There are several people I’ve been praying for who were facing some significant health issues. Over time, the list kept growing.
When I first started praying for these people whom I know and one whom I coach, these three verses became my marching orders:
“Large crowds followed Jesus as he came down from the mountainside. Suddenly a man with leprosy approached him and knelt before him. ‘Lord,’ the man said,’if you are willing you can heal me and make me clean.’ Jesus reached out and touched him. ‘I am wiling’ he said. ‘Be healed.’ And instantly the leprosy disappeared.”
~ Matthew 8:1-3 NLT
I learn from these verses that it’s never an issue of if He’s able but if He’s willing. That’s why, at times, people pray if it’s Your will to do such and such. For reasons we may not truly know this side of heaven, in some instances, He is not willing and choses not to heal us. We have an example of this with Paul.
“Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, my grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness. So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.”
~ 2 Corinthians 12:9 NLT
As I was thinking about this and wanting to learn how to better pray for people who were not being healed, a very good friend of mine, who himself was facing several critical medical issues, shared three verses with me. I saw so much value in these verses that I decided to memorize them and spend some time meditating on them and applying them not only to my life, but also to pray over these verses for this same list of people.
“That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever. So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.”
~ 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 NLT
So here’s where I’ve landed:
It’s okay to ask God to remove something in your life. Paul prayed this in 2 Corinthians 12:9 as noted above. Jesus prayed this in Gethsemane. He may or not remove it. I don’t think we should demand that He remove whatever it is, but rather graciously agree that He has the power and authority to do so, as we leave the choice to him. After a reasonable period of time, and He chooses not to heal, not to remove what we have requested, we can move to…
I want to wisdom for the person I’m praying for, including myself, on how God might want to use what I’m facing for my benefit and His glory.
The 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 passage addresses the issue of having His perspective on what’s going on and then deciding what I’ll focus on. I’ve been thinking a great deal about several phrases in these three verses:
They (the problem(s) produce for us a glory which vastly outweighs them and will last forever.) I’ve been asking myself if I really believe this. I think there’s a part of me which believes that the problem(s) outweigh the glory they’re producing. This is a question of perspective.
So, we don’t look at the troubles we can see now but, rather, we fix our gaze on things we cannot see. Where is my focus? Is it on the glory that these problems are producing for me, or am I fixated on the problems and forgetting the glory?
When I think of “Glory” my mind turns to character and to the fruit of the Spirit which often comes from my struggles and problems. The Glory can be my own personal growth in Christlikeness.
I’m just getting started on thinking through all of this, so what you read above is rough draft in nature.
I believe it’s appropriate to pray for an issue or problem to be removed if that would honor Him. When that’s not happening, I then want to pray for perspective and what I will focus on, while at the same time, if so led, to continue to pray for Him to remove things.
The disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray. I’m asking Him to teach me how to pray with Remove it and Use It in mind.
What do you think? I’d love to hear from you.