the love expressed by his father who is bigger and much more capable than he.

And, if we’re pointing out the possibility the kid could crawl up there himself, we could also point out he could fall. The tragedy of that is, there is no need to go through the pain of a fall when all he had to do was ask his Daddy for help in the first place.

I hope, that if you are going through a difficult time right now and you think you have it in you to get through it on your own, think again. You don’t have to. There is no intrinsic value in sucking it up when God is standing there waiting for you to call on Him. And, my friend, the benefit of receiving His help goes way beyond whatever you are going through at the moment.

You have a Father who loves you. Allow Him to pick you up in His capable arms and BE the answer to your problem. I’m praying that today you will pray:

“Daddy, help”

(Matthew 19) The Impossible

Do you believe all things are possible with God? I do, because Jesus said so. But what are the “all things?”

Does this half-verse mean I can do anything I set my mind to because God can do the impossible? If I’m determined to get that promotion at work, or buy that vacation home at the price I can afford, or get my magic number of followers on SnapChat so I can become an influencer, am I to believe I can succeed because God can do the impossible?

Don’t base your view of God on seven words of a partial verse in the Bible.

What God wants us to know in this portion of His Word is that He can save anybody. He wants to assure us that no one has done so much evil, or is so prideful, or has too hard a heart, that He can’t forgive them when they repent of their sin.

These verses should inspire us to pray for the salvation of our loved ones living so far from the Truth we’re tempted to think they have no hope. God wants us to know they HAVE hope!

Keep praying. Keep being obedient. God might use you to do the impossible in that person’s heart and life.

I beg you, don’t use this verse as a magic wand, believing God has promised to make your dreams come true. He’s not that shallow.

(Ezekiel 29-32) I AM The LORD

Egypt was never identified with God. They worshiped idols. They were the enemy of God. Yet the Israelites went to Egypt for help instead of going to God. Big mistake.

But here’s what spoke to me today: God repeatedly sent word to Egypt, warning them what the consequences of rejecting Him would look like. Why? Why would God continue to warn His enemies about the devastation that was ahead for them?

“Then they will know that I am the Lord.” (28:23,24,26, 29:6,9,16,21, 30:8,19,25…)

I am reminded that God doesn’t want anyone to die without Him, that whosoever believes on Him will have eternal life, that anyone who believes on the name of Jesus will be saved.

It reminds me how God continually works in the lives of every man, woman, and child to bring them to the realization that He is the Lord. He is the way, the truth, and the life and no one goes to God except through Jesus.

It reminds me that instead of praying God would take away the “plague” of COVID, I should pray that this virus will show the world that He is Lord. Simply praying that God will somehow say the word and the virus would disappear, might be praying against His will that we who have turned our backs on Him will humble ourselves, turn from our sin, so that He can heal our land.

Whether it is a virus, or war, or hurricanes and earthquakes, alcoholism, or cancer, or divided families and churches… whatever the consequences of sin might look like… may it do what God intends it to do.

May we hear Him say in the midst of it all:

I AM the LORD.

(Isaiah 36-39) One And Done

Satan is never one and done. And his tactics haven’t changed since the days of Hezekiah.

First, the evil one tried intimidation to get Hezekiah to surrender to him. Hezekiah went to the Lord, and stood firm.

But the devil isn’t easily deflected. He sent his army. This was war! Hezekiah went to God and in one night 185,000 of Satan’s soldiers were killed as easily as I can wipe out an entire ant colony by stepping on it.

So Satan attacked Hezekiah’s body. The king was sure he was going to die. But instead of giving up on God, Hezekiah went to God. And God gave the king fifteen more years of life.

Take THAT, Satan!

Intimidation, war, physical illness, – none of those altered Hezekiah’s devotion to God. But Satan is never one and done (or three and done). This time Satan used flattery.

No threats. No arrows. Satan used a smooth-talking group of his representatives, and made Hezekiah feel important. Their flattery awakened pride in Hezekiah and he couldn’t wait to show off his accomplishments. More flattery.

Hezekiah never went to God when the Babylonian envoy came for an “innocent” visit. Why would he? It certainly didn’t look like an attack. It didn’t sound like threats. There could be no harm in being cordial, right? Satan (and God) were the furthest things from Hezekiah’s mind.

But this led to Hezekiah’s sin. A sin that would not only effect him, but his family, and the nation for years to come. Big mistake, Hezekiah.

Don’t think Satan isn’t interested in bringing you down, either. You might not be at war, you might not feel threatened. You might be in the best physical shape of your life, successful, respected, adored by many. But beware.

If you aren’t going to God every day, in every situation, if you aren’t discerning and on high alert for Satan’s tactics, you need to stop. There is danger ahead that could take you by surprise, and bring you down.

Because Satan isn’t one and done in your life or mine.

(Psalms 42-43) Think On These Things

The forced isolation the world has been subjected to due to the COVID mandates has been devastating for many. Disappointment, depression, and even despair are being experience by scores of people who have never been this low before – and never believed they ever would be. I’ve often said the virus is not the worst thing that has happened this past year.

The psalmist must have been experiencing the same level of low as some people feel today. He asks, “Why, my soul are you so dejected? Why are you in such turmoil?” (42:5a) He even describes himself as “deeply depressed,” and asks God why He has forgotten him. (verses 6,9). I think many of us have at one time or another felt like God has abandoned us when our souls are in turmoil ourselves.

I actually think the psalmist did something good here. He put into words what was troubling him. We don’t know the answers he came up with, exactly why he felt dejected and in turmoil. But so often in Scripture we are told to search our hearts. Look how many times Jesus, before he healed or forgave someone, asked, “What is it you want?” “What are you looking for?”

