Life and Death: Prayer is not for beggars

Though very few people follow my blog, I believe in following through with things I start, especially when pertaining to my written work. So, I have placed some pressure on myself to post something, noticing that I haven’t done so in quite a while.

Over the course of the last three to four months, I have gone through the process of relocating some 900 miles to another region of the country. The move is an outward manifestation of spiritual progress and took place by a big step of faith that God made possible. God be praised. I traveled to my new city and visited someone for a week to check it out, discern and see if I could line things up. That would tell me if I could move or not. Getting a job would make it feasible, but getting work is not easy. At the very least, getting an apartment I could afford with limited income from the trickling little creek we know as unemployment compensation would be necessary to make the transition, but would also be difficult to secure without work. God’s hand moved at the absolute last minute and opened a door. Thus, here I am and all is well, though I continue looking for work.

So, a lot has been going on and this is why blogging has not been a priority. However, I do have something useful to write about; useful to readers, that is.

Immediately before I moved, my best friend took his kids to camp along the Canadian border. I saw him when he came back home and we hung out – my saying something of a “goodbye,” though I will likely visit and see him and his family when I can. Neither of us knew he had been bitten by an infected deer tick and Lyme Disease was setting in. As we hung out that day, the infection was setting in and would cause some very serious problems in the coming weeks.

He ended up contracting Meningitis as a result of Lyme. He went into the university hospital, one of the best in the country, and had been there for a couple days when I got a call one night from a mutual friend who was getting the word out to pray, for our friend was near death. He had seen visions of deceased loved ones who told him it was OK for him to cross over. No, it wasn’t; he has three children and a woman who loves him.

I felt a little guilty for a few minutes; had I not moved, I could have been at his side. I couldn’t have done anything I can’t do from any distance, since the only thing I could do is pray. But, to say “only” is to diminish the power of the God we pray to. I spent the whole night in constant prayer until I got word that his condition was more stable and I went to bed around 4 a.m. I continued in prayer over that weekend and got the word out over the phone and in social media as much as I could, as did others. I poured over scripture, particularly the story of Jairus’ daughter and the woman with the “issue of blood.” They may appear to be two stories, one interrupting the other, but I suspect the Gospel writers wrote them as they did because they speak as one to the issue of faith.

Many of us in the Body of Christ may imagine God as a being up in the heavens that we are beneath in some way; a being we pray to in need of God to “do” something for us; that we are in a weak and powerless position (perhaps because of sin or “the fall”) and we may take this posture in prayer. When I imagine God in a classical, or traditional, monotheistic manner, this is the kind of relationship and prayer posture that ensues. However, with my friend being at the brink of death, I refused to play the role of beggar and I refused to beg.

In the story, Jairus comes to Jesus with his daughter dying. He begs Jesus to come to his house and heal the girl. On the way, some men from the house find him and tell him his daughter has died. However, right before that, a woman who had been fighting a hemorrhage for several years had approached Jesus in the crowd. She had thought to herself that if she could simply touch the hem of his garment, she’d be healed.

With many people bumping up against him, she touched him and he felt power go out from him. He told her it was her faith that made her well, so she didn’t need to request a healing. She assertively believed and acted upon that belief, which Jesus credited with her healing. He didn’t tell her God had made her well, or that he had done it – he said her faith had made her well.

Then, the men tell Jairus his precious girl has past on. Jesus tells him not to fear, but believe. He dismisses the crowd and the small band of them proceed to the house, which is full of lamenting people. He sends the crowd out of the room and raises the girl from the dead.

There is also another story of a guy who was paralyzed. His friends carried him on a cot to a place Jesus was headed for as he was walking down the road toward a house he was going to visit. There was a large crowd, so his friends asserted themselves and lowered their friend through a hole in the roof to get him in front of Jesus. I could do no other than stand on the scripture with my best friend at death’s door and give God the faith that asserts itself from the position of a beloved and triumphant son. Wholeness is our default. No matter how obscured by ego, we are made right with God and it is by faith that our true nature is actualized in our experience. But our participation requires diligence. Jesus taught the Kingdom as being within us and as something we must press into. He even used such strong language as to say “the violent take it by force.”

We are more than conquerors – we are not in the position of beggars and it may be that if we take that position, we may not be operating in the kind of faith that causes power to go out from Christ.

My friend slowly got better enough to be discharged and is receiving nursing care at home. He is not out of the woods yet; it will be a long road and he is suffering from fatigue. He is a big reader and can’t read because it gives him migraines. In time, my hope and prayer is that will dissipate.

 

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