Healing Prayer

My Parents - Clayton and Esther Barker

My Parents – Clayton and Esther Barker

My father, who will be 90 in May, was admitted to the hospital this week. I have been concerned because the tests he has undergone have been inconclusive about the cause of a blood clot which appeared to be hindering his liver function.

Yesterday I attended the service where two of our daughters and their families worship. I was touched deeply by the time of prayer that the pastor led for all of those who desired healing for themselves or a loved one. He asked us to stand to signify our need for healing.

I have received physical healing several times in my 62 years, and I know without a shadow of doubt that God’s power was at work in my life. Yet yesterday I was thinking about my father, and my dear friend Gloria, who is battling MS. I stood on their behalf.

The scripture that was shared came from Matthew 8: 14-17

14 Now when Jesus had come into Peter’s house, He saw his wife’s mother lying sick with a fever. 15 So He touched her hand, and the fever left her. And she arose and served them.
16 When evening had come, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed. And He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were sick, 17 that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying: “He Himself took our infirmities and bore our sicknesses.”

The pastor focused on the importance of the part of verse 17 where the emphasis is “Jesus HIMSELF took our infirmaties and bore our sicknesses.” What a glorious truth!

We can come before our heavenly Father with boldness to ask for healing, knowing His son Jesus took our sickness with Him to the cross. We are always free to ask for God’s healing power to be manifest in times of illness.

But does God always heal?

Some would say that yes, ultimately even death is a form of “healing’ since God’s children are transported to His presence in death.

The answer is also “no”. We all have prayed for individuals who are still facing grave health concerns, some with considerable physical suffering.

At the service we then prayed for those seeking healing by laying on hands. Those of us who had expressed need sat, while those around us laid their hands on us and prayed. Our granddaughters and daughters prayed for my father – their grandfather and great-grandfather. One of our granddaughters said afterwards –
“Nana, bunches of people were praying with you!” That was a special blessing.

That evening I called my mother and found out that my father was released from the hospital that very afternoon. I called our daughters rejoicing with the good news. I asked them to be sure to tell their children and remind them that we prayed together and asked God to heal Great Grandpa.

As I rejoice with my family, I still am praying for Gloria, a precious, Godly woman who is facing the complications of MS with courage and grace. Her hope is in Jesus, who Himself bore our infirmities. I will continue to ask God to heal and restore Gloria because He is in control of the outcome and He is faithful.

“Look at Me”

look at me
“Look at me, Gayle. Did you hear what I said?” My mother often said this to get my attention. She wanted to make sure that I listened to what she had to say.

“Look at my eyes, Hannah. Did you hear what I said?” I used similar words to get my daughter’s attention and communicate vital information.

Why look at my eyes? Because our eyes communicate as well. There is the look that says:
* I have said this before – but here it is again
* you are in BIG trouble if you don’t listen
* you have disappointed me.
* you are dangling from my very last nerve
and finally –
* the look that kills. (this look does not actually kill, it just
makes the recipient wish they were dead)

As a teacher I wait to give instructions until all my students’ eyes are on me. (Heaven forbid that one is glancing down between their legs to read the latest text message!) If I don’t have their full attention – invariably a student will ask – after I have given detailed instructions – “What are we doing today?” Time for the look that kills.

There are so many things that distract us in life. We immediately think about technology in this current age, but I propose there have always been distractions for humans. Think about leaving your log cabin and having to watch for bear, snakes, or a hungry wolf.
The point is that because we are thinking beings – we become distracted.

The God who created us knows this. He also gave us the ability to concentrate, yet it often takes an act of our will.

Hebrews 12:1-3 Amplified Bible

12 Therefore then, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses who have borne testimony to the Truth, let us strip off and throw aside every encumbrance and that sin which so readily clings to and entangles us, and let us run with patient endurance and steady and active persistence the appointed course of the race that is set before us,

2 Looking away from all that will distract to Jesus, Who is the Leader and the Source of our faith and is also its Finisher, bringing it to maturity and perfection. He, for the joy of obtaining the prize that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising and ignoring the shame, and is now seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

3 Just think of Him Who endured from sinners such grievous opposition and bitter hostility against Himself, so that you may not grow weary or exhausted, losing heart and relaxing and fainting in your minds.

The solution is to “look away from all that will distract”. Being the queen of distraction – this is a challange to me. Yet, when I keep my eyes on Jesus – when I “look at Him”, I am able to understand clearly what He is speaking to me.

A New Creation

During this past two months we have been blessed with two new creations! One little boy, Caleb Benjamin,  and in just this past two weeks, a little girl, Adella Kathleen. I have flown to Washington State to be with this precious little girl and her three brothers.  One of the joys of Nanahood!

