Pray Through It

Have you ever taken on a new challenge where you weren’t really sure you could do it? I think we all have – probably many times. It’s in those experiences where we learn how to pray from a deeper level of dependence on God. What a great opportunity to grow in prayer and relationship with Him.

Last summer, I took on a part-time job I never thought I would do. I became part of a family’s home health team. I was trained by a home health care nurse in how to dress a surgical incision that had opened and become infected, as well as how to administer IV antibiotics through a PICC line.

If you are shrugging your shoulders like this is no big deal, then maybe you work in the health field or you can stomach a lot. If you are, at this point, hoping I won’t give any further details about that job, then you are like me. I am not a person who wants to be around any situation where things that should be inside the body are, in fact, on the outside or visible. The sight of blood freaks me out and makes me just about pass out. And I certainly can’t look at an open wound, let alone touch it.

Yet there I was, on the morning of the Fourth of July, heading to the assisted living home for home health training.

I prayed as I approached the place: “God, please help me do this.” While I often pray that prayer, it seldom comes from the place in my heart where I realize, “Without You, I literally cannot.” And yet, without God, I cannot do anything, even the things I think I can do. I cannot even draw breath without Him. Note to self: Pray from that place in your heart all the time!

I learned how to do the PICC line, which isn’t complicated, but it’s also not something you want to mess up. I began to pray through every step, asking the Lord to do each part for me. As I attached the bag of antibiotics, I asked Jesus to move throughout her body, administering the healing Himself. I prayed through the entire process, each and every time, all summer. I prayed with the patient, and I prayed over her. I prayed before arriving, the whole time I was there, and after I left. I prayed as I sterilized equipment and took inventory of supplies. I put the entire procedure into God’s hands, each and every time.

When it came time to learn about wound care, I knew I wouldn’t be able to handle the sight of the incision. When I had surgery many years ago, I couldn’t even look at my own incision until weeks later. And my incision was closed, not open and infected. Yet as I approached the patient’s bed, I prayed, “Lord Jesus, You are going to have to make this okay for me.” He did. I was able to look at the wound and follow the instructions for wound care without flinching. All I felt was a determination to do what God and the home health nurse asked me to do, and let Jesus take care of healing the wound.

The first time I tried to change the dressing myself, I had difficulty with some of the steps. It was necessary to place a debriding strip into the wound. That was hard to do. The strip kept falling out. I realized how much discomfort I was causing the patient. I knew I had to move faster, and yet I could barely make the process work. So I prayed harder. Before my next shift, I prayed, “Lord, please take care of changing the dressing Yourself. You are the Healer. Use my hands as You know best.”

Driving to the assisted living home for the next treatment, I felt the Lord prompt me just to go in and talk with Him the whole time I was changing the dressing, and to do it out loud, so the patient could hear. That’s exactly what I did. As I began to remove the old dressing, I said, “Lord Jesus, thank You for helping us do this. Thank You for protecting her skin. Thank You that the wound is already starting to heal by Your power.” I just kept a running dialogue (or monologue, really) through the whole process. And it worked out fine. From that point on, I never had a problem. We were done quickly, and the patient said she was fine through the process.

A few nights after I started wound treatment, the Lord gave me a dream about the patient. In that dream, I walked in, removed the dressing, and the wound was completely healed. It looked beautiful. I began to pray for that, and to thank Him for that dream, every time I went in there. I told the patient about the dream, and she was grateful to God for giving us that promise.

Thus began the daily miracle of watching her wound heal. Every single morning, it had improved. When I removed the dressing, I would say to her, “Let’s see what Jesus did last night.” Sure enough, there was a marked difference, each and every time. I have been involved with healing prayer ministry for many years. I have seen God heal many times. This was a different way to watch Him heal. To see the daily improvement of His handiwork. What a miracle, and what a privilege.

Toward the end of the summer, the course of antibiotics was completed. The patient was doing so much better now that the infection was gone. Wound care had to continue until the incision was completely closed. I don’t remember how many weeks that process continued. But I do remember the morning I went in, removed the dressing, and all that was left was a dent the size of a pin prick. The wound was completely closed. Just like in the dream. The Lord had allowed me to see it with my own eyes.

