Why should I pray for healing if it’s a chronic illness? (3 reasons it is so hard)

I’ve said before that for me, prayer is often feels like making a wish on a ‘wish chip’ or over a birthday cake.

Today, I want to suggest that perhaps prayer is also like waving a magic wand…

praying for healing why 2 www.calledtowatch.com #chronicillness #suffering #loneliness #caregiver #pain #caregiving #spoonie #faith #God #Hope

The last post discussed why we need to make up our minds about prayer, even if it seems silly or childish. Now I want to ask:

Why should we pray for healing if our Loved One’s illness is chronic?

Prayer is not a choice

If a wizard doesn’t have a wand, we begin to doubt whether he truly is a wizard.

If he has one, and doesn’t use it… well that’s just silly!

Likewise, the Bible says if we are Christians, prayer for healing is not just an optional extra if we feel in the right mood (Ephesians 6:18; James 5:13). It’s part of who we are.

We want healing, plain and simple. And if we’re not asking God for it, I suspect it means we’re asking someone else.

Perhaps we have pinned our hopes on doctors and treatments (the gifts rather than the Giver) or simply ‘fate’ (what will be will be).

If the former, we’ve created idols; if the latter, we’ve lost sight of God’s bigness and sovereignty.

Prayer can sometimes feel like something of little consequence. A few muttered words, clenched fists, perhaps closed eyes. Yet I think, as Watchers, praying for healing is a unique way we can live out our faith.

It is faith in action and glorifies God as trustworthy and powerful.

Prayer is exciting

Let’s not forget what prayer is.

It is a sacred action. Praying directly to the God of the entire universe for healing is a gift and a blessing.

God spilled Jesus’ blood for all time, so we can approach Him for 20 minutes as we drive to work.

Let’s not waste such a sacrifice by retreating into embarrassment.

Perhaps it doesn’t feel very exciting to you:

Often my prayers for my Mum’s healing seem repetitive. They exhaust me. I don’t feel like dragging sickness into my prayer life.

Yet the solution to our apathy and our Loved One’s sickness is the same: prayer. Some days we will need to pray in order to pray.

Pray for excitement.

“Some days we will need to pray in order to pray.” Tweet @calledtowatch

praying for healing why 2 www.calledtowatch.com #chronicillness #suffering #loneliness #caregiver #pain #caregiving #spoonie #faith #God #Hope

Prayer is not actually something we do

When we pray… we’re not actually holding the answer in our hands.

This seems a bit obvious, so let me explain:

Prayer is not a lonely task, or a solo activity.

It’s a conversation. It’s a reminder that we are never alone! Prayer arises from our relationship with God. God the Spirit inside us speaks to God the Father. In essence, God is on both sides of the conversation – and so we are never alone!

Secondly, prayer throws the ball into God’s court.

It’s about handing over the magic wand, and leaving the problem with the Maker of the wand rather than the ‘user’. We ask someone for something primarily because we can’t do it ourselves.

If prayer is like a magic wand, God is holding it, not us.

BUT prayer is hard

Having said all this, praying is not easy. Praying for healing even less so. After all:

1. We have to learn how

Sadly, prayer isn’t natural to us.

When Jesus’ disciples asked Him how to pray, He didn’t laugh at the question. Nor did He say ‘What do you mean? It’s not that hard’ or ‘go ahead, you already know how!’ No, instead He sat down and taught them by example.

Learning to pray aloud is also difficult. It’s even less natural.

Take heart, my fellow Watches, if praying for healing is not easy for you.

2. It requires perseverance

Like any tricky thing, building a habit of prayer takes time.

It requires discipline to pray; it requires humility. In Gethsemane Jesus had to ask his disciples three times to pray for Him as He suffered, and in the end they fell asleep.

Prayer is not necessarily a one-off thing.

3. It requires concentration

Prayer is time-consuming.

It can be difficult to remain on track.

We don’t normally engage in conversation with someone without being able hear or see them. Perhaps you’re not used to talking to anyone for a significant length of time.

There are many answers to these objections. Perhaps we can walk and pray, or pray in small short bursts. Ultimately, though, the answer is concentration.

We need to actively choose prayer.

We need to remove distractions. Jesus left the crowds to pray. He didn’t even stay in the town where people could possibly interrupt – He went out onto the hillside.

praying for healing why 2 www.calledtowatch.com #chronicillness #suffering #loneliness #caregiver #pain #caregiving #spoonie #faith #God #Hope

Will you choose to pray?

There are many reasons we should pray – and equally as many reasons why prayer is hard. We must weigh them up.

We must make the decision.

There’s no sitting on the fence.

For me, being able to talk to God is utterly and entirely worth the difficulties – yet these difficulties are ones I will be fighting until my dying day.

//What are the reasons you find prayer hard? What helps you to persevere? What is the reason you believe prayer is important? Do you think the analogy between prayer and wand-waving is helpful?

This is part of a series:

Why we need to make up our minds about prayer

Why praying for healing is tricky (those troublesome Bible passages!)

But God didn’t answer when Jesus prayed..

This is a topic which requires more thought and many brains.

Comment or join the conversation here!

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Author: Emily J. M.

Hi, I'm Emily. Two of my closest family members struggle with chronic illness, and I watch them. That's hard, and so I write about life as a 'Watcher', what it looks like to support them and find Hope.

3 thoughts on “Why should I pray for healing if it’s a chronic illness? (3 reasons it is so hard)”

  1. I have been convicted lately that my prayer life could be so much better …especially after reading “The Hour that changes the World” by Dick Eastman … You said some facts that were in this book also e.g. Prayer needs to be a commitment of the will ! and followed by persistence … and all with the Spirit s help …and yes , it is a relationship of not just asking for things but spending time with the Lord ….but … about healing ? … so much in this world is unfathomable to us -one being -why do some people suffer more than others …. love reading your wise words !

    1. Thanks Yvonne – it’s so true – I wish I was far more reliant on prayer, because it is so important. The other day someone said that we pray because we are needy, and if we don’t realise that, we won’t pray! Made me think. That book sounds interesting, I should check it out. I appreciate your kind comment.

Thoughts? I'd love to hear from you, friend.