Today I want to finish looking at five areas that can make our prayers for the sick more effective.
‘When Jesus had finished saying all this to the people who were listening, he entered Capernaum. There a centurion’s servant, whom his master valued highly, was sick and about to die. The centurion heard of Jesus and sent some elders of the Jews to him, asking him to come and heal his servant. When they came to Jesus, they pleaded earnestly with him, “This man deserves to have you do this, because he loves our nation and has built our synagogue.” So Jesus went with them. He was not far from the house when the centurion sent friends to say to him: “Lord, don’t trouble yourself, for I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. That is why I did not even consider myself worthy to come to you. But say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” When Jesus heard this, he was amazed at him, and turning to the crowd following him, he said, “I tell you, I have not found such great faith even in Israel.” Then the men who had been sent returned to the house and found the servant well.’ (Luke 7:1-10)
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Yesterday we saw that effective prayer for healing is powered by faith and is in Jesus’ name. Today, we reflect on another three principles of effective prayer for healing: effective prayer is inspired by scripture, may involve confession and will be motivated by compassion.
iii. Effective prayer for healing is inspired by scripture
Firstly, In order to impart faith to people, it’s very helpful to show what the Bible says about healing. So, when praying it’s helpful to show scriptural examples to the person being prayed for and it’s also useful to use the words in the Bible in our prayers. So, for example, we might reference the healing of the centurion’s servant; and one might pray, “Lord Jesus, as you healed the centurion’s servant not because he was worthy but because you are merciful so I ask you to ‘say the word’ and heal…”
iv. Effective prayer for healing may involve confession of sin
As I said on Tuesday, we never earn healing or any answered prayer, but it’s biblical to confess and repent of known sin when praying for healing. James writes about the importance place of confession:
‘Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.’ (James 5:14-16)
The link between sickness and sin is too big a subject to cover here; however, the Bible teaches that sin can lead to sickness (see 1 Corinthians 11:27-32, for example). But this is certainly not always the case, hence the ‘if they have sinned…’ in James and no mention of sin in this account of the healing of the centurion’s servant. I don’t think that we should condemn ourselves or become paranoid about searching for sin in our lives if we are sick. However, I do believe that if we are sick and are living in sin, we should confess this when we seek prayer for healing. As with the text in James, this kind of thing would often be most wisely processed with a mature Christian leader, such as an elder.
v. Effective prayer for healing is motivated by compassion
Finally, It was compassion for his servant that drove this centurion to seek Jesus for healing and, likewise, if we are going to pray effectively and persistently, we need to be filled with God’s love for the suffering. Here in Matthew we read of Jesus’ model of ministry and how it was driven by compassion:
‘Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and illness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.’ (Matthew 9:35-36)
Yesterday and today, we have briefly considered 5 aspects of effective prayer for healing: it is powered by faith, is in Jesus’ name, is inspired by scripture, may involve confession of sin and is motivated by compassion.
I hope that these reflections on healing this week have been of help to you and I trust that we will all continue to learn and persevere in this important aspect of our faith.
COMMUNITY GROUP NOTES AND STUDY
It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.
Very importantly, let’s be praying and inviting to our carol service on 10th December; in preparation for this, we have Carol Singing on the 3rd.
How has God been speaking to you from His Word this week and how has this helped you?
3. Worship together
Let’s begin our time together by lifting our eyes and hearts to worship our great God. Perhaps you have readings and songs that you would like to use together. Let’s be open to the gifts that the Spirit wants to give in order to encourage one another.
4. Study and pray together
This week, as we continue in our series in Luke, we will be reflecting on Jesus’ teaching from Luke 7:1-10. Jesus is asked to heal the servant of a Roman centurion. Through this event we are taught about God’s desire to save people from all backgrounds and His desire to see faith in all of us.
Please read Luke 7:1-10
Why do you think that Luke wants us to see that this centurion (rather the Theophilus for whom this gospel is written) is not Jewish?
What do we learn about the place of status and good works for salvation and things like healing?
What do we learn about healing from this narrative?
SIV - Why does this centurion believe and intercede to Jesus?
SIV - What does this account teach us about how we can affectively serve and bring our community to Jesus?
SIV - Do we have any stories of how we have ‘Served, Invested, and inVited’ this week?
SIV - Lets now pray together that, this week, we will have opportunities to SIV.
Does anyone want prayer for healing or prayer for someone else who is sick or in need?