Can prayers heal?
If we believe, we will be healed
The Rev. Paul Gray, senior pastor, Heartland Community Church, 619 Vt., and chief spiritual officer of the Leo Center, Suite 100, 1 Riverfront Plaza:
No, prayer doesn't heal -- but God does.
There's nothing magic in recanting rote words or even fervently asking the God of the universe to heal. But our all-powerful God is capable of healing, and when he chooses to, he does.
No matter how much faith we have or how often we pray, there's no guarantee that God will choose to heal someone -- that's up to him -- but our prayers are part of God's healing process.
Sometimes it seems as if he waits for our prayers before he heals, just to allow us to experience part of a blessing ourselves.
Five years ago today, Dennis Sale, a doctor of osteopathy, and Pat Mayo, a registered nurse, started the Heartland Medical Clinic in Lawrence to provide health care to those in need, in Christ's name.
While Dennis and Pat (and the host of additional volunteers and staff who have subsequently joined them) frequently pray with our patients and pray for their healing, they still use their medical skills to bring about "human" healing.
At the medical clinic, we have the privilege of partnering with God not only in physical healing, but more importantly in the spiritual healing that Jesus announced in Luke 4:19 -- "The spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor."
The one guarantee Jesus does promise regarding healing is that when we believe in his good news, we will ultimately be completely healed in every area of our life -- in heaven with him.
Send e-mail to the Rev. Paul Gray at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The healer is more important
The Rev. Bill Hurlbutt, senior pastor, Christ Community Church, 1100 Kasold Drive:
Haddon Robinson, one of today's most respected Christian writers, relays the following story:
"I used to play a game with my two children when they were young. I would clutch some pennies in my hand and allow them to pry open my fingers to get the coins.
"My children would sit on my lap and work feverishly to get the money. Once they captured the coins, they would scream with delight and jump down to treasure their prize. I loved having my youngsters laugh and play while sitting on my lap. The pennies were insignificant."
The truth is when we do pray, we often concentrate on the pennies we seek from God rather than the person of God himself. We may pray fervently for healing, when the healer is who we should be interested in. If we are only after what is in the hand of God, we will miss the most important aspect of prayer, the One with the hand.
While God in his grace may heal his children when they seek it from him, the truth is he offers us more than that. He offers us himself. Those who are satisfied with pennies from heaven will ultimately miss the best reward of prayer: the reward of enjoying a personal relationship with the God of the universe.
God wants us for himself. He desires a relationship with us so intensely he sent his son Jesus into this world to die to make it a possibility. God wants you to know him.
Send e-mail to the Rev. Bill Hurlbutt at email@example.com.