Wednesday, June 8, 2016

First Things First

Last Sunday I made the point that there were three things I’ve learned about praying for healing: First, that we pray for people who are ill because we love them. It is simply a natural human reaction to hope (and pray) for someone’s well-being.  Secondly, prayer always results in change, it may not be the change that we expect or want, but it’s still changes things and it is the sort of change that might best be termed as transformation. Thirdly, all the healing stories in scripture seem more about justice than miracles. It’s not justice that is like revenge, but justice that is like mercy and mercy is born out of love. Restoration to health in scripture is often about inclusion and safety for those who are being healed or those who are related to them.

My point for this reminder is to say that these three things are not listed here accidentally or haphazardly. These three things are the result of three decades of study and practice in the art of prayer. I make no claim that this is all there is to know, or that I am right, just that this is what I think so far. So, it is no accident that I have listed the first thing as love. The chief motivator of our prayer is love. I said in the sermon that we pray for others because we love them, but that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t pray for ourselves. In fact, I would say that we should pray for ourselves. If God loves us, and I believe God does, then we are worthy of love. It’s okay to love yourself and it’s okay to pray for yourself. I doubt that my prayer has ever changed another person, but that’s not the point. My prayer changes me and may it be forever so!

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