I just finished a 3 month sabbatical! I went into it on a journey towards emotional health. It started about five years ago, when I was introduced to the book Emotionally Healthy Spirituality. It’s been a slow journey. I’ve re-read EHS a few times and referred back to chapters another half dozen. It’s been useful in helping me navigate relationships, but also propelled me on a journey of inner healing.
My wife got up early and braved the cold, the rain and the long lines at the grocery story this morning. And she was victorious!! She came back with the oh so coveted toilet paper. And as our bounty of paper products and cleaning supplies were laid out on our counter — and we cheered with great celebration — it occurred to me that this season of scarcity has brought us a great opportunity. We didn’t know we needed it, but it may be one of the best things that could happen to us.
For the past decade I’ve been wrestling with the subject of prayer. What is prayer? Do our prayers affect change? And especially, the James 5 idea of “the prayer of faith.” Growing up, many of my leaders either taught or inferred that God will heal you — implying you just have to believe and have enough faith. Now that I have more experience and have had time to consider it, I believe they were trying to teach us to pray with confidence and persistence — two attributes that are necessary for prayer. Of course, if the healing doesn’t occur, what do you do then? This was my hang-up.
Recently, I opened up my Bible and a piece of paper I tucked in it years ago caught my attention. On the paper were some thoughts had written down regarding the lies our Enemy tries to get us to buy in to. It was a timely reminder for me and I thought I’d expand on the thoughts.
This particular thought is from Isaiah 36-37. Let me catch you up real quick. The Assyrian army came to attack Judah and conquer it. The Assyrian army at the time was a massive power and could completely overpower Judah. One of the leaders of the Assyrian army gave a message to Hezekiah, king of Judah, saying, “Who are you putting your trust in. You should just give up. Are you trusting in Egypt, they are unreliable. Are you putting your trust in your God, you have been unfaithful to him he will not save you.” Then to add to the insult he tells Hezekiah, “I’ll give you 2,000 horses if you can find that many men to ride them.”