This journey began for me at last year’s Encounter Conference in January where I left with a greater confidence that God wanted me to minister to people more than I had in the past. It’s difficult to explain what changed inside of me but I definitely had a deeper desire to trust Him and step out in faith for others. Having said that though, I definitely had a lot of fears and questions about how to move forward with what He had given me. Like I said above, even while I was a part of planning our first healing service I still questioned whether anyone would even attend!
You see, it was one thing for me to be at a conference where I witnessed the Lord healing other people and could feel His presence inside of me. It was easy for me to tell people about it because I was very excited! But it was another thing altogether to actually offer to pray with people afterwards. It sort of reminded me of the Apostles following Jesus around seeing all of the signs and wonders of His ministry. But then there came a time where He sent them out and said, okay, now you go and do for others what you saw me do. I don’t know what it was like for them, but for me it just wasn’t that easy!
I had fears (and still do if I’m being honest) about whether the Lord could work through me the way He did with the others at the conference. What if I offered to pray with someone and they weren’t healed? Wouldn’t I have gotten their hopes up that I was some great healer only to have them crushed and disappointed? That would just leave them more damaged than before I even started! Beyond that though, what would people think of me if I started offering to pray with them for healing? We all know those people who go off the deep end and become religious weirdos...if I wasn’t already seen as one by my friends and family, surely I would be if I started offering to pray in this way!
Of course, there was a big problem with my way of thinking. It was entirely focused on me. Instead of realizing that ministering to others is actually God working through us (which, I would have admitted if you had asked me) the thought that I had to say or do the right thing for someone to be healed was still deeply embedded inside of me. It was a huge temptation for me to take all of the reasons why someone might not be healed and put them on myself. But the reality is that there are many reasons why people might not be healed.
The first and most obvious one is that we are not all going to live healthy lives on earth forever. As Father Dennis pointed out in a bulletin article on Divine Mercy Sunday, even Lazarus who was raised from the dead still ended up dying one day. Healing doesn’t always happen because our lives here are temporary. We’ve been made for Heaven, for eternity with God and have to keep that in mind with any cross that we attempt to carry in life.
One of the more surprising reasons people aren’t healed is also actually pretty simple; they don’t want to be. Some people would rather deal with their suffering than give it over to God. They may not think that they can trust Him so they would rather just keep it for their own. They can be afraid that He won’t take it from them so rather than ask and be disappointed, they would rather hold on to it. All of these reasons show some level of inner woundedness that keeps people from asking for physical healing. There is something broken in their relationship with God if they don’t think they can freely offer it to Him.
It gets more complicated when people don’t ask for healing because they think that God gave them their burden to offer up for others. We have to be careful in these situations because we first want to always remember that God doesn’t give us suffering. He allows it which can sound pretty similar to giving it but they’re actually pretty different. This can be seen in looking at how a parent might foresee and be able prevent something from happening to one of their kids, but might allow it because they know they can’t protect their children from everything. This analogy fails because God can see so much more than parents but it illustrates that sometimes there are lessons that can be learned through those experiences that are beyond what we can understand in the midst of our suffering. .
As Jesus says in Luke 11:11-12, no good father gives his children stones, snakes or scorpions when they ask for food. I’ve heard of people being asked if they be wanted to be healed and saying no because they want to offer their suffering up for a loved one. There’s an aspect of that which is really beautiful and selfless. But ultimately the challenge for all of us is to give everything we have, even our suffering over to the Lord. God may indeed allow us to suffer for some other purpose and it is beautiful to offer that up. But I think we should take that to prayer and make sure that we’re asking Him. Would we be willing to be healed if He wanted that for us? That could actually be a more powerful witness of His love to our family and friends than our suffering!
Notice how none of these reasons have anything to do with the person leading the prayer. I was stuck on myself and my inadequacies when those weren’t actually legitimate reasons why people aren’t healed. In the end, the first time I prayed for someone was because I saw their suffering and my heart was moved for them. All of a sudden all of my fears took a back seat because I just wanted to do anything I could to help them relieve their pain. I trusted that the Holy Spirit would give me the words that were needed and do the heavy lifting. Sure enough, by the end of our time together the person ended up feeling a little better!
At the end of the day we pray for healing because Jesus has asked us to (Matthew 10). What do we have to lose? Zero percent of the people we don’t pray for will be healed. But we never know what the Lord will do through us if we step out in faith. Likewise what do we have to lose in asking the Lord to heal us? Let us join together in giving more of ourselves to the Lord. Go to Him without fear asking for the desires of our hearts. Join us on June 7th at 7 PM to receive more of God’s gifts for us!