Table of Contents
A Theology of Sickness and Healing
The Healing Prayer Model
A Prayer Ministry Model
Pastoral Considerations in Prayer Ministry
A Ministry of Healing: Summing Up the Implications of Our Life Together in Prayer
A Word from Pastor John to the Prayer Ministers of Bethlehem
It Is Always the Will of God That We Pray ...
Prayer for Healing: A Practical Theology and Doctrinal Foundation
Intercessory Scripture Prayers
I. “What a Friend We Have in Jesus” (#397)
What a Friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer!
O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer!
Have we trials and temptations? Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged, take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful, who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness, take it to the Lord in prayer.
Are we weak and heavy laden, cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Savior, still our refuge—take it to the Lord in prayer.
Do thy friends despise, forsake thee? Take it to the Lord in prayer;
In His arms He’ll take and shield thee, thou wilt find a solace there.
More old hymns and songs of (or about) prayer:
Sweet Hour of Prayer (#383)
Have Thine Own Way, Lord! (#386)
Dear Lord and Father of Mankind (#388)
I Need Thee Every Hour (#391)
Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah (#401)
I Must Tell Jesus (#404)
II. Prayer and Christian Hedonism (see Desiring God, ch. 6)
Two key sayings in John 14:13 and 16:24:
1. Prayer is the Pursuit of God’s Glory
“Whatever you ask in my name, I will do it, that the Father may be glorified in the Son” (John 14:13).
Analogies of prayer:
(a) a quadriplegic and his good friend (John 15:5; Rom. 7:18)
(b) a sailor with scurvy and a generous man with his pockets fill of vitamin C tablets
(c) a bus driver stuck in a rut and Clark Kent as his passenger
(d) shopping at Savers despite the wallpaper in your room being gift certificates from Sak’s Fifth Avenue
Robinson Crusoe’s text (Psalm 50:15), pp. 139-40.
Prayers that Do Commit Adultery (James 4:3-5) and Don’t (Psalm 73:25-26 and 27:4)
The Uniqueness of the God Who Serves (Isaiah 64:4 vs. the idols of 46:1, Jer. 10:5)
“Prayer is the essential activity of waiting for God: acknowledging our helplessness and his power, calling upon him for help, seeking his counsel” (p. 146).
2. Prayer Is the Pursuit of Our Joy
“Hitherto you have asked nothing in my name; ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full” (John 16:24).
Prayerlessness = joylessness, for at least two reasons:
(a) Prayer is the nerve-center of our fellowship with Jesus (1 John 1:3-4).
(b) Prayer is the source of power to love (John 15:7-8, 16-17).
“It is as though the field commander (Jesus) called in the troops, gave them a crucial mission (go and bear fruit), handed each of them a personal transmitter coded to the frequency of the general’s headquarters, and said, ‘Comrades, the general has a mission for you. He aims to see it accomplished. And to that end he has authorized me to give each of you access to him through these transmitters. If you stay true to his mission and seek his victory, he will always be as close as your transmitter, to give tactical advice and to send in air cover when you need it’” (pp. 151-2).
It’s a wartime walkie-talkie, not a domestic intercom! (Luke 21:34-36; Ephesians 6:12, 17-18). And the mission is love (Ephesians 3:14-21).
Summary and Exhortation
“Prayer pursues joy in fellowship with Jesus and in the power to share his life with others. And prayer pursues God’s glory by treating him as the inexhaustible reservoir of hope and help. In prayer we admit our poverty and God’s prosperity, our bankruptcy and his bounty, our misery and his mercy. Therefore, prayer highly exalts and glorifies God precisely by pursuing everything we long for in him and not in ourselves. ‘Ask and you will receive – that the Father may be glorified in the Son and that your joy may be full’ ” (p. 156).
So, make a plan…and work the plan to rethink your priorities, to seek new resolve, to set a time and place and Scripture portion to guide you. Turn/return to prayer—for the glory of God and for the fullness of your joy.
Three contemporary positions:
God willed supernatural healings in the church during the ministry of the apostles. But when they died out God withdrew these supernatural displays; therefore, we should not pray for or expect supernatural displays of God’s healing power today.
Jesus purchased our physical healing through His atoning death on the cross just as He purchased our spiritual salvation. “By His stripes we are healed.” Therefore, it is never God’s will for us to be sick in the first place. But if we happen to get sick, God will heal us immediately, if we have enough faith.
Sometimes it is God’s will to heal us in this life, but sometimes He chooses not to heal now. We may pray for healing with real expectation, but we ought not to demand it as though it were our right.
In my own pilgrimage I have gone from being an adherent to #2 to toying with #1 to where I am today, #3.
Here are six affirmations which sum up what I believe to be a biblical theology of sickness and healing. (I am deeply indebted to John Piper’s sermon entitled, “Christ and Cancer,” which was preached at Bethlehem Baptist Church on August 17, 1980.) Romans 8:18-28 contain the following six affirmations, at least in seed form.
The age in which we live, which extends from the fall of man into sin until the second coming of Christ, is an age in which the creation, including our bodies, has been “subjected to futility” and “enslaved to corruption.”
