by Pastor Tim Burt
One Sunday morning after our church service had ended, a woman came up to the altar to ask for prayer. She had recently been to the doctor and was told she had some serious problems with her heart. She told me what they were. She was crying and afraid. I grabbed one of our female altar counselors and had her lay a hand over this woman’s heart and then together we prayed according to Mark 16:18 “They shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover.” We prayed for her healing and for a good report from the doctor on her next visit. She was crying and still somewhat nervous but appreciated the prayer.
We had no sooner finished praying than another woman walked up. She said, Pastor Burt, I have a good report to give you. You told me to bring you a good report last time you prayed for me and so I am! She did this while the other woman was standing there. A month ago, she had received a report from the doctor that she had disease in her colon. She, like this other woman, had come up to me after a service and we had prayed for her in the same way. When she went back for more tests, they went into her colon and could find nothing wrong. The doctor said he couldn’t explain it. She smiled. She explained it to him.
When she told us the story, I saw the woman I had just prayed for, smile. Her faith and been greatly encouraged. I asked her to bring me a good report when she got it. Then she left.
Not every person has the quick turnaround and miraculous testimony that this second woman in my story did. When they don’t, we continue to stand and pray. I am filled with thanksgiving by a good report, but I am not moved or discouraged in my faith by a negative report. Sometimes there is battle to fight, and praying while standing in faith is what we are called to do.
In Ephesians 6 the Bible teaches us about putting on the armor of God that He has given us to stand against the devil and his evils schemes and attacks. These verses imply that there will sometimes be longer battles. It doesn’t say we should give up when the battle gets tough. It doesn’t say that God isn’t answering our prayers. Ephesians 6:13 says we are to keep fighting and keep standing. “Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand, keep standing.”
The armor of God is to remind us of who we are through Christ Jesus. Ephesians 6:14-17 (NIV) “Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist,” (you have God’s truth & promise,) “…with the breastplate of righteousness in place,” (you’ve been made righteous by Jesus,) “…and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace,” (take Jesus with you and share His love as often as you get the chance.) “In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows (the evil reports) of the evil one.” This is all written to us to encourage us to let the promises of God’s Word dominate our belief and faith over every evil report! “Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” (Faith in God’s Word will quench the evil thoughts and fears that try to overpower your mind and emotions! Use God’s Word like a sword to speak to those negative thoughts and fears. Cut them down!)
The Armor of God is to remind us that we are in a battle against an enemy that is in this earth whom we cannot see with our physical eyes. All we can see is the fruit of his attempted destruction. The armor of God is to remind us that our sins are washed away by the shed blood of Jesus Christ and that He is our righteousness. Jesus is the one that makes us worthy to come to come to God’s throne for mercy, help, and grace. Without Him and what He has given us, that would not be possible. Because of what He has done and given us, “with God, all things are possible.” So, reach out and be used of God and pray in faith for someone who needs His touch today. Or if it’s your own battle, keep standing and stand strong in the power of His might!
2 Corinthians 10:4 (NIV) “The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.”
In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt
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