Keep your heart with all
diligence, for out of it
spring the issues of life.
Proverbs 4:23 NKJV

SEARCH

Healing

Prayers for Healing: Prevailing Prayer

Prevailing prayer is more than persevering with petitions for healing, though it certainly includes that. The idea here is of the widow Jesus recommended as an example of "importunity" in prayer (Luke 18:1-8). She couldn't get the judge to pay any attention to her requests, but she refused to give up. She prevailed upon him--not by seeking compassion (he had none) but by making a general nuisance of herself!

And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart.  Luke 18:1 ESV

 

The What and Why of It

A thing sometimes missed in reading scripture, but which often appears in regular life, is the phenomenon of the Lord's seeming reluctance to act. You Man Against Wind : Biblical Prayers for Healing : Prevailinghave to press past the apparent indifference or resistance that seems to be in God. Don't take "No" for an answer: God's stated desire is for us to be healed in every facet of our being. However, in some sense He actually wants us to "call Him out"!

Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be healthy, even as your soul prospers. 3 John 2 WEB

We see this strange way of the Lord amply portrayed through Jesus' conversation with the Canaanite mother who was pleading with Him for her child's healing. Jesus seemed to be dismissive of her request, but when she persisted (using good humor to boot!), He happily gave way and declared that she was a woman of "great faith." How's that for turning a delay into an advance!

But she came and  knelt before him, saying, "Lord, help me." And he answered, "It is not right to take the children's bread and  throw it to the dogs." She said, "Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters' table." Then Jesus answered her, "O woman,  great is your faith!  Be it done for you as you desire." And her daughter was  healed instantly. Matthew 15:25-28 ESV

Prevailing prayer is persisting in prayer until the answer comes. Our model for this aspect of prayer is not how the prayer is shaped, but how persistently prayer is made. Frequently this means taking prayers of petition and rather than offering them once, continuing to offer them until either an answer comes or a word from the Lord arrives concerning the request. Other kinds of prayer may require persistent application as well, but the two examples of prevailing prayer given by Jesus describe petitions being offered (see Matthew 15 and Luke 18 below).

The Book of Daniel provides us with a very illuminating example of why prevailing prayer is necessary at times. Held in captivity in Babylon along with the rest of the Jews after the destruction of Jerusalem and their forced deportation, Daniel began praying for the restoration of his people. What he is told by the angel who visits him is that from "the first day" Daniel began to pray, the angel had been sent, but there was opposition delaying his arrival for three weeks! The "prince of the kingdom of Persia" withstood him.

And he said to me, "O Daniel, man greatly loved, understand the words that I speak to you, and stand upright, for now I have been sent to you." And when he had spoken this word to me, I stood up trembling. Then he said to me, "Fear not, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand and humbled yourself before your God, your words have been heard, and I have come because of your words. The prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days, but Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I was left there with the kings of Persia, and came to make you understand what is to happen to your people in the latter days. For the vision is for days yet to come." Daniel 10:11-14 ESV

Spiritual opposition is real. Since it is hard to imagine that an ordinary human king could delay an angel, the only reasonable conclusion is that a "prince" (a demonic ruler) of the kingdom of darkness over Persia was resisting God's messenger from bringing the answer to Daniel's prayer. We call this "second heaven" resistance—the physical heavens being the first heaven and God's heaven being the third (see 2 Corinthians 12:2). In our own lives there may well be "second heaven" resistance coming from the enemy's encampment over our particular region or due to our own entanglement with sin. While this does not stop God, it apparently creates problems that He has to work through in order for His help to reach us.

No matter what the hidden reasons may be, we need to follow Jesus' advice to "always pray and not lose heart" (Luke 18:1). The Lord placed a wonderful promise in scripture that all of us can be inheritors of any of the promises through being determined to practice "faith and patience (perseverance)."

And we desire each one of you to show the same earnestness to have the full assurance of hope until the end, so that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. Hebrews 6:11-12 ESV

Jesus is our greatest exemplar of persevering, prevailing prayer. He prayed for our salvation, our sancification and our unity in the Garden of Gesemane the night before the cross (see John 17). No one could hope to have a better understanding of prayer or a better faith relationship with the Father from which to do their praying. So His long prayer in the garden settled these issues once and for all, right? Apparently not. According to the writer of Hebrews, Jesus is persevering in prayer to this day on our behalf.

Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them. Hebrews 7:25 ESV

Scriptures with Prevailing Prayer

And Jesus went away from there and withdrew to the district of Tyre and Sidon. And behold, a Canaanite woman from that region came out and was crying, "Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is severely oppressed by a demon." But he did not answer her a word. And his disciples came and begged him, saying, "Send her away, for she is crying out after us." He answered, "I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." But she came and  knelt before him, saying, "Lord, help me." And he answered, "It is not right to take the children's bread and  throw it to the dogs." She said, "Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters' table." Then Jesus answered her, "O woman,  great is your faith!  Be it done for you as you desire." And her daughter was  healed instantly. Matthew 15:21-28 ESV

Simon Peter replied, "You are the Christ, the Son of  the living God." And Jesus answered him, "Blessed are you,  Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and  on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." Matthew 16:16-19 ESV

And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. He said, "In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man. And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, 'Give me justice against my adversary.' For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, 'Though I neither fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.'" And the Lord said, "Hear what the unrighteous judge says. And will not God give justice to his elect,  who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?" Luke 18:1-8 ESV

And we desire each one of you to show the same earnestness to have the full assurance  of hope until the end, so that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. Hebrews 6:11-12 ESV

Next Healing Essential

Rebuking Prayer  Many physical sicknesses and emotional disorders were healed in the New Testament by either Jesus or his followers rebuking the spirits that were causing the illness. It is a fact of scripture that we have been given awesome power to command the evil one and his kingdom, to curb their power and to overturn their works. This is not meant to make us arrogant or proud—not even against the evil spirits, but it is intended for our relief and protection from oppression by the enemy. Commands can be issued of either a defensive or offensive nature.

Interested in Going Deeper?

Consider taking our free eCourse for Healing. We have designed a complete series for personal transformation, "Matters of the Heart," to help Christians gain emotional freedom and inner healing. In all there are 24 Main Healing Lessons and 24 Head to Heart Guides to help you bring your heart to God and receive His Great Heart for you in return!

Take the eCourse for Healing : Free Online Healing Course