word for the week: week twenty-six

 

This week’s theme in MoSt Church‘s 2012 Bible reading project – the Uncommon Truth for Common People project – is healing. The week’s readings are:

• Mon., June 25 – Mark 2.1-12; 10.46-52
• Tues., June 26 – John 5.1-15
• Wed., June 27 – Mark 5.21-43
• Thur., June 28 – Acts 3.1-19
• Fri., June 29 – Psalm 103.1-6; Luke 17.11-19

This week’s memory verse is: “… your faith has healed you.” (Mark 10.52)

if any of you are sick

 

If any of you are sick, they should call for the elders of the church, and the elders should pray over them, anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord. Prayer that comes from faith will heal the sick, for the Lord will restore them to health. And if they have sinned, they will be forgiven. (James 5:14-15 CEB)

My experience through the decades has been that elders are often called for all sorts of things. Quite often they’re called when someone wants to:

  • request a favor
  • place membership
  • propose an idea or work
  • get some special attention
  • enlist their support or backing on a project
  • change up something about the church building
  • enlist some warm bodies to do some physical labor
  • leverage their position against someone else
  • spend some money in the church treasury
  • fish for confidential information
  • vent, complain, or grumble
  • make demands
  • be baptized

My experience through the years has also been that the number of requests by sick members to elders for them to come and pray over them and to anoint them with oil while all are full of faith, boldly requesting complete healing are so exceedingly rare that you can hear:

  • (sound of crickets)

I want my experience to be that all church members see their elders as people to whom:

  • they would turn to as quickly as they would call 911,
  • they can rely on to offer bold, faith-filled prayers for complete healing of dreadful, physical ills,
  • they are totally accountable for matters of personal sin so that such can be confessed, repented of, and forgiven.

If any of you are dreadfully ill, you should call for the church’s elders so they can pray over you. They should pray over you in the Lord’s name, full of faith that the Lord restores sick people to health and forgives you of your sins. Let them anoint you so, and with oil. (James 5:14-15 DSV)

So be it, in the name of Jesus.

praying for the family of Osama bin Laden

“Forgive us for the ways we have wronged you, just as we also forgive those who have wronged us.” (Matthew 6:12 CEB)

“… you should treat people in the same way that you want people to treat you; this is the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 7:12 CEB)

Father in heaven,

I come to you with praise for who you are and all you do. You alone are God and great! And so in the name of Jesus, your Son and my Lord and Savior, I come asking of you with Osama bin Laden in mind. For his family and for all who were close to him and who now grieve his death, I pray.

As I ask for myself, I intercede for them. Forgive me. Forgive my not having loved them as I should and for not praying  for them as I could. Forgive them of any and all evil within them. Much of it they surely do in ignorance, knowing no better; much of it is surely with a will. But in either case, Father, have mercy on them, forgiving them of any and all sins of ignorance, commission, and omission. Deliver them from all that is hell.

Give them eyes to ever see your will and to have the vitality and courage to live it out, no matter the personal cost. May their lives become testimonies of your redemptive power and not be squandered. Shine your light into their lives, dispelling all that is darkness, that they might truly see.

Console them in their loss and comfort them in their pain, Father. Surround them and bathe them with your obvious concern and care. Bring into their lives people who model your life, Father. May those you provide be given the support they deserve and need from others like them.

When the spirits of Osama’s family and friends are so heavy they can do nothing, pick them up and carry them, showing mercy to them so that they might not only be enabled to go on, but might be drawn to seek you and find you, even as they mourn. May your peace settle on them and remain, fostering peace in their hearts and then, outwardly in their ways. May they give praise to you for the true rest only you can offer and dispense.

Wither and put to death any root of bitterness that would grow in them. Steer their hearts away from hate and toward everything that is imitative of your true love. Shield their minds from any seeds of vengeance that threaten to land and sprout, lest their thoughts be corrupted and only more grief come to many. When they falter and think to act without love, stay their hands, block their path, and cause them to consider again. Give them wisdom and discernment as to the way of holiness. And as surely as they receive all different kinds of counsel and influence from all kinds, and from so many sources, may you just as certainly assist them in making good choices, choices that respect you and all human life.

I ask much, Father, for I know you love much and give much. All good things come from you. And so may my life reflect your ways and only underscore my requests of you.

I love you, Father.

Amen.