Proximity Healing

As soon as they got out of the boat, people recognized Jesus. They ran throughout that whole region and carried the sick on mats to wherever they heard he was. And wherever he went—into villages, towns or countryside—they placed the sick in the marketplaces. They begged him to let them touch even the edge of his cloak, and all who touched it were healed.

Mark 6:54-56

A guy in my church came down for prayer after our service was over on Sunday. He wanted prayer for his foot that had been bothering him for some time. When we prayed, he immediately started to feel heat all over his body to the point where he started sweating. The Presence of God was on him in an intensified way. As I continued to pray for his foot, the pain left. The prayer time took no more than 5 minutes. Jesus healed his foot right there.

But why ask someone else for prayer? Why go to someone who has seen people physically healed before and ask them to pray for your physical ailment? Can’t we just pray on our own? Doesn’t God just heal whomever He wants whenever He wants? Why would the book of James recommend that we go to particular people for prayer?

Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. 

James 5:14-15

In the time of Jesus, people traveled long distances carrying their loved one on a mat just to get them near Jesus. Proximity mattered. They wanted Jesus to touch them or for them to touch the edge of Jesus’s cloak. Either way, power seemed to be coming from Jesus that was bringing physical healing to people. Jesus was a touchpoint, a conduit, of God’s power. So they traveled to get near Jesus wherever He was. The Gospel of Luke says it this way:

…a great number of people from all over Judea, from Jerusalem, and from the coastal region around Tyre and Sidon, who had come to hear him and to be healed of their diseases. Those troubled by impure spirits were cured, and the people all tried to touch him, because power was coming from him and healing them all.

Luke 6:17-19

But couldn’t God just heal all those people in their own homes? Couldn’t God just heal them in their own synagogues? If God really wanted them to be healed, couldn’t God just answer their prayers for healing right where they were? Why would God have them travel to Jesus to get healed?

The answer is, “Yes.” God could have healed each of these people right in their own homes and in their own synagogues. He could have sovereignly healed them right where they were. But He didn’t. Just like He could have healed my friend in my church who came forward for prayer. God could have answered His prayer for healing right in his own bedroom. But God didn’t. God chose, instead, to use me as a touchpoint of His grace, a conduit of His power, in order to heal. This is something that is a regular pattern for God.

When God flows through us, through the Holy Spirit, to bring healing to someone else, we are functioning like a spring of water. Sovereign healings are like rain. Someone in ancient times could wait and say, “If God really wanted me to have water, He would send rain.” And there is some truth in that. But understanding the ways of God is really important. Another way God provides water is having people travel to a spring, or to a well, to collect water. People shouldn’t just wait on rain; they must travel to that spring if they want water.

Waiting on rain isn’t always always an act of faith. Often it is an act of misunderstanding the different ways that God provides water for us. The same is true of healing. Waiting for a sovereign healing is sometimes an act of faith. But often, it is simply a misunderstanding of the different ways that God provides healing for us. Sometimes we must travel to a source of healing, a place or person where God is regularly pouring out His healing through the gifts of the Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:9-10, 28).

So we should always pray for our own healing and ask God to bring healing. But sometimes we must go to the wellsprings of healing. This means seeking prayer from those within our church who operate in gifts of healing. It also might mean traveling to people and ministries who specialize in gifts of healing and miracles.

In Jesus’s day, people could have stubbornly stayed home and reasoned with themselves, “If God wanted to heal me, He would do it wherever He wanted and whenever He wanted.” But this is a misapplication of the truth of God’s sovereignty. Those who traveled to Jesus got healed. Those who saw the power of God pouring out of Jesus, and understood that proximity mattered, picked up their friend on a mat and did whatever they could to get them in front of Jesus. They understood that sometimes God sends rain to us and other times we must go to the wellspring for water.

We need to be ready in faith to travel, to go to where God is pouring out His healing power. We need to be able to identify healthy springs and go to them. We need to have enough wisdom to discern the difference between the charlatans and the real servants of God. Going to someone who has gifts of healing still does not guarantee our healing, but it acknowledges one of the primary ways God brings His healing into this world.

Prayer and Fasting Week

Blow the trumpet in Zion, declare a holy fast, call a sacred assembly. Gather the people, consecrate the assembly…

Joel 2:15-16

Now John’s disciples and the Pharisees were fasting. Some people came and asked Jesus, “How is it that John’s disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees are fasting, but yours are not?”
Jesus answered, “How can the guests of the bridegroom fast while he is with them? They cannot, so long as they have him with them. But the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them, and on that day they will fast.

