Friday, April 3
Healing Prayer as Spiritual Warfare
As the coronavirus continues to spread, we will find ourselves praying for healing perhaps more than ever. There is no better place to begin than this part of the Lord’s Prayer: “Your Kingdom come, your will be done on earth as in heaven.” Think about it: “as in heaven.” Is there any disease or sickness in heaven, where God is? Where the Lord Jesus Christ is reigning there by the Father’s side? No. Sickness and disease, like sin and death, are part of “
the bondage to decay
” that characterizes this fallen creation. They are something we must deal with, but they are not from heaven. They will be done away with permanently when the Lord Jesus returns visibly in glory at the end of the world, and all creation is released into the freedom of God’s children.
Therefore, when we pray for God’s will to be done on earth as it is in heaven, it always includes healing, because disease is not part of God’s heavenly will for us. This means that our prayers are a challenge against Satan’s dominion. In other words, healing prayer is spiritual warfare. It makes sense, because whenever a person suffers illness or debilitation, faith comes under attack. Now there are two dimensions to faith. One has to do with our relationship with God. We can think of it as the vertical dimension. God is in full control of this dimension, through Christ’s death, resurrection, and ascension. His forgiveness is guaranteed through the cross, and he safeguards the hope of eternal life for us. God’s word and promises create and sustain this vertical faith, and the tiniest glimmer of faith receives all the benefits of the relationship with God, all at once.
The other dimension, the horizontal dimension, is where faith works through love while we are still in this world. Now this faith has to grow and be tested over time, as we mature. Horizontal faith meets the resistance put up by both natural and evil forces. God gives us a part to play in his Kingdom coming among us. It comes by
the prayer of faith
. Sometimes we see answered prayers--even miracles; sometimes, we don’t. In the face of ongoing sin, sickness, and death, we always return to our unassailable vertical faith. Meanwhile, God uses trials to expose gaps in our beliefs and values, in order to refine our character and stir us toward greater commitment to his cause and increased faithfulness. This why we often find ourselves identifying with the one who prayed, “
Lord, I believe, help my unbelief
Prayer: Lord, often I must pray, I believe; help my unbelief. I believe you are in full control and that your heavenly will is to heal and deliver, just as you healed all who came to you while you were on earth. As I pray for people I know who need healing, I trust your power. Strengthen their relationship with you. Increase their faith. Make clear to us what you are teaching us in these days. Give us eyes to see situations as you see them, and ears to hear what your Spirit wants us to know. Amen.