Healing Prayer and Spiritual warfare
Dcn. Dale Matson
It would seem that the church Sanctuary would be a place of safety and a place of peace yet it can be a place of conflict also. Following each of our Sunday services, parishioners with special needs are invited to the altar area for individual prayer and unction. There are as many reasons for prayer as there are individuals who come forward for prayer. Those of us who remain after the services to pray for others are people that could be referred to as spiritual warriors but we are in fact very ordinary and vulnerable people with our own share of burdens also. We are willing to be there not because each of us has a strong sense of Holy efficacy. It is not even that we have a stronger faith than others. We believe we are called by our Lord to be there and we are obedient to that call. That is simply why we are there. We know that many of the struggles our brothers and sisters face are spiritual battles at the core. This is not to say, however that individuals do not present with genuine physical or psychological difficulties. One of the additional problems each of us faces as intercessors are the spiritual attacks that each of us must deal with in our attempt to intervene on behalf of our Lord. There are those doubts that crop up in our minds. What are you doing here? What makes you think you can help things? You really don’t believe your prayers will have any effect do you? These doubts and personal attacks are from Satan and thus the battle is engaged. The Lord Jesus Christ speaks to us also and offers reassurance that this is where we need to be and this is what He would like us to be doing. It is a battle fought on two fronts. We are attempting to offer comfort to those who have asked for it and we are fighting off the negative thoughts coming our way. Who would guess that this kind of warfare would be going on in the church Sanctuary? It is also an opportunity to see the Spiritual Gifts of the Holy Spirit in operation as different intercessors offer parts of a picture. One person may have a vision, one a word of knowledge and one, discernment. It is as if the army of the Lord has gathered as infantry, cavalry, and artillery to face the enemy each with unique gifts but each needing the other parts of the body to complete the mission. It is during these times that we struggle with our doubts, fears, inadequacies and distractions but it is also these times that we minister to Christ in the form of our brothers and sisters. The Holy Spirit honors us with His healing presence and many are helped to deal with physical infirmity, psychological torment and in some cases spiritual oppression. Physical and Psychological illness can drain us of our faith and our hope. It is at these times that we through the power of The Holy Spirit offer can some respite.