There is one thing that is fairly certain, we have all at one time or another asked people to keep us in their prayers. Another thing that is certain is that others have asked us to do the same. Praying for someone is an act of faith and love, an act that can be compared with no other. Asking God to give someone strength, provide peace, give comfort, and heal sickness is a good and proper thing to do. But even as you offer to pray for someone, or ask someone pray for you, have you ever wondered about the healing power of prayer?
Some who are curious may perhaps go down to Barnes and Noble or Books-a-Million and check out one of the many books written about prayer. If that isn’t your thing, you can read one of the many, many articles written on the subject. There are even articles suggesting that modern science is testing the power of prayer. But if you really are serious about studying the healing power of prayer, you need only to turn to Holy Scripture.
In the fifth chapter of James, the evangelist writes; “Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” James 5:14-16
Our God is a compassionate God who heals people of their illness. God is one who forgives sins and brings health, wholeness and restoration. If it were not so, Jesus would not have called us to pray for one another. If it were not so, Jesus himself would not have prayed for the well-being of people in need. Even as he equipped and sent his disciples, Jesus certainly taught the power of prayer.
Jesus equipped and empowered his disciples to go into the world, proclaiming the nearness of Gods kingdom. He gave them power to cure people of their diseases, and to cast out unclean spirits. Jesus told them to take nothing with them; God would provide all they would need. It is with the power Jesus gave them, and through faith that Jesus is Messiah and Lord that the disciples were able to do these things. It was not by their hands, but by the hand of God that were people healed. When they returned, they were amazed at the things they had done in Jesus’ name.
Jesus still gives this power. Jesus calls the Church to pray for one another in their times of need. With faith in Christ, Jesus calls bishops, pastors and the elders of the Church to lay hands on the sick and anoint them with oil. Jesus calls his people to depend on and know that the healing power of God works wonders in people’s lives. Sometimes God heals quickly. Sometimes God heals miraculously. But in all instances, God is compassionate and does heal his people. God, in his time and according to his purposes does bring about health and wholeness. God restores the life of those who call upon his name so they may live with him in his kingdom forever. Ultimately, our full physical healing awaits us in Heaven. But God calls us to have faith and pray as if we have received this healing even now.
In the midst of this Holy Week, Jesus calls the Church to pray. Pray for healing and restoration of those whom we love. Pray even for your enemies, that God brings them health and wholeness, healing their woundedness. Pray that God heals and restores broken relationships. And lastly, pray for healing in your own life; pray with faith and hope in such a way that you pray as if you have already received this blessing from God.
God will do these things, for this is the healing power of prayer, in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord.