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The Prayer of Faith for Healing

In my last post I talked about James’ view of divine healing in James 5:13-15. It’s clear that somewhere in that first few generations after Christ, something was lost. We’ve come a long way since then.

We’ve seen many men and women of God who were trusting God and speaking life yet died prematurely.

Now we seem to be resigned to the thought that when we pray over the sick, they’ll probably not be healed. Well, I for one am not content with the status quo. I want to see a new move of God in my lifetime. I believe that it’s here.

When I began to meditate on these verses, I started to ask things like; do I really know what it means to ‘pray over’ someone like James did? What did James mean by the prayer offered in faith? Did it sound even close to what we pray?

I know that we try to put faith into our prayers. We quote Scripture, hoping to get God to see our faith and move on our behalf. But is that what James is speaking about in his book?

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.
James 5:16

I read this passage and I realize that there’s something missing. I also believe that it’s the foundation of the next move of God – the restoration of power to His church. The key is recorded in this very passage we’re looking at. James goes on to illustrate the prayer of faith that he’s talking about.

Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.
James 5:17-18

In these verses, James uses the prophet Elijah as an example to us. He tells us that this is the same type of prayer that will bring healing to the sick. Let’s take a look at the Scripture concerning Elijah’s prayer.

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

James said that Elijah prayed and the rain stopped. This is the verse he was referring to. Have you ever prayed a prayer like this? Have you ever heard a prayer like this? As far as I can see, Elijah was talking to the king, not to God.

What was the prayer in this verse? We need to understand that not all prayers fit into the “dear God” category. In this encounter, even though Elijah was speaking to the king, he was invoking the name of the Lord over the situation. He was speaking in God’s place to the king.

How does this relate to healing the sick? Think about the ministry of Jesus. How did He pray for the sick? He worked the same way that we see the prayer of Elijah working. 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.”

It was the same for the disciples. Remember how they prayed healing for the lame man at the temple gate. Peter said, “Silver and gold I don’t have. But what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus, walk!” They healed the sick in the same way that Elijah stopped the rain in Israel.

Please understand that I’m not saying to just go out there and speak healing to the sick. There are plenty who’ve tried that without 100% success. Instead, I’m talking about the assumption that’s present in all of these cases. It’s the necessary ingredient without which all of these examples would fall apart.

Think back to the prophet Elijah. What would cause him to speak in such a way to the king?

There’s 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 healing prayer. 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.

I believe that the more time we spend in God’s presence, listening to His voice, the more healings and miracles will be seen in the church.

Question: What will it take for us to start hearing God’s voice again?

© Nick Zaccardi 2017

 
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Posted by on May 5, 2017 in Faith, Healing, Prayer, Revival, Word of God

 

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The Law of Freedom

MirrorIn my last post I talked about the need to hear a Word from God. We have to spend the time listening for his voice. But it doesn’t just end there.

Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.
James 1:23-24

Once you’ve heard from the Holy Spirit you need to follow through on what He spoke to you. This goes beyond simply thanking Him for speaking. There has to be a fulfillment of the assignment.

I like the illustration that James gives us here. It’s important for us to understand just what he’s saying to the church.

In my last post I talked at length about the Word of God being more than just Scripture, but God speaking to us. As James continues on that theme, he starts to give us more detail. We can’t ignore the implications of what he’s teaching.

When I read the Bible, I know that it’s the same for everybody. The life of Jesus, the teachings of the Apostles, and the histories don’t change from generation to generation. The truths that we read are timeless, and apply to everyone for all time.

A mirror is a completely different piece of equipment. What I see in a mirror is not at all what you would see. As a matter of fact, what I see when I first wake up in the morning is nothing like what I see as I’m preparing to go to bed.

Every time I look into the mirror, it’s a unique experience. That’s another reason why this has to be about our time spent with the Holy Spirit – hearing His voice. Whenever we spend quality time in the presence of God it should be a one-of-a-kind encounter.

What I need to hear from God today, may be about something totally different than what He speaks to me tomorrow. The Lord wants to work in us and in the lives of those around us. For that to happen, I need to hear from Him on a consistent basis.

But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it — he will be blessed in what he does.
James 1:25

Listen to what James calls this encounter. The perfect law that gives freedom. There’s absolutely no way he could be talking about the Old Testament here. Paul said almost the same thing in his letters.

Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
2 Corinthians 3:15-17

It’s obvious that freedom can only come through the Holy Spirit. He wants to speak a word that’s tailor made to the situations we’re facing. I believe that hearing and doing what the Spirit speaks to us is the perfect law that gives freedom.

