The apostles performed many signs and wonders among the people. And all the believers used to meet together in Solomon’s Colonnade. No one else dared join them, even though they were highly regarded by the people. Nevertheless, more and more men and women believed in the Lord and were added to their number.
As a result, people brought the sick into the streets and laid them on beds and mats so that at least Peter’s shadow might fall on some of them as he passed by. Crowds gathered also from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those tormented by impure spirits, and all of them were healed. (New International Version)
Healing is a universal longing.
To long for healing, of course, presupposes that something or someone is broken.
Those with bodily ills and infirmities; the ones carrying diseased and disordered minds; those with deep emotional wounds; and tortured souls with broken hearts and damaged spirits are all intimately familiar with pain – not to mention their friends and loved ones who observe their suffering day after day.
How will the healing ever come? When will it ever be realized? Dare I hope for a miracle?
There is a reason the ancient apostles were able to be agents of healing. There was something happening privately which worked itself out in miraculous public healing. Within the believing community, earnest prayers were being offered:
Stretch out your hand to heal and perform signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus. (Acts 4:30, NIV)
Just as all were healed when brought to Jesus, so the same happened with his followers.
The natural world, along with the most modern medical practices and interventions, has its limitations. Yet, the supernatural realm is unlimited in its power and scope to bring thorough and complete healing.
Prayer discerns and understands that humanity is limited in its abilities to transform and heal. There is no magical incantation to access such power. There isn’t any specific formula to achieve results. There is only the simple prayers and faithful ministry of believing persons who know that healing can come in many forms and in various ways.
In many cases, I have witnessed my hospital patients improve without any specific medical interventions – decades of intestinal issues gone; heart and brain function restored (which, biologically, doesn’t return when lost); and even the paralyzed walking again.
A miracle isn’t finding an open spot in a busy parking lot. Miracles don’t occur by sending in $19.95 to a “faith healer” who will pray and rid you of your gout.
Bona fide miracles have no natural, medical, or biological explanation. They aren’t tied to money. They only have divine explanations.
Prayers offered daily, and for years, are still effective prayers. That’s because the miraculous occurs irrespective of time.
There shall be healing. It just might not be today. We may have to wait.
Whenever God heals, there is complete healing. The physical trauma of an accident or disease isn’t confined to the body. It also traumatizes the person mentally, emotionally, and even spiritually. This is why faithful believers who come out of a major surgery may feel estranged from God. It’s not that God is absent, or that the individual did something wrong. The spirit just needs to heal along with the body.
The Lord wants to heal the whole person. Whenever a person has been emotionally abused, that abuse is experienced throughout the entirety of personhood. It is common for such persons to have a bevy of physical health issues in their lives. As the individual is healed from their damaged emotions, the body follows.
In this era of religious, church, and clergy abuse, the broken spirits left in its wake need healing. Victims may find themselves with chronic depression, anxiety, or other mental and emotional disorders. The spiritual healing which the Lord carefully provides will also effect the mind and the feelings.
The deepest need of healing is holistic – to impact the breadth and depth of a person’s life. The myriad diseases, disorders, and depressions of humanity are devastating enough, in and of themselves. Yet, they also create social separation, economic challenges, emotional distress, spiritual wondering, relational disconnection, terrible grief, and grinding loneliness.
God seeks to restore a life, and not just a malady.
Restoration to a family, a community, a workplace, a position of respect and responsibility, and to God is the Lord’s goal for all humanity.
The Lord your God will restore your fortunes and have compassion on you and gather you again from all the nations where he scattered you. Even if you have been banished to the most distant land under the heavens, from there the Lord your God will gather you and bring you back. (Deuteronomy 30:3-4, NIV)
Your righteousness, God, reaches to the heavens,
you who have done great things.
Who is like you, God?
Though you have made me see troubles,
many and bitter,
you will restore my life again;
from the depths of the earth
you will again bring me up.
You will increase my honor
and comfort me once more. (Psalm 71:19-21, NIV)
After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, support, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the power forever and ever. Amen. (1 Peter 5:10-11, NRSV)
Our simple prayers focused on the restorative healing of a person, are what God has chosen to use to mend the broken. Prayer is not a last resort; it is always the believer’s first order of business.
O God, you made us in your own image and redeemed us through Jesus your Son: Look with compassion on the whole human family; take away the arrogance and hatred which infect our hearts; break down the walls that separate us; unite us in bonds of love; and work through our struggle and confusion to accomplish your purposes on earth; that, in your good time, all nations and races may serve you in harmony around your heavenly throne; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.