It can be easy to pray for things when they are attainable by your own efforts. Or, it’s easy to pray general, positive things like, “God, bless with wisdom/protection/strength.” It’s quite something else when the thing you are praying for is necessary to your own vitality.
This past year, I’ve been challenged to grow in my faith. It started when praying for a minivan, and hearing my own son’s prayers exceed what I was praying. It was humbling, challenging, but inspiring as well. I stepped up my own prayers, stepping out in faith with them, and it was amazing to see God answer.
It was easy to think this growth in my faith had me even more trusting in God. Hardly.
I often take prayer requests from people on social media. It’s wonderful, and special, as people message me, publicly and privately, their requests. I cherish being able to pray for people, and for them to know they aren’t alone.
Recently, someone messaged me privately asking for healing from Parkinson’s disease. When reading thier message, my response wasn’t one of faith. It was one of cynicism and unbelief. Something along the lines of, “Are you kidding me?!”
Instantly, God brought to mind a passage from the Bible.
And he brought the letter to the king of Israel, which read, “When this letter reaches you, know that I have sent to you Naaman my servant, that you may cure him of his leprosy.” And when the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his clothes and said, “Am I God, to kill and to make alive, that this man sends word to me to cure a man of his leprosy? Only consider, and see how he is seeking a quarrel with me.” But when Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel had torn his clothes, he sent to the king, saying, “Why have you torn your clothes? Let him come now to me, that he may know that there is a prophet in Israel.” —2 Kings 5:6-8 (ESV)
What happens next is Naaman goes to meet Elisha, but Elisha sends his servant to tell Naaman what to do to be healed of leprosy. The cure sounds ridiculous, but Naaman does it. Sure enough, his leprosy is gone after his steps of faith.
When God brought to mind this passage, it was convicting. God is able to do it. God is able to heal. God wants to heal. I shouldn’t just believe when it is something within my power to do, or within man’s power to do. Maybe it doesn’t happen when and how I want it to happen, but God can and does bring healing.
I responded back to the individual that I do believe God can heal them. When and how, I said I didn’t know, but God can do it. I shared the passage from 2 Kings 5 as well. They were grateful for the prayers.
The next day, I’m working at church and I’m asked if I can pray with someone that has come into the church. A parent has brought in their child with severe autism, and they want a pastor to pray for healing. The timing of God’s word to me about healing is providential.
Wendell Nelson, Steve Walters and I pray fervently for this parent and their child. When it is all said and done, we shared with them as well. I talk about what God had shared with me from 2 Kings 5, and also the Parable of the Persistent Widow. I find myself believing that healing will occur. Again, I don’t know how or when, but I believe.
This parent tells us they battle hopelessness with their child’s diagnosis. Then, they heard a recent service of ours on the radio where Pastor Mark Ashton preached about healing, and he invited people to be prayed for at the end of the service. They said that when they heard it they wanted to get their child and drive to the church right away and ask for prayer and healing.
A few weeks after this time, they returned again with their child. They wanted prayer again for healing, but there was also hope. They talked about the improvements they had seen with their child. Hope and belief had returned in increasing amounts.
My faith continued to grow as well.