A Prayer for Healing

Right now more than ever health and well-being are likely at the forefront of our minds on a daily basis. Amidst this global pandemic it’s tough to see hope when so many of our friends, acquaintances, and family members are sick.

I don’t often blog about this heavy of a subject, and it’s not one I take lightly. Many lives have been lost not just to the coronavirus, but also countless other illnesses, accidents, and violence recently. The news is hard to watch, friends. But I don’t have to tell you that. You already know.

My goal today is to bring a bit of hope to your life with this prayer for healing. I won’t pretend to know what you’re dealing with right now, or what will happen after today. I (unfortunately, but also definitely) can’t promise God will miraculously heal all for whom we pray. But what I do know is this: God is good. God loves you. He hears you.

When you have no words left, he sees your tears and hears your sighs and feels your shudders.

And I also know this: He cares. He really does care so deeply.

So if you’re someone who needs healing this week or if you know someone else who does, but have no more words to pray, its okay to let God hear those prayers of slumped shoulders, sleepless nights and unsaid things.

And if later you find yourself still wanting for words to lift up for your loved ones near or far away, pray this with me. Let’s seek out the Healer together.

“For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”

Matthew 18:20
Father of Love,
Hold us in your hands this week. Pour your unending compassion out onto us and see our wounds and sickness and hurt.
Son of Righteousness,
Keep us safe from illness, disease, injuries and strife. Like a shepherd with his lambs, hem us in behind and before with your rod and staff of protection.
Spirit of Compassion, have mercy on us. Guard our hearts and minds as well as our bodies as we rest in you. Take from us our anxieties that too closely grip our hearts.
With thanksgiving and fervent appeal, we leave these things to you, Creator and Healer.
Amen.

“Healer of our every ill,
Light of each tomorrow,
Give us peace beyond our fear,
and hope beyond our sorrow.”

Marty Haugen

Reset

The morning started far too early. Or did the night just go super fast? Or did I lose track of time completely between diaper changes and feedings? Bleary eyed, I reach for the coffee. (Of course.) But lately, I’ve been pushing hard to reach for something – or rather Some One – else besides just the caffeine when the morning comes.

Early mornings with little sleep between them and the last evening are habit now. With lots of littles comes…well, very little rest. If you’re a parent, you know. 🙂 While this is nothing new to me three kids in, sometimes my lack of sanity and joy after a particularly tough night still surprises me.

In the more recent past, I am ashamed to admit that my attitude is less than stellar on these earlier mornings, and I’m prone to making bad habits out of grouchiness and bitterness and snappiness.

But something else has strangely become a habit, too. When I feel like I just can’t handle another stressful morning of making sure everyone does their chores and schoolwork and ticking off the boxes of to-dos, and when I have no energy to dive into a creative project or craft, I always end up loading up all the kids and heading out into nature. A park. A lakeside trail. A local garden. A nearby orchard. When the overwhelm sets in, I set out.

And miracle of miracles, its like hitting the reset button! Getting outside somehow helps me get out of my head. And when the brain fog finally clears a bit, I can hear and see and feel Jesus so much better.

The breezes kiss the yellow-tinged leaves. Thank you, Lord.

The grasshopper flits over a vibrant flower. Thank you, Lord.

The children giggle as the case each other. Thank you, Lord.

It’s like a liturgy created just for me in the time I so desperately needed it, but couldn’t create on my own.

While I strive to create a Christ-centered, Spirit-filled home, sometimes I need to breathe deeply the fresh air God created. It only makes perfect sense that being out in Creation brings us closer to the Creator. Without fail I am reminded of His love for us. His peace that passes understanding. The hope that comes with salvation in Him.

Today, by the grace of God, the baby only woke once in the night and this morning feels like a good one. But because life always throws curveballs (and messes and grief and overwhelm), I am now more aware of how practicing being in God’s presence outside is a form of worship too.

Maybe today I will seek God’s face out in His creation and find something completely new. Maybe I will find a fresh way to approach a hard situation, a sense of peace about a troubling event, a quiet word to focus on as I watch a bumblebee or a praying mantis or a swaying wildflower.

The great thing about habits is that I can start anew any time. Any day. Today, whether sleep deprived or rested, glad or upset, I’m aiming to breathe afresh the air God so graciously granted and in turn, breathe deeply His presence.

“But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth and it will teach you, or let the fish in the sea inform you . Which of all these does not know that the hand of the LORD has done this? In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind.”

Job 12:7-10

Kayaking, Granola and Obedience

My husband and I had the amazing opportunity to go kayaking this weekend at a nearby lake.

We had been looking forward to this outing for several days and our excitement to have a bit of an adventure sans kids shone through our mutually silly and grinning faces. I love kayaking, but it had been over a decade since I last set either of my feet inside a kayak. The Midwest wind was crazy and the waves were more than choppy as we parked the truck and unloaded the kayaks onto the sand.