This futility and corruption Paul speaks of probably refers to both spiritual and physical suffering.
On the one hand, we are enslaved to flawed perceptions, misconceived goals, foolish blunders, and spiritual dumbness. On the other hand, there are floods, famines, volcanoes, tornadoes, earthquakes, snakebites, plagues, car accidents, plane crashes, asthma, allergies, pimples, the common cold, and cancer.
These bring all people to the dust, including Christians. As long as we are in the body, we are slaves to corruption. II Cor. 4:16 “We do not lose heart, but though our outer man is being corrupted, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day.”
There is an age coming when all the children of God, who have endured to the end in faith, will be set free from all futility and corruption, spiritually and physically.
Romans 8:21 “The creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God.”
Romans 8:23 “We ourselves groan within ourselves waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.”
Phil. 3:20,21 “Our citizenship is in heaven from which we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform the body of lowliness to be like the body of his glory.”
I Cor 15:52 “We shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet, for the trumpet will sound and the dead will be raised incorruptible and we shall be changed.”
Rev. 21:4 “He will wipe away every tear from our eyes, and there shall no longer be any death; and there shall be no longer any mourning or crying or pain: the first things have passed away.”
Isaiah 35:3-6a, 10 “Encourage the exhausted, and strengthen the feeble. Say to those with palpitating heart, ‘Take courage, fear not. Behold your God will come with vengeance. The recompense of God shall come, but he will save you.’ Then the eyes of the blind will be opened, and the ears of the deaf will be unstopped. Then the lame will leap like a deer and the tongue of the dumb will shout for joy…and sorrow and sighing will flee away.”
Jesus Christ came and died to purchase our redemption, to demonstrate the character of that redemption as both spiritual and physical, and to give us a foretaste of it.
Jesus purchased our redemption on the cross, and through His ministry of forgiveness and healing, He demonstrated that this redemption was both spiritual and physical.
Is. 53:4, 5 “Surely our grief/sicknesses he himself bore, and our sorrows/pains he carried; yet we ourselves esteemed him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was pierced through for our transgression, he was crushed for our iniquities; the chastening for our well-being fell upon him and by his scourging we are healed.”
Jesus applied this to his healing ministry in Mt. 8:17. The early church also applied this text to Jesus’ bearing our sins on the cross (I Pet. 2:24).
So the blessing of healing, as well as forgiveness, has been purchased by Christ on the cross. All those who trust him shall have both of these benefits.
But when? Some would say NOW—the only thing between you and your healing is your unbelief. I think the biblical answer is maybe now, maybe not, but for sure in the age to come.
Jesus’ ministry of healing was a foretaste of what will happen completely in the age to come for God’s people.
Romans 8:23, 24 “We who have the first fruits of the Spirit groan, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies, for in hope we have been saved…”
Our salvation for the most part is still future, but we have a foretaste of it now in the present through the gift of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is the first fruits, i.e., a down payment, first installment of all the benefits of salvation.
One of the benefits of the Spirit in this age is healing. Just as Jesus gave God’s people a foretaste of the age to come through his healing ministry, so also throughout church history he has continued to give his people a foretaste. Today is no different. God is healing many people in our day, but some very slowly, some only partly, and some not at all.
The great error of some faith healers today is forcing the benefits of the age to come into this present age when God is content to give us only a foretaste.
4. God controls who gets sick and who gets well, and all His decisions are for the good of His children, even if they be very painful and long lasting.
Romans 8:20 – God subjected the world to futility.
Romans 8:21 – God is the one who will liberate it.
Exodus 4:11 “Who made man’s mouth? Who makes him dumb or deaf or seeing or blind? Is it not I the Lord?”
Deut. 32:39 “See now that I, I am he, and there is no god besides Me; it is I who put to death and gives life. I have wounded, and it is I who heal.”
What about Satan? Isn’t he the great enemy of our wholeness? Yes, but he’s an enemy on a chain. God will only allow him to do those things to us which God intends to use for our good.
Job 2:7-10 – Job recognizes the sovereign hand of God behind a disease of which Satan is the more immediate cause.
Satan wants our suffering to be a stumbling block to our faith, but God intends it to be a stepping-stone.
God’s goal for his people in this age is not primarily to rid them of sickness and pain but to purge us of all the remnants of sin and cause us in our weakness to cleave to him as our only hope.
Hebrews 12:5, 6, 10, 11; cf. Ps. 119:71, 75.
5. Therefore, we should pray for God’s help both to heal and to strengthen faith while we are unhealed. It is fitting for a child to ask his father for relief in trouble. It is also fitting that a loving father give the child what is best. God always does that for us; sometimes healing now, sometimes not.
How shall we know what to pray for, if God sometimes wills our healing now, sometimes later, sometimes not until the age to come?
Pray for healing either until you are healed or until you are content that God’s loving purpose for your sickness is not yet fully achieved. cf. II. Cor. 12:7-10; Romans 8:26, 27.
The Spirit takes our imperfect prayers and molds them into perfect prayers.
6. We should always trust in the love and power of God even in the darkest hour of suffering (Romans 8:28).
Faith does not always automatically release people from sickness and suffering but it gives strength to joyfully endure suffering until release comes. Heb. 11:33-39—Note the contrast between 33-35a and 35b-39.
