Tag: prayer

How Do You Pray For A Healing?

One of the most difficult things in life is when someone we love needs a miracle of healing. When they receive a bad report from the doctor it hits us in the gut and we feel helpless.

Our prayers go to another level.

Right now as I type this post I am sitting by my dad’s bedside watching him struggle with breathing and hearing the negative reports with each doctor that comes in the room to check on him. It doesn’t look good.

Praying for a healing is one of the most difficult prayers to pray because we want our loved one to be healed and recover. That’s natural we want that. We don’t want to see someone in pain or suffering.

I have seen preachers on television who claim that if you have enough faith that people would be healed. They almost guarantee it. Of course your chances improve if you “sow a seed” into their ministry. It also makes me furious to hear some preachers making claims of people who have been healed because they prayed for them. I tend to believe they embellish those claims for their own reasons.

Can I share something with you rather bluntly? It doesn’t matter how much faith you have. If God doesn’t want to heal for some reason, the person is going to die. There’s not a damn thing we can do about it either. (I warned you it was going to be blunt). I have seen people rally all of their Facebook friends to pray but the number of people praying doesn’t guarantee it either. God doesn’t heal someone based on popular votes.

So what does? Is there anything we can possibly do to convince God to heal someone?

No.

I don’t have 7 easy steps or a magic prayer you can recite.

So is there a right way to pray for a healing?

Repent of sins

Yeah, I know we don’t like to hear that. It’s not a popular subject. We have become too prideful to admit it but we ALL sin sometimes. Yes, even the perfect ones out there. Prayers won’t get off the ground if we refuse to repent of our sins. Sin hinders our prayers. There is simply no way around this one. People might debate it but when you get to the desperate stage you will realize this step needs to be done.

Confession

Let it all out. Tell God how you feel. Don’t get hung up on trying to use the right words. There aren’t any magical words. Just speak from your heart. If you have no words or don’t know what to say just be quiet or cry. God understands the tears more than we realize. This isn’t the time to pray “standing in church” prayers with eloquent words.

Be Thankful

Thank God for prayers He has answered in the past. Remind God of what He has done. It’s not that HE forgets but we do it to remind ourselves. Too many times when God answers our prayer we are happy for a short time and then we move onto the next thing and the thrill of that answered prayer fades away.

God’s Will Be Done

I hate this one but it’s totally necessary because we have to admit that God is ultimately in control regardless of our faith or number of people praying. It is very difficult to resign to God’s will because we do badly want His will to be what we want. We don’t understand it.

As I sit here and watch my dad struggle, it’s hard to even pray about this. I have reminded God of all the sacrifices my dad has made in the ministry. The churches he has pastored and the sacrifices he has made. I guess I’m doing it as if Dad has some bank account stored which such be enough to convince God to heal.him. I resign to the fact that God doesn’t work that way. I’m sure dad’s sacrifices mean something but not any additional leverage for a healing.

Honestly sometimes I don’t even know how to pray. I feel weak and completely ineffective. When you are in a situation like this you just don’t know much of anything. This kind of thing humbles you because you realize you are helpless and have absolutely no control of it. That’s pretty scary and frustrating.

The Bible has many examples of healing and how we can lay hands on the sick and they shall recover but what happens if they don’t? What do we do with that? I am convinced that the reason God doesn’t heal is that people praying with take the credit for it. That misses the whole point as to why God heals people.

Do I believe God can heal? Yes, absolutely. Will He? I honestly don’t know. I will pray until something happens. That’s all I can do.

God can heal and I’m praying that He will but I have the courage to handle it if He doesn’t.

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@#$%! I Was Just Praying!

E15191-mug15oz_1024x1024This week I walked across the street during my lunch break to a church which was open for prayer.  I walked inside.  It was quiet, air-conditioned and no one else was around.  Perfect. It was the perfect setting for prayer.  I spent a while there praying and sitting quietly.

Wait before you think I’m bragging on myself here. Keep reading.

It was a nice break from the daily work routine.  I was at peace as I got up to leave.  I walked out of the church and was getting ready to cross the street when a driver blew through the red light and nearly mowed me down.  I waved my arms wildly and uttered some flowery language.  As I regained my composure, I looked back at the church and wondered if I should go back inside again.  The peace from my time of prayer barely lasted past the church doors.  I was more upset that I had lost my composure more than the stupid driver rolling through the intersection.