Despite my excitement, I felt a bit uncertain. Thoughts of the boat tipping and water snakes and fish biting at my ankles filled my head. Even though I had some experience, I was still nervous. Even though I knew my husband would bail me out of the murky lake water if I tipped, my heart beat a little faster as we pushed off from the shore.

Still I knew this was the outing I’d been waiting for, and couldn’t wait to push off into the water. I simply hoped and trusted it would all turn out fun, whatever happened.

Sure enough, after even a few minutes every shred of my nervousness dissipated into the thrill of seeing what was around the next bend. Of course with the wind, the arm workout was almost more than I could handle by the end, but when we finally hit a stopping point I felt completely differently than I had when we set out an hour before.

Words like exhilarated, peaceful, and free rolled around my head. And as I watched the yellow late-September leaves tumble onto the lakeshore from the trees above I realized that I was so glad I decided to do the thing that made me nervous at the beginning.

Is God speaking to your soul this week about something that you know is good and right, but has you just a bit freaked out? Have you heard Him gently tapping on your heart about that one thing you’ve thought a million times about doing, but keep pushing it aside?

So many times I’ve felt that clammy-hand, racing-heart gut feeling that says, I should do it…I think I could…No, way… I couldn’t…but I should…I really should.

God speaks in so many different ways, but for me, when there’s something I know I should do – but fear or worry or pride keeps me from doing it – that awful gut feeling only worsens. Until I obey.

One time – honestly, my Bible study friends can attest to this! – the task was as simple as making a couple of quarts of granola for a neighbor. For some reason I was terrified. I didn’t know her at all, but knew she recently had a significant loss in her life…

Would I be offending her if I just showed up on her porch? What if she’s allergic to an ingredient in my granola? Should I make something entirely different? Would she be too sad (or simply worried) to even open the door to a stranger? What would the other neighbors think? Should I be making granola for everyone?? Those are some of my honest thoughts, but I knew deep down that truly they were also terrible excuses. God had laid her on my heart for a reason and when I confessed this to my Bible study girls, they stated so matter-of-factly, just do it!

And it really was that simple. Those words: freedom, exhilaration, peace – rolled around in my head the same way they did this weekend at the lake.

I don’t know how God speaks to you when he wants you to obey. Maybe in a whisper when your open window catches the breeze. Maybe in a song on the radio. Maybe with heart-pounding gut feelings that say just do it.

Can I tell you a secret? Today it was THIS post. (That’s why it’s going live so late!)

Whatever that thing is this week, I’m praying both you and I will have the guts to say yes. To hear his call. To obey again. And again.

I know we won’t regret it.

“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”

James 1:22

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.”

Matthew 7:24

Illumine

I was reading through some poetry last night and these words made me catch my breath. I think I’ve heard them before somewhere… The context, the author, and any extra thoughts about it escaped me though. I read it again. What a notion…to request from God himself to illuminate all that is dark within my soul!

Lord knows there’s a lot of it. Darkness so deep I can’t even begin to see where it starts and ends.

And that is why I need Christ.

Because he sees my heart, and knows all the dark corners that I have neglected, refused to see, and have even been hiding from — subconsciously or otherwise.

It’s radical. It’s a revolutionary – or no, maybe just plain scary – idea to ask in vulnerability for the Creator of Light to take a Holy lantern to every cobweb of our souls.

Photo by Highland Magazine on Unsplash

John Milton’s words are tough to swallow, and an even harder prayer to pray. Buried deep within me are the faults I don’t even want to admit to myself, much less my family or Bible study group or even best friends . The little lies and fears I end up believing deep in my soul. The anxiety and shame I allow myself to dwell on. The hurtful comments and judgmental attitudes of my heart. How could I possibly let go of all that to someone Who could expose it all?

What is dark in me, illumine.

-John Milton, Paradise Lost

But then, maybe if I surrendered…and allowed Jesus to step into the dark recesses of my heart, I’d feel a bit brighter. A bit less burdened. Maybe it would be easier to breathe and move and live.

If I choose this morning to come defenseless to the throne of God, I can trust in his mercy. I can rely on His grace. Those blankets of darkness – anger, anxiety, hurt, fear, regret – can dissipate into nothing if only I allow Jesus to pour out his grace-light upon them. And instead of that darkness, pure white radiance would flow into those corners instead.

It would flow into and across and over and pretty soon, the whole of my soul would be illuminated with Him.

And that is exactly what I desire.

More of Him. Less of me.

My prayer today – as terrifying as it is – echoes Milton. The vulnerability is worth it when you can trust your life with the Creator.

 What is dark in me, dear Jesus, illumine.

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

Hebrews 4:16

Blessings,

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