This five-step model, developed by John Wirnber, is not a secret formula that makes healing happen.
God, in His sovereign will, determines who gets healed. But these simple steps enable you to look for his will when faced with someone who needs healing.
Step 1: The Interview. During the interview, we ask the person, “What do you want me to pray for?” An interview is not a medical screening, since, unless we are medical practitioners, detailed medical information will typically be meaningless to us, at best. At worst, it will discourage us because we will realize how complicated the person’s condition is, and it will feel unlikely to us that the person will ever be healed.
Step 2: The Diagnostic Decision. As we are interviewing the person, we are asking God for insight regarding the ultimate cause of the condition. We have heard from the individual regarding what the need is; now we are asking God about the cause. Again, this is not a medical diagnosis, since most of those who pray for the sick are not trained to diagnose illnesses.
Step 3: The Prayer Selection. This step answers the question, “What kind of prayer is needed to help this person?” The ultimate issue regarding prayer selection is what God wants to do at that particular time. So, we are asking God how we should intercede for this person. Typically, we will simply pray a prayer regarding the person’s announced need. For example, “Dear Father, please heal Joe’s headache.”
On occasion, however, we may sense God instructing us to command a headache to leave, just as Jesus commanded blind eyes to be opened. Thus, our prayer may sound more authoritative.
At other times, God may direct us toward the underlying reason for the headache, and we may pray accordingly. For example, “Father, please relieve the stress that Joe is experiencing from his job, and fill Joe with peace,” or, ‘‘Father, please heal Joe’s eyes that may be causing his headache.”
Step 4: Prayer Engagement. After getting permission for the laying on of hands, we pray that the Holy Spirit will come and minister to the person. (Of course, being omnipresent the Holy Spirit is already there, but our invitation is that he would come in blessing, to do good for the person we are praying for.)
Thus our prayer may sound like this: “Holy Spirit, I invite you to come to Mary and release your healing power.” During the prayer engagement we are determining how effective our prayers have been. We may ask if the person feels any relief. Does he or she have any physical sensations that often accompany healing, such as unusual heat or tingling? The absence of physical sensations does not mean that healing is not occurring, but if such sensations are present, they may possibly indicate the activity of God. During prayer engagement, we often will interview the person further to see if we have missed any significant issues.
We also may inquire if God is speaking to him or her about anything, and if he or she feels free to share that with us.
Step 5: Post-Prayer Direction. After we pray for an individual, we often must give post-prayer direction. For example, if Bill has confessed the sin of pornography, we may encourage him to avoid certain situations of temptation, such as certain streets or stores that sell pornography. Or if Sally has not been healed, we may speak a word of encouragement to her regarding God’s love for her and invite her to be prayed for at another time. If, during the prayer time, we have had the opportunity to lead someone to Christ, we would direct him or her to take certain steps to grow as a new Christian.
Taken from Empowered Evangelicals. Rich Nathan & Ken Wilson (Ann Arbor: Servant Publications, I994), pp. 265-7. (“david/tract/wimberpry.wps”)
1. STEP ONE – INTERVIEW* (“Where Does It Hurt?”) This is conducted on two “planes”:
Natural – empirical (Ask the person what they think is wrong, where it hurts.)
Sort information according to past and present experiences.
What you see, know, have learned, etc.
Supernatural – “Cosmic” (Ask the Holy Spirit to show His insights.)
Sort information according to the gifts of the Spirit.
Revelatory giftings, discernment of spirits, wisdom, etc.
*This is not a medical interview.
2. STEP TWO – DIAGNOSTIC DECISION (What has caused this condition?)
It could be caused by natural factors
Living in a fallen, sinful world (virus, accidents, etc.)
Sin (sexual sins, etc.)
Social/Emotional (unforgiveness, anxiety, anger, etc.)
Family traits (history of illness)
It could be caused by spiritual factors*
Demonic affliction (blind, deaf, mute, bowed over, etc.)
Demonic oppression (compulsive behavior, fearful, etc.)
*Spiritual factors may be due to sin, curses, and background in cult or occult practices.
3. STEP THREE – PRAYER SELECTION (What kind of prayer is appropriate?)
Prayer directed toward God
Most common: Petition. Ask for Spirit’s presence/healing
Intercessory Prayer (“Soaking prayer”)
Prayer “from God”
Command of faith
Pronouncement of faith
To condition or demons – rebuke, bind, expel
STEP FOUR – PRAYER ENGAGEMENT (How are we doing?)
Prayer ministry should be specifically directed toward the diagnosed problem while looking for indications of the Spirit’s presence.
The “effect” you are praying for is healing.
Clues as to how the Spirit is accomplishing healing might include the following: warmth, tingling, muscle spasms, shaking, deep breathing, etc.
Pray with your eyes open to observe any signals and cooperate with the Spirit. (Holy Spirit, what are you up to here?)
Follow the Spirit’s lead by continued flow of gifts of the Spirit while ministering.
When in doubt, ask questions.
Healing may have occurred without visible sign.
Problems on the minister’s side may be blocking healing.