Yeah, this wasn’t a shining moment for me and certainly nothing to brag about.  Some Christian I am right?  Believe me I shake my head enough at myself in these moments more than you would think.  I honestly try not to give Christians a bad name but my human emotions get the best of me just like anyone else.  Hey, I’m human.  I am not one of those who thinks I walked out of that church perfect or that I had done something great by spending some time praying. If you are a believer, you aren’t going to be perfect.  Sorry to break that news to you.  You’re going to have moments of flowery language, you’re going to have a flat tire and stuff will happen to you just like it happens to everyone else.   If you are a believer, you are going to make a lot of spiritual boo boos along the way too.  I can’t begin to tell you the number of times I have had to ask forgiveness to God for my emotions getting out of control.  It happens.  I grew up in a church which was a little crazy about perfection.  If someone from the church had witnessed my flowery moment in the crosswalk, they would have likely brought charges against me before the men of the church.  I would have been counseled by the brethren.  For sure I would have to repent all over again because I would have been viewed as a backslider.  I even heard some teaching that we are supposed to be perfect.  Really?  When do you stop becoming human?

How is it possible that someone could ever be perfect?  That thinking alone is totally flawed theology.  We all have weak moments.  In fact, the Bible says that we have ALL fallen short.  How can anyone think that believers should be perfect beings while having the same physical body in a world of pain and imperfection?  It’s just not possible.  I can tell you – and I think anyone with physical ailments can verify this – when you have illness or pain in your body, it certainly makes it difficult to be perfect.  Pain is humbling and as long as we have this human bodies, nothing will ever be perfect.

Yeah, I felt bad for losing it for a moment and giving that driver a piece of my mind but I also didn’t let that moment erase the time I had just spent in prayer.  An emotional lapse isn’t going to cancel out a solid time of prayer.  I just said a prayer of forgiveness to God and asked Him to help me to do better in that situation next time.  Maybe I blew it then but maybe I learned a lesson from it.

Don’t worry, I’m not one of those “cussing Christians”.  I’m just a believer who strives to do better.  The worst thing I could have done – which I have done in the past – was to just throw up my hands and just wallow in my frustration.  Believe me, it is a lot easier to do that than to just acknowledge my imperfections, ask forgiveness and move on.  I think it is difficult for people to understand that we are all human – even people who come out of the church after praying.  There have been churches where people are flipping each other off in the parking lot after church.

So what can you do if you are a believer and you slip up – maybe cuss a little?

  1. Recognize you are human and ask forgiveness immediately.
  2. Try to avoid being in the situation next time if possible.
  3. If there are witnesses, apologize.  Don’t let pride defeat you too.
  4. Pray for that *special* (insert your city here) driver.  Bless their hearts.

Hey, it’s a crazy world out there.  Let’s not be surprised when this kind of thing happens.  It’s not the end of the world.  Yeah, I know, people will be quick to judge you but you just have to let it go.  if not, that people will find something else anyway.  And if you’re in a church that tries to say you can be perfect – RUN.  Get away from that church.

My grandfather was preaching one time and a man in attendance walked up to adjust a fan and accidentally got a finger stuck and was clipped by the fan.  He uttered a cuss word.  My grandfather didn’t miss a beat.  He said, “Well, it looks like we’ll have one in the altar at the end of the service tonight.”

Stuff happens.

I have seen a bumper sticker that reads:  “Christians aren’t perfect, just forgiven.”   Some folks look at that as a cop out for bad behavior but it is truthful.  No one – not even people rolling in and out of church buildings on Sunday mornings.  We all have our flaws and we all have things we need to work on.

Don’t let those imperfect moments knock you down.  If anything, it should humble you and show you that you have something to work on.  God isn’t going to smite you for it.  He already knows we aren’t always going to get it right.  I have seen people walk around and all they ever do is quote Bible verses and use King James English all the time as if that will make them perfect and a part of God’s disciples club.  God doesn’t fall for that.

Nope, we’re not perfect.  We blow it sometimes but we can use those times as a lesson and learn from them.

When Prayers Get Stale

It is a challenge to maintain a consistent prayer life.  We all know the importance of prayer but if we have to be honest, sometimes it can get stale.  I know that I get tired hearing words come out of my mouth.  The same petitions daily.  It’s exciting when there is something new to pray about but when the need stretches into weeks, months or even years, it can lose a little steam.  

Trust me, I have said many times that prayer would be a whole lot easier if God talked to us like we do each other.  It can often feel like a one-sided conversation or even that we are talking to ourselves.  Prayer is about communicating with God but honestly it doesn’t seem like it sometimes. 

So what can we do when prayer gets stale?  What can we do to freshen it up?

