Don’t pray for him to endure

I met a man recently who was troubled by a chronic medical problem. The doctors have given him medications, but the side effects were bad enough that they told him to stop taking them.

He told me about attending a church where people came up to him and said they would pray for him to have endurance in the midst of his trials.

He said to me, “I told them, I don’t want prayers for endurance. I want prayers to get rid of the thing itself.”

I thought that this was the kind of faith that Jesus often met with the words, “Your faith has healed you.”

8 thoughts on “Don’t pray for him to endure

  1. Not knowing anything about the man you have written of, I would like to comment on this post as this man and situation being only hypothetical in my thoughts and response.

    From what you have written, I would say this man is looking for anyone to heal him. It has nothing to do at all with faith. He went to the doctors wanting the illness removed, not a prescription that would simply aid him in daily living and function while having the illness. Likewise, when at church…..he did not want prayers for endurance, he wanted prayers to get rid of the illness.

    As you know, John…..a conversation on faith and healing could fill pages, so I would like to just share a few of my own observations I have found in scripture.

    We read that Jesus was deeply hurt one day when the father of an epileptic demoniac said, “‘IF YOU CAN do anything, have pity on us and help us.’ ‘If you can?’ retorted Jesus. ‘Everything is possible to anyone who has faith.’ Immediately the father of the boy cried out, ‘I do have faith. Help the little faith I have!'” (Mk. 9:23)

    However, have you ever noticed just how different was the cry of the leper as he shouted, “‘Sir, IF YOU WANT to, you can heal me.’ Jesus stretched out His hand and said, ‘Of course I want to! Be cured!'” (Matt. 8:1)

    There is a huge difference between these two men. This was that one wondered if Jesus could heal and the other wondered if Jesus would heal. The one who was the father of the demoniac was looking for ANYONE to heal his son. He tried the Apostles, but to no avail. To this man, Jesus was merely another possibility. The man had no belief that before him stood the Son of God. No wonder Jesus said, “You faithless generation… how much longer must I put up with you.” (Mark 9:19)

    Now look at the leper. He believed Jesus was the Son of God, but his HUMILITY made him only request that he be healed. Now notice this….the one with little faith demanded a healing, while the leper, who really believed Jesus was divine, HUMBLY asked and waited. Faith gave the leper the awareness that humility was in order. We read in scripture that the leper “bowed low in front of Jesus” as he made his request.

    Might this act of humility be the spirit Jesus desires before His power reaches out and touches those in need. Might the evidence of a deeper faith be made manifest by a deeper humility?

    What about the centurion? He asked Jesus to heal his servant in this manner….. “Sir, I am not worthy to have you under my roof. Just give the word and my servant shall be cured.” (Matt. 8:8) No wonder Jesus said, “I tell you solemnly, nowhere in Israel have I found faith like this.” This beautiful act of trust and self-abandonment on the part of the centurion touched the Heart of Jesus. This man believed Jesus was the Son of God, one so powerful that an act of His Will could accomplish the miraculous. The man humbly waited, “Just give the word,” he said and all would be well.

    What about the Canaanite woman? She shouted after Jesus to the dismay of His Apostles, pleading for the deliverance of her possessed daughter. At first Jesus “answered her not a word” and He reminded His Apostles that He was sent only to the House of Israel. The woman, however, was undaunted. She knelt at His feet in an attitude of humble supplication. “‘lord,’ she said, ‘help me.’ He replied, ‘It is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the house-dogs.'” By this time any proud person would have walked away, angry and insulted…..but not this pagan. She merely accepted her lowly position and answered, “Ah, yes, sir: but even the house-dogs can eat the scraps that fall from their master’s table.” Then Jesus answered her. “Woman, you have great faith. Let your wish be granted.” (Matt. 15:21-28)

    Amazingly…….two pagans were able to display a humble submission to the Will and Power of Jesus whom they believed to be Divine. In both cases, Jesus held them up as examples of FAITH. Their need and helplessness no longer permitted them to rely upon their own strength as they humbly waited for His power to make their loved ones whole. Neither one had asked anything for himself, only for others.

    What sometimes goes unnoticed is that the miracles Jesus worked were not so much acts of mercy as signs of His Sonship. They were directed towards increasing the faith of both recipient and onlooker. They were symbolic of the messianic age, the coming of the kingdom and the power of the Spirit. When these ends were not accomplished, Jesus worked no miracles.

    We must realize that Faith asks humbly…… waits….. and then accepts the results without hesitation, without doubts. Faith Is the asking, because we acknowledge by our request that Jesus is Lord. However, Hope gives us the assurance that whatever answer we receive… it yes or no…..that reply is in our best interest. It is here that Love accepts with joy whatever God’s Will requires of us.

    What was your prayer for this man, John?

    1. Great thoughts and insight, Duane. His response, which I did not describe well, was to what he sensed was an anemic imagination about what was possible with God. He heard in the prayer offer a lack of belief that healing prayer might be affirmed by God. He was certainly ready to bear up under whatever God saw fit, but he wanted to find someone who would offer posts for healing, not only endurance.

