Prayer for the Sick: National Prayer

God has a heart for the nations of the world. Yet, when they conduct themselves in ways that breed degradation and corruption, the consequences fall where they may. Such was the case in the era of Abraham Lincoln. A man of faith in God’s word, he stood for righteousness’ sake and called for prayer throughout the land. The United States is once again at a point in its history where the words of God resound: . . . if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14 Here is President Lincoln’s proclamation, and today also being April 30th, we honor the spirit of repentance for healing.

A Day Of National Humiliation, Fasting, and Prayer in the The United States Of America on April 30, 1863

WHEREAS, the senate of the United States, devoutly recognizing the Supreme Authority and Just Government of Almighty God, in all the affairs of men and of nations, has by a resolution, required the President to designate and set apart a day for National prayer and humiliation: And whereas, it is the duty of nations as as well as of men, to owe their dependence upon the overruling power of God, to confess their sins and transgressions, in humble sorrow, yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon; and to recognize the sublime truth, announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord: And, in so much as we know that, by His divine law, nations, like individuals, are subjected to punishments and chastisements in this world, may we not justly fear that the awful calamity of civil war, which now desolates the land, may be but a punishment inflicted upon us for our presumptuous sins, to the needful end of our national reformation as a whole People? We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven. We have been preserved, these many years, in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth, and power as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us! It behooves us, then to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness. Now, therefore, in compliance with the request , and fully concurring in the views of the Senate, I do, by this proclamation, designate and set apart Thursday, the 30th day of April, 1863, as a day of national humiliation, fasting, and prayer. And I do hereby request all the People to abstain on that day from their ordinary secular pursuits, and to unite, at their several places of public worship and their respective homes, in keeping the day holy to the Lord, and devoted to the humble discharge of the religious duties proper to that solemn occasion. [Emphasis added] All this being done, in sincerity and truth, let us then rest humbly in the hope authorized by the Divine teachings, that the united cry of the Nation will be heard on high, and answered with blessings, no less than the pardon of our national sins, and the restoration of our now divided and suffering country, to its former happy condition of unity and peace. In witness whereof, I have here unto set my hand, and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed. Done at the city of Washington this thirtieth day of March, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the United States the eighty-seventy. By the President: ABRAHAM LINCOLN William H. Seward, Secretary of State
NOTE: The National Day of Prayer is usually observed during the first week of May each year.

The Temptation of Christ

Jesus’ Experience of Physical Life in God
Matthew 4:1-11 

Concerning Christ’s temptation, observe, that directly after he was declared to be the Son of God, and the Savior of the world, he was tempted; great privileges, and special tokens of Divine favor, will not secure any from being tempted. But if the Holy Spirit witness to our being adopted as children of God, that will answer all the suggestions of the evil spirit. Christ was directed to the combat.

If we presume upon our own strength, and tempt the devil to tempt us, we provoke God to leave us to ourselves. Others are tempted, when drawn aside of their own lust, and enticed, ; but our Lord Jesus had no corrupt nature, therefore he was tempted only by the devil. In the temptation of Christ it appears that our enemy is subtle, spiteful, and very daring; but he can be resisted. It is a comfort to us that Christ suffered, being tempted; for thus it appears that our temptations, if not yielded to, are not sins, they are afflictions only.

Satan aimed in all his temptations, to bring Christ to sin against God.

1. He tempted him to despair of his Father’s goodness, and to distrust his Father’s care concerning him. It is one of the wiles of Satan to take advantage of our outward condition; and those who are brought into straits have need to double their guard. Christ answered all the temptations of Satan with “It is written;” to set us an example, he appealed to what was written in the Scriptures.

This method we must take, when at any time we are tempted to sin. Let us learn not to take any wrong courses for our supply, when our wants are ever so pressing: in some way or other the Lord will provide.

2. Satan tempted Christ to presume upon his Father’s power and protection, in a point of safety. Nor are any extremes more dangerous than despair and presumption, especially in the affairs of our souls. Satan has no objection to holy places as the scene of his assaults.

Let us not, in any place, be off our watch. The holy city is the place, where he does, with the greatest advantage, tempt men to pride and presumption. All high places are slippery places; advancements in the world makes a man a mark for Satan to shoot his fiery darts at. Is Satan so well versed in Scripture as to be able to quote it readily? He is so.

It is possible for a man to have his head full of Scripture notions, and his mouth full of Scripture expressions, while his heart is full of bitter enmity to God and to all goodness. Satan misquoted the words. If we go out of our way, out of the way of our duty, we forfeit the promise, and put ourselves out of God’s protection. This passage, made against the tempter, therefore he left out part. This promise is firm and stands good. But shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?

3. Satan tempted Christ to idolatry with the offer of the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them. The glory of the world is the most charming temptation to the unthinking and unwary; by that men are most easily imposed upon. Christ was tempted to worship Satan. He rejected the proposal with abhorrence. “Get thee hence, Satan!”

Some temptations are openly wicked; and they are not merely to be opposed, but rejected at once. It is good to be quick and firm in resisting temptation. If we resist the devil he will flee from us. But the soul that deliberates is almost overcome. We find but few who can decidedly reject such baits as Satan offers; yet what is a man profited if he gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?

