Luke 11:13 NIV
If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!
Like many Christians I know, I have had the privilege of praying for many people over the years. In churches, in conferences, at the mechanic’s garage, and in restaurants, I’ve tried to get beyond my natural introversion to obey Jesus to pray for anyone he leads me to. Like some of you, over the years I’ve prayed for hundreds of people for healing of the heart, mind, and body, for encouragement, for freedom from long-standing sins, for the Holy Spirit to fill them, or for the love of the Father to overwhelm them.
In all those cases, I am glad we prayed, glad we took the step of faith, and glad we discovered the Holy Spirit is always at work in very unique ways. I’ve often seen people experience God’s love powerfully, but I’ve seen people experience physical healing far less frequently.
When we pray for one another, praying from a place of devotion to Jesus, clear-heartedness, and faith, the Father gives the gift of the Holy Spirit. It’s a fact, according to Luke 11:13. We may see something dramatic occur, or something very normal occur. If someone leaves with a deeper sense of the Father’s love, I’m over-the-moon happy! But I’ve still wondered why I don’t see more physical healing when I pray.
When I am discouraged, feeling like the Holy Spirit is not being given as lavishly in the moment as I would like, I remember the words of a mentor of mine, John Wimber. He encouraged us to pray for at least a thousand people or more before we started evaluating if our prayers “worked” or not related to physical healing. I’m in the high hundreds, I’m sure, but in the meantime I see others praying for physical healing, and God answering those prayers in profound and unique ways. What gives?
I asked this question of another mentor of mine many years ago who traveled around the world and often saw people physically healed. He doesn’t hype things up—he’s seen some crazy, beautiful things happen in many lives. I said to him, “Why doesn’t God heal through me? Is there something I’m doing wrong?” I didn’t expect the answer he gave.
“Dan, the Holy Spirit is healing people through his Church all over the world. Why does it have to be through you for it to be happening?” He was giving me a heart check. Seeing healing occur was more about me than I thought.
Yes, my compassion wants things to be fixed for people. Like you, when we pray, we often connect deeply with the love of the Father for a person. But he is doing more than I can see in that person’s life. There are many paths through which God heals. And his timing is perfect. Do I need to be the center of a physical healing ministry? Or is it possible that God will use me on occasion in that way, and he will use others on occasion in the same way he uses me now?
The Father is pouring out his Holy Spirit on his Church. Your work, and mine, is to trust that is true, and to join the Father in the work he is doing right in front of us. We pray for anyone, and everyone, we can. If a spontaneous healing occurs, wonderful. If not, all is well; remind those you pray for to rest in the Father’s love in their suffering, and that you’ll continue to pray for their healing. Then, we keep praying, and we keep showing up to do our part in faith.
The rest is up to the Father; he is healing, and transforming lives, through his Church.
Jesus, I receive the Holy Spirit. Where I have become discouraged, and doubted that you are doing great things in the world today, change my perspectives. Come, Holy Spirit, give me a passion to pray for others and to expect your miracles—no matter what form they may take. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Can you think of someone for whom you could pray for physical healing this week? If so, how could you ask them if they’d be willing for you to pray for them?
For the awakening,