The Endorsed Prayers for food, health, war and spiritual gifts are included here.
Endorsed Prayer: Give us Food for today! (4.6a)
- "Give us today our daily bread" (Matthew 6:11 See 1Tim 6:8, Philippians 4:11-13, John 4:34).
We are dependent creatures. We work for food, but it is a gift.
Endorsed Prayer: Make us healthy, if that is what we need at this time! (4.6b)
- "Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be healthy, even as your soul prospers" (3 John 1:2). See also 1 Timothy 5:23 and 2 Timothy 4:20.
3 John was written to Gaius. A reading of the entire book reveals that his spiritual health was very good. Possibly John prayed that Gaius's health would have as great a prosperity as his soul. Why not ask for a body that is healthier than the soul? It may seem curious that the prayer of the apostle for the health of Gaius, could be contingent on the prosperity of Gaius's soul. How could this be?
A prosperous soul is one that is full of faith and love (in fellowship with God). If a soul is not prosperous, good health is not beneficial in restoring that soul to prosperity. Poor health is, since it causes one to turn to God. For the wayward soul, John would ask God to draw that soul to Himself. Such drawing may include discipline. Discipline may include illness as chastisement for sin (1 Corinthians 11:20-32).
As for me, poor health has served to draw me away from idols and towards God. So, I cannot presume that poor health is bad. The more prosperous the soul, the more good health a person can possess, without becoming arrogant in self-faith. So, prosperity of soul and body can move in the same direction.
The chapters on "Fellowship With God in Pain" present a multitude of scriptures on the sources of suffering and our response to it.
I believe that we should append "if it be your will" to any prayer for physical healing.
Endorsed Prayer: War (4.6c)
- "1 Blessed be Yahweh, my rock, who teaches my hands to war, and my fingers to battle... 6 Throw out lightning, and scatter them. Send out your arrows, and rout them... 11 Rescue me, and deliver me out of the hands of foreigners, whose mouths speak deceit" (Psalm 144:1,6,11).
Yahweh is the personal name of God. Physical death will not come unless Yahweh brings it to pass or allows it. For the believer, death is the portal into the visual, intimate presence of God. So, it is incorrect to see physical death as something that is bad for the one who dies. It depends... on what happens on the other side of death.
If God rescues in answer to the prayer of the believer, that is good. If God does not rescue the believer, that is better.
As proof of this truth I present the following quote from the apostle Paul. He wrote these words to the Philippian church while he was in prison. "For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live on in the flesh, this will bring fruit from my work; yet I don't know what I will choose. But I am hard pressed between the two, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better" (Philippians 1:21-23).
Prayer for Spiritual Gifts (4.6d)
- "Therefore let him who speaks in another language pray that he may interpret" (1Corinthians 14:13).
Here Paul specifically instructed some to ask for the spiritual gift of interpretation. So, asking for specific spiritual gifts is appropriate. It would be appropriate to say "if it be Your will" when you ask for a specific spiritual gift, since the Holy Spirit distributes them "as he desires" (1 Corinthians 12:11). Conditions for effective prayer are presented in subchapter 4.11. Spiritual gifts are discussed in greater detail in the Discussion section. See "How do I get Spiritual Gifts?"
Prayer for Healing (4.6e)
- "13 Is any among you suffering? Let him pray. Is any cheerful? Let him sing praises. 14 Is any among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the assembly, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord, 15 and the prayer of faith will heal him who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. If he has committed sins, he will be forgiven" (James 5:13-15).
Forgiveness of sins is one result of this prayer (v 15). Does it make sense for a prayer for physical healing to result in forgiveness of sin? No it doesn't.
Forgiveness for past, present and future sins with respect to the Great White Throne Judgement is accomplished when we initially trust Christ at conversion. Forgiveness for restoration of fellowship before the judgement is accomplished by confession (1 John 1:9). (Forgiveness for restoration of fellowship with God is discussed in great detail in micro-subchapter 4.3i.)
But if the sickness referred to in the verse is understood to be spiritual sickness, forgiveness would be a natural result of such a prayer. The Greek words underlying the text support this understanding. A complete explanation is in micro-subchapter 4.3k.
Healing as a sign (4.6f)
Suffering removed by healing is a sign:
- "As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. 2 His disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" 3 Jesus answered, "This man didn't sin, nor did his parents; but, that the works of God might be revealed in him... 16 Some therefore of the Pharisees said, "This man is not from God, because he doesn't keep the Sabbath." Others said, "How can a man who is a sinner do such signs?" (John 9:1-16).
- "Many indeed, therefore, other signs also did Jesus before his disciples, that are not written in this book; 31 and these have been written that ye may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing ye may have life in his name" (John 20:30-31).
Signs Confirmed Jesus as the Messiah (4.6g)
The Old Testament prophesied that the messiah would perform signs. Jesus healed many before His crucifixion as signs that He was the Messiah.
So, miracles were performed by Jesus as signs. They were perceived as signs.
Jesus turned water into wine (John 2:11), fed thousands with five loaves and two fish (John 6:26), healed the blind (John 9:1-16), etc. These miracles were all done as signs and perceived as signs. The parting of the Red Sea was a sign (Acts 7:36). Apostles performed signs (2 Corinthians 12:12).
Signs Confirm the Word (4.6h)
- "They went out, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word by the signs that followed" (Mark 16:20).
The context for this passage is Mark 16:15-20. If you read that passage, you will see that the signs he spoke of were, tongues, casting out demons, protection from poison and healing. These signs accompanied the apostles as they went "into all the world" and preached "the Good News to the whole creation" (Mark 16:15).
Other references to miracles as signs: John 2:23, 3:2, 4:48, 6:2, 7:31, 11:47, 12:37, Acts 2:19,22-23, 4:29-30, 5:12, 6:8, 8:6,14, 14:3, 15:12, Romans 15:18-19, 1 Corinthians 1:22, Hebrews 2:4.
Miracles Occur Today! (4.6i)
Miracles can occur in our day as well. A light appeared at my conversion as a miraculous sign. Indications of the presence of my cancer disappeared for several years after the prayers of many. But miracles should not be seen as evidence that God's goal in your life is the removal of your suffering.
When Will Suffering End? (4.6j)
See chapter 5 on suffering. Miracles are signs. They can also be mercy and grace.
* Jesus said, "In the world you have trouble; but cheer up! I have overcome the world" (John 16:33).
We will have trouble for as long as we are in this world. But Paradise is a different story. The following passage is from the book of Revelation.
"I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth have passed away, and the sea is no more. 2 I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared like a bride adorned for her husband. 3 I heard a loud voice out of heaven saying, "Behold, God's dwelling is with people, and he will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. 4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; neither will there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain, any more. The first things have passed away" (Revelation 21; 1-4).