Lord, Jehovah, God of Healing, we come to you today, to lift up a dear one who needs You.
You knit each of us together in the womb. You know every cell in our bodies and the whole path of our lives.
Nothing comes as a surprise to You, Creator God of all things.
You are not bothered by technology, or our time table. You already know the grace that this dear one needs today, tomorrow, and in the future.
You already know the outcome of this situation, and are prepared to meet every need.
Oh, dear Abba, this dear one needs to know that and feel that today. To know that before this medical problem even came up, that You were already there, preparing the way, physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.
Dear Father, it is so hard not to lean on our own understanding. We try to plot every possible scenario, and fix everything. We are so frail, and so human.
Yet all this time, Lord, You have been carrying this dear one. There is nothing to plan, to fix, to figure out. When you are in the Shepherd’s arms, you do one thing – rest!
Lord Jesus, help us all to “be still and know that you are God.” The God of our cells.
Lord, You confound the wise. Right now, what seems like an undeniable, scientific medical fact, is an opportunity to confound the wisdom of science with a good result on this medical test. We pray for that.
We’ve had a lot of tests along our experience with eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE) and, well, life in general. It had been a little while since we’ve had to get blood work done, but last week we had a fair amount of blood drawn from our youngest for a variety of tests. Mentally, I had prepared for the event of having the blood drawn, but it caught me off guard how quickly anxiety crept into my mind about the actual results of the test — that we had to wait for. The irony is, I just wrote a post on how to help an anxious child at the doctor’s office. Now I was the one needing to deal with the what-ifs and unknown of what the tests would or wouldn’t show.
We hear advice about not worrying and taking things “one-step-at-a-time,” and I actually found myself saying some of those exact things to myself last Friday. In fact, all weekend my thoughts wandered between “I wonder what the results will be” and “just don’t worry — there’s nothing that can be done about it right now.”
It’s good to coach our thoughts in a healthy direction away from worry, but what do you think about in place of the unknowns? Here are some profound truths, encouragement, and promises that you can think about if you find yourself in a place of waiting.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
While this is a commonly-referenced verse, the promise that God knows our path and that His wisdom is higher than my own is a big comfort.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.
There is something powerful about finding things to be thankful for in our prayers to the Lord for answers. Thankfulness, paired with our honest requests, brings an important level of perspective and peace. That peace is like a shield protecting your mind and heart from being overrun by fear.
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
1 Peter 5:6-8
These verses reminds me of the simple truth that Jesus loves me — and you — when worry starts to creep in. Satan would like nothing more than for us to listen to worries and what-ifs, but he has been defeated! 🙂
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
There’s something comforting about knowing that the peace that Jesus offers is unlike anything else in our broken world. Illness is such a sharp reminder of our brokenness, and His nature, character, and strength are a welcome comfort.
Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.
When you’ve meditated on these truths, there are still times when we have to remind ourselves that — even though our circumstances can change — God and His presence and character do not.
Whether you’re waiting for test results, waiting for a diagnosis, or or just unsure of what’s ahead in your journey, I hope these truths and promises are an encouragement to your heart and a shield to protect your mind from worry.
If you’re looking for a resource to help you process and pray through your experiences — from the good days to the bad days and the journey in between — check out our prayer guide for families facing medical challenges.
FREE PRAYER JOURNAL
A topical guide to encourage you with truth to stand on, starting point prayers, and space to journal.
Spread Hope (In the comments):
What are some truths that have encouraged you during waiting times when you felt anxious or worried?
When sickness strikes, people around the world pray for healing. Many of the faithful claim that prayer has cured them of blindness, deafness and metastasized cancers, and some believe they have been resurrected from the dead.
Can, and should, science test such claims? A number of scientists say no, concerned that empirical studies of prayer will be misused to advance religious agendas. And some religious practitioners agree with this restraint, worrying that scientific testing could undermine faith.
If prayer affects health — for better or for worse — then patients, doctors and policymakers should all want to know. Scientific research has returned mixed results. Some studies conclude that prayer improves health, while others show no effect — or suggest that prayer may lead to worsening health.
Part of the confusion stems from how prayer is studied. Most research is on distant intercessory prayer. Intercessors are given the first name and condition of someone they do not know and told to pray. Researchers set up double-blinded trials — because this is how they are accustomed to studying health interventions — and base conclusions on the efficacy of prayer solely on whether subjects in the experimental group exhibit better health than those in the control group.
