Please join us in prayer for our needs and the needs of those we serve:
• for the financial support needed for Elizabeth Ministry International to develop a program that helps parents of teens and younger children to understand and fight the dangers of pornography.
• for the students of RECLAiM Sexual Health, and those who should be students, that they might break free of their addiction to unhealthy sexual behaviors.
• for the support staff and coaches of RECLAiM, for wisdom.
• for Jeannie and Bruce Hannemann’s health, safety in travel, and family needs.
• for the growth of Elizabeth Ministry and the needs of all chapter members and staff.
• for pastoral leaders, especially those working with families and marriage preparation.
• for women who struggle with infertility, especially those who have suffered miscarriages, and for wise decisions regarding adoption.
• for women undergoing difficult pregnancies or negative prognoses.
• for healthy marriages, healthy relationships and healthy children.
• for young children and babies, especially those born prematurely, that they might grow strong and healthy.
• for a greater respect for all life, from natural conception to natural death.
• for all those who suffer from natural disasters.
• for an end to all political, national and international strife, and a greater respect for one another’s human needs.
• for all who have asked for our prayers, and the needs of those who join us in prayer.
A Word of Prayer
Who of us hasn’t experienced a fierce headache, a bee sting, or a sick child? Life is unfair, right? Well, no. Such things are part of life. Life does include discomfort; we all know that, especially women who have given birth. We could say it’s the price paid for sin. Maybe it’s the price paid for being human. I’m sure Little Boy Jesus also had rashes, cuts and scratches. Grown Up Jesus experienced a lot more pain, both physical and emotional, and he accepted it willingly.
Last month, this blog included thoughts about prayer. As we said, the Gospel according to John presents Jesus as the Word of God, which was totally “spoken” as Jesus expired, exhaled, and breathed his last on the Cross. It is Jesus’ Spirit, his “breath” that he shared with us the evening of his resurrection (John 20:21-22). It was the strong driving wind at Pentecost (Acts 2), that Jesus breathed forth among us in the power of God’s Spirit, the “breath” of God now sent forth upon the apostles, including ourselves! God’s Spirit is available when we draw breath and speak out boldly in His name. Today!
In this article, we’ll reference some quotes from a Vatican document on healing prayer which might help us understand how we can be used by God’s Spirit to share Jesus’ presence with those in need.
Here’s one of the best: “Sickness, like other forms of human suffering, is a privileged moment for prayer, whether asking for grace, or for the ability to accept sickness in a spirit of faith and conformity to God’s will, or also for asking for healing.”
Here’s another: “The messianic victory over sickness, as over other human sufferings, does not happen only by its elimination through miraculous healing, but also through the voluntary and innocent suffering of Christ in his passion. Human suffering itself has been redeemed. In bringing about the redemption through suffering, Christ has also raised human suffering to the level of the redemption. Thus each man in his suffering can also become a sharer in the redemptive suffering of Christ.”
Here’s another good quote: “Recourse to prayer does not exclude, but rather encourages the use of effective natural means for preserving and restoring health, as well as leading the Church’s sons and daughters to care for the sick, to assist them in body and spirit, and to seek to cure disease. Indeed, part of the plan laid out in God’s providence is that we should fight strenuously against all sickness and carefully seek the blessings of good health.”
We know that the Catholic Church has formal opportunities to pray for healing, both within the Eucharistic Liturgy, and in the sacrament of Anointing of the Sick. But what can we do when we encounter an individual in need of “less” serious healing? (If I can’t tolerate a migraine or another week of morning sickness, it’s serious!)
What parent doesn’t pray with a child before bedtime? when sick or frightened? If we don’t, we should! What friend doesn’t pray with another friend? Would you give your friend a loaf of bread or a stone? (Luke 11:11) Of course you’d try to help, wouldn’t you?
We all know times when we’re called to pray “with” a friend, not only to pray “for” them! Here are some thoughts to consider before praying “with”:
• Do you have the privacy to pray? Are you comfortable praying aloud, gently? Do you have your own prayer language or speak in tongues? Is the individual receiving prayer okay with physical touch, perhaps joining hands, or a hand on her/his shoulder? Would shed tears be a distraction in the circumstance? (Are tissues available?)
• Have you asked if you may pray with your friend? You must! Obviously, if the individual is uncomfortable being prayed with, you wouldn’t! Instead, reassure her/him that you will certainly continue praying for her/him!!
• Are friends available who might also join you in prayer? (“Wherever two or three,…” there Jesus is as well! And, yes, it’s OK to ask Our Blessed Mother or the saints to join you as well, remembering that all power comes from the power of God!)
• If you continue in immediate prayer, ask, “What would you like Jesus to do for you?”, remembering that it is truly Jesus among us who heals. (When a blind man approached Jesus, Jesus respected him enough to ask, although the need must have been obvious! Besides, “Ask and you will receive…!”) And then listen carefully!
• Often a person needs more sublime things: patience, perseverance, faith, courage, resignation, which are all perfectly good things to pray for. Some prayer includes the more physically attainable: relief from pain, fever or rash, safe delivery or healing of a child, reduction or removal of a tumor, a successful surgery, a healed relationship, or a peaceful death.
• When prayer includes relationships, and especially here, confidentiality is absolutely required; we don’t need to know the gritty details. Jesus knows! Romans 8:28 tells us, “When we don’t know how to pray, the Spirit helps us in our weakness…for the one who searches hearts knows what is the intention of the Spirit, because it intercedes for the holy ones according to God’s will.”)
• When you pray, speak to Jesus or our Heavenly Father, but use the person’s name as “Lord Jesus, you know Sally’s….. Please give her…..” (We really don’t know for sure precisely what Jesus wants, except that we know Jesus wants whatever is best for Sally, and loves her intensely!) And keep your eyes open to see how God’s Spirit touches Sally as you speak.
• It is valuable to have your Bible at hand if the Lord should bring to mind a scripture which you could read as a word of encouragement or wisdom for Sally. Being familiar with lots of scriptures is helpful here, as the Spirit might inspire in you what might be appropriate.
• It is also better not to deal with demons, but rather to simply ask Jesus to bind up and cast out any demonic power that might be at work. Dealing with a demon requires a professional! (Consider Acts 19:13-20.)
• You may need to suggest that the person seek professional help.
• After praying with a seriously troubled person, remember that it’s Jesus’ responsibility to heal; don’t take another’s troubles on yourself!
• And when you pray, say, “Our Father, who art in Heaven,…..” Remember also, that “Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.” (James 1:17)
• All prayer is gift, a gift given to you by the Father, through Jesus, His Son, who has shared his Spirit with us, his body!
Finally, you can’t give what you ain’t got! A relationship with Jesus is the most important gift that you can give. Don’t give pridefully, but humbly, as one of God’s servants, not for show, but for God’s glory!
photo credit: Two girls talking via photopin (license)