This experience taught me a deeper awareness of my utter dependence on Him. I would love for all my prayers to come from that realization in my heart – that without Him, I can do nothing. It also reminded me that with Him, I can do whatever He asks me to do. I just have to pray through it, and leave the rest up to Him.

What is God calling you to do that you don’t think you can do? Talk to Him from that place in your heart that knows how desperately you need Him. See what He says, and see what He shows you. Enjoy your fellowship with Him.

A Prayer in Times of Pain and Sorrow – Psalm 22 (Jesus Prayed It Too)

I love Psalm 22. In this psalm, God provides us with an awesome way to connect with Him in our sorrows, and to find His strength and peace in that place.

In this psalm, God doesn’t tell us our sorrows will completely disappear. But He shows us that He will be present with us in that place, and bring us HIS peace.

Jesus Is with Us in Our Pain

To show us that He truly understands the pain in our hearts, Jesus prayed Psalm 22 from the cross.

Here is the first verse of Psalm 22:

“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from helping me, from the words of my groaning?” (NRSV)

And here are Jesus’ words from Matthew 27:46:

“And about three o’clock Jesus cried with a loud voice, ‘Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?’ that is, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’”

In His most difficult hour, when God the Father Himself had to turn away from Jesus (because Jesus had taken on all of our sin), Jesus began to pray Psalm 22. 

In praying this psalm, Jesus gives us a model for how to pray during times of sorrow. He also shows us that He is with us in our pain.

Psalm 22 Helps Us Pray in Pain

How does Psalm 22 guide us in prayer? The psalmist begins with a lament, an expression of his sorrow. From the very start, he makes it clear he is telling all of this to God – all of his pain, all of his sorrow. Out loud. To God.

In verses 1-21, the psalmist offers three laments, and they get progressively worse! He gets to the point where he feels like he is at death’s door (verse 15). And honestly, some of the other stuff sounds worse than that.

But in between these laments, something interesting happens. The psalmist remembers about God’s faithfulness. He turns to the truth He knows about God.

The Struggle in the Heart – It’s Real

That doesn’t mean the psalmist feels that truth in his heart. His heart is hurting. He knows what the truth is, but he doesn’t feel it yet. There is a battle going on in his heart. His pain and his sorrowful experiences are very real. But he also remembers that God is good.

It’s in the midst of that struggle within the heart where God does His best work.

So the psalm goes like this:

Lament (verses 1-2) – the psalmist feels abandoned by God.

Truth (verses 3-5) – the psalmist remembers God’s faithfulness in times past.

Lament (verses 6-8) – the psalmist feels scorned.

Truth (verses 9-11) – the psalmist remembers God has always been with him.

Lament (verses 12-18) – the psalmist is at death’s door (and worse).

Truth (verses 19-21) – the psalmist is confident God can deliver him.

Heart Change – God’s Peace Is Here

Notice that the truth doesn’t take away his reality or his sorrow. But it does bring peace to his heart, the peace of knowing God is present. How can we tell? Verse 22 says it all: a change of heart, where the psalmist begins to praise God in the midst of suffering. This praise grows with great intensity to the end of the psalm.

He doesn’t praise because he “has” to (although that would be okay). He praises because God has brought him peace in the midst of his very real suffering. The psalmist knows God hears his pain. He says this in verse 24. And not just his own pain, but also the pain of everyone who is suffering.

There is a lot of peace and comfort that comes from knowing that someone else is present with us in pain and really hears our heart. We need this from each other. Most importantly, we need this from God.

Sorrow and Truth – We Need Both

The beauty of this psalm, as a prayer, is the movement between lament (expression of our sorrow) and truth. Often when we pray in times of pain and sorrow, we end up with one or the other, but not both.

We need both.

We can lament and lament until there is nothing left of us. But if we haven’t taken the next step to pray for God’s truth in our situation, we end up consumed with lament, and no peace (just like the psalmist at the end of verse 2 – unable to find rest).

On the other hand, sometimes we rush too quickly to speak the truth. And we overlook the pain in our hearts.

Sometimes we do this because we are afraid of giving words to our sorrow or struggle – afraid that once we start crying out in pain, we will never stop.

