Friday, December 14, 2012

Praying Sickness

If a Christian who is sick asks me to pray for them, I often wonder what they are requesting. There are several possibilities.

They think that I can persuade God heal them, because they cannot. This is odd. If the person who is sick cannot persuade God, why do they think that I can?
Maybe they think that God works on a democratic principle, and will only act when a significant number of people are making the request. That is odd, too.

They might consider that their sickness is an attack from something so big that they cannot handle it on their own. This makes sense. If they sickness is an attack from evil spiritual forces, the sick person may not some help to deal with it. The problem is that I do not have the power to deal with spiritual powers. Only the Holy Spirit can do that. What I can bring is spiritual authority. The Holy Spirit needs human authority to release his authority against evil.

This leaves another question hanging. Why would I have authority in this situation? I will only have authority in the sick person’s life, if they have given it to me. If they are a brother or sisters in the same body, and we have submitted to each other for spiritual protection and to encourage each other in the Lord, I will have some authority (see Power Pairs).

If the sick person is just a casual acquaintance, I will have no authority in their life, so I am not in a place to resist evil with them.

This why the Bible says that sick Christians should go to their elders (James 5). The sick person should have freely submitted to their elders, so the elders will have authority in the sick person’s life, that enables them to resist the evil powers causing the sickness. The elders cannot persuade God to do anything, but they can resist the evil thing that has intruded into the sick person’s life.

Submission and authority work together to produce spiritual protection (not control).

There is more on this theme in my book on healing.

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