Mark 2:18-20

Our church, Horizon Church of Towson, is stepping into big things as a community and we want to cover them in prayer. So, we are taking this week to focus our prayer and to fast. We also have a treasured member of our community who is in need of some serious breakthrough in her situation. So we are focusing on her as well.

We are encouraging our people from June 21st to June 25th to choose one or more days to fast (from food, coffee, social media, or something else that is usually a part of your daily life…just make sure it is a sacrifice) and pray for the three big prayer requests below.

If fasting is new to you, here is a quick guide that we put together for Lent that can give you some basics on fasting.  

Three Things to Focus on in Prayer this week:

1.  Breakthrough in healing for Katie Laughlin:  

Five years ago, on June 25th, Katie was admitted to the E.R. Because of medical mistakes, she suffered from a traumatic brain injury. They told us she’d never wake up from her coma. We prayed. She did. They told us she’d never have cognitive functioning. We prayed. She does. They told us she’d never have the trach removed. We prayed. She did. They told us she’d likely never go home. We prayed. She’s home. It has been a long, exhausting road. But we are more determined than ever to fight for Katie in prayer. We believe there is power when we unite together in prayer as a community. We need to pray for healing in her brain, improvement with her speech, and mobility in her hands. Let us cry out to our Heavenly Father who is good and loving and ask God to once again do the impossible for the glory of His Name and for Katie’s sake. 

2. Stewardship in owning a church property:

It has been a multi-year process of working with First Lutheran to purchase their church property and continue a legacy of the Kingdom of God in the heart of Towson. We want this building to be used for God’s glory and to make an impact on our surrounding community. God has answered our prayer in providing a permanent location for us, and now we want to be good stewards of this great gift. Pray that we would have the vision, wisdom, and provision to use this building in a way that would usher in the Kingdom of God right here in the heart of Towson. 

3. New Senior Leadership Team:

Over the last year we’ve been working hard behind the scenes to update and overhaul our leadership structure at Horizon. We are so grateful for the all the Leaders who have sacrificed so much of themselves to bring this church to where it is today. Now we take a giant step forward and pass the reins to a smaller, more agile, power-packed team of leaders that we are calling the Senior Leadership Team. Pray that each member of that team would have the hand of God upon them and that the wisdom of God would flow through them as we make decisions about Horizon’s future. (Tyler Bello, Lisa Bond, Steve McDonald, Beth Ann Davis, Jenn Zipp, Tom Sanco) Pray that the transition from one leadership team to another would be smooth and full of blessing for everyone involved.

One Thing I Do Know

A second time they summoned the man who had been blind. “Give glory to God by telling the truth,” they said. “We know this man is a sinner.”

He replied, “Whether he is a sinner or not, I don’t know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!”

John 9:24-25

Jesus spit on the ground, made mud, and put in on the blind man’s eyes. Then Jesus told him to go wash in the Pool of Siloam. The man went and washed and came home seeing. People were astonished. The man’s neighbors couldn’t believe it. His own parents couldn’t believe it. But the Pharisees had the hardest time believing it.

The man told the Pharisees his testimony about Jesus but they were sure Jesus was not from God. So they asked the parents to confirm the story. Still in unbelief, they asked the man to explain his healing again.

What I love about the man’s second response is that he confesses his own lack of theological acumen. He is not a scribe. He is not a scholar. He can’t break down Torah law like a professor. All he knows is his testimony. He was blind and now he can see. And this is the heart of every follower of Jesus.

This is also why I love praying for people and leaning into the supernatural gifts of the Spirit. You can find me most Wednesday mornings praying for someone in an extended prayer session of two to three hours. My prayer partner and I do a lot of listening to the Holy Spirit during these prayer sessions. We try to follow His lead. We engage in the gifts of discerning the spirits, healing, prophecy, impartation and the like. We see the power of God move as we pray. It is truly an amazing and humbling experience.

But the best part is yet to come. The best part is the testimony emails that we get a few days later. When the Presence of God comes in power, people are changed. People are set free from demonic oppression. People are healed in their soul. People are healed in their bodies. People reconnect with the love of the Father and are forever changed.