  1. Stop asking and start thanking.  It’s easy to get stuck always asking God to do things.  The Bible says we should but it can make our prayer life weak when we are always asking.  Make some time to just thank Him for things and reminisce about prayers He has answered in the past.  Your faith will be stronger when you do that.  
  2. Pray for other people.  Just pray for people that pop into your head.  If you know their need or what they are going through spend time praying for others.  If you aren’t sure what to pray for ask.  Most people aren’t going to be offended if you want to pray for them.  
  3. Stop doing all the talking.  Be quiet.  You will be surprised how hard this is.  If you need help just focus on thinking about a verse to keep your mind engaged.  
  4. Listen to music.  Music is very uplifting and encouraging.  It will energize you and your prayer life when nothing else can.  I have found that lyrics in a song can say things better than I can say and stirs my emotion.  
  5. Listen to the Bible.  Yes I said LISTEN instead of read.  Listening to the dramatized version of the Bible can speak to you in ways like never before.  I have mentioned this before and some thought I was crazy for suggesting it.  All I can tell you is that it worked for me when my prayers needed a boost.  Try it.  You will be amazed.  

Honestly, maintaining a prayer life is hard.  There are so many distractions that can get in the way of meaningful and emotionally involved prayer.  When it gets stale, you need to do whatever works for you to make it fresh again.  One of the worst mistakes I have made was to stop praying altogether.  Trust me.  If you stop, it will be even more difficult to start again.  

God has never answered me audibly and there was a time when that really frustrated me.  I didn’t understand it or I didn’t think I was holy enough for Him to speak to me.  I still wish He would but I know that He works in many ways.  I refuse to let that hinder me in doing what I know to do to communicate with Him.  I really can’t explain it.  I wish I could convince you but I can’t.  It just simply takes doing it to experience it.  

Don’t let your prayers get stale.  Freshen it up and keep it going.  

When Prayers Make Things Worse

Have you ever prayed for something or someone and things got worse instead of better?  Answers you desperately wanted worked opposite of how you had prayed.  Without a doubt, this seriously causes your faith to take a hit.  

I can tell you that trying to understand it is very difficult.  I have prayed for people to be healed only to see them get them get worse. Now these are the experiences that can really throw you for a loop.  They can push you to the point of asking yourself why you even pray in the first place.   You have to be a strong person to get through this and realize that your prayers aren’t necessarily any kind of jinx or cause for something getting worse.   

When you pray and you get the opposite result doesn’t mean that things are getting worse.  That is our perspective but we have to understand that God has a view of things that goes beyond what we can see.  This gets a little deep but basically it comes down to the fact that we have to trust what we don’t see to God who can see it all.  

Our prayers are embedded with what we want to happen but sometimes God’s will can be something totally different.  Honestly, sometimes it simply doesn’t make sense.  Try explaining this to someone who doesn’t believe at all.  It isn’t a fun position to be in.  How can you help someone else believe when it isn’t working for you?  

I get annoyed when I see preachers on TV talk about faith and prayer as if faith is some kind of magic spell that if you have enough of it God will do anything you ask.  If not, then maybe you need to “sow seed” into their ministry. If you aren’t familiar with that terminology, it means to SEND MONEY to them.   If you do that somehow God will be compelled to do what you ask.  

God ain’t your personal genie.   Sending money to a preacher isn’t going to guarantee you a positive result.  In case anyone needs a reminder, God will do what He wants to do when He wants to do it.   Our job is to pray according to His will and accept the results.  

The Bible even tells us that God’s ways aren’t our ways (Isaiah 55:8) so there will be times that we aren’t praying according to what God wants to do.  This can be awfully frustrating.  Believe me, I have had my share of these times in my own life.  

Once I was praying for a situation and was sure of the direction everything was going to go and never considered any other option.  When the door closed on my answer I was devasted and didn’t understand at all why God shut it down.  I will be honest and tell you that it knocked the wind out of me.  But in time I saw why things happened the way they did.  I am very glad how things turned out.  It took some time but I learned to appreciate how God answered my prayer even if it wasn’t what I prayed for.  

Here are some important things I have hopefully learned when my prayers have made things worse:

  1. Don’t get mad at God.  Yep, that’s the first that happens.  It doesn’t work.  He’s still God.  We have to get over it and understand that He knows what He’s doing. 
  2. Don’t stop praying.  We may think it doesn’t matter if we pray or not but praying isn’t always about asking it is also about simply communicating which also involves listening or being quiet. 
  3. Realize that God has a better plan.  Clear your mind and get yourself lined up with God’s plan instead of your own.  

Timing is everything.  When things get worse when you pray, it’s not you.  It’s God at work.  Trust in God and don’t trust in your understanding about things. (Proverbs 3:5)

There Is A God And I Ain’t Him

It’s hard to wait on God to do something.  You pray the prayers and engage your faith yet you wait.  I don’t know about you but I’m not any good at waiting.  

