The place of prayer in healing (1)

The Doctor's Life Support for 25 April

Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him …

James 5: 14

There are three areas of law within which we are unavoidably confined on earth – natural law, moral or behavioural law, and spiritual law. Natural law includes the way in which the body functions and heals itself. This is mostly predictable and is the field of somatic medicine. In India, Public Health was concerned mostly with control of vectors of disease and vaccines. Overwhelmingly it dealt with natural law. With moral or behavioural law, outcomes are affected by our emotions and our choices. In the USA, Public Health conferences major on alcoholism, drug addiction, obesity, sexually transmitted diseases, AIDS and high stress. Most of these result from personal choices and, for the Christian, prayer is a powerful instrument for health because it encourages moral, healthy choices. Spiritual law concerns our relationship with God. We are created ‘in his image’ and our physical brain, or mind, is the instrument by which our spirit controls our body. When we pray for healing we may be thinking of physical pains or symptoms. When God hears our prayers, he may look first at some anger or bitterness that is affecting the quality of our life. The Biblical concept of ‘shalom’ means completeness, soundness and wellbeing – the peace of living in obedience to God. (Isaiah 48: 18–19, 22) This is what leads to balance and inner health. Hence, all fears and sadness, For the Lord of gladness, Jesus, enters in; Those who love the Father, Though the storms may gather, Still have peace within; Yes, whate’er I here must bear, Still in thee lies purest pleasure, Jesu, priceless treasure. Johann Franck (1618–77), tr. by Catherine Winkworth (1829–78)

Written by Paul Brand from the USA

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