  2. I can only speak from my own experiences so the following is not in any way a judgement towards anyone, unless conviction finds a heart with whomever might read this.

    In this situation, to offer to speak a prayer for endurance is much easier, and much safer than to offer up a prayer for divine healing. To offer to pray for endurance still validates one’s image of being a caring believer without having to stand face to face with God and their own faith. I believe there is a fear that dwells in the hearts of many in the church today. This fear keeps them from praying for healing for this man. I’m not so sure it is a fear or disbelief that God CAN heal this man….but rather a fear that He might not heal this man. And, if He does not….many seem to think that would be a blemish against their personal image of being a believer.

    Beyond this…..praying for another…..and I mean genuine prayer for another… eliminates the ability to hide behind pretense and ….well….lies. Praying for another….effective praying for another…..requires genuine faith that goes beyond words we speak, and a genuine love for the other. Not some flowery “churchy correct” declaration of love….but actual selfless love for another. We would be astonished….I believe….to know just how many times the words, “I’ll pray for you”, have come out of the mouths of “believers in Christ” when in reality not one single moment of prayer was ever given.

    I wonder if what this man experienced and saw was a symptom of a chronic condition within the church? A condition that is killing our faith….our belief…..our prayers…..our lives. The condition of being without true Christ-like love…..a condition that found its way into the church because indeed we have forgotten our first love. A condition that ushers in death by completely hardening the heart.

  3. I put myself in your hands Lord.
    That is faith.

    When you get into this healing thing some place the burden on ones faith. THeir faith becomes the determining factor of who is and is not healed and that is wrong.
    It leads persons to believe because their faith was not strong enough the one they prayed for was not healed.
    I once met a devout UMC woman who was tortured over the fact her granddaughter was not healed and died.
    She could not understand why her prayers where not heard.
    She questioned her faith.
    She questioned her God.
    She got shaky.

    The woman picking up the crumbs under the table who Christ refers to as a “dog” was a lesson to the apostles how not to act and what not to do. Just because the culture of the day would classify her as a dog does not mean that she was. Christ reacted as was customary and then turned the tables around.

    The woman with an issue of blood that grabbed at the hem of the garment Jesus wore did so because it was commonly believed from OT teaching the hem of the priest held power. Jesus was the “High Priest” distinct from ordinary priests. He would wear the garment of the kohen gadol.
    Ex 28:2 “sacred garments”

    1. I’m sincerely troubled that you would feel the need to identify this woman as being a devout UMC woman, and not simply a woman who suffered the common experience of deep deep grief over losing a loved one. That may be a motive worth examining before God.

      To speak against praying for divine healing because of a fear that it would weaken ones faith is limiting God and the growing believer. Our faith is demonstrated by our asking. God is the healer….an individual’s faith is not the healer. If faith were the healer then we would glorify faith when a healing prayer was offered up….and only God is to be glorified.

      Personally….I respectively would have to disagree with your conclusions of both the Canaanite woman and the woman with the issue of blood. The apostles learned what faith is in the eyes of God….as is the lesson we should also learn from these scriptures. And to think that anything other than faith was revealed by the woman with the issue of blood is to blur and distract from yet another lesson of faith and persistent prayer. I can personally not accept that those words were recorded for us so that we would give any distinction at all to the hem of a robe…as if any significance whatsoever should be given to a garment as the driving force behind her desperate belief and faith that this man Christ Jesus could heal her.

      Ex. 28:2…. “Make sacred garments for your brother Aaron to give him dignity and honor.”

      Its a bit of a stretch to think this verse implies there was an old teaching from the OT that made way for a common belief that there was power in any hem of a robe.

      1. Mr. Warren

        I am sorry I had to rush with my response. Hopefully this will help to answer why I wrote what I did. It is my sincere hope that by sharing we come to a better understanding of what is written. You share with me and I learn something. I share with you and you learn something.

        And suddenly, a woman who had a flow of blood for twelve years came from behind and touched the hem of His garment.  For she said to herself, “If only I may touch His garment, I shall be made well.” Matthew 9:19-21

        The first question that comes to mind is,” Why the garment? Why not reach for the man?”
        Look up lashon-hara and bells on the priestly garment and then you will understand.
        Leviticus Rabbah 10:6.
        The garment was believed to hold the power of atonement.

        When we read Luke 8: 44-46 we understand that power of atonement is from God not a garment and we better understand the, “Who touched me” question Jesus asked.
        Knowing the above enhances our understanding and eliminates a lot of criticism of scripture by those that do not understand the what, whys for’s(?) and foundations of what they are reading. I would say that includes all Bible readers to some extent.

        One of many references that support the above.
        This one of the clearest I could find on line.

  4. The garment was believed to hold the power. The gament was made sacred. In Gods wisdom had the man who wore the garment held the power the priest would have been seen as God. The only High Priest who could claim that authority was Christ. Go back and read the text.

    I did not say we should not pray.

    I implied be carefull what you teach so others understand.

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