If you want to read some of these awesome testimonies, we’ve collected some of them here. We received a recent testimony from a person we prayed for. They had felt anger and bitterness in their chest for a long time. This person wrote to tell us that on their drive home from work two days after our prayer session they realized that feeling was gone. God had lifted it off their chest and it wasn’t there anymore. Instead, the Lord had filled them with peace. Upon realizing this, the person broke down and wept tears of joy for the first time in their life. They described this experience as “wild.”

This is why we do what we do. This is why gifts of the Spirit are so vital to the Church and shouldn’t be abandoned just because we’ve seen them used poorly in the past. They are tools that were given to the Church to bring life-change.

What people often need is not a theological explanation of Jesus. They need an encounter with Him. They need to feel His Presence and be changed by it. They may walk away not having all their theology worked out, but their testimony will be the same as the blind man who was healed. “Whether Jesus is _________ or not, I don’t know. One thing I do know. I was hurting and broken but now I‘m healed!

Praying Together

We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.

2 Corinthians 1:8-11

It is often said, “God will never give you more than you can handle.” But this statement is an extrapolation of 1 Corinthians 10:13 which actually states, “God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” But this must be taken together with the above passage where Paul clearly states that he and his companions, “were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired for life itself.

God does hold back temptation so that it is not beyond our capacity to resist. He also provides a way out. But life is not so kind. Life will throw stuff at us that feels beyond our ability to endure. But, as Paul recognizes, these are always opportunities to rely on God instead of relying on ourselves.

Paul remembers the times in the past when God delivered him from trouble, so Paul is able to trust in Him again. He also has a community of people praying for him. This seems to be a great encouragement to Paul as he faces such hardships.

Have you ever joined together with a number of people in praying for something and then got to rejoice together with them when God answered your collective prayer? It is such a powerful moment. And the passage of scripture above in the Greek calls that moment a “χάρισμα” (charisma).

We are used to seeing the Greek word “χάρισμα” (charisma) in 1 Corinthians 12 when Paul is listing the spiritual gifts. The word is usually translated “gift.” The word “χάρισμα” (charisma) combines the Greek word for grace, “χάρισ” (charis), with either the singular ending -μα (-ma) or the plural ending -ματα (-mata). The plural “χαρίσματα” (charismata) is where we get the term “charismatic.”

The full meaning of this word is more than just “gift.” The connotation is more like “grace-enablement,” or “grace-empowerment.” We could even translated it more literally as “gracelet.” Whereas the word “droplet” describes a small bit of liquid that comes from a larger source of liquid, the word “χάρισμα” (charisma) or “gracelet” describes a small bit of grace-enablement that comes from a larger source of grace. In other words, a “χάρισμα” (charisma) is a divine enablement of grace given by the Spirit. This is why we tend to call it a “spiritual gift.”

In the above passage, that moment where a group of people pray for something and see a miraculous intervention or a divine breakthrough as a result of their collective praying is called a “χάρισμα” (charisma). The English version above translates it “gracious favor.” Some translations translate it “gracious gift.” In other words, one of the “gifts of the Spirit” not listed in 1 Corinthians 12 is listed here. Many of us have experienced this spiritual gift but didn’t know it was a gift of the Spirit. It is the gift of having God’s grace poured out in a situation as a group of people agree together in prayer. And, as His grace is released, there is a breakthrough or an intervention that wouldn’t have happened otherwise.

The potential of this collective spiritual gift gave Paul encouragement and endurance as he faced trials and persecutions in his ministry. He set his hope on the Lord as he knew his churches were praying for him. There is real power in a group of people collectively agreeing together in prayer.

Stimulus

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. 

Acts 2:42-44

Everyone knows that the economic stimulus package that is being sent out to people, while temporarily helpful, is just a band-aid. Strangely enough, stimulus checks like this are most helpful in stimulating the economy when they are given to people who aren’t struggling financially. Only those who have an economic engine–like a good job or investment strategy–and are responsible with their money can take that check and pour it back into the economy. Those really struggling need it just to survive and pay debts. The check stops with them.

This same principle applies to our life with God. Moments where we might have a spiritual encounter, like at a retreat or conference, are helpful but can’t be expected to sustain a person. Strangely enough, these moments are most helpful to the Kingdom when they impact those with a spiritual engine already established in their life. For those really struggling, the moment often stops with them. But for those with an established spiritual engine, the moment turns the person into a conduit of the Spirit, impacting all the people around them.

