But just because we are not a charismatic church doesn’t mean that laying hands and praying over people is not scriptural. Indeed it is. God has been dealing with me about this for months. I believe we will see the Lord do some incredible things by moving in obedience to what He is leading us to do.
As most of you know, both my dad and Sadie have suffered from illnesses the past month. But it was long before they got sick that God led us to do the God is Able to heal service. Here is how this idea came about…
At the end of December, the Lord spoke very clearly to our staff that He wanted us to do a March sermon series called, “God is Able.” We typically plan sermon series out months in advance. But there was an unusual excitement I felt about this particular series. In our praying and planning, we felt the Lord say to spend the month of March teaching on faith from Scripture and on the 5th and final Sunday of March to call the day, “God is Able to Heal.”
So the direction of the Lord was clear. He wanted us to build the church’s faith and conclude this big series with an invitation for prayer and healing. I felt as if I knew exactly what the Lord wanted, but I had no idea He was going to test my faith to the max before I attempted to pray for others.
On the first Sunday of the month, March 1st, I was speaking on how God is able to provide. It was the most unusual Sunday. In the middle of my sermon, I noticed our leadership pouring out of the back, which I thought was strange. Then our student pastor, Danny, approached my pulpit at approximately 12pm, I was only half way through my sermon. He told me that my dad was in the ER and that I needed to leave immediately. Nothing like this had ever happened. Pastor Bob took over the rest of the service while I rushed to the hospital.
When I got to the ER about 10 minutes later, my dad was at death’s door and he was getting more critical by the moment. That evening he went on life support and they prepared us that he may not survive the night.
I have prayed with so many families in this situation, but never understood the emotional rollercoaster it is until facing it myself. One minute, I was ready to let him go knowing it would be the greatest day of his life to walk from this earth onto the shores of eternity…then the next minute, I found myself begging the Lord to spare his life. It was the most raw my emotions had ever felt.
Many stood with us in prayer and the Lord was near me every step of that valley of death experience. Thankfully, the Lord touched and strengthened my dad. He surprised everyone by going home that same week. Then another shock quickly came. My dad was released on Friday and Sadie was scheduled for an MRI that Monday for some vision complications she had been having. To our surprise, they diagnosed her with a pseudo tumor behind her right eye caused by excessive spinal fluid her body was producing.
When we planned the God is Able Series, I had no idea God was going to use my family as the illustration. It has been a long and difficult season, but what I have preached for years, I have found true this month. What is painful in our lives is most profitable. God has stretched and strengthened my faith as never before.
My hope for PCC tomorrow morning is that while we gather for worship, we are acutely aware of God’s power and Sovereignty. The last four weeks we have been saturated in God’s Word with His ability to intervene in our lives. We have seen that God is able to provide, God is able to move mountains, God is able to restore and last week we saw that God is able to rescue! This Sunday, our focus is that God is able to heal. May we join our faith together for those who are suffering with illnesses and pray for them that God will touch their bodies and strengthen their hearts.
I hope you will consider joining us for a special day of prayer. I don’t believe it’s going to be weird, awkward or uncomfortable. We are going to invite people for prayer, offer simple, genuine and authentic prayer for God to touch them and put our faith on what God’s Word says, “The prayer of faith will heal the sick.” James 5:15.