Today I found myself pondering the question, ‘What do we pray for, when healing is not going to happen?’ There are two things that have led me to this question: my terminally ill, atheist sister and my dog. Both of whom I love so much, neither of whom I want to be without.
My dog is an old boy, he is 13 and has started to slow down a lot. It has become more obvious this year that he’s not going to bounce back from ill health in same way as he did in his youth and there’s no getting away from the fact that one day soon, maybe this year, maybe this month, maybe even this week, he is going to die.
While we are on this earth, our bodies grow old. We can be healed from sickness and disease many times, but eventually death comes to us all. So if we are simply praying for healing, we risk disappointment in God and losing faith that God will answer any of our prayers.
So if praying for healing isn’t always the thing to pray for, what should we be praying for?
As I prayerfully pondered, being open to God for His answer to my question, the answer came to me. ‘Your Kingdom come’
This is a much bigger, more expectant prayer than praying for healing. It includes healing, and so much more. Praying for the Kingdom to come, means praying for Jesus to return and take his rightful place. To establish among us a kingdom where there is no suffering, sickness or disease, a place of rejoicing and an end to mourning.
Revelation 21 describes it better than I can…
“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
For a long time I have prayed for healing for my sister and each time I start to pray for healing, I find myself crying out to God for her salvation. My prayer gets bigger, and bolder and more expectant. I am praying for the Kingdom of God to break into her life.
Praying for healing suddenly seems such a small prayer. Please Jesus, Your Kingdom come on earth as it is in Heaven.