But when people actually pray for healing, they usually get up close to someone they know, touch the person and empathize with their sufferings — what I call proximal intercessory prayer, or PIP. Double-blinded, controlled trials are not the only — or even the best — way to gauge the effects of this kind of prayer practice.
I have spent the past eight years studying PIP by Pentecostal and Charismatic Christians — the groups most likely to pray for healing and claim that their prayers work — in the United States, Canada, Brazil and Mozambique. And I used multiple methods, each one suited to answering a particular question about prayer for healing. Each method is like a different type of camera, offering complementary perspectives on how prayer affects health.
Camera 1: Medical Records: Are healing claims documented?
Comparison of medical records from before and after prayer provides a check on whether people claiming healing exhibited improvements for which there is no obvious explanation. For example, in the course of my research, I met Daisy, who had worn hearing aids for 30 years. She had a progressively worsening, hereditary inner-ear problem. In 1999, tests showed moderate hearing loss; by 2004, Daisy’s hearing loss was moderately severe to severe. In 2008, Daisy received PIP and “felt my fingers on fire and the warmth of the Holy Spirit inside of me,” after which she could hear without hearing aids. She had her hearing retested two weeks later, showing normal thresholds in lower frequencies with moderate loss in higher frequencies. A 2010 screening still showed normal hearing in speech frequencies. Medical records do not prove that “God” healed Daisy through prayer, but do confirm Daisy’s claim of improved hearing.
I also came across Frank, who claimed improved vision after prayer. He produced an optometrist’s note stating that “On 02” his left eye uncorrected visual acuity was “20/200”; in 2007, it was “NOW 20/40.” I followed up with Frank’s optometrist, who revealed that the record had been “altered.” The phrases “On 02” and “Now 20/40” had been added. The unaltered record shows visual acuity of 20/200 in 2007 — after Frank’s supposed healing. Such cases of apparent fraud do not seem to be common, but medical records are one way of sifting out which claims are less credible.
Camera 2: Surveys: How do sufferers perceive healing prayer?
Surveys shed light on how supplicants perceive sickness, prayer and healing. In one set of surveys I carried out, 72 percent of respondents had a current need for healing; the most common complaint was pain. Fifty-two percent reported healing. Few “claimed healing by faith,” instead defining healing as noticeable improvement of symptoms. Those who self-reported high faith were no more likely to experience healing than those who admitted weak faith. Most received multiple prayers for the same problem, noting progressive improvements with each prayer. Most also went to doctors, viewing prayer and medicine as complementary.
Camera 3: Clinical Trials: Can health outcomes of prayer be measured?
Clinical trials can show whether PIP results in measurable changes in health markers. In a prospective study of hearing and vision in Mozambique, I found highly significant improvements in hearing and statistically significant improvements in vision following PIP. Two of 11 hearing subjects had thresholds reduced by over 50 dBHL. One subject, Jordan, was presented as deaf and mute since birth and made no responses to sounds at 100 dBHL; after PIP, he responded to 60 dBHL tones, imitating sounds in a hoarse, raspy voice. Three of 11 vision subjects improved from 20/400 or worse to 20/80 or better. Before prayer, Maryam could not count fingers from one foot away; after one minute of PIP, she was reading the 20/125 line on a vision chart.
Camera 4: Follow-up: Do healing experiences produce lasting effects?
Multi-year observations and interviews assess whether changes are temporary or enduring. Many informants — such as George, who reported healing from an untreatable brain tumor through prayer alone — claimed they were still healed as many as eight years later. George and others had subsequently prayed for others who in turn reported healing, and this new cohort prayed for still others, sometimes traveling to other countries to do so. Such ripple effects of healing prayer largely account for the wildfire spread of global pentecostalism.
Bringing these four cameras into focus produces a more complete picture of how prayer affects health than using any single study method. Can science prove the healing power of prayer? Science cannot prove the existence or nonexistence of a suprahuman force or whether such an entity answers prayer. But it is an empirical question how prayer practices affect health. And we can — and should — use empirical methods to answer this question.
Candy Gunther Brown, author of Testing Prayer: Science and Healing (Harvard University Press, 2012).