We might also avoid the pain because people around us might get uncomfortable with our expressions of grief and sorrow. Society (even in the church) doesn’t really like “lament,” and we rarely feel like we have permission to grieve. We’re supposed to just “get over it” and move on. “It’s under the blood” – we hear that so often, meaning that whatever we are struggling with, God’s already taken care of it, in some way or another.

But when we say things like that, we risk applying truth like a band-aid without draining the wound.

It’s important that we do both: That we lament, expressing our sorrows out loud to God; and that once we have completely poured out all the pain that’s stuffed in our hearts, we then remember God’s truth.

Psalm 22 teaches us beautifully how to pray both, back and forth, until God’s peace comes into our hearts. The situation may not change. But we have His peace. We can take the next step forward in our daily life, even in the midst of painful things.

Again and Again, until Our Hearts Know God Is Here

What I also love about this psalm is how very real the psalmist is. He doesn’t just stop at verse 5. He laments again. And again! Until he is done. Really done.

Only then does he turn to praise.

When you read verses 22-31, you can tell that God’s peace has come into his heart in that place of deepest sorrow. There is nothing quite like the tearful and heartfelt praise of someone who has just cried out all of her pain to God.

Jesus Prayed This for You

If you are in pain or sorrow of any kind right now, I encourage you to read and pray through Psalm 22. Remember that Jesus Himself also prayed this psalm at His worst hour. He prayed it while carrying all of your pain and sorrow in His own body, mind, and heart. So in a way, He has already prayed this psalm for you.

When you join Him now in praying Psalm 22, He will meet you there and will bring His peace to your heart, as only He can.

That doesn’t mean your pain or sorrow will lift completely, or that your circumstances will change overnight, especially if you have experienced and are grieving a loss. But it does mean that you will have the strength and comfort of Jesus’ presence with you in that place.

You will be able to experience His peace, which is a peace like no other. It’s the peace that helps you take the next breath and keep going.

It’s also the peace that reassures you, deep in your heart, that God is here, and that He loves you from a deep well of love that’s almost beyond imagining.

Thank God for Everyday Miracle Healings

Bible Verse

“For it was you who formed my inward parts;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
that I know very well.” – Psalm 139:13-14 (NRSV)

Reflection

Recently in a class on healing prayer, I was introduced to a new understanding of “miracle healing.” I’ve always believed God heals in many ways, including through medical science. At one point in my life, God used surgery to heal me because it was the only way to get me past my lifelong fear of doctors. (I’ve written about this in my book, I Choose Life, available on Amazon.)

But until I took that class, I had never understood that medical healing is also considered “miracle healing.” Even the body’s natural ability to heal itself, after a cut, bruise, or burn, is a miracle healing. Why? Because God created our bodies. We are fearfully and wonderfully made.

Today I was reminded of an example from my own life. I was editing a book for a retired sports physiologist, based on his writings from the 70s. He was talking about the dangers of heat stroke, and my mind went immediately back to the mid-70s, growing up in Miami, Florida.

I was about eight years old taking baton-twirling classes. We had an all-day outdoor baton clinic to attend on a broiling June day. My mom had dropped me off and I waited with the other kids outside a large gymnasium. We waited, and we waited. Turned out no one had the keys. This was in the days before cell phones. It was also in the days before lawsuits for putting children into dangerous recreational situations.

The clinic director made the decision to hold the clinic outside. All we had for hydration was a small cooler of water. We practiced baton twirling and marching outside for six hours in the summer Miami heat, with two mini cups of water per child.

By the time my mom picked me up, I was not well. I felt like my insides were broiling. My mom didn’t know what to do, but she felt led to stop at a convenient store and get me a Coke. When we got home, the sprinklers were on in the yard. I told her I wanted to lie on top of one of the sprinklers. That was all I could think to do. I felt too sick to sit up but I just knew I needed cold water on my body.

An hour later, my mom helped me walk across the street to our neighbor’s swimming pool and I just sat on the steps, letting the water wash over me. She kept asking if I could drink anything, and I said no. Fortunately, she didn’t force me. I know God was leading both of us.

My parents were planning to visit another neighbor for dinner that night. They had thought about canceling, but I said I felt strong enough to go along, even though I couldn’t eat. They tucked me into our neighbor’s guest bed while they had dinner, and I slept for a long time.

