The other week I took my son for a checkup at our faith-based family practice, where we are very (very) lucky to see wonderful doctors who share our values. Our family deals with a number of different issues (rare anxiety disorders, autism spectrum disorder, and chronic pain to name a few) but this was a routine appointment, and the checkup portion was over and done with in a matter of minutes. As we prepared to pack up and leave, though, the doctor paused thoughtfully and asked gently, ". . . So how are you doing with everything else?"
Now, from the outside, our family appears normal on many levels, and even from my perspective, I don't think we deal with much more than the average family—and we certainly face much much less than others out there. I've always approached our issues as conditions that need treatment, but not "bad" enough or "worthy" enough to merit outright healing, if that makes sense. So when our doctor asked how we were holding up, I hesitated. But something about his tone drew out the truth: yes, we were hopeful for new treatment options or specialized therapists . . . but things had become pretty overwhelming lately.
What happened next, I can only describe as an awakening. My doctor began to share his own experience with the power of prayer and healing. He—a physician who I would expect to limit himself to the same clinical approach that I'd been taking for my treatment and my kids’ treatment—he personally sat down and began to write a prayer for us. As he wrote, he reminded me that because Scripture is the inspired word of God, it has both power and authority over things not of God. He told me that praying simple verses to invoke the healing power of God could have profound effects, because God is all about banishing those things that separate us from Him.
Of course, my doctor wasn't talking about some Hocus Pocus that will forever free us from any and all suffering. Because that's not how it works—by its very nature, being a human in this broken world entails that we must (and will) suffer. But he opened my eyes to the reality that because I am both body and soul, I must approach the healing and treatment process in light of both. And if, like the blind man in today's readings, I am willing to cry out to Jesus with persistence (instead of just giving up after a paltry request or two like I have in the past)—if I use the words inspired by God himself to place authority over the anxiety or fear or diseases that pull me away from Him—then, as my doctor put it, "anything plaguing us that is not 'of God' will have no choice but to bow to the authority of God." Because our God wants nothing more than to help loosen the grip of those infirmities that hold our souls back from the closeness of His loving embrace. Because when we pray persistently for healing, it is impossible for us to remain unchanged in the hands of our God.
I sat almost dumbfounded as the doctor told me all of this. He quietly listed a few other resources, said he would be praying for us, and blessed my children.
And then he prayed with us.
Besides being a beautiful experience, what happened that day—at a supposedly ordinary checkup—brought me to the reality that healing is real. It isn't just some remote Bible story, or reserved for those like the blind man who I think "deserve" it. God wants to heal me, too.
He wants to heal you, sister.
Whether or not we think we're in need of (or deserving of) such healing, the fact remains that in this broken world, through no fault of our own, some of our infirmities have muddied our souls. Be it physical, mental, spiritual—the Divine Physician is just waiting for us to cry out.
And so, I invite you to pray with me (and with persistence!) this prayer that my kind doctor wrote for us that day in the clinic:
“Jesus, Master, have mercy on us. For By your stripes we are healed. And In the name of Jesus every knee shall bend. And the Name of Jesus is above all names. Including [list conditions].
So we now take authority over all of these and command them to leave now to Jesus’s feet and cancel the power and authority they have over my family. I declare now in Jesus’s name a reclaiming of health, healing, complete restoration, and all the fruits and gifts of the spirit. And I declare everyone in my family has the mind of Christ. Amen.
photo by Taylor McCutchan
Megan Hjelmstad is a wife, mom, writer and former soldier whose real passion is equal parts faith and chocolate. You can find out more about her here.