I’ll let you in on a little secret..
Prior to 2017, if you had asked me to pray for you or if I had offered to pray, the reality is, most of the time I did not expect anything to happen or change. Don’t get me wrong, I believed God answers prayers, I just didn’t really expect Jesus to answer prayers through me. Especially not ‘big’ prayers like praying for healing or signs.
Let’s take healing for example. If you had asked me to pray for your bad back or whatever pain you were in, I would have done one of two things:
1, I would have told you that I would pray for you in my prayer time. Although I’m sorry to say that sometimes (ok quite often) I have forgotten to pray for requests given to me.
2, Or I would have prayed for you there and then. I would have prayed along the lines of: “Please God will you heal <insert your name here>’s bad back, please God take the pain away, please help the pain go down over the next few days. Amen”. That was it, one prayer, no expectation of healing actually happening on the spot. I would have then said to the person see how you get on over the next few days.
Ultimately I would say one prayer with little faith and not really expect it to be healed.
Jesus healing a blind man
In the book of Mark in the Bible, we see this story of Jesus healing a blind man in Bethsaida. Here’s the story from Mark 8:23-25
23 Jesus took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the village. Then, spitting on the man’s eyes, he laid his hands on him and asked, “Can you see anything now?”
24 The man looked around. “Yes,” he said, “I see people, but I can’t see them very clearly. They look like trees walking around.”
25 Then Jesus placed his hands on the man’s eyes again, and his eyes were opened. His sight was completely restored, and he could see everything clearly.
Now there have been all sorts of theories and thoughts as to the way Jesus prayed for this man. Many thoughts have been speculated on why the man couldn’t see properly straight away and some views have been offered on why he initially saw people to be like trees. Ultimately though, we see Jesus prayering twice for the man, however what’s also interesting is that Jesus doesn’t appear to say words out loud when praying for this man.
Robby Dawkins, who I’ve mentioned a few times in my blogs often jokes : “If Jesus gets to pray twice, how many do we get? 50?”
Keep on Asking
This is the key thing to praying effectively: Pray more than once. Jesus tells us on the sermon on the mount in Matthew 7:7 – “Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.”
We are to keep asking. We are to be persistent in our prayers. Jesus also shares stories of a persistent widow who keeps coming back to a judge until she gets justice (Luke 18:1-8). Jesus also tells a story in Luke 11:5-8 about a man going to a friends house at midnight to ask for bread for a guest. If the friend says no, they will change there mind if you are ‘shamelessly persistent’ with your request.
Here Jesus is challenging us to pray more than once about something. Robby Dawkins again writes “No one wins a war by firing a single bullet. Persevere in praying for sick people and I guarantee you’ll see healing happen.”
Getting over our British pride
Now I appreciate that the majority of those who are reading this blog are my British friends and family. With being British we don’t like to ask for stuff do we? We don’t like to inconvenience people. We like to try and work things out ourselves.
Asking is something that many of us may feel uncomfortable doing:
Maybe it’s a pride issue?
Maybe it’s embarrassment?
Maybe it’s fear of the unknown?
As I’m sure my wife Sarah would testify, I’m in this category as well. For example, I hate to ask strangers for directions and will waste mine and my family’s time trying to work out a route myself much to Sarah’s annoyance. But even with our British pride, there is something powerful about asking. This is something Jesus wants us to do like a child with their parent. To ask. To trust. To persist.
0-10 Pain Scale
When praying for people in regards to healing a pain or injury, I now use a 0-10 scale. 10 is the pain level the person is currently in, 0 is complete healing or no pain at all.
I ask the person to get an idea of their pain level and to test out the pain (if they’re able to) prior to being prayed for.
I will then say a short prayer. After the prayer, I ask them to test out the pain. Very very rarely someone is healed on the spot.
So I will then pray a 2nd and a 3rd and a 4th time.
I stop when either, the person is healed, the pain level stays the same after a few prayers or if the person being prayed for does not want me to continue.
Pain preventing coffee consumption
I remember last year when I met this lady whose arm and shoulder was in consistent pain. She blamed the pain on having to pick up her young son frequently. When I met her, her arm was in so much pain she couldn’t bend her arm to drink coffee. My heart really went out to her, as any parent will tell you, coffee is an essential ingredient to keep us going!
I explained the 0-10 pain scale to this Mum. After the first prayer, nothing happened. After the 2nd prayer, the pain went down to an 8. After the third prayer it went down to a 7. Ultimately it took 7 prayers until her arm and shoulder was completely healed. This Mum was so blown away that Jesus had healed her, and also incredibly thankful that she could use her arm to drink coffee again.
Praying 7 times is a more unusual example. My experience so far has suggested that if God is going to heal someone, it will happen by the 3rd or 4th prayer. What’s more, people are really touched and impacted as you continue to pray for them. People begin to see that you REALLY believe that God will do something and they see that you have faith in what you’re praying. They see that you’re not just offering prayer as a polite thing to do, but that you’re expecting answers. Not only will God’s healing transform lives, but your faith in action through persistent prayer will have the power to impact those that are unsure about Jesus.
So may you keep praying
God loves it when we are persistent and when we keep on asking. If you desire to see your prayers being answered, then pray more than once. Go on, it is so worth it when you see lives being transformed through your prayers.