We would do well to get out pencil and paper and identify those things in us, too. “Why, my soul, am I dejected?” Sometimes we don’t even know why we are experiencing this level of sadness. I believe God would have us give voice to our troubles. Be specific.

Then, the psalmist did something else: he took his eyes off himself and focused on God instead. He said in verse 1 he longed for God like a parched deer longs for a flowing stream. He remembered God, His goodness and protection.

In Psalm 43 he asked God to send His light and truth, and lead him to Himself. He also demonstrated complete faith in God when he said:

The Lord will send his faithful love by day; his song will be with me in the night…” (42:8)

The Lord WILL, His song WILL…

I know it’s not easy. And if there is a chemical imbalance in a person’s body, he or she needs medication and Biblical counseling to help them navigate their physical need. But here is what I found to be true of my own tough days:

My tears have been my food day and night… (42:3a)

Warren Wiersbe said the psalmist “‘fed’ on his grief (not a wise thing to do) as his tears became his bread. His weeping was as regular as his eating had been.” (Be Worshipful; David C Cook Publisher; 2009; page 162).

Do you relate? Then ask yourself if you are feeding on your grief. Identify those things that are troubling you, but don’t stop there. Lay them at the feet of Jesus. Trust Him. Seek Him.

That’s not to say simply pretend everything is ok. The “Name it and Claim it” thing is garbage. Rather, name it and turn it over (and keep turning it over when you find yourself picking it up again).

Paul tells us to instead think on things that are “true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, and praiseworthy.” (Philippians 4:8) It’s hard to be down when our thoughts are on our blessings and God’s character.

Some people will say that’s too easy, it can’t work for everyone, that it’s wrong to believe you have the ability to change your thinking and, in turn, your feelings. I am just sharing what God has said in His Word. I’m not making this up.

I know many of us have memorized Philippians 4:6-7 which says:

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends our understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Did you get that? Paul says to pray, be thankful for what you have (including your position in Jesus through His blood), and be specific about what you want God to do. Now don’t miss this:

The result of that kind of prayer isn’t necessarily the receiving of everything you’ve asked for. The result of that kind of prayer is peace in your heart that only God can give. It’s a peace the world cannot understand. And it’s a peace that will guard your heart and mind against the thoughts and feelings that are putting you in turmoil.

Someone once said, “I’ve been down so long, it looks like up to me.” Sounds like that person needs a new diet. Feeding on his grief has become normal. I pray that you, and I, will feed on the Word of God and His promises, that we will think on things that God has told us to think, that we will trust Him, seek Him, and truly look up.

I will confess that following Scripture in this area is like riding a rollercoaster. Some days I can change my thoughts, get busy looking for ways to serve my Savior, and love and seek God with all my heart, mind, and soul.

And some days I fail miserably. I feed on my grief like I’m an addict falling off the wagon.

But I thank God that He is always faithful to forgive when I ask Him to, that He is there beside me to give me the ability to obey Him, to change my thoughts, and focus on Him when I surrender to Him.

Because the Lord WILL send His faithful love to me during my day, and He WILL give me His song in the darkness if I ask Him to. That’s not wishful thinking. It’s true!

Praying for you, and me, today.

(I Kings 13-16) For Generations To Come

Why did God not wipe out the blatantly disobedient people of Israel? One king after another – on both sides of the Israeli teams – obeyed God to differing degrees. Most disobeyed Him unashamedly. Their open rejection of everything God stood for would seem to be reason enough for God to wipe them off the face of the earth.

Why didn’t He do that? First of all, Scripture makes it clear God doesn’t delight in the deaths of His enemies, that His Sovereign will is that no one die without His saving grace. God didn’t – and doesn’t – destroy the Jews because of that one person whose heart is stirred, that one who is softening toward Jesus, and who will receive what the Messiah died to provide.

The Lord is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy. (Psalm 103:8)

But here is what occurred to me this morning as I sat here praying about these chapters in I Kings: God had made promises about Israel’s preservation to Abraham and to King David. Why? Because these men had vital relationships with God based on complete surrender and great faith. Neither man was perfect. But both men trusted God, and confessed and repented of sin. They were faithful to God, and He was faithful to them.

I am sure we are all praying for our children. We want God to bless and protect them today and every day. But I’m wondering how many generations of our descendants will be touched by God’s hand of protection, His grace and mercy, because we are living lives of obedience here and now? How many of our children and grandchildren will be blessed because we ourselves are surrendered to God, and demonstrate complete faith in Him? How many years will God continue to answer our prayers long after we are gone from this earthly body?

Our lives are lived in a few decades on this earth. But our prayers live into eternity. Our example goes on without us in the hearts and minds of our children. Our influences influence them whose influence impacts our grandchildren who will have children and grandchildren of their own.

What example of obedience are those dear ones seeing in us today? More importantly, what is God seeing in us that would cause Him to want to answer our prayers for the next generation and the next?

Abraham’s and David’s prayers are still being answered today because they were faithful to God while they had that opportunity. May the same be said of us a few thousand years from now.

(I Kings 8) Be Specific

When King Solomon prayed, he covered all the bases, everything he could think of that would cause God to remove Himself from the people:

When a man takes an oath, when our enemies defeat us, when there is drought, or famine, when foreigners come, when we sin, when there is pestilence, blight, mildew, locusts, plague, illness… may your people return to You. Then God, hear our prayers and forgive.

I’m sitting here realizing that God would have me be more specific in my prayers, too. Not because He needs direction. But because it is a way of searching my heart, of putting my needs into words. It is identifying what I’m asking God to do, so that I will recognize His hand when answers to prayer come.

The Bible teaches that God hears… and answers… the prayers of His people. Let’s be specific.