Close your eyes and pray this simple prayer. Then take a deep breath, inhaling and exhaling. Then repeat it, following each prayer with a deep breath.
Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me.
We’ll be closing out Mark 6 tonight, so read Mark 6:53-56. Read it several times, and each time, be on the lookout for a word or phrase to mediate on.
It’s interesting to me that I’m in this passage today. I don’t plan ahead how much (or how little) I’m going to read each day. For years, I have read through the Bible in a year, using this reading guide. I love the experience of taking in big chunks of scripture each day (that plan called for reading about four to five chapters a day.) But with my current devotional practice, I’m reading (and sharing!) much smaller sections, in order to really mine each portion for some golden nugget to spend the day “polishing” as I roll it over and over in my mind.
But as I said, it’s interesting that this is what I read today, because today I have spent much of my mental energy praying for my friend David. David is battling cancer, and today he had an invasive surgery as part of a no-holds-barred attack against the illness that is throughout his body. As a believer in God’s providence, I don’t think for one second that it was “random” that today I read about Jesus’s healing ministry. I am taking it as a personal encouragement and faith-builder as I pray for David. Reading this passage only served to bolster my belief that God can heal.
I should pause to acknowledge that God does not always heal in the way I hope he will. In his wise and good and sovereign plan, he sometimes does not heal, and that makes him no less good or loving. But when he does heal—when he does heal—it is such an incredible taste of the kingdom to come, where, at last, he will wipe away every tear and there will be no more sickness or crying or pain. When God performs a merciful and miraculous healing today, he is pointing us to that day—to God be the glory. The illness we suffer or watch other suffer reminds us that the world is not as it ought to be; the healing that comes reminds us of our God and redeemer who means to make us whole, one way or another. And my prayer for David today is that he will be a sign of the kingdom to come—that his healing will be a testimony to many. This is my fervent prayer.
People brought their sick to Jesus and begged him to let them touch “even the fringe of his garment. And as many as touched it were made well.” I read once that the word for “fringe” used in the original scripture language is the same word that is translated as “wings” in a verse about there being “healing in his wings.” That passage says this:
“But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings. You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall.”
I am processing this all together: the timing of this passage, as I’m praying for David. The reminder that God can heal. The fact that people associated touching the “fringe” of Jesus’s garment with healing, while “the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings.”
David has touched the fringe of Jesus’s garment. He has spent hours worshiping God in Christ. And while this does not earn him healing—healing is a gift of grace—I am simply encouraged, as I pray (and keep on praying), to hope strongly for God’s healing to flow through Christ into David’s body. I don’t know how it all works. There is so much about prayer and healing and miracles and God’s will that I just do not understand; it is too high for me to attain to.
But I believe. And as I pray, I hope. Oh, how I hope, for David’s healing.
Are you praying for someone who is sick? In addition to David, I’m praying for a bunch of others—family members and friends who are suffering from severe and debilitating illnesses, including diabetes, chronic fatigue, Marfan syndrome, severe allergies, and so many types of cancer. But as I read this passage, I’m reminded to “bring” my sick friends and family to Jesus in prayer, and hope that he will make them well. Let’s spend some time in prayer together for those among us who are in need of healing!