Finally, my mom woke me and held a plate with a little food. Miraculously, I felt able to eat. And I had the feeling you get when you know you’ve turned a corner in getting through an illness. I had enough strength to walk out to the living room and visit our neighbor for a little bit. Then my parents took me home to sleep. By the next morning, I was completely fine.

Those who live in hot climates or have experience with outdoor athletic activities will recognize that I had heat stroke. It actually could have killed me. And if my mom had forced liquids inside of me, that would have made it worse. For heat stroke, the outside of the body has to be cooled with water first. How did we figure out what to do? We didn’t have internet research back then. I listened to my body and my mom listened to God.

It was a miracle healing because our bodies are fearfully and wonderfully made.

Prayer

God, thank You for helping us recognize everyday miracles of healing through our amazing bodies. Remind us, the next time we watch a cut heal, that we are experiencing Your miracle of healing. Thank You for being with us during our times of sickness and injury. In Jesus’ name. Amen

Thought for the Day

What miracle healing have you experienced recently? Take some time to pray and thank God for your healing.

What Are Prayer Cloths?

Prayer cloths are a wonderful way to share healing prayers with your loved ones.

A prayer cloth is a tiny piece of fabric that you pray over, and then you give it to someone in need of healing. They can carry it with them in their pocket. It is a constant comfort and reminder to them that Jesus is their Healer.

The prayer cloth also carries your healing prayers. The Bible teaches us that the healing anointing of the Holy Spirit has a tangible presence: Acts 10:38, Luke 8:46, Acts 19:11-12, Acts 5:15-16. When I hold a prayer cloth in my hands, I can feel that healing anointing.

I even took a prayer cloth into surgery with me. The prep nurse taped it to my skin. Everyone in my church had prayed over it the previous Sunday, passing it from one person to the next for prayer. So I wanted it with me in the operating room.

Our prayer team at Healing Rooms of Dahlonega prays over prayer cloths for people. Sometimes we know the prayer need ahead of time, and we pray over the cloth together for that person. If the person comes in for prayer, we ask that person to hold the cloth while we pray.

At other times, we pray together over cloths, to get them ready for future needs. We let the Lord lead our prayers. We keep those cloths ready for the next person who needs one. When we give those cloths to people, we know God already knew who that person would be and He has already prepared the cloth for that person.

Many people have told us these prayer cloths give them comfort. Often the prayer cloths help the recipient to discover Jesus in a new way, as their Healer.

Prayer cloths are simple to make. They are small (for ease of the person carrying the cloth) and don’t need to be fancy. I go to the dollar store and buy a small pack of pillow cases. I cut heart shapes out of the fabric. We anoint them with oil and pray over them as a team, with each person holding the cloth as we pray. For children, you can even make animal-shaped prayer cloths.

Have you ever received a prayer cloth, or prayed over one and sent it to someone? Tell us about it in the comments. Your words will encourage others.

God Knows How to Heal You

Scripture Verse

“For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well.” – Psalm 139:13-14
(NKJV)

Reflection

Psalm 139 is a powerful prayer for healing. Many times in the Healing Rooms, our team speaks this Psalm over a visitor who has come for healing prayer.

When we pray this Psalm, we are reminding the person, down to the very cells of her body, that she is fearfully and wonderfully made by God.

God created you. He planned you. He formed you. He delights in you.

He knows the ins and outs of your physical body, and He knows how to heal you.

In praying Psalm 139, we often say, “Lord, please remind each cell of her body that You created her, that every cell of her body belongs to You. Lord, we ask that her body line up with Your Word, and be restored
to exactly the way You created her to be. In Jesus’ name.”

We believe that prayer not only speaks God’s healing over the person, but also exhorts the cells of the person’s body to receive His healing.

Prayer

Lord, use this moment, right now, to speak Your healing over each one of us. Speak to the very cells of our being, and help us to shake off infirmity and line up with Your Word, with the way You created us to be. In Jesus’ name. Amen

Thought for the Day

Take a moment to pray Psalm 139 over yourself. Sit quietly with God as He heals you, and let your body respond to His healing. If it’s difficult for you to pray this over yourself, ask a friend to pray this psalm over you.