Christ was succoured after the temptation, for his encouragement to go on in his undertaking, and for our encouragement to trust in him; for as he knew, by experience, what it was to suffer, being tempted, so he knew what it was to be succoured, being tempted; therefore we may expect, not only that he will feel for his tempted people, but that he will come to them with seasonable relief.

~ Matthew Henry

Prayer for the Sick: Fasting?

Prayer alone with the Father was a normal part of life for Jesus. It enabled him to be receptive to instructions as he attested when he said, “the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do” (John 5:19). So, as he triumphed over temptation in the wilderness, we now observe in the annual 40 days of Lent. How does fasting feel for you? What do you discipline yourself toward, or what do you abstain from? It need not be confined to the Lenten season.

The purpose of fasting is to learn how to be sustained through prayer and communion with God. When this habit is well-established, then our spirit is more easily receptive and discerning of the quickened Word of God. As intercessors, we can be enabled to speak life and healing prophetically through our prayers for the sick.

I believe this is what sets apart the great healers of our time. Most of them admit to spending significant time in prayer. Then during the healing sessions, the virtue of God flows through them. And what happens for them is possible for us also. The Apostle Paul advises us to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18), and that can be done when we are out and about with our daily tasks. But there is also a devoted kind of prayer that requires focus. It can include biblical meditation.

In any case, there must be a time of listening during prayer, waiting for God to speak to us. If you do not sense anything, it’s OK to move ahead with your next activity. But rest assured that God will respond in his own time and in his own way. I have received messages from the television and from books, in addition to people. Sometimes there is simply a sudden “knowing” about something. This comes from relationship and it is especially encouraging during healing prayer.

Finally, Jesus tells us that when we pray (and also fast), we must do it without great fanfare (Matthew 6:5-6). Effective prayer for the sick is not for exhibition purposes. Indeed, sometimes you might choose to pray silently, or under your breath, so as not to seem conspicuous in certain settings. When preparing for healing prayer sessions, I tend to eat very lightly for three days in advance, and I eat nothing before the prayer session itself. Then I trust and believe that Holy Spirit is doing what’s necessary. You might try this to see how it fits your experience.

The practice of fasting can take various forms. It may not always apply to food although that is the most frequent application.

Here are some resources you might find useful for ideas:

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Prayer-for-the-Sick: Comfort and Faith


Hannah Whitall Smith addresses the topic of comfort in any of life’s events in her classic writing The God of All Comfort. In chapter three, she offers these simple steps of instruction:

If we want to be comforted,

  • We must make up our minds to believe every single solitary word of comfort God has ever spoken; and
  • We must refuse utterly to listen to any words of discomfort spoken by our own hearts, or by our circumstances.
  • We must set our faces like a flint to believe, under each and every sorrow and trial, in the divine Comforter, and to accept and rejoice in His all-embracing comfort.

I say, “set our faces like a flint,” because, when everything around us seems out of sorts, it is not always easy to believe God’s words of comfort.

  • We must put our wills into this matter of being comforted, just as we have to put our wills into all other matters in our spiritual life.
  • We must choose to be comforted.

~ ~ ~

The Scriptures tell us that faith comes by hearing and the Word of God is presented very clearly in the teaching of Brother Keith Moore of Faith Life Church in Branson. His ministry is very generous with the archives of his messages and with free access online and for download.

I would also recommend God’s Will To Heal: 101 Things God Said About Healing, a PDF handout that lists what God said… from the Bible, such as

  • I am the Lord that healeth thee (Exodus 15:26)
  • You shall be buried in a good old age (Genesis 15:15)
  • Whosoever will let him come and take of the water of life freely (Revelation 22:17)
  • Beloved, I wish above all things that you may…be in health (3 John 2)

These promises correspond to the 20-part series based on Luke 5:12-13   (Click the link)

One you will find encouraging is Receiving The Unseen

and you might find particular comfort in many of Brother Keith’s messages which can be searched on YouTube. Here is another of them from a conference – “Your Faith Will Make You Whole”:

Keith Moore’s ministry online is at Recent full Service Rebroadcasts can be accessed on Youtube.

Healing, Faith, and Miracles – Part 1

Let me begin by saying this: Nobody can truly explain healing by prayer in terms of what we experience with our 5 senses; that is, with our touch, taste, smell, sight, and hearing. These faculties do play a part in attesting to the manifestation of right functioning, yet the understanding is beyond thinking.

Here are a few Scriptures that convey what I am attempting to set forth:

Job 32:8  But there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding.

John 4:24  God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

There are spirits unlike God that afflict humans:

Luke 4:33  And in the synagogue there was a man, which had a spirit of an unclean devil, and cried out with a loud voice,

Luke 13:11  And, behold, there was a woman which had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bowed together, and could in no wise lift up herself.

Various means are noted in Biblical healing, yet they are not natural; there is “power, ” a supernatural virtue present.

Acts 28:8  And it came to pass, that the father of Publius lay sick of a fever and of a bloody flux: to whom Paul entered in, and prayed, and laid his hands on him, and healed him.

1 Corinthians 2:4-5  And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.
1 Corinthians 4:20  For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power.

1 Peter 2:24  Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.

These are only a few examples;  however, as you follow the stories of healings, keep in mind that the distractions from the presence of God were different then. So when He showed up, the people paid attention.

To be continued…