Week of April 22
Healing & Deliverance
by Margaret D. Mitchell
“Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.”
Recently, another ministry leader and I were discussing the topic of healing and deliverance. She had been seeing the Lord’s freedom manifest in the lives of many for whom she had prayed, including her own family. But lately, she was seeing a particular issue arise in some people. It was as though they were stuck, and she was rightfully seeking the Lord on how to best help them.
I believe that, as prayer warriors, whenever we see a recurrence of any kind, it’s cause for our attention. If it’s a good recurrence, we need to continue to praise God for what He’s doing. If it’s a negative recurrence, we need to ask the Holy Spirit what’s at the root of the issue. God may be trying to give us a new understanding that will bring us up to the next level in our gifting so we can know better how to help people.
If you are continuing to grow in your faith and pray for others, you have likely found yourself at this intersection, probably more than once, as God takes you from glory to glory, from holiness to holiness. Here’s encouragement for the journey:
Store Up, Don’t Give Up
Revelation 5:8 tells us that our prayers are incense stored in golden bowls in heaven. It is important to remind ourselves that God receives our prayers, even if we do not see the manifest breakthrough immediately. Sometimes, restoration is instantaneous, and sometimes it is a process. Don’t give up. James 5:16 informs us “The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.” Hebrews 4:12 says “For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.” Faithfully declare God’s word over the person for whom you are praying until you see a shift or until the Holy Spirit gives you peace.
God Honors Human Will
In John 5:6, Jesus asks the paralytic whether he wants to get well. In order for people to be healed and delivered, they have to receive it. Sometimes, a person can grow comfortable in a place of dysfunction. They can even believe in God but not truly know God. If a person doesn’t know God—in that they do not have an intimate relationship with Him—they can have difficulty trusting God to help them step into a new place of divine health and wholeness. Sometimes, people would rather stay in the old, dysfunctional place because they are too afraid to exercise faith and take God’s hand and trust Him to lead them into the “unknown.” This type of fear is the enemy’s counterfeit to God’s faith. And our brains are not wired to function well this way. God respects our will. He does not force anything on us, because His very nature is love. And where there is divine love, there is the freedom to choose Him and His ways over ours or the enemy’s. Sometimes, it’s important to bind fear, loose faith and pray for the person to receive God’s healing and deliverance (Matthew 16:19).
Effective Focus Works
Whatever we focus on grows. Full of faith, Paul speaks of this process in Philippians 3. In verses 12-14 Paul says, “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” This is the sanctification process at its finest.
Unfortunately, not everyone we pray for will have this much faith and fortitude. However, Luke 17:6 tells us that if we “have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, 'Be uprooted and planted in the sea,' and it will obey you.”
That said, if you have been praying for someone for a long time, and they seem to just be stuck, it is possible that the person for whom you are praying has focused on and embraced the dysfunction for so long that a stronghold has not only taken root, but they are blind to it. Pray that God will pierce the darkness and open their eyes to His truth, enabling them to fully receive His freedom.
Counseling and support groups can be effective for helping people understand their issues and receive emotional consoling. But it’s important that the spiritual component in every person’s heart also be addressed so that they do not make an idol out of the counseling process, counselor or support group. Jesus died so that we could have freedom and abundant life, not to continually stir in the issues of life. We are called to get on the other side of every issue. This is the Christian’s sanctification process. And it requires the courage to trust God and exercise faith to step into the next place of freedom.
Be Stronger Than The Stronghold
Once a stronghold is formed, it needs to be dismantled. Leading people to the Lord and encouraging them to study God’s word helps immensely, because as their faith increases, their fear decreases. As faith rises, so does their belief in God and their courage to trust Him to enter into the new place of freedom. Faith comes from hearing God’s word, and faith in God will help them feel safe and establish trust.
It’s important to understand that sometimes the enemy assigns demons, such as familiar spirits, to the person to deliberately hold them in bondage. This can occur especially when a person has been operating in the dysfunction for a long time to the point where the dysfunction seems “normal” in their mind and heart, having bought into the enemy’s lie. But there is hope in God’s truth. Coming out of a stronghold involves repentance, forgiveness, renewing one’s mind and behavior modification. And it doesn’t have to take a long time. God can do an instant work, or it can be a layered process. According to Dr. Caroline Leaf, a Christian neuroscientist, science now knows that our brains can be re-wired in 21 days. Pray accordingly and be ready to lead the person through prayers and encouragements. If you don’t know how, find someone who does; and scour the gospels. There are also lots of good teachings available that can help you understand how to help people in this regard.
Choose Blessings, Not Curses
Galatians 3:13 tells us that “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us…” Jesus not only died to save us from the grave and hell. He died to give us a curse-free, divinely healthy life. But if the person doesn’t know this, they may believe otherwise. Hosea 4:6 tells us that “My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge...” The New Living Translation of the Bible puts it this way: “My people are being destroyed because they don't know Me…”
If the person doesn’t know God’s truth on this matter, they may simply be defeated for lack of knowledge. How can anyone believe or declare a thing they do not know? Believing anything other than God’s truth is a false belief. Perhaps they are deceived? Perhaps they are living under generational curses simply because they were taught that they are where they are because they inherited genes from their parents who lived under the same circumstances. Perhaps they do not know that the power of the cross also has the power to break curses. Lead them to scripture and pray for their mind to be renewed, for them to understand that they have a choice and for them to exercise their faith accordingly.
When The Inner Becomes The Outer
Physical dis-ease can often be the result of inner unresolved issues. Unconfessed sin—knowingly or unknowingly—can be a big culprit here, especially in the area of unforgiveness. Soulish (mental and emotional) turmoil will eventually work its way to the body if left unattended. Our bodies are not designed to carry big burdens long term. Matthew 11:30 tells us “For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”
A remedy is to ask the Holy Spirit to make a clean heart in them and in you. He is our helper, and He sees more than we. So ask Him to reveal the person’s hidden sins to them daily, as well as the root of the issues, so that they may be confessed and in right standing with Him. You may find that sometimes, the Holy Spirit reveals a thing or two, and sometimes, He reveals a list. Each item must be confessed and persons involved forgiven, a very humbling process. Ask the Holy Spirit to fill them and you with His light and goodness.
Holy Spirit Will Lead You
James 5:16 is one way that God heals. By all means, be led by the Holy Spirit. God is the one doing the supernatural work, not us.
God’s desire is that we live healthy, whole, significant lives purposed to worship Him and to build His kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. The enemy would like nothing more than to halt God’s plan through dis-ease, worries, distress, strife, idolatry, etc.
Every seed of prayer helps set people free. Keep the faith. And if you’re praying for people who live at a geographic distance from you, you can always pray that God will continually send strong Christians of His choosing to reach out to those who need help. You can also pray that the Holy Spirit will chase them down until they receive all that He has for them.
Concerning yourself, pray for wisdom and for the Holy Spirit to lead you to the sources and resources that can help you continue to understand all that God has for you and to learn how to best pray for others.
As we reach out to help others, we will be amazed at how God will grow us in knowledge and wisdom, which will then be reproduced as we teach others what we have learned. To Him be the glory.
Margaret D. Mitchell is the Founder of God's Love at Work, a marketplace outreach purposed to share God's greatest power source - the love of Christ.