Freedom for Blessings

Scripture Verse

“And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, because you obey the voice of the LORD your God: ‘Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the country. Blessed shall be the fruit of your body, the produce of your ground and the increase of your herds, the increase of your cattle and the offspring of your flocks. Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl. Blessed shall you be when you come in, and blessed shall you be when you go out.’” – Deuteronomy 28:2-6 (NKJV)

Reflection

This passage of scripture is just the beginning of a list of blessings the Lord promises His people for their obedience. This is the Old Testament, but the promises are not moot. The promises are fulfilled by Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

Where we don’t see these blessings in our lives, including our health, something is blocking them. It may be generational iniquity, a curse in the land, or sin in our heart.

In whatever ways our blessings are blocked, our Lord Jesus Christ stands in for us to release these blessings. All He asks is that we surrender to Him. Surrender our hearts fully to Him. Stand in repentance for our personal sin, for our family’s generational sin, and for cleansing of our land.

God wants us to be blessed, more than we can possibly imagine or expect. Where our blessings are blocked, He is ready and willing to show us how to find freedom, wholeness, and healing in Christ. All we have to do is ask, and be ready to surrender our whole hearts in repentance and obedience to Him.

Prayer

Lord, thank You for the promises of Your blessings that are fulfilled through Christ Jesus, our Lord and Savior. Show us today where we have blocked Your blessings, through our own sin, or through generational iniquity. Show us the path to freedom in Christ Jesus, in every area of our hearts and generational lines. In Jesus’ name. Amen

Thought for the Day

Ask God to show you what sins in your life or in your family’s lineage are blocking the blessings He has promised you.

Do You Believe God Heals?

Scripture Verse

“Then He took the child by the hand, and said to her, ‘Talitha, cumi,’ which is translated, ‘Little girl, I say to you, arise.’ Immediately the girl arose and walked, for she was twelve years of age. And they were overcome with great amazement.” – Mark 5:41-42 (NKJV)

Reflection

The Lord has given me several dreams about healing. One I am unlikely to forget.

In the dream, I was in a hospital room where a teenager lay in a coma. Her friends came to pray for her, and the Lord reminded them to pray in faith, as Jesus did for the little girl in the scripture.

As the girls prayed, their friend woke from her coma and sat up. An instant later, as her friends stared in disbelief, she jumped from the bed and said, “Let’s eat.” As she bounced through the doorway into the hall, she turned and said, “Aren’t you coming?”

Slowly her bewildered friends got up to join her.

When I woke from this dream, the Lord reminded me that we need to believe in what we’re praying. We shouldn’t be surprised when He heals. Awestruck, yes. Humbled and grateful, absolutely. But surprised? No. God is our Healer. We need to pray in the faith that He will heal us, and thank Him in awestruck wonder and gratitude when He does.

Prayer

Lord, we believe. Help our unbelief! Thank You for teaching us to pray in faith of what You will do as our Healer. Help us to rejoice in gratitude when the healing takes place. In Jesus’ name. Amen

Thought for the Day

Do you believe God heals?

A Vibrant Spirit

Scripture Verse

“A merry heart does good, like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones.” – Proverbs 17:22 (NKJV)

Reflection

Have you ever gone to visit someone who was physically ill, but you came away feeling joyful because that person’s spirit was joyful?

When we have good health and vibrant life in our spirit, we radiate joy despite our physical suffering. Folks who come into our presence will feel that joy. They will leave feeling uplifted, rather than down. When our spirit is lively, often we recover more quickly from our physical ailments as well.

Yet if our spirit is not healthy, if our heart is despondent, folks will feel sad and hurting in our presence. Our physical recovery will be slower.

I will never forget the honor of praying for a young lady suffering from brain cancer. Her family surrounded her during the prayer time, and I felt that the heavens were open. I felt the Spirit of the Lord, and His joy, radiating from her. I was lifted to a better place for having prayed over her.

Shortly after that she did pass away. I was saddened for her family, as they grieved the loss of their precious loved one. But to this day, I remember the joy she shared so unsparingly with all of us. Despite her illness, and the suffering I know she experienced, her spirit was alive and well … and is to this day.