Unable to fully discern what the Spirit is doing
May need to go back (repeat previous steps)
Problems on the receiving end may be blocking healing.
Some are expecting not to receive
Some are resisting what the Spirit has begun to do
This feedback may lead to an adjusted approach that will be more effective.
Stop praying when:
Healing is completed.
You sense that the Spirit is finished for now.
You don’t know what else to do.
STEP FIVE – POST PRAYER DIRECTIONS (What should I do or expect next?)
Summarize the situation.
Explain what has occurred.
Share any gifts of encouragement or exhortation given to you by the Holy Spirit.
Direct them to follow through on any repentance for sin that the Spirit has begun dealing with during the ministry time (be practical).
If healing has not occurred or is incomplete, affirm and encourage them to keep seeking.
Avoid some common problems:
Don’t give personal advice.
Don’t condemn a person for not receiving healing.
(Practical and Ethical)
1. To the Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit can be quenched/grieved.
The Holy Spirit is greater than our ability to articulate perfect prayers or maintain a perfect “atmosphere.”
2. To the Dignity of Individuals You are Ministering to
If a situation is getting “intense,” dial down and go to a private place. Our desire is not to embarrass or put on display.
Be careful in reporting what happened.
Don’t force yourself on those who have not asked for prayer.
Rather, ask them if they would like you to pray for them.
3. To the Physical Comfort of the Individual
Urge them to get comfortable.
Have them sit.
4. To Laying on of Hands
Men never lay hands on a woman UNLESS:
1. Husband or parent is present.
2. Only put your hand on the husband or parent’s hand.
Don’t push or be “heavy-handed.”
5. To What You Say and How You Say It
Avoid authoritative statements that are based on subjective conclusions.
Beware of describing a condition as demonic. This creates fear.
Beware of saying “God told me…”
The only authoritative statements that are appropriate (yet still with sensitivity) are Scripture truths.
6. To Your Ministry Partner
Work as a team. Giftings come in clusters.
7. To Whom You Team Up With
No male/female pairs unless they are husband and wife.
8. To Appropriateness of Whom a Team Ministers To
Two men should not minister to a woman.
Sometimes it is appropriate for a mixed couple to pray for a woman or a man. Sometimes it isn’t.
9. To Yourself
There is no need to press on when you know the condition is over your head. Don’t hesitate to refer.
Beware of your environment. Certain climates (i.e. tiredness, emotional stress, etc.) will leave you vulnerable to poor judgment.
10. Look for Opportunities to “Disciple” Others
Invite people you know to join you as you pray.
1. God is sovereign and has ultimate control over all sickness (“I wound and I heal, and there is none that can deliver out of my hand.” Deuteronomy 32:39).
Therefore: Let us humble ourselves before him in all lowliness and recognize his hand in all things without rebellion or grumbling.
2. Sickness, death, and all human suffering were introduced into the world as a result of man’s fall into sin (Genesis 3:14ff; Romans 8:20ff.). Just as Satan had a hand in man’s fall into sin, so all sickness in some sense can be viewed as being “oppressed by the devil” (Acts 10:38; of. 2 Corinthians 12:7; Luke 13:16 – on some occasions sickness may be the direct result of an evil spirit, Matthew 9:32; 12:22; Luke 13:11). Yet this does not contradict God’s sovereignty over sickness because God is sovereign over Satan. Satan can do nothing without God’s permission (Job I and 2; Luke 22:31).
Therefore: We will regard sickness as a manifestation of the kingdom of darkness and seek to follow the example of Jesus and his disciples in resisting all sickness. This resistance will always take the form of prayer (James 5:16; 2 Corinthians 12:8) and, as needed, legitimate medical means (I Timothy 5:23).
3. The death of Jesus Christ purchased a redemption for his people which includes spiritual rebirth unto eternal life, progressive sanctification until we are perfected at Jesus’ coming and physical wholeness experienced partially now and fully at the resurrection when we are given a body like Christ’s (Ephesians 1:7, Romans 8:22-25,32; Isaiah 53:4,5; Matthew 8:17).
Therefore: Let us rejoice and be thankful and look always to Christ as our only hope for spiritual and physical well-being in this world and the next.
4. Though an individual’s sin is not always the cause of a particular sickness (John 9:3), unconfessed sin can be a cause of sickness and misery (I Corinthians 11:27-32; Psalm 32:3-5).
Therefore: We will seek to obey the biblical command as recorded in James 5:16, “Confess your sins to one another and pray for one another that you may be healed.”
5. God is our merciful heavenly Father who in Christ secured everything good for us (Ephesians 1:3; Psalm 84:11; Romans 8:28, 32). He is very willing to give good things to those who ask him (Matthew 7:11).
Therefore: Let us have complete trust that when we pray for healing God will hear our prayer and respond in the most loving way. His response may be a miraculous and instantaneous healing; it may be a gradual healing over time through prayer and perhaps medical care; it may be the withholding of healing in part or in full until the ultimate healing takes place when God transforms our physical body at His second coming (Philippians 3:20, 21).
6. Even though the healing power of Jesus and the apostles may have been unique (John 3:34; 2 Corinthians 12:12), there is no biblical reason to doubt that various “gifts of healings” are available to the church today (I Corinthians 12:9, 28, 30).
