Day Five: Pray

James 5:13-15(NIV) – Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven.

This verse makes the bold claim that if we pray in faith, God will heal the person for whom we pray. The verbal roots for “sick” and “raise up” can be used for both physical and spiritual afflictions and their cures, but in the context of anointing most likely refer at least primarily to physical illnesses. “Raising up” thus refers to their getting out of bed after they are well again. The promise of healing for the sick offers a much needed corrective for those of us who have trouble praying boldly, for we fear or even assume that God will not do what we ask of him. Instead, we ought to pray boldly, believing that he is a God of power and love and that he listens to the prayers of his people. A necessary caveat, however, requires us to remember that he chooses how and when he heals, as Paul lays out clearly in 2 Corinthians 12:8-10, and that complete healing never occurs in this life. In fact, every other time James uses “save”, it refers to spiritual salvation. While this passage most likely refers to physical healing, we must remember that ultimately God is more interested in eternal, spiritual life than temporal, physical health. Somewhere in our prayers we must find a balance between never expecting God to heal and requiring him to heal on demand. [Blomberg, Craig L.. James (Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on The New Testament series Book 16) (Kindle Locations 7010-7022). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.]

We pray because He is our Father in Heaven who cares about our needs and concerns. He knows our needs so well, better than us and He listens to our prayers. Let’s go to our Father God with all of our needs with hearts trusting in His good and perfect love for us.


Day Four: Paralyzed No More

Mark 2:1-5, 10-12 (NIV) – A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard that he had come home. They gathered in such large numbers that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and he preached the word to them. Some men came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the man, “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!”

Sometimes whole nations and governments engage in childish, but deadly, tit-for-tat retaliations. People who live that way tend to think that God lives that way too. We shouldn’t be surprised, then, that Jesus’ unexpected declaration of forgiveness sent shock waves running through the house, the village, the nation, and finally through the world. It wasn’t simply that he was committing a theological crime. The hole in his own roof was nothing compared with the hole he was tearing through an entire way of life.

We have to find ways of bringing healing and forgiveness to our communities. Forgiveness can also, of course, change individuals. It can, as in this case, go down to the hidden roots of the personality, gently healing old, long-buried, hurts. Often people think healing and forgiveness is impossible. They find God distant or uncaring. But true faith won’t be satisfied with that. This story is a picture of prayer. Don’t stay on the edge of the crowd. Dig through God’s roof and find yourself in his presence. You will get more than you bargained for. It’s not pleasant if you’re helpless on a stretcher, but you don’t have many responsibilities. Once you’ve met the living, forgiving God in Jesus, you’ll find yourself on your feet, going out into the world in the power of God’s love. [Wright, N. T.. Mark for Everyone (The New Testament for Everyone)(Kindle Locations 507-523)]

God sees through our deepest need to be forgiven. What paralyzes us in our lives? Jesus came to set us free. Let His Words break through today.


Day Three: He Called Her Daughter

Mark 5:25-28, 34 (NIV) – “And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse. When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering. He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”

For twelve years she had been ceremonially unclean, unable to worship in the temple, to some degree a social outcast, but not to the extent of those with serious skin diseases. She had heard of the power of Jesus and was among those who placed great hope in just touching Jesus and being healed (Mark 6:56). Imagine her joy as she reached out and touched His garment and experienced the healing for which she had prayed and hoped for twelve years! Jesus, sensing that “power had gone out of Him” asked the question, “Who touched My clothes?” With fear and trembling, the woman brought her admission to Him and then heard His gracious words, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace, and be healed of your affliction.” I’ve often wondered what it was that Jesus felt when the woman touched Him. I suspect that it wasn’t the loss of power in whatever effected the healing but the loss in being touched by her uncleanness. I like to think of Him as absorbing her sickness and uncleanness, for it seems to me that’s what is meant when we say that He took the sins of the world upon Himself. To touch Him is to be relieved of one’s sins and to be restored to wholeness.  [Briscoe, Stuart. The Preacher’s Commentary Series, Volumes 1-35: Genesis – Revelation: Genesis – Revelation (Kindle Locations 18495-18503). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.]

