|Posted by Lorraine Serra on September 17, 2011 at 10:35 AM|
“Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief!” prayed the father of the demoniac boy in the gospel of Mark 9:24. It is an honest prayer. It is often my own prayer. Sometimes it is a desperate and sincere prayer to see a move of God in a desperate situation.
God’s word of truth says in James 5:16 that “the effective, fervent prayer of the righteous man accomplishes much.” God has said it, so it must be true. But, is this power being unleashed in our lives? How can we witness transforming power through prayer personally and all around us? Could this be a time when our desperate prayers can accomplish the impossible?
The late 19th century poet and Christian writer Charles Ebert Orr wrote succinctly about it:
“The effect of a prayer of faith is almost without limit. By it Daniel shut the mouths of lions. The Hebrews walked unhurt amid the flames. Elijah shut up the heavens until it did not rain for more than three years. The waters of the sea have been divided, the walls of cities thrown down, armies turned to flight, kingdoms subdued, the prison-doors opened, the barren womb has become fruitful, the lame have been made to walk, the deaf to hear, the blind to see, the dead raised to life and the soul redeemed. Oh, the wonders of prayer!”
That is inspiring and encouraging, isn’t it? Is there a common denominator in these accounts? Let me know what you see. Please share your comments after this article.
The Bible records so many instances of divine healing and provision, the demonstration of God’s power released by a prayer of faith. During the dawn of the church, the 12 apostles and the 70 disciples went out preaching and healing. Jesus had instructed them to tell everyone, “The kingdom of God has come near unto you.” Luke 10:8-9 Whole villages turned their hearts to the Lord and believed in the Messiah by the words preached and the signs worked.
Why were these disciples so effective? First, I believe they were totally sold out for Jesus. They had no doubts about who He was. After witnessing firsthand the Risen Lord and watching Him ascend into Heaven, they were filled to overflowing with the good news that Messiah had indeed come, and couldn’t wait to share it.
Second, they had received the indwelling Holy Spirit to strengthen them to accomplish all the Lord had commanded. They were “workers together with God”, and the Lord worked through them, confirming their preaching with signs and wonders. Mark 16:19-20.
They were unstoppable, and uncontainable, no matter what confronted them, with an urgent message to spread. Jesus has come to save! That’s Holy Spirit power!
God’s commission to His disciples was, and is still, “Go and preach the good news to all.” Those first disciples were so dedicated to this call upon their lives, so affected and transformed by their experience with Jesus and filled with the Holy Spirit, that indeed, they witnessed the power of God working with them to cast out demons, heal hopelessness, heal the sick and even raise the dead, all in the Name of Jesus.
Consider Acts 3 when the apostle, Peter, said to the lame man at the gate called Beautiful, “Silver and gold I have none to give, but, this I give to you: in the name of Jesus of Nazareth, rise up and walk!”
In Acts 9, from verse 32, Peter speaks to a paralytic, Aeneas, and says, “Jesus Christ heals you”, and helps the man to his feet. Then, he goes on to a town in mourning, prays privately, and raises a dead woman named Tabitha back to life.
Paul, after surviving a shipwreck, is bitten by a deadly viper snake. The other survivors and soldiers presume he is judged guilty after all, and will die. Yet, Paul lives and fulfills the promise of Jesus at the time of the Great Commission in Mark 16: 17-18.
It is in that passage where Jesus said that signs would accompany those who believe: In Jesus’ Name they will drive out demons, speak in new tongues, pick up snakes with their hands, drink poison and not be harmed; they will lay hands on the sick and they will recover. Exciting stuff!
Today, I often hear people say there are no more signs and wonders. There is debate about whether or not these were promises for the early church alone. Do miracles still happen today? Do we need them still? Is divine healing a reality? Are there different types of healing? Does our prayer of faith really release any power to alter the course of events? What exactly is God’s will? How does this fit into the life of a Citizen of the Kingdom of God here on earth? So many questions.
I have suggested in previous articles that “stinking’ thinkin’” gets us into trouble. For me, I experience more trouble and stress and doubt when I fail to agree with God’s Word, when I do not practice making those daily power deposits of God’s Word. Does that happen to you? When life gets busy and crowds out time with the Lord, do you feel weak and vulnerable to attack? Do you suddenly find yourself giving in to thoughts of failure instead of victorious living?
We have been studying what the Word of God says about operating in Holy Spirit power as a citizen of the Kingdom of God. When it comes to healing, signs and wonders, I’ll admit, it can be a struggle to understand.
Different teachers offer some extreme interpretations. Yet, Jesus said in Matthew 17:20, if you have faith the size of only a mustard seed you can tell mountains to jump into the sea!
If we truly want to live as citizens of the kingdom now, imitating our Lord and Savior as people of light, love and power, then I don't think we can skirt around this aspect. In fact, we are promised that anyone who believes will do greater works than Jesus did. John 14:12
Would you join me in studying about healing, and signs and wonders in the next few weeks? This aspect of the power of God at work through His people is fascinating. Perhaps we can nail down some things to strengthen our own faith and experience more of the spirit of power, love and a sound mind that has been given to us. 2 Tim 1:7
And I truly invite your participation through your study, God’s revelation to you, testimonies, questions, examples you can mention, anything.
So, let’s start with my earlier question: Do you see a common denominator in the examples Mr. Orr’s mentioned in his passage? Why did the prayers of those faithful servants produce miracles?
Almighty God, Savior and Lord Jesus Christ, Precious Holy Spirit of Wisdom;
Look upon these earnest hearts yearning to live more deeply with You and through You and in Your power and love, only for the sake of Your Name!
Help us to discern the mysteries of faith, and behold the wonders you have done and are yet to do.
We want to be sold out for you and obedient to bring you honor and glory and let your kingdom come to all! Amen.
Categories: Reigning in Christ: Kingdom Living