A spiritual engine is a pattern of spiritual disciplines that daily connect a person to the Lord. This is what truly sustains growth in the Christian life.

For the early church, they had this kind of spiritual engine. They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching. For us this would be regular time in God’s word, studying and meditating on scripture. The early church devoted themselves to fellowship and the breaking of bread. For us this would be regular times of gathering with other believers to be encouraged and challenged in our walk with the Lord. And the early church devoted themselves to prayer. For us this would be daily time talking to Jesus, laying out our requests, and listening to the Spirit for comfort, guidance, and direction.

When we have these disciplines in our life, they become a spiritual engine that helps to keep us on fire for the Lord. And the fruit from this kind of intimacy with the Lord is undeniable. For the early church, the apostles regularly engaged in signs and wonders, miracles, healings, and deliverances, etc. The miracles were signs pointing people to the reality of the in-breaking of the Kingdom of God among them. And all the believers shared their possessions with each other. They took care of each other and the outsider. They were a close-knit community.

When moments of spiritual encounter come, they fuel the fire of those who are already operating with a spiritual engine in their life. Without this, these incredible moments become a flash in the pan. Too many followers of Jesus think that spending one-on-one time with the Lord is optional. It’s not. Daily time in the word, in prayer, and regular time connecting to other believers is essential for growth.

Recovering from Discouragement

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Joshua 1:9

Joshua had just been given the job of trying to fill Moses’s shoes. Anyone want that job? Joshua was assigned the task of leading the Hebrew people into the Promised Land. This land was flowing with milk and honey, but it was also filled with giants and armies. The Lord tells Joshua to be strong and courageous, to not be afraid and not be discouraged. The reason? God will be with them wherever they go.

And this reveals a secret to bouncing back from discouragement.

Have you ever hit the wall of discouragement? Maybe work became overwhelming. Or someone spoke a harsh word to you. Or you got into a fight with your spouse or family member or friend. Something was supposed to go right and instead it went horribly wrong.

Discouragement is like the brick wall that you don’t see coming. You’re just cruising along, enjoying life, and then you slam right into it unknowingly. Discouragement feels like a weight around your neck. It is demotivating and de-energizing.

So how do we recover from discouragement?

Sure, there are all the normal bits of advice. Exercise. Get outside. Go do something fun. Other people try to combat discouragement by using their favorite escape. They escape into video games, food, alcohol, etc. But I have found that these are only temporary in their relief.

Next time you feel discouraged, I want you to try this. Go to God in prayer. Describe to Him the situation that is so discouraging. Lay it all out. Then conclude with something like this: “Father, I feel discouraged right now, but I know You are with me. I know that I am Your son/daughter and You love me. I know what You say about me is true. And right now I need encouragement. Would You send me some encouragement today/this week?

That’s it! Ask God to encourage you. Have you ever done this? I know it sounds too simple, but, I am telling you, it is powerful! I have done this over and over again and watched as God brought encouragement to me in the most unique ways. After asking God to provide encouragement for me, I’ll get a random email or Facebook message. I’ll get what seems like a random word of encouragement from a source I wouldn’t expect. And I believe you will too.

The Lord commands us, “Do not be discouraged,” because He wants to provide encouragement for us. He doesn’t want us seeking our own methods of soothing our wounded soul. He doesn’t want us trying to escape life. He wants us returning to Him in our need and trusting that He is our ultimate provider of everything…even encouragement.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. 

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. 

James 1:2-5, 17

Pauline

I went in to pray for Katie as I do most Fridays. Nevin, her husband, told me that there was a new aid there today. The plan was to warn her that I was there to pray and that she could join if she wanted. God had different plans for us that day.

Katie is a young wife and mother of two young kids. In 2016 she experienced a traumatic brain injury because of mistakes made by doctors in the ER. They told us she’d never come out of the coma and that she’d be a vegetable the rest of her life. So we prayed. She eventually came out of the coma. She eventually became responsive. They told us she’d never get off of the trach. So we prayed. She now breathes on her own. They told us she’d always need to be in a care facility. So we prayed. She returned to her home in September 2020. She still doesn’t have control over most of her body or her speech. She still can’t eat food. She still needs a lot of care. So we keep praying that God would continue to heal her. (I invite you to pray with us for her complete healing.)