This woman was tenderly restored to a whole life. Jesus called her daughter. He declares peace and healing from her afflictions not only physically but spiritually. She is known by God. Once we also lived a life apart from His presence, afflicted by our sins but in Christ, we can live in peace. How can we not worship and love Him? Spend time worshipping the Lord today.


Day Two: Healed to be Holy

John 5:5-9,14 (NLT) – “One of the men lying there had been sick for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him and knew he had been ill for a long time, he asked him, “Would you like to get well?”

“I can’t, sir,” the sick man said, “for I have no one to put me into the pool when the water bubbles up. Someone else always gets there ahead of me.”

Jesus told him, “Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk!” Instantly, the man was healed! He rolled up his sleeping mat and began walking! But this miracle happened on the Sabbath, so the Jewish leaders objected. They said to the man who was cured, “You can’t work on the Sabbath! The law doesn’t allow you to carry that sleeping mat!” But he replied, “The man who healed me told me, ‘Pick up your mat and walk.’” “Who said such a thing as that?” they demanded.

The man didn’t know, for Jesus had disappeared into the crowd. But afterward Jesus found him in the Temple and told him, “Now you are well; so stop sinning, or something even worse may happen to you.”

“I Have Healed You to Make You Holy”

Notice two things. At the end of verse 13, the reason Jesus walked away from the man was that there was a crowd there: “Jesus had withdrawn, as there was a crowd in the place.” The place was filled with sick people and, no doubt those who cared for them. Had he stayed there after healing one man there would have been a tumult of miracle-seeking. This is not the main thing Jesus is after.

So notice secondly how this is confirmed in verse 14. Jesus seeks out the man in the temple and tells him the real issue in his healing. “Afterward Jesus found him in the temple and said to him, ‘See, you are well! Sin no more, that nothing worse may happen to you.’” What’s the issue? The issue is holiness mainly, not health. “I have healed you to make you holy.” Do you see this? “Sin no more. Stop sinning. My aim in healing your body is the healing of your soul. I have given you a gift. It’s free. It came first, before my command. You didn’t earn it. You weren’t good enough for it. I chose you freely. And I healed you. Now, live in this power. Let the gift of healing, the gift of my free grace, be a means to your holiness.” [John Piper. Desiring God, Healed for the Sake of Holiness]

God is after the whole of our lives. He longs for us to be whole spiritually, emotionally and physically. He came to make the wrongs right in our lives. Wholeness begins with being right with God. If there are areas in your life where you need to say “no more” to, do so today and fully embrace the wholeness God provides in Jesus Christ and in His forgiveness!


Day One: God, Our Healer

Psalm 103:1-5 (NLT)

Let all that I am praise the Lord;
with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name.
Let all that I am praise the Lord;
may I never forget the good things he does for me.
He forgives all my sins
and heals all my diseases.
He redeems me from death
and crowns me with love and tender mercies.
He fills my life with good things.
My youth is renewed like the eagle’s!

There is a crucial need for a return to the vision of the God revealed in and by Jesus Christ, the tender, loving and compassionate God who raises us up and makes us whole wherever we have been cast down by a world filled with evil-whether whether we have sinned and need forgiveness, or are sick and need physical healing. Even now the kingdom of God is among us, saving and healing and destroying the kingdom of evil. In short, the nature of God as manifested visibly in Jesus Christ is love. Jesus’ compassion impelled him to reach out whenever he saw a sick person, even when it was against his own best interests. (When he cured on the Sabbath, far from proving anything, it showed many of his contemporaries that he was not the Messiah.) Jesus’ healings are not merely “signs and wonders” outside the teachings, pointing to the truth of the gospel; they are part of the very gospel message itself! To deny this is, in effect, to deny the gospel to change it from good news into good advice which lacks the power to transform us into a new creation. In short, Jesus did not heal people to prove that he was God; he healed them because he was God.  [Francis MacNutt. Healing: Silver Anniversary Edition (Kindle Locations 1027-1032). Kindle Edition.]

Let’s worship God who is our healer! He is compassionate, forgives all of our sins and heals all of our diseases. He fills our lives with good things. Today, call upon Him! He is never far away.