Therefore: Let us earnestly desire these gifts (1 Corinthians 14:1), and let us take opportunities to pray for the sick among us (James 5:14-16).
7. The healthy, rich man went to hell. The poor man full of sores went to heaven (Luke 16:19-26).
Therefore: Let us never exalt physical healing above spiritual and ethical transformation. Compared to the need for conversion and sanctification the need for physical health in this age is very small. Let us pray passionately for the spiritual condition of the sick as well as for their bodies.
8. Jesus and the apostles made healing a significant part of their ministry (Matthew 9:6; 11:2-6; 10:1,7-8; Luke 10:9) and used it to confirm the truth of their witness (Romans 15:18-19; 2 Corinthians 12:12; Hebrews 2:4; Acts 2:22,43; 4:30; 5:12-14; 6:8 14:3; 15:12). Healing was not for its own sake. It pointed men to the beauty and compassion of Christ. Over every healing we could write the words of Jesus, “See, you are well! Sin no more that nothing worse befall you” (John 5:14).
Therefore: Let us pray that the ministry of healing in our churches never be an end in itself, but a sign of Christ’s spiritual power and beauty. Let us pray as the early church did in Acts 4:30 that the Lord would put forth his hand to heal that men and women might be led to see that Jesus is Lord. Let us pray that along with the ministry of the Word and other ministries of mercy, the ministry of healing would become a more and more powerful part of our strategy for local and world evangelization, until the knowledge of the glory of God covers the earth as the waters cover the sea!
O how precious is the gift of prayer! This is so crucial that God has committed himself to pray in us if we are too weak to know how we ought to pray. “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words” (Rom. 8:26). We are not left to ourselves even in the matter of receiving the greatest gifts in the universe – like prayer and all it can bring us of God’s blessings.
I write this to thank you from the bottom of my heart for standing by me in the ministry of prayer. What a blessing you are to our people! Who knows what riches fall on our church year after year because people pray! I think we will find that we are the beneficiary of thousands of good things because you prayed year after year. I need you. The church needs you. Because we all need God. And he means to be found by us in prayer. “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13). Keep on being the means of others finding him through your prayers.
Here is a small acrostic that I use for myself day after day when I pray. And I use it when I pray for people week after week. “IOUS.” These four prayers are what the psalmist prayed for himself. So we cannot go wrong in praying them for ourselves and others. And they are the key to the deepest things. They answer the question, in part, HOW we become what we so want to be – passionate, joyful people sold out for Jesus Christ.
I– Psalm 119:36, Incline my heart to your testimonies, and not to selfish gain!
O– Psalm 119:18, Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law.
U–Psalm 86:11, Unite my heart to fear your name.
S–Psalm 90:14, Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.
Bless you, my precious partners in prayer at Bethlehem! Keep on asking. Keep on seeking. Keep on knocking. Your father loves to give good things to those who ask him and don’t grow weary.
• For more soul winners and harvesters
“Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into his harvest” (Matt. 9:38).
• For strength to escape universal tribulation
“But keep on the alert at all times, praying in order that you may have strength to escape all these things that are about to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man” (Luke 21:36).
• For healings
“Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much” (James 5:16).
• For those in sins less than the sin of death
“If anyone sees a brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask and God will for him give life to those who commit sin not leading to death; there is a sin leading to death; I do not say that he should make request for this” (1 John 5:16).
• For those who persecute you
“But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you in order that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven” (Matt. 5:44-5).
• According to the pattern of the Lord’s prayer
“After this manner therefore pray, ‘Our Father…’ ” (Matt. 6:9).
• Forgiving any who have sinned against you
“And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your transgressions” (Mark 11:25).
• With persistence
“Now he was telling them a parable to show that at all times they ought to pray and not to lose heart” (Luke 18:1).
• With a spiritual soldier’s concern for all the other saints
“With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit and with this in view, be on the alert, with all perseverance and petition for all the saints” (Ephesians 6:18).
• Without ceasing
“Pray without ceasing” (I Thess. 5:17).
• Without wrath or dissension
“Therefore, I want the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands without wrath or dissension” (I Timothy 2:8).
(Taken directly from Bible Doctrine: Essential Teachings of the Christian Faith. Chapter 30 “Gofts of the Holy Spirit: Specific Gifts” [pages 416-418] by Wayne Grudem ed. Jeff Purswell. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1999.)
All Christians would probably agree that in the atonement Christ has purchased for us not only complete freedom from sin but also complete freedom from physical weakness and infirmity in his work of redemption. And all Christians would also probably agree that our full and complete possession of all the benefits that Christ earned for us will not come until Christ returns: it is only “at his coming” (1 Cor. 15:23) that we receive our perfect resurrection bodies. So it is with physical healing and redemption from the physical sickness that came as a result of the curse in Genesis 3. Our complete possession of redemption from physical illness will not be ours until Christ returns and we receive resurrection bodies [emphasis mine].