Prayer

Lord, thank You for the gift of our spirit. Despite our physical suffering, we can experience life and joy to the fullest, by Your Holy Spirit in us. Help us to stay healthy in our spirit life, so we may thrive and be a blessing to others. In Jesus’ name. Amen

Thought for the Day

Can you remember a time when someone blessed you by the life and joy they carried in their spirit? Ask God to help you live from that deep well of spiritual joy.

Unfiltered, Unwashed, Unplugged

Scripture Verse

“Hear my prayer, O LORD, and let my cry come to You. Do not hide Your face from me in the day of my trouble; incline Your ear to me; in the day that I call, answer me speedily.” – Psalm 102:1-2 (NKJV)

Reflection

Healing begins with a heart cry. Many of the Psalms are written this way, as God models the heart cry for us. The Psalmist cries out from the most broken place of his heart. As we continue to read deeper into the psalm, we see where the Holy Spirit comes in and meets the psalmist in his despair. That’s where healing begins: when we invite God into the most broken places of our heart.

Too often folks believe they need to prepare their hearts themselves before inviting God in for healing. That’s a way of saying, “Let me heal myself first, God, to the best of my ability, and then I’ll let You in to help.”

Don’t wait. Invite Him now. If you are hurting in your heart, or need healing in your body, or in any part of your life, put down the box of Band-aids and Merthiolate. Just invite God into your place of pain. Let Him do the rest.

Prayer

Lord, forgive us that we try to heal ourselves. We cannot. You are our Healer. Keep us mindful of Your overwhelming love for us. Prompt us to invite You into all the places where we are hurting – heart, mind, body, spirit. Help us to cry out to You from the depths of our heart. Thank You that You hear our heart cries. In Jesus’ name. Amen

Thought for the Day

Take a moment now and just share your heart with God. Unfiltered, unwashed, unplugged.

Little Toes and Healing Prayer

I broke my toe last week. Owie! It’s not the first time. I’ve broken my little toe twice before, once on my left foot, once on my right. The first time I was living and teaching in Siberia (Russia) and on the road with a group of college students to a conference in Ukraine in the middle of winter when the break happened. Memorable!

I don’t remember the circumstances of the second time, which tells me it was wrapped up in trauma. But I do know I broke my little toe again.

Back then I didn’t know the power of prayer. I prayed often, feeling other people’s pain, silently begging God to help them, or weeping for them. I didn’t know back then I was a burden bearer; didn’t know what that meant, what it looked like, or what to do with it. I just knew I felt something that I later understood was God’s heart.

But I sure didn’t know about healing prayer, or praying for trauma, injuries, accidents, illnesses. I didn’t know I could stop right in the middle of breaking my toe and ask God to heal it, or what that looked like.

I know that now. And what a difference. The first time I broke my toe, it was quite painful and took a long while to heal. Long, long while, limping around through the Russian winter, unable to wear a winter boot, settling for layers of socks and a flip flop. Wow.

Yet today, a week after I broke the next to littlest toe on my left foot, it is healing fast and well. It feels amazing. I’m still going to exercise wisdom and not put too much pressure on it for a bit. No jogging just yet. I believe God gives us wisdom, and wisdom tells me to let the poor thing rest. But it is healing so much better than the first time.

The only significant difference is prayer. Last time, I didn’t pray. This time, I prayed from the moment I smashed my toe, and continued to pray all through the weekend. I asked others to pray, and when I arrived the next evening for Healing Rooms, the team prayed and anointed my toe with oil.

Prayer makes the difference. The only other difference between then and now is age, and being more physically out of shape. If anything, those two should work against me! But here my toe is, feeling so much better because of God’s healing, and inviting that healing through prayer. Prayer is an invitation for God to do what He already wants to do for us – heal us. He is healing my toe. Thank You, God!

I included the painting above that I did last year. Yes, this is a painting of my feet! It seems a good reminder of how much God wants to heal us, right down to the littlest toe.

Is there any injury or infirmity you’re carrying around that you haven’t asked God to heal? Why don’t you pray and ask Him today to heal you? Would you like our Healing Rooms team to pray for you? Let us know! We would love to pray.