I visit Katie on Fridays to pray with her and for her. Robin, her mom, is usually there with me along with Katie’s 6-year-old daughter. But this time it was just me and Katie’s aid. So far, all of Katie’s aids have been French-speaking west African women who speak with a thick accent. They have all been Christians and all have joined in quietly in the background as we pray for Katie. This day was Pauline’s first time being Katie’s aid.

I introduced myself and asked if she wanted to pray with me. She said that she did and she was emphatic about it. I figured she would pray in the background as the other aids did. I was wrong. As I began praying for Katie, Pauline stood to her feet and raised up her arms. At first she mostly just agreed with what I was praying but I could sense that something was different. Pauline prayed with tremendous faith. The power of God filled the room as she and I prayed together.

Then, as I got toward the end of my prayers, Pauline began to get louder. She stepped over to Katie’s bed, kneeled down, placed her hands on the bed and began to intercede. And I mean REALLY intercede. She wasn’t launching “wishful thinking” kinda prayers. She was dropping bombs in the Spirit. She was praying for Katie, who she had never met before and doesn’t know, with a fervor that was palpable. She was on her knees crying out to the Lord for Katie’s healing. She was praying with power, with boldness, and with faith and trust. It was clear she has spent a LOT of time on her knees. The only thing I could do was kneel down with her.

As she and I prayed back and forth for the next few minutes, it was incredible. She was a true prayer warrior and she was going to battle for Katie–a stranger but a sister in Christ. When we finished and got up off the ground, I gave her a hug. She started the morning an unknown African woman from Cameroon and I an unknown white man from America. But by the end, we experienced the “unity of the Spirit”(Ephesians 4:3). She was family. I was her brother and she was my sister. There is nothing more unifying than the Holy Spirit. There is nothing that bonds people together who are so very different than the gospel of Jesus Christ. This is the beauty of the Church!

I asked her about herself and she mentioned that her ministry was intercession. She was a member of a global prayer chain connecting French-speaking Christians from America, Canada, Europe, and west Africa. She also said that, originally, she wasn’t going to accept the job of being Katie’s aid because she lives an hour away. But now she understood why she was there. She was there to pray for Katie. Before I left she promised to put Katie on the international prayer chain. So, now people from all the world are praying for a miracle for Katie. God is good!

During our prayer time together, the Lord showed me something about myself and Pauline. In the world’s system of privilege, I–a white American man–am at the top, and she–an French-speaking African women–is near the bottom. Even in the religious system of the Church, I am a pastor who ministers publicly and she is a medical aid worker who works behind-the-scenes. But God’s Kingdom is an upside-down Kingdom.

It was clear from our prayer time, and from the years she has spent on her knees, that she was the one with special access to the throne room of God. She, not I, had the VIP All-Access pass into the Presence of God that morning. Her faith was so much more powerful than mine, her “privilege” in the Kingdom so much greater than mine. It was an honor for me to pray with her. I was in school and she was the instructor. It’s yet another reminder that “favor” in the Kingdom of God has nothing to do with one’s race, sex, or socio-economic status. It has nothing to do with whether you are a pastor on staff at a church or a medical aid worker. It has everything to do with surrender. It has everything to do with faith.

I hope to pray with Pauline again.

Fire of the Lord

Nearly everyone who has sat around a campfire has experienced the mesmerizing nature of fire. Something about it not only draws our attention but keeps our attention. Our bodies are drawn to the heat. Our eyes are drawn to the light and the colors. But it seems like there is more going on. It seems as if our very souls are drawn to it. We can’t explain it but there is a peace that comes over us as we gaze at the fire. There is a wonder to it all even though we’ve seen it a hundred times. So much more than just the chemical reaction of combustion, fire seems to have a life to it.

When God’s Presence invades our material world, He often shows up as fire. This started in the Old Testament:
By day the Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light“(Exodus 13:21). “Mount Sinai was covered with smoke, because the Lord descended on it in fire” (Exodus 19:18). “On the day the tabernacle, the tent of the covenant law, was set up, the cloud covered it. From evening till morning the cloud above the tabernacle looked like fire. That is how it continued to be; the cloud covered it, and at night it looked like fire“(Numbers 9:15-16).

This continued in the New Testament when the Holy Spirit was sent to followers of Jesus:
When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit…”(Acts 2:1-4).