But the question that confronts us with respect to the gift of healing is whether God may from time to time grant us a foretaste or a down payment of the physical healing he will grant us fully in the future. The healing miracles of Jesus certainly demonstrate that at times God is willing to grant a partial foretaste of the perfect health that will be ours for eternity. And the ministry of healing seen in the lives of the apostles and among others in the early church also indicates that this was part of the ministry of the new covenant age. As such, it fits the larger pattern of blessings in the new covenant, many or all of which give partial foretastes of the blessings that will be ours when Christ returns. We “already” possess some of the blessings of the kingdom, but those blessings are “not yet” fully ours.
The purposes of healing.
As with other spiritual gifts, healing has several purposes. Certainly it functions as a “sign” to authenticate the gospel message to show that the kingdom of God has come. Healing also brings comfort and health to those who are ill and thereby demonstrates God’s attribute of mercy towards those in distress. Third, healing equips people for service as physical impediments are removed. Fourth, healing provides opportunity for God to be glorified as people see physical evidence of his goodness, love, power, wisdom, and presence.
What about the use of medicine?
What is the relationship between prayer for healing and the use of medicine and the skill of a physician? Certainly we should use medicine if it is available, because God has also created substances in the earth that can be made into medicine with healing properties. Medicines thus should be considered part of the whole creation that God considered “very good” (Gen. 1:31). We should willingly use medicine with thankfulness to the Lord, for “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof” (Ps. 24:1). In fact, when medicine is available and we refuse to use it, (in cases where it would put ourselves or others in danger), then it seems we are wrongly “forcing a test” on the Lord our God… To refuse to use effective medicine, insisting that God perform a miracle of healing instead of healing through the medicine, is very similar to this.
Of course, it is wrong to rely on doctors or medicine instead of relying on the Lord, a mistake tragically made by King Asa (see 2 Chron. 16:12-13). But if medicine is used in connection with prayer, then we should expect God to bless and often multiply the effectiveness of the medicine (cf. 1 Tim. 5:23). However, sometimes there is no appropriate medicine available, or the medicine does not work. Certainly we must remember that God can heal where doctors and medicine cannot heal…
Does the New Testament show common methods used in healing?
The methods used by Jesus and the disciples to bring healing varied from case to case, but most frequently they included the laying on of hands [italics mine]. Jesus no doubt could have spoken a powerful word of command and healed everyone in the large crowd instantly, but instead, “he laid his hands on every one of them and healed them” (Luke 4:40). Laying on of hands seems to have been the primary means Jesus used to heal, because when people came and asked him for healing they did not simply ask for prayer but said, for example, “come and lay your hands on her and she will live” (Matt. 9:18).
Another physical symbol of the Holy Spirit’s power coming for healing was anointing with oil. Jesus’ disciples “anointed with oil many that were sick and healed them” (Mark 6:13). And James tells the elders of the church to anoint the sick person with oil when they pray (James 5:14-15).
The New Testament often emphasizes the role of faith in the healing process- sometimes the faith of the sick person (Luke 8:48; 17:19), but at other times the faith of others who bring the sick person for healing. In James 5:15 it is the elders who pray, and James says it is the “prayer of faith” that saves the sick person- this then must be the faith of the elders praying, not the faith of the one who is sick. When four men let down the paralytic through a hole in the roof where Jesus was preaching, we read, “And when Jesus saw their faith…” (Mark 2:5). At other times Jesus mentions the faith of the Canaanite woman regarding the healing of her daughter (Matt. 15:28), or of the centurion for the healing of the servant (Matt. 8:10, 13).
How then should we pray for healing?
Certainly, it is right to ask God for healing, for Jesus tells us to pray, “Deliver us from evil” (Matt. 6:13), and the apostle John writes to Gaius, “I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in health” (3 John 2). Moreover, Jesus frequently healed all who were brought to him, and he never sent people away telling them it would be good for them to remain ill for a longer time! Jesus reveals the character of God the Father to us, and his example of compassionate healing clearly displays God’s will in sickness and healing. In addition to this, whenever we take any kind of medicine or seek any medical help for an illness, by those actions we admit we think it to be God’s will that we should seek to be well. If we thought that God wanted us to continue in our illness, we would never seek medical means for healing! So when we pray it seems right that our first assumption, unless we have specific reason to think otherwise, should be that God would be pleased to heal the person we are praying for – as far as we can tell from Scripture, this is God’s revealed will.
How then should we pray?
Certainly it is right to ask God for healing, and we should go to him with the simple request that he give physical healing in time of need. James warns us that simple unbelief can lead to prayerlessness and failure to receive answers from God: “You do not have because you do not ask” (James 4:2). But when we pray for healing we should remember that we must pray for God to be glorified in the situation, whether he chooses to heal or not. And we also ought to pray out of the same compassion of heart that Jesus felt for those whom he healed. When we pray this way, God will sometimes – and perhaps often – grant answers to our prayers.
Someone may object at this point that, for a pastoral standpoint, much harm is done when people are encouraged to believe that a miracle of healing will occur and then nothing happens —disappointment with the church and anger at God may result. Those who pray for people to be healed today need to hear this objection and use wisdom in what they tell people who are ill.
