I received an email from a family friend who has a son with special needs and other medical conditions. Different Christian families might have a different approach to this situation, but this family has decided to pray and believe God for their son’s complete healing. I want to share his words because I think they bring a fresh perspective to prayer and unique insight into someone living in his situation. I also think this will encourage others in the same circumstances.
Without further adieu, here’s the email:
If I had to capture my recent experience in a simple mental picture, I’d say it like this: The process of pursuing (my son’s) healing often feels like pushing a giant boulder up a steep hill, with the boulder sitting at the very bottom. Pushing on an immoveable object makes one stronger, but can get discouraging after a while! This past Thursday and Friday, I felt like the boulder creaked and moved a few millimeters. If you would have been standing next to me, I would have turned to you and asked, “Hey, did this boulder just move?! I’ve pushed against it so long, I don’t trust myself to believe it actually did.” It isn’t that (my son) manifested any first fruits of healing when I got home; but rather it was in what I sensed from the Lord, and within my own convictions, that I felt progress.
Here are a few highlights:
I’m growing in my conviction and boldness that we will prevail in prayer for (my son’s) healing, that God will do it. At one point in the retreat I wrote in my journal, “Father! I will prevail in prayer for (my son’s) healing, not because I am strong or forceful, but because I am lined up with Your will. You want to do this, so I insist that you do it! I will not stop until you do it.” I’m experiencing a shift from asking/begging to insisting in boldness. The boldness comes from understanding that God does want to heal (my son) . The Kingdom has always manifested in healing and restoration when it comes, seen most clearly in the earthly ministry of Jesus. Then Jesus commissioned us his followers to also bring it (ex. Mark 16: 15-18). So I’m focused on lining up with the biblical conditions to receive what I’m asking for.
After staying up late into the night on Thursday and pouring out my heart to the Lord, I woke up on Friday feeling a sweet presence of the Lord. I can tell you were praying for meJ! I was able to rest in the love of the Lord for me. I know He isn’t mad at me or acting cruelly to withhold His blessings and power from us in this matter. So if His posture toward (my son’s) healing is “Yes”, then why hasn’t it happened yet?
Through this experience, I gained a tiny bit of understanding as to why we often have to “Travail in order to prevail” in prayer. It isn’t that God needs to be convinced. Rather, one reason is that, as Charles Finney pointed out in his sermon (below), if we don’t travail to prevail when asking God for great things, we are in great danger of being puffed up with pride when God does grant these requests. Travailing unto prevailing humbles us, and shows our desperation and neediness before God, in a way that we will never forget how much we needed God, and that He graciously answered.
I had another insight into why such persistence is necessary in pursuing Jeremy’s healing. This insight comes from a teaching from Lance Wallnau. He pointed out that the early people to break through a spiritual barrier often have to really struggle, but then others can much more easily access what others attained through blood, sweat and tears. He used the example of Martin Luther, who although a courageous, bold man with intense convictions, struggled for years to believe that God loved him and that he was saved. Now people get saved in a one hour meeting, or a couple of conversations with a friend. Why is that? Because Luther was breaking through a spiritual barrier in the church due to a lack of revelation of salvation by faith alone, but now much of the church walks in an understanding of this.
At one point, I felt that the whisper of God said something like this to me, “Ted, what you are asking for is not common in your day, though it will be more common as we approach the day of Jesus’s return. There are a few breaking through to creative miracles, and you are asking to join them. That is no small thing.”
The last insight I will share is the realization that we need to break through together. Although I have to take responsibility to set the example for what I am asking others to join me in, I can’t do it by myself.
The first place I need to start is in my own family. Our immediate family needs to break through together. (My wife) and I need (my other sons) to join us, as best as they can. In asking them to join us in prevailing prayer, we help walk them into their destiny. If we shield them from this reality, we deprive them of an important lesson of the Kingdom.
I was so convicted that I cut my retreat short by on hour and came home to spend the last hour with (my family). I used the example for the boys of the behavior of the opposing team’s coach in a soccer game that (one of my sons) played in last year. My son’s team went ahead by a goal against a powerhouse team that has rarely lost in several seasons. The other team’s players were a bit shell-shocked and demoralized being down a goal with only about 5 minutes left to play. Seeing this, the other coach stepped on to the playing field, started waving his arms wildly, and shouted, “If you want to win, you are going to have to get hungry out there!” My reaction at the time was, “take it easy dude; it’s a junior high soccer match.” That is true, but what he said is also true: those boys were going to lose if they didn’t tap into their hunger and decide that they really, really wanted to win. If they didn’t want it really bad, they were going to lose for sure. (Turns out they tied the game with 10 seconds left and then went on to win it in double overtime, to (my son’s) great disappointment!)
My guess is that this is probably true for many situations that face this broader group. As Finney said so well (attribute #4 of prevailing prayer), if we want to prevail in prayer, we need to pray with “a desire for the object commensurate with its importance.”
My prayer for myself and for you is that God will fuel desires for the great things He has in His heart to give us.
Thank you so much for your encouragement and support. I fear I would be beaten down and stay down if it wasn’t for your love, understanding, and prayers for me, (my son), and our family.
With gratitude and hope,
As you may or may not know, our son has autism and we are praying for him as well. We have much to learn about intentionality in prayer from my friend. If you have any want to say a prayer for me or my friend, request prayer, or if you have questions or thoughts on this topic, feel free to mention them in the comments below.
If you liked this post, you should read Why God Let’s You Wait.