Thursday, November 4, 2010

Take it away, Jesus

I am not certain where this little gem came from, but I have seen this “powerful prayer” pop up all over facebook, emails, and a few other places:


I understand the heart behind this.  Nobody wants worry.  Nobody wants illness.  Everybody wants their family to be healed (emotionally, physically, spiritually, etc.).  And you have to commend the underlying reliance on Jesus in this prayer.  It is assumed in this prayer that it is only Christ that can heal worry and illness. 

Yet, something about this prayer rubs me the wrong way.  It’s not that I deny the Lord can take away worry, illness, etc.  Nor is it that I think his intention is to ultimately redeem us and heal us in Jesus’ name.  What bothers me, I think, is the focus and “Americanization” of this prayer.  Compare it to this one:

And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness, while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” (Acts 4:29-30 ESV)

This prayer is on the lips of a persecuted church.  Notice that they do not pray for the Lord to take away the persecution, to cure them of illness, or anything like that.  They do pray for healing but notice its focus.  It’s missional. 

The Americanized church prays to be relieved of suffering for the sake of comfort, security, and peace.  The gospel church prays that God will use suffering and equip them with boldness and power for the advancement of God’s kingdom.  HUGE difference.  One views God as the means to an end (prosperity).  The other views God as the end, and suffering as a means to more fully enjoy Him. 

The Americanized church thinks that the best life is now—or at least that if God had his way then we’d all be healthy, wealthy, and worry free.  Our health, poverty, and pain is the result of demonic influence.  If we would only let God be the center of our lives and trust him with these prayers then we would not be in the grip of Satan and we would have prosperity. 

Small problem with that, though.  God IS on the throne and Jesus-loving Christians get cancer, have mental breakdowns, and starve.  And unless you want to embrace dualism ALL of this happens through the goodness of a God that is actively ruling the world as He sees fit. 

God will eventually heal.  There will be a day when no child of God will suffer.  Cancer will be no more.  Illness will be gone.  Death will be defeated.  And we will have wealth--real wealth--that is immeasurable. 

But that doesn’t happen in this age.  In this age suffering has a mission.  Make sure that your prayers reflect that.

1 comment:

  1. "Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven..."



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