I’ve noticed that one of the first things we do when a new baby is born is compare that child to a family member. “Who does she look like?” “He has his daddy’s smile!” The comparisons seem never-ending , and in fact they are.

I am 60 years old. People STILL tell me how much I look like my mother! It started as soon as I was born – so I am told  – (unlike our son, I don’t remember my actual birth – he claims he does) and continues, to this day. Once in my life someone told me I looked like my father. I politely asked this individual if they had ever met my mother – they had not.

As soon as our first daughter was born, Phil called my mother and announced “Now there are three of you.” Bless their hearts, two of our daughters live with the stigma of favoring their mother in appearance. A friend of mine asked my mother one day if any of our daughters reminded her of me. Without hesitation she replied “Oh, no. They are much prettier than Gayle ever was.” (Some of you are feeling horror at this moment – don’t  – Mother was right)

The fact remains that it is in our nature to compare children and their appearance to relatives we feel they favor, sometimes even ancient ancestors. “Great-great Uncle Reuben had ears just like those!”  These innocent little babies are tagged from the start. Yet to be fair there are certainly family characteristics that are in our DNA . My parents moved near us following  7 years of living in Taiwan. After hearing my mother speak,  people in stores and businesses would ask her if she knew Gayle Woody – our voices sound that similar.

I love the verses in  2 Corinthians 5:17-20  – New Living Translation (NLT)

17 This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!

18 And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to Himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to Him. 19 For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And He gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. 20 So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making His appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!”

Just as each baby born is a new creation with a unique DNA, when we become Christians, we become new creations as well. “The old life is gone; a new life has begun!”

We look at these new-born children and think of the great potential each has. Our heavenly Father looks at us and does the same thing! What a blessing to know God as Father. As loving parents, we make every effort possible to help our children to reach their full potential. God does that with us well. God has given us the Holy Spirit to equip us to be His hands and feet wherever we are. Just as our family has hopes and dreams for Caleb and Adella, God has those hopes and dreams for us who are His children. We are so blessed to be part of God’s family.

Physical Training

I remember looking at my father’s Biology textbook and being spellbound by the pictures of human anatomy.  The most amazing part was the way the transparencies would layer each other showing first the skeletal structure, then the muscles and ligaments, the circulatory system, the organs, and finally the skin covering the human form.  Each page was fascinating and complex, and when I finally was in 10th grade and learned about the systems of our bodies and the way each worked in support of each of the others, I developed a deep respect for the manner in which the human body was created. To think that we are the result of innumerable mutations is beyond rational thought  in my humble opinion!

Psalm 139:14 (NIV)
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
   your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

Yes, our bodies are wonderfully made and I believe it is important to instill in our children an early respect and appreciation of our bodies as God created them to be. Physical activity brings such joy to children. We have three grandsons who are nearing their first birthday and as they pull up on everything in reach, it tickles me to watch them “dance” whenever they hear music. They bounce and sway to the music, and it comes naturally without any intentional instruction.

It is also fun to watch children when they are set free in a wide open space – they RUN! You open the car doors at a park and as soon as they get free of the confines of their seat belts they burst forth with physical activity. Healthy bodies were designed to move, and when we are able to use our bodies as God intended, it brings joy. Our brains release serotonin when we engage in physical activity and it works in children as well. Children need to play physically. They will eat better, sleep better, and get along with others better when they move muscles and expend energy. Think about the times weather prevents outside play (cabin fever) and the irritability that results in the parents as well as the children. Planning physical activity is just as important as planning meals and naps.

Some ways to work physical activity into busy schedules are:

  • take walks while supper is in the oven. The walk can be short, but it will exercise muscles and encourage appetites.
  • dance around to a favorite praise CD, even create your own exercise routine, jumping, hopping, arm circles, toe touches, etc.
  • make a obstacle course/fitness course in your yard. This can be very simple: a log to jump over, a landscape timber to balance along, a tree/bush, rock, to run around and back.
  • ride bikes/ tricycles  together.  This may not be possible depending on location, but bike riding and scooter riding certainly gets the heart rate up.
  • walk to places whenever possible. Again, this depends on your location, but it provides exercise while getting you to your destination.
  • include your child in your personal exercise routine at times. This is not always possible, but even if you must adapt your pace or length of workout to include your child, it will reap great rewards.
  • find a nearby park and meet friends/family there to play
  • some children are born with physical limitations. It is a special challenge for parents to work with these children within the limits of their physical abilities.

I Corinthians 9: 24-25

 24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.                              25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.

These verses refer to the physical discipline that athletes need to succeed, just as we must discipline ourselves to follow Christ. All of us must find the physical activities that best meet our children’s unique situation. Making  physical activity an early and important part of our child’s life will bless them for them for the rest of their lives and celebrate the glory of God’s creation.

Next week the topic is Emotional Health of Young Children.