But we also need to realize that there is more than one kind of mistake to make: (1) Not praying for healing at all is not a correct solution, for it involves disobedience to James 5. (2) Telling people that God seldom heals today and that they should expect nothing to happen is not a correct solution either, for it does not provide an atmosphere conducive to faith and is inconsistent with the pattern we see in the New Testament. (3) Telling people that God always heals today if we have enough faith is a cruel teaching not supported by Scripture.
The pastorally wise solution, it seems, lies between (2) and (3) above. We can tell people that God frequently heals today (if we believe that is true), and that it is very possible that they will be healed, but that we are still living in an age when the kingdom of God is “already” here but “not yet” fully here. Therefore, Christians in this life will experience healing (and many other answers to prayer), but they will also experience continuing illness and eventual death. In each individual case it is God’s sovereign wisdom that decides the outcome, and our role is simply to ask him and wait for him to answer (whether “yes” or “no” or “keep praying and wait”).
Those with “gifts of healings” (a literal translation of the plurals in 1 Cor. 12:9, 28) will be those people who find that their prayers for healing are answered more frequently and more thoroughly than others. When that becomes evident, a church would be wise to encourage them in this ministry and give them more opportunity to pray for others who are ill. We should also realize that gifts of healing could include ministry not only in terms of physical healing, but also in terms of emotional healing. And it may at times include the ability to set people free from demonic attack, for this is also called “healing” sometimes in the Scripture (see Luke 6:18; Acts 10:38). Perhaps the gifts of being able to pray effectively in different kinds of situations and for different kinds of needs are what Paul referred to when he used the plural expression “gifts of healings.”
But what if God does not heal?
Nonetheless, we must realize that not all prayers for healing will be answered in this age. Sometimes God will not grant the special “faith” (James 5:15) that healing will occur, and at times God will choose not to heal because of his own sovereign purposes. In these cases we must remember that Romans 8:28 is still true: Though we experience the “sufferings of this present time,” and thought we “groan inwardly as we wait for… the redemption of our bodies” (Rom 8:18, 23), nonetheless, “we know that in everything God works for good with those who love him, who are called according to his purpose” (Rom. 8:28). This includes working in our circumstances of suffering and illness as well. During such times we can be encouraged by the examples of Paul and others who, while often experiencing dramatic miracles, also endured circumstances of sickness and suffering (cf. 2 Cor. 4:16-18; 12:7-9; Phil. 2:25-27; 1 Tim. 5:23; 2 Tim. 4:20).
When God chooses not to heal, even though we ask him for it, then it is right that we “give thanks in all circumstances” (1 Thess. 5:18; cf. James 1:2-4) and realize that God can use sickness to draw us closer to himself and increase in us obedience to his will. So the Psalmist can say, “It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes” (Ps. 119:71), and “Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep your word” (Ps. 119:67).
Therefore, God can bring increased sanctification to us through illness and suffering—just as he can bring sanctification and growth in faith through miraculous healing. But the emphasis of the New Testament, both in Jesus’ ministry and in the ministry of the disciples in Acts, seems to be one that encourages us in most cases eagerly and earnestly to seek God for healing, and then to continue to trust him to bring good out of the situation, whether he grants the physical healing or not. The point is that in everything God should receive glory and our joy and trust in him should increase [emphasis mine].
“(3) We ought always to thank God for you, brothers, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love every one of you has for each other is increasing. (4) Therefore, among God’s churches we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring. (11) With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may count you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may fulfill every good purpose of yours and every act prompted by your faith. (12) We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus maybe glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thess. 1:3-4, 11-12).
“I always thank God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus. For in him you have been enriched in every way—in all your speaking and in all your knowledge—because our testimony about Christ was confirmed in you. Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed. He will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God, who called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful” (1 Cor. 1:4-9).
“To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given to me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness’” (2 Cor. 12:7-9a).
“Now we pray to God that you will not do anything wrong. Not that people will see that we have stood the test but that you will do what is right even though we may seem to have failed. For we cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth. We are glad whenever we are weak but you are strong, and our prayer is for your protection” (2 Cor. 13:7-9).
“For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power in us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way” (Eph. 1:l5-23).
“For this reason, I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen” (Eph. 3:14-21).
“I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Phil. 1:3-6).
“We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all the saints — the faith and love that spring from the hope that is stored up for you in heaven and that you have already heard about in the word of truth, the gospel that has come to you. All over the world this gospel is bearing fruit and growing, just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and understood God's grace in all its truth. You learned it from Epaphras, our dear fellow servant, who is a faithful minister of Christ on our behalf, and who also told us of your love in the Spirit.
For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (Col. 1:3-14).
“We always thank God for all of you, mentioning you in our prayers. We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thess. 1:2-3).
“And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is at work in you who believe. For you, brothers, became imitators of God's churches in Judea, which are in Christ Jesus: You suffered from your own countrymen the same things those churches suffered from the Jews, who killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets and also drove us out. They displease God and are hostile to all men in their effort to keep us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved. In this way they always heap up their sins to the limit. The wrath of God has come upon them at last” (I Thess. 2:13-16).
“How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy we have in the presence of our God because of you? Night and day we pray most earnestly that we may see you again and supply what is lacking in your faith.
“Now may our God and Father himself and our Lord Jesus clear the way for us to come to you. May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones” (1 Thess. 3:9-13).