It’s through time spent in the Spirit that God writes His law on our hearts. That’s where we find the freedom to live for Him without hindrance.

Question: What was the last thing the Lord spoke to you about?

© Nick Zaccardi 2017

 

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Fellowship and Unity

WalkWhat is fellowship? Is it merely sitting together in a church service, then going home? Or is it more than that?

I want to take a couple of posts to talk about fellowship and unity. Both what it is and why it’s so important.

The Old Testament prophet, Amos, had some insight into this subject.

Do two walk together unless they have agreed to do so?
Amos 3:3

That’s an interesting question, and one that we should be asking ourselves regularly. What he’s really asking is if two can walk in unity, as one. How do you accomplish that?

In English it reads that they agreed to do so. The literal Hebrew says that they must fix upon each other. That’s just like soldiers marching together.

They need to fix upon each other so that their steps will be in sync with the soldiers around them. That’s the difference between soldiers marching together and a crowded sidewalk.

Sometimes I wonder about the body of Christ these days. Are we more like soldiers, marching in step? Or an unruly crowd, all headed in generally the same direction?

That’s why we need true fellowship. It’s through fellowship that we coordinate our lives together. Fellowship and unity go hand in hand. You can’t have unity without true fellowship.

Fellowship is knowing that I can’t serve Christ effectively without understanding your calling. That’s because none of us is called to serve Christ in a vacuum. We’re all interdependent upon each other (or at least we should be).

Our natural inclination is to only think about ourselves. We’re all individual pieces with nothing to hold us together. There needs to be some sort of spiritual “glue” to keep us from going in separate directions. Actually, God has provided just what we need.

Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint; but blessed is he who keeps the law.
Proverbs 29:18

We must have a revelation – a clear Word – from God. This verse says that without it we cast off restraint. That literally means that our group loosens and falls apart. Hearing from the Holy Spirit is what keeps us marching together.

That’s why we must be in fellowship with each other. We hear from God to hold us together. We fix upon each other so that we can walk in sync together.

In my next post I want to go into detail about these issues. I want to talk about the revelation that’s needed and also, how to fix upon each other so that we can walk in unity.

Question: What would church look like if we were all ministering in unity?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

 
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Posted by on October 14, 2016 in Fellowship, Spiritual Walk, Word of God

 

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The Missing Ingredient – A Word from God

Different AnointingI’m posting about what’s missing in the church of our generation. Why do we not see the power manifest in the early church? I believe that it’s because we’re not hearing from God the way we should be.

It’s the same thing that Jesus manifested as He ministered throughout Israel. He was very clear about how He walked in this divine power.

Jesus gave them this answer: “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.”
John 5:19

Jesus heard from the Father. That’s the secret to how He could minister the way that He did. It’s the reason why He could heal the sick or walk on water.

It’s also the reason why Peter could boldly say, “In the name of Jesus of Nazareth, walk.” He had heard from the Father. He had already seen this crippled man walking with his spirit.

This experience is what the church of Jesus Christ desperately needs today. We must hear from God. The world needs us to hear from God.

Only then will they see the ministry of Jesus exemplified in us. Only then will they be drawn to the preaching of the cross for salvation. It’s imperative that we once again bring our walk with God to this level.

“If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”
John 15:7-8

In this passage Jesus is plainly talking about hearing a Word from God. In the original it says that if you are at home in Me [Jesus] and My words have a home in you, you can ask whatever you wish.

To many Christians this means, “If you memorize the Bible, I’ll give you whatever you want.” How did we ever get so far away from God’s intent?

If Christ was referencing the Bible in this section, it would have been impossible for the disciples to obey it. There were no Bibles for the first generation of believers. They had to rely upon hearing from the Father just as Jesus had done.

As much as I love the written Word of God, I think that we’ve used it to insulate ourselves from the Author. Why spend time seeking to hear God’s voice through the Spirit, when I can open up the Bible and read it for ten minutes?

Yes, we need to read, study, memorize and confess the Scripture. But it’s just as important to hear the Holy Spirit’s spoken Word to us. That’s where the power for the miraculous comes from.

It’s time for the church to once again depend upon a Word from God in order to walk in His power. I believe that this is the next great move of God in His people. He wants to restore to us the Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God. That’s what will bring about the end-time harvest of souls.

I’m about to say something that will probably make you mad at me, but it’s true none the less. The world doesn’t need any more Scripture. They’re sick of hearing Scripture. What they desperately need is a Word from God.

Who will bring it to them, if not the church? We need a Word from heaven. The first few drops of rain are falling. Will you get yourself into position to receive this anointing? The time is now to prepare.