I have even found myself telling God how He could get something done.  Yeah, I’m sure He had a good laugh at that one.  I had a pastor once that liked to say that there is a God and we ain’t Him.  It’s funny how we can forget that little fact.  

I’m good at figuring things out for God but the truth is that I have no clue and I’m certainly not God.  For me, it’s hard not being in control.  The waiting and seeing nothing change is quite frustrating.  It’s like you see where you want to be and simply want to get from Point A to Point B.  

God doesn’t work like that.  

If there is one thing I think I have learned in time I have had to wait on God is that He has his own timing and ways in answering prayers.  It is evident that to answer prayer which involves people that God won’t force people to do things.  There is still that wildcard of free will.  This is where some times where God has to work in His mysterious ways. The dynamics of everything working together can get quite complicated.  

So I’m still waiting.  What can I possibly do while I’m waiting?

  1. Accept it.  There’s nothing I can do to change it.  Even if I did I could make it worse.  The best I can do is be where I am now. 
  2. Keep the faith.  Faith can waver. Some days it’s really strong and other days it needs a little boost.  What helps me is to look back when God has helped in the past.  
  3. Be thankful.  Instead of constantly asking and repeating my petition it is good to be thankful on how I got to this point.  Being thankful actually strengthens your faith. 
  4. Be ready.  Look for the answer and be ready when God opens the door.  

It’s hard not being in control but it’s better to let God do His job.  Nothing surprises God and it’s certain you would never hear him say “Oops”.  He knows what He is doing.  

Another good thing about God is even if we get in the way and mess things up, God can still take our mess and work it out. Of course, it could delay things but He’s still able to work it out.  

Do I like waiting?  Heck no.  I see the answer but there is no way to it yet.  I have to keep calm and not stress out about it.  It’s a delicate balance.  I have also reminded myself of times past when I thought I knew the plan but it turned out differently but later saw how it worked out like it should.  

Yeah, I think I’m going to let God do His thing and try to stay out His way.  

Listening To God:  How does He speak to us today?

There have been numerous books and classes taught on how to listen to God.  I have often said that the main obstacle with prayer is that God doesn’t talk to us like you and I talk to each other – in an audible voice.  I have been puzzled by that many times and no one has been able to adequately explain why.  When you read in the Bible, you will see that he very much spoke to people but that gets explained away by the experts that when Jesus Christ went back to heaven that He sent the Holy Ghost.  Well, aside from those who think the practice of “speaking in tongues” is the way He speaks to us today, the Holy Ghost He sent back to us is also silent as well.

So DOES God – or the Holy Ghost – speak to us really?

He can and he will but once again not in an audible voice.

In my experience, the best way to listen to God is when I am quiet in a quiet place.  Silencing our minds and our environment around us.  Do you know how hard that is to do?  Try sitting in silence.  Our world is obsessed with noise and distractions.  No wonder people have a hard time hearing from God.  Noise is a part of our lives.

The only way we can hear from God is when He has our undivided attention.  Sitting still.  Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still, and know that I am God.”   It is difficult to hear from God when we are going in a million directions and have noise filling our ears.

It would be so easy for us if God spoke to us audibly but when God speaks in the quiet of our souls, it forces us to pay attention.   Being still is a lot of work and requires time and effort on our parts to get to the place where God can speak to us.

So when we get quiet and still, how does God speak?  When you clear your mind and open yourself to want to hear for God he will speak to your mind.  This isn’t something we can do rather flippantly either.  It takes work to separate your own thoughts from God speaking to you.  One rule of thumb to remember is that if you think God is speaking to you and it is against his character then it is not from God.  So what does this mean?  It means it takes practice to discern the voices in your head.  You have to build a relationship with God.  Yes, reading the Bible is a huge part of it but necessary if you are going to learn about God’s character.  You can’t let a preacher, church or writer in a blog tell you this.  You have to experience it yourself.  

In recent years I have gotten more quality time listening to God when I have been sitting quietly in a park or enjoying nature than sitting on a church pew.  I spent years sitting on the pew and have never experienced God like I do now.  I can only speak for myself.  I can’t speak for you.  

It is too easy to constantly ask God for things but don’t stop to listen or be still.  The act of being still and getting quiet is a challenge in our hectic world.  God wants us to be still so that we can have a relationship with him and so that we can have peace and receive guidance.  

Silence scares us.  When we are silent we are often forced to face ourselves and issues we might be avoiding.  We can easily block it out by turning on the television, surfing the Internet or texting.  When we are silent before God, we can turn from us being in control to allowing God to guide us.  It makes room for God’s presence when we aren’t doing all the talking or wanting to have our own way.  

It takes practice.   Isn’t having peace in our lives worth it?