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Superficial Prayers?: Praying Beyond Sickness

May 12, 2008

So often our prayers and prayer requests remain generic and superficial: God help so and so, bless this, heal that, and so on. Generic, superficial prayers are heard by God, but we have to wonder if we are really “praying in the Spirit” when we maintain a generic, superficial course in prayer. He’s not a healing or blessing genie. God is set on changing us, making us into his likeness, confronting our sin, renewing our souls, strengthening our faith, deepening our joy. The Spirit specializes in “deep interior” prayers, guiding, shaping, convicting, renewing, leading to repentance and faith. In Speaking the Truth in Love, David Powlison comments our superficial prayer in sickness:

Too often pastoral prayers, prayer meetings, and prayer lists disheartened and distract the faith of God’s people. Prayer become either a dreary litany of familiar words, or a magical superstition. It either dulls our expectations of God, or hypes up fantasy hopes. Prayers for the sick can even become a breeding ground for cynicism: wouldn’t these people have gotten better anyway as nature took its course or medicine succeeded? Prayer can also become a breeding ground for bizarre obsession with health and medicine,; naming and claiming your healing…Sickness, like any other trouble, can force us to stop and face ourselves and find our Lord. I may find sins I’ve been too busy to notice: irritability, indifference, self-indulgence…Is God interested in healing any particular illness? Sometimes. Is he always interested in making us wise, holy, trusting, and living, even amid our pain, disability, and dying? Yes and amen. People learn to pray beyond the sick list when they realize what God is really all about.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Sara permalink
    May 12, 2008 4:15 pm


  2. May 16, 2008 8:36 am

    This is so right on! God uses these times especially to get our attention. The opening statement from James is “…when you encounter various trials…” When not if. Pray for healing, of course, but sometimes non-healing is the best for the soul.

  3. keijo permalink
    July 4, 2009 4:35 am

    I am so ful of faith that the Lord will heal my eyes and use me to his glory,can you pray for me and for this?Thanks and bless and praise,keijo sweden


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