When John encountered the risen Jesus, John described Him as surrounded by light and fire with eyes blazing with fire: “I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands, and among the lampstands was someone like a son of man, dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. The hair on his head was white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters“(Revelation 1:12-15).

So maybe it is not that God is like fire. Maybe we have it backwards. Could it be that fire is like God? Could it be that what captivates us so much about fire is that a part of us knows it is like our Creator? The light, the colors, the heat, they are a shadow of what we’ll experience when we stand before God in the fullness of His Presence.

Sometimes when I pray for people and the Holy Spirit comes in power, I get really hot. I start sweating because the heat gets so intense. Other times, the person I am praying for gets hot. They start sweating. They testify to feeling heat either all over their body or in the one area that we are praying for. Maybe we experience the heat because the fire of the Spirit is present and our bodies are responding to it. The temperature in the room hasn’t changed. But there is a fire in the spirit realm and our bodies can sense it.

The fire of the Lord is so much more than just a metaphor. It is real. It is tangible. It can be experienced and felt. Every fire gives off light and heat. The Presence of the Lord does the same. And it is more captivating than any campfire we’ll ever experience.

The Turn

“Arise, shine, for your light has come,
    and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.
See, darkness covers the earth
    and thick darkness is over the peoples,
but the Lord rises upon you
    and his glory appears over you.
Nations will come to your light,
    and kings to the brightness of your dawn.

“Lift up your eyes and look about you:
    All assemble and come to you;
your sons come from afar,
    and your daughters are carried on the hip.
Then you will look and be radiant,
    your heart will throb and swell with joy;

Isaiah 60:1-5

“We’re at the turn.”

That’s what I heard the Lord tell me the other day. As I’ve processed it, I believe He was referencing how when people race around a track, there is always a final turn before the home stretch. The home stretch comes right before the finish line.

I believe God was saying, for so many of the people I had been praying for, they are at the turn. This is the turn that happens right before the finish of one season and the beginning of a new season. The new season will bring a brand new life. It’s at the turn that the finish line is in sight for the first time.

One friend for whom I’ve prayed for four years went through infertility, divorce, and loss of her foster children. She’s at the turn. Another friend for whom I’ve been praying for more than four years experienced a traumatic brain injury from a medical mistake. She’s finally leaving the medical facility she’s been in for years and will receive medical care at home where she can be around her family. She’s at the turn.

Another friend has been battling autoimmune disease and multiple misdiagnoses for three years. He just started a new medicine that is looking promising. He’s at the turn. A married couple who had been estranged from their daughter for three years just had a reunion and got to see their grandchild. They’re at the turn. For years I’ve prayed for my sister to find a husband and be married. So have my parents. She’s a few weeks away from her wedding day. She’s at the turn.

And these are all happening in August and September of 2020. A few months from now every single person mentioned above will have a dramatically differently looking life. Their new life is within sight. It won’t be long now! We are at the turn. Darkness has covered their life for a time, but the Lord is rising upon them. Their hearts of sadness are turning to hearts swelling with joy. This is the season we are in right now. Praise Jesus!

I wonder how many more people this word applies to. Have you been praying for something for a long time? I’m not talking about a few months of praying. I’m talking about three, four, or five years of praying consistently for something? It’s hard to faithfully pray for something for that long. But I am seeing all of these prayer requests come into a season right now where the tide is turning. What is that for you?

We’re at the turn. Look for it. Lift up your eyes and look about you. The new day is coming!

Keep Praying

I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you…

Ephesians 1:18

What happens when we pray for people who aren’t making the best decisions in their life? How do our prayers affect them?

In eternity, we will have free will, yet we will only choose what is good. I believe this will happen for two reasons. First, our completely purified and redeemed hearts will only desire what is good. Secondly, we will only have good options to choose from.

When you pray for people, you release the Kingdom into their life. I believe this does two things. First, it provides their hearts the option to explore different desires, good desires, that they may not have considered before. They can now choose to follow desires that align with the Kingdom of God that they didn’t have access to before. Secondly, it provides external options to choose from that weren’t there before.

Imagine the person you are praying for in a convenience store full of junk food. Your prayer for them releases in them a craving for fruit. Your prayer also introduces a fruit and vegetable stand from the farmer’s market into the convenience store. Your prayer for them doesn’t force them to make a better choice but it does provide for them better options.

Keep praying.