The Providence of God. Why Pray for the Sick?

Introduction:  Since the miraculous era has pasted, how does God effect our lives”  (1) Of course, we realize that the Bible itself can effect our lives when we open our hearts to its influence.  Its inspired Word has much to say unto receptive hearts.  II Tim. 3:16-17, “All scripture is given by…” (2) We are also drawn to the Heavenly Father as we admire His handiwork in nature.  Psa. 19:1, “The heavens declare the…”  (3) Also, we are affected by Christian principles through the lives of those who faithfully live in harmony with the teachings of the New Testament.  Matt. 5:16, “Let your light so shine…”  

Someone may be inclined to say at this point, “All of that is well and good, but if miracles no longer take place, then why pray in behalf of the sick?”

I.                   THERE ARE A NUMBER OF REASONS WHY WE SHOULD CONTINUE TO PRAY FOR THOSE WITH PHYSICAL AILMENTS.

A.    Our prayers should stress the importance for the person sick to continue to place their trust in the true and living God.

1.      It will help them to overcome anxiety. 

Phil. 4:6-7, “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by payer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.  And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” 

2.      By way of God’s grace, we are assured of a better life in Heaven. 

II Cor. 4:16-18, “For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.  For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen:  for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.” 

Col. 3:1-2, “If ye then be risen with Christ,…”

3.      Job had a strong faith in God!

Job 13:15-16, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust him:  but I will maintain mine own ways before him.  He also shall be my salvation;…”

Rom. 8:28, “And we know that all things…”  

Phil. 4:13, “I can do all things…”

Phil. 4:19, “But my God shall supply…”

B.    Our prayers should request that the Lord provide wisdom to the doctors, the medical technicians, and nurses as they administer to the sick person’s needs.

James 1:5, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.”

C.    Pray that the patient will realize that their family, brethren in Christ, and friends has his or her interest at heart; but most of all that God cares.

I Pet. 5:6-7, “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:  Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.”

                        1. They need a compelling desire and need to recover from their sickness.

  Phil. 1:21-24, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.  But if I   live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour:  yet what I shall choose I wot not.  For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better:  Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you.”

D.    Pray that their body will respond favorably to the medical treatment and that its natural immune system will help to ward off the sickness.                    

1.      We need to take care of our bodies so that they in turn will take care of us.

Rom. 12:1-2, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God,…”

E.     Regardless of their physical wellbeing, their spiritual needs must take precedence because it has to do with their eternal welfare.

1.      Pray with them that the Heavenly Father will forgive them of their sins.

James 5:16, “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed.  The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”  

F.     Pray that God will providentially care for the ailing person.

1.      We are not living in the era of miracles.

2.      Nevertheless, the providence of God is still in effect.

II.                WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MIRACLES AND THE PROVIDENCE OF GOD?

A.    A miracle is an effect in the physical realm that supercedes the natural laws.

1.      Whereas the providence of God is when a divine act works directly through the natural laws.

B.    An example of a miracle was the raising of Lazarus from the dead for four days.

(John 11:1-45).

1.      For a doctor to get a heart to beat again is not a miracle.  Although the physical signs referred to as the vital signs are used to determine whether or not a person is still alive, those signs are not the final verdict as to whether a person has died physically.

2.      The Biblical definition of physical death is as follows:  “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also” (James 2:26).

C.    The classical example of an act of providence is found at James 5:17-18 and First Kings 18:41-45.

1.      Clouds were built up to bring rain. 

2.      When we pray for rain today, it is through the natural laws that God answers our prayers.

Conclusion:  Let us place confidence in the providence of God to answer our prayers.

--Dub Mowery

          

Copyright © 2004 - 2005 by Pritchett Church of Christ. All rights reserved.