I’m posting about what I believe is missing from our present Christian experience. In my last article we looked at Elijah’s encounter with the king. According to James, this is the basis of the prayer for divine healing.
Now Elijah the Tishbite, from Tishbe in Gilead, said to Ahab, “As the LORD, the God of Israel, lives, whom I serve, there will be neither dew nor rain in the next few years except at my word.”
I Kings 17:1
How does Elijah’s proclamation of no more rain relate to healing the sick? What does this have to do with what James calls, the prayer offered in faith?
The healing prayer of Jesus. How did Jesus “pray for” the sick? I was surprised to find that that the Lord operated the same way. He didn’t ask for God to heal, instead He spoke to the sick.
“Pick up your mat and walk.”
“Go show yourself to the priest.”
“Go rinse your eyes in the pool.”
Jesus prayed healing the same way that Elijah prayed for the rain to stop. I can’t find any instance where Jesus asked God to heal someone.
The prayer of the disciples. It was the same for the disciples. Remember how they prayed healing for the lame man at the temple gate in the book of Acts, chapter 3.
Peter said, “Silver and gold I don’t have. But what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus, walk!” When you think about it, they healed the sick in the same way that Elijah stopped the rain in Israel.
I’ll say it again; I’m not just espousing a new formula for praying. I’m not saying to just go out there and speak healing to the sick. There are plenty who have tried that without 100% success. Instead, I’m talking about the great assumption that’s present in all of these cases.
The missing ingredient. There’s something missing from our Christian experience. It’s the very thing that makes this kind of prayer work.
Think back to the prophet Elijah. What would cause him to speak in such a way to the king? Was he sitting at home reading the newspaper, and suddenly he decided to give the king a piece of his mind? Of course not! There is an assumed chain of events that led to his standoff with the king.
He was at home, in prayer, when suddenly he heard a Word from God. That’s the only explanation for the boldness he had before King Ahab. God spoke to him and said that the rain would stop when he delivered the message to the king.
This is the very example that James uses to illustrate the prayer of faith for healing. The assumption is, that to pray this kind of prayer, you must have heard from heaven. It’s based upon hearing a Word from God.
That, my brothers and sisters, is the missing ingredient in our generation. We’ve lost our ability to hear from God on a regular basis.
Once I realized this, I started to read the Bible through new eyes. I’ve come to see that hearing from God is the great assumption throughout the entirety of Scripture.
What the New Testament authors assumed, was that if you’re mature in Christ, then you’re hearing a Word from God regularly. This was the defining characteristic of Jesus’ ministry. In my next post I’ll show how Christ exemplified this.
Questions: Do you want to hear a Word from God? Do you believe this is what the church of this generation needs?
© 2016 Nicolas Zaccardi