I want to welcome you to our new Healing Prayer Series! This spring we are going to talk about something that I have found to be transformational, both in my life and the lives of others --- healing prayer*. For me, healing prayer has been one of the chief ways that I have experienced a taste of what Jesus calls the abundant life.
Receiving healing prayer has made such a difference in my life. I am now able to look back at a time when something hurtful happened and I am no longer full of revenge or struggling to forgive --- not because I am gritting my teeth and forcing myself to act rightly, but because my heart is tender. My self-protection is no longer blocking the enabling of the Holy Spirit. The Lord has cleared up some past hurts so that I don’t feel the sting when I look back at them; instead I feel God’s peace. I don’t get wigged out about things that used to set me off. I can see a huge difference in my life. For me healing prayer has proven to be an important key to living the abundant life that Jesus makes available to all of us.
I was a believer for a really long time before I even knew about healing prayer. Later after I heard about it, I guessed that it was for those who were very sick or were having major issues, not me! I had a ton of reservations. I didn’t understand it and didn’t know if it was Scriptural. Then, in God’s mercy, He moved in on me and brought healing to a wound deep in my spirit. I will tell you about that later, but after that day I was different--- transformed in that area of my life. I became a believer in healing prayer.
Because this has been such a huge part of my walk with the Lord for the last twenty years or so, I am excited about sharing this with all of you! In the next eleven weeks we are going to look at several aspects of inner healing. I am going to present the process of healing prayer. I have invited a couple of friends to share their stories of different aspects of healing prayer. I will tell you my story of how the Lord first healed a wound in my spirit, a wound that I had for my whole life. Most importantly, we won’t just talk about inner healing, we will actually pray and experience it.
Before we launch into our weekly discussion I want to share with you a place where I believe inner healing took place in the Bible. It is not clearly spelled out, but I believe that Peter received inner healing in John 21. The background is that on the night before Jesus was betrayed He told the disciples that they would all abandon Him. Peter, full of bravado, said in Matthew 26:33, “Even though all may fall away because of You, I will never fall away.” Then Jesus told him, “This very night before a cock crows, you shall deny Me three times.” But Peter argued with the Lord and said in Matthew 26:35, “Even if I have to die for you, I will never deny you.”
You know the story, just a few hours later Jesus was arrested and brought before the High Priest for questioning. Peter did what he vowed he would never do. He was warming his hands before a charcoal fire outside of Caiaphas’ house when a servant girl confronted him as being one of the disciples. In rapid secession, three times he denied his Lord, even swearing with an oath and cursing that he never knew the man.
Can you envision how ashamed and hopeless Peter must have felt when he realized what he had done? And then he witnessed the horror of the Lord’s beatings and mocking and crucifixion. Can you imagine the lies that the enemy of our souls must have whispered into his spirit? Something like, “You are worthless, you betrayed your Lord, you can never be restored. You are beyond redemption. You said you would be faithful, look at how that worked out. You are a failure, defeated, without hope.” Peter went out into the night and wept bitterly.
Then one morning, not too many days after the Lord’s resurrection, the Lord built a charcoal fire on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. Peter threw himself into the water and came swimming up to the shore. Up to a fire. This Greek word for fire is used only two times in the Bible, once at Caiaphas’ house and once here on the shore. I may be reading too much into it, but it could be that when Peter saw that fire, maybe when he smelled the charcoal burning, he immediately remembered back to the last time he was before such a fire. He may have felt the full weight of his denials. He had let Jesus down. He was a failure. He was useless to His Lord.
At that very low point of dejection, the Lord brought His wonderful healing and restoration. In John 21, three times the Lord said, Peter, do you love me? Three times Peter had denied his Lord, three times Jesus asked Peter this searching question as He commissioned Peter. I believe Peter was restored through that counseling session and his guilt and shame were removed. He was healed in his spirit to the point that in a few short weeks he could hold his head up high and preach with great confidence a sermon about the Lord Jesus that birthed the church. The Lord’s healing in our spirits is transformational.
I invite you to join me the next ten weeks as we explore healing prayer.
Heavenly Father, as we embark on this journey of exploring healing prayer, we ask You to lead us and to reveal Yourself to us in a deeper way. Bring up any area in our lives that needs healing from You. Thank You that You don’t overwhelm us but that You know what you want to deal with today. We invite you to work and to bring freedom in our spirits.
* Healing prayer is also called inner healing, transformational prayer, healing of memories. There are many Bible teachers who have written books and teach courses on this.