Question: What does your spirit speak to you about this truth?

© 2016 Nicolas Zaccardi

 

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What the Modern Church is Missing

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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

 
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Posted by on June 13, 2016 in Revival, What's Missing?, Word of God

 

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When is the Gospel not the Gospel?

Good NewsIt’s always important to note the first time a word is used in the Scripture. It helps us to understand what the Holy Spirit means when He uses it elsewhere in the Bible. Sometimes preachers call it the “law of first use.”

Do you have any idea the first place in the New Testament when the word Gospel is used? I’ll give you a hint; it’s not in the Gospels. That’s because the Gospels weren’t the first books written. The Gospel of Mark was probably the fourth book written; which is close, but not the first to use that word.

Actually, the word Gospel is first used in Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians. This was the first of Paul’s epistles. He was writing to a young church he started with only a brief stay in the city of Thessalonica. Here’s what he wrote them in the opening verses of his letter.

For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake.
1 Thessalonians 1:4-5

That’s a very interesting comment to make. The first time the word Gospel is used in the Scripture, it means more than just words. It’s a complete presentation of the power of Christ. Paul is very clear in saying that it’s not just words, but includes power, the Holy Spirit, and conviction.

It’s unfortunate that in our day there are those who think the Gospel is simply a cleverly crafted message designed to convince a sinner to get saved. When we believe that, we’re only working with a small part of the Gospel. For it to be the true Gospel of Jesus Christ there must also be a demonstration of power.

What’s power? In natural terms, power is the ability of something to produce change. If nothing changes, then there’s no power.

Paul tells us here that when the true Gospel came forth – things changed. It’s not like many of our meetings today where we say, “That was a powerful message.” By that we meant that we were stirred emotionally or felt goose bumps.

The Gospel has to be a Word from God, not just a convincing argument. When I speak what God is saying, then the Holy Spirit is free to confirm the message. People are convicted by the Word and their lives are forever changed.

We need to get back to being a people who spend time listening to their God. Then, once we’ve heard His voice, we need to step out and speak what He’s saying to us. This is the true essence of the Gospel. This is what will change our society for Christ.

Question: What will it take for us to spend quality time listening to the Holy Spirit?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
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Posted by on November 5, 2014 in Ministry, Power of God, The Gospel

 

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Looking for the Holy Pause

 

AttentionA while ago I posted a series of articles about hearing a Word from God. I said that this was the missing ingredient in the church today. I believe that it’s the restoration of this truth that will be the basis of the next move of God.

With that in mind, I’m drawn to the book of Acts where this principle is at the forefront of the activities of the early church. It’s important to see how they operated in it if we’re to go in that direction.

As I read this account of the church’s infancy, I’ve learned to look for what I call “the holy pause.” These are the times where the believer is taking the time to hear from God concerning their next move. Most of the time, we read right over these important moments without giving them a second thought.

One place this is evident is when Peter and John were going to the Temple at the time of prayer. At the gate was a man who had been crippled from birth.

When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money. Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, “Look at us!” So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them.
Acts 3:3-5

Did you see it? Peter and John paused to stare at the man. Why? They had been to the temple every day for a long time. They had seen this crippled man on many occasions. Why did they stop to stare at him on this particular day?

It was because at that moment the Holy Spirit was arresting the Apostle’s attention. They were pausing to hear what the Spirit was speaking to them. Then, having heard from God that it was this man’s time to be healed, they spoke the words that changed his life forever.

A similar event took place in the life of Paul.

In Lystra there sat a man crippled in his feet, who was lame from birth and had never walked. He listened to Paul as he was speaking. Paul looked directly at him, saw that he had faith to be healed and called out, “Stand up on your feet!” At that, the man jumped up and began to walk.
Acts 14:8-10

When the verse says that Paul saw that he had faith, it literally means that Paul perceived the man’s faith. After all, faith is not something that can be seen with your eyes – it’s an internal decision.

How long did Paul look at the man? We’re not told. But it was long enough for the Holy Spirit to speak the Word of healing to the Apostle.

We need to learn this truth if we’re to see the manifestation of the Spirit in our ministries. We need to learn to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit working in us. This takes time in His presence.

In our generation we want the quick working of God. Unfortunately, the greater the manifestation of God in your life, the more time you must spend in prayer before the Lord. We need to learn the lesson of the Holy Pause.

Question: What are some other examples of this holy pause in Scripture?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
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Posted by on May 28, 2014 in Prayer, What's Missing?, Word of God

 

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