“We ought always to thank God for you, brothers, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love every one of you has for each other is increasing. Therefore, among God's churches we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring”(2 Thess. 1:3-4).
“With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may count you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may fulfill every good purpose of yours and every act prompted by your faith. We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thess. 1:11-12).
“I thank God, whom I serve, as my forefathers did, with a clear conscience, as night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers. Recalling your tears, I long to see you, so that I may be filled with joy. I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also. For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love, and of self-discipline” (2 Tim. 1:3-7).
“May the Lord show mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, because he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains. On the contrary, when he was in Rome, he searched hard for me until he found me. May the Lord grant that he will find mercy from the Lord on that day! You know very well in how many ways he helped me in Ephesus” (2 Tim. 1:16-18).
“I always thank my God as I remember you in my prayers, because I hear about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints. I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ. Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the saints” (Philemon 4-7).
“First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world. God, whom I serve with my whole heart in preaching the gospel of his Son, is my witness how constantly I remember you in my prayers at all times; and I pray that now at last by God's will the way may be opened for me to come to you” (Rom. 1:8-10).
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort” (2 Cor. 1:3-7).
“But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life. And who is equal to such a task?” (2 Cor. 2:14-16).
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will — to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding” (Eph. 1:3ff).
“And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God” (Phil. 1:9-11).
“May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul, and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it” (I Thess. 5:23-24).
“May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word” (2 Thess. 2:16-17).
“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit” (Philemon 25).
SCRIPTURAL EXHORTATIONS TO PRAYER:
“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer” (Rom. 12:12).
“I urge you, brothers, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to join me in my struggle by praying to God for me. Pray that I may be rescued from the unbelievers in Judea and that my service in Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints there, so that by God’s will I may come to you with joy and together with you be refreshed. The God of peace be with you all. Amen” (Rom. 15:30-33).
“Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should” (Eph. 6:19-20).
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:6-7).
“Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should” (Col. 4:2-4).
“And pray that we may he delivered from wicked and evil men, for not everyone has faith. But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen and protect you from the evil one. We have confidence in the Lord that you are doing and will continue to do the things we command. May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance” (2 These. 3:2-5).
“Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you” (2 Thess. 3:16).
“I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me faithful, appointing me to his service” (1 Tim. 1:12).
“I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession, and thanksgiving be made for everyone — for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men—the testimony given in its proper time” (1 Tim. 2:1-6).
“Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved” (Rom. 10:1).
“May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom. 15:5-6).
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Rom. 15:13).
“The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers” (Gal. 6:18).
You’re Worthy of My Praise David Ruis
1. I will worship (I will worship) with all of my heart (with all of my heart)
I will praise You (I will praise You) with all of my strength (all my strength)
I will seek You (I will seek You) all of my days (all of my days)
I will follow (I will follow) all of Your ways (all Your ways)
I will give You all my worship, I will give You all my praise.
You alone I long to worship. You alone are worthy of my praise.
2. I will bow down (I will bow down) and hail You as King (and hail You as King)
I will serve You (I will serve You) give You everything (everything)
I will lift up (I will lift up) my eyes to Your throne (my eyes to Your throne)
I will trust You (I will trust You), trust You alone (You alone)
(c) 1991 Maranatha! Music and Orchard Shade Publishing Admin. by Maranatha! Music, Inc. CCLI# 130553
You Are My All in All Dennis Jernigan
I. You are my strength when I am weak,; You are the treasure that I seek, You are my All in All.
Seeking You as a precious jewel, Lord to give up I’d be a fool. You are my All in All.
Jesus, Lamb of God, Worthy is Your name. Jesus, Lamb of God, Worthy is Your name.
2. Taking my sin, my cross, my shame, rising again I bless Your name. You are my All in All.
When fall down, You pick me up; When I am dry, You fill my cup. You are my All in All!
(c) 1997 Shepherd’s Heart Music CCLI# 130553
We Sing Your Mercies Mark Alfrogge
We sing Your mercies, We sing Your endless praises, We sing Your everlasting love.
We sing Your mercies, We sing Your endless praises, Sov’reign One who died,
Sov’reign One who died for us.
1. Should He who made the stars be hung upon a tree; and should the hands that healed
be driven through for me? Should He who gave us bread be made to swallow gall?
Should He who gave us breath and life be slaughtered for us all?
2. Should He who is the Light be cast into the dark; and should the Lord of love
be pierced through His own heart? Should He who called us friends be deserted by us all;
Should He who lived a sinless life be punished for our fall?
(c) 1997 PDI Praise a div. of PDI Music, Inc. CCLI# 130553
Create in Me a Clean Heart
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from Thy presence, O Lord, and take not Your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation, and renew a right spirit within me.
Psalm 19 Terry Butler
May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing to You, pleasing to You.
May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing to You, my God.
You’re my Rock and my Redeemer; You’re the reason that I sing. I desire to be a blessing in Your eyes.
Ev’ry hour, ev’ry moment, Lord I want to be Your servant, I desire to be a blessing in Your eyes, in Your eyes.
(c) 1995 Mercy/Vineyard Publishing CCLI# 130553