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Prayer

When The people of God are touched afresh by the Holy Spirit, we are given a greater desire to pray. It's not that we find praying any easier, Usually far from it- but prayer becomes infinitely more worthwhile, for we sense the Spirit moving within us, drawing us into a closer union with the Father through Jesus Christ. There has always been a tendency for us to treat prayer for the sick as if it were like a magical formula than an act of Spiritual Communion with God. We get the idea that so-and-so's prayer is more effective than ours because his relationship with God is different and he knows just the right words to use. We are tempted to try to manipulate the Lord through our prayers rather than to let Him manipulate us. We have to remember there is no privileged hierarchy in the people of the New Covenant.
Christ is our One High Priest. United in Him, each one of us can approach the Throne of Grace. Any of us can pray for healing-For ourselves and
for others. Misunderstanding can arise out of careless reading of passages like *James5:16* ''Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. ''The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.'' Superficially the last section of that passage sounds as if the more Holy an intercessor is, the more likely that God will hear his prayer. I don't want to underlay the importance of personal Holiness in any ministry. Obviously those who are more obedient to the Lord are more likely to pray according to His will. And it is, of course, perfectly Scriptural to ask for others to pray for you, especially those whom you believe are trying
to be faithful disciples of Christ Jesus. But when he used the phrase ''a righteous man'' The author of James was echoing the assurances in Old Testament passages such as *see Psalm24:15; Proverbs15:29* which teach that God hears the prayers of those who trust Him. What he was saying was that those to whom the letter is addressed should have confidence in the efficacy of prayer, provided the prayers they offered were not just words of half-hearted utterances but petitions which sprang from their trust in God. Such prayers should be powerful because they would be inspired by the power which God gives. Prayer for the sick should be ''IN THE SPIRIT.'' That it why traditional prayer ends with the words ''THROUGH JESUS CHRIST OUR LORD. AMEN'' the phrase is so familiar to us that we tend to express it without a second
thought. Yet it enriches the New Testament teaching of the nature of prayer- that it is offered in and through the name of Jesus Christ who, by the operation of The Holy Spirit, redeems us and sanctifies us and makes our prayers acceptable to God. Prayer is the Spirit of God praying in us. Formal prayers can be used as models, such as this: ''O Merciful God, giver of life and health; bless, we pray, your servant and those who minister to Him of your healing gifts; that he may be restored to health of body and mind; through Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour. Amen'' But most of us would probably prefer something more personal and spontaneous. We would want to incorporate into what we say things about the sickness and the situation of the person we are praying for. Which means we have to rely on what The Holy Spirit puts
into our minds at the time rather than on the text of a prayer from a book. The effectiveness of your own prayer for a sick individual will depend on many things-not least on the degree of openness you and those around you have to God when you pray. There are certain ingredients in this ministry of prayer for healing which The Holy Spirit uses to guide us when we pray.


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