When you type “How To Heal Others When You Are Sick,” for example, you get hits like:
- How to Heal the Sick
- How To Send Healing Over A Distance
- Divine Healing – It IS God’s will to heal you! Find out how to receive it!
Google “prayers by the sick” and you’ll end up with dozens of sites focused on prayers for the sick.
Sum it up and say: There is an understandable tendency for us to fold up on ourselves like broken lawn chairs when we are sick. When we are sick, we want to get well. We want others (including God) to help us get well. We have little time to focus on anything else but our illness.
But in this concluding post for this month of focusing on the Work of Mercy of healing and comforting it is important to affirm that Christianity does go against the Google grain: Ours is the religion that claims with Isaiah,
But he was pierced for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his wounds we are healed.
So the Savior did his saving through his wounds. And we do not believe that he suffered so that we don’t have to. We believe that when we understand his suffering we will willingly choose to suffer also, in his name, for his sake, taking up our crosses daily. We say with the Apostle Paul that we are
always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.
This doesn’t mean that we neglect or ignore our own health and illness. Of course not. We’re stewarding his body, after all–it doesn’t belong to us in the first place. But just as care for our own family does not preclude care for others, care for our own body does not preclude healing and praying for others who are sick when we are sick. In fact, the two are far more interconnected than we typically recognize.
So how can we heal others when we are sick? We begin by focusing on praying for the healing of others when we are healthy, employing all of the disciplines of prayer and giving and service in relation to others that we’ve been talking about this month.
Then we continue to keep up those spiritual disciplines and Christ-mirroring focus even when we face small ailments–headaches, colds, sore backs, upset stomachs. These are the minor irritants that tempt us to curl inward at the edges. When we do that in the face of small ailments, of course we’ll fold like lawn chairs in the face of bigger ones.
But faithfulness with a little–in this case, interceding for the healing of others and visiting the sick even when we are sick (though hopefully not contagious!)–is what yields the ability to be faithful in a lot, as we saw in the story of Shery Lim in a blog post earlier this week.
Here again I want to commend you getting a good personal prayer book with prayers that you can grow into as you pray. You will be remarkably uncreative and Sudafed-groggy when you don’t feel well, so having a prayer book to keep your prayers for others bigger than the size of your Alka Seltzer tablets will be a real help. I use several from different traditions, and they tend to be easy to find on amazon.
And one last great resource for you this month: check out this article on Praying Beyond the Sick List. If your prayers for the sick essentially consist of saying “Be with _______,” this article will help you understand what God normally likes to talk about when it comes to illness.