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Service of Prayer for Healing

Revelation 21.1-7/St. Luke 4.38-41


Wed. of Pentecost IV
Lutheran Senior Services at Meramec Bluffs  
Ballwin, Missouri

Wed, Jul 13, 2011 

Soli Deo Gloria. Amen.

Invocation In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

1 Today the Holy Spirit holds Jesus up before us as he heals Simon Peter's mother-in- law.  She lay in her bed with a great fever, St. Luke says, and then:

[St. Luke 4.39]

. . . (Jesus) stood over her, and rebuked the fever; and it left her: and immediately she arose and ministered unto them.

By the powerful word of his mouth, Jesus rebukes her fever and it leaves.  By his voice he commands the cause of her suffering to depart, and it departs.  Jesus' words are powerful words.  Jesus' words are heavenly words, for when Jesus speaks, his words bring with them the fullness of the kingdom of heaven.  Jesus' words bring heavenly comfort.  Jesus' words bring divine restoration.  Jesus' words bring heaven and all its blessings down to those who receive them in faith.  That's exactly what happened that day in Capernaum recorded by St. Luke.  Heaven burst forth into Peter's house and all those inside were caught up into the blessed perfection of our heavenly King, the Lord Jesus Christ.  Thus after her healing, Peter's mother-in-law could not help but serve Jesus and his disciples, for she was given a glimpse of heaven by Christ and made whole by the heavenly King right there in her own house.

2 After Jesus healed Peter's mother-in-law, he was not done with his healing.  As night draws near, everyone brings their sick and suffering to him.  St. Luke says:

[St. Luke 4.40-41]

Now when the sun was setting, all they that had any sick with divers diseases brought them unto him; and he healed them.  And devils also came out of many, crying out, and saying, thou art Christ the Son of God.  and he rebuking them suffered them not to speak: for they knew that he was the Christ.

3 Whatever illnesses these people had, Jesus healed their disease.  Whatever injuries they had, Jesus relieved their pain.  Whatever demons possessed their soul, Jesus set them free and drove the demons out.  One after another, after another, after another, Jesus lays his hands on the sick and the suffering and the possessed and he drives away all illness, injury, and evil.  By the touch of Jesus' hand the Kingdom of Heaven rushes down upon the people of the earth.  Those blessed to be so touched by Jesus get a taste of heaven and a glimpse of eternity: they receive perfect health; perfect wholeness; perfect bliss; perfect peace.

4 Our prayers for healing today, are prayers that Jesus would reveal himself in flesh and blood and do here what he did in Capernaum.  We pray that Jesus would speak his word and make us whole; that he would reach out his hand and relieve our pain; that he would fix his gaze upon us and drive away our doubt; our demons; and our despair.

5 That is why we're here.  We have gathered in faith today to pray for the very sort of miracles we see our Lord perform in the Gospel.  Like Peter's mother-in-law we have our own fevers.  Like the throngs of the sick and injured that came to the house in Capernaum, we have our own illnesses and our own demons.  So we pray for Jesus to heal us like he healed all those people in Galilee. 

6 In response to our prayer, Jesus reveals himself to us, just as he did to the people of Capernaum.  By his grace, Jesus reveals himself as we hear his word.  By his grace, Christ makes us alive and heals us by the working of the Holy Spirit right here in this place.  So we pray.  We pray that by his presence, Christ would release us from our physical burdens.  We pray that by his mercy, Christ would relieve us of our spiritual strife.  We pray because we know the "effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much."  (James 5.16b.) We pray because Christ has promised that whatever we ask in his name, he will do.  So we lay hands on one another and anoint one another with oil, and we do it all in prayer, for Christ has promised to be with us, and by our prayers we ask to see him revealed and feel his touch and hear his voice: and know his healing in our lives.

6 We come before God today with our ardent prayers, even as we have done countless times before.  Many of us still feel the effects of affliction we've prayed over more than we can remember.  And yet, we are here today, praying once again, because we know that even if we do not receive a miraculous healing or a wondrous release form our suffering; God has promised to come to us still.  God has promised to bring the kingdom into our lives and into our homes.  And he brings the kingdom among us through his holy word and precious sacraments.  Yes, the kingdom of heaven does break into our lives, but not always in a miraculous healing or immediate restoration.  Instead, Christ has ordained that his kingdom come to us through the words of Holy Scripture; through Baptism and Absolution; and through the Sacrament of the Altar.  In these great gifts, Jesus speaks to us as he did to Simon Peter's mother-in-law.  In these sacred means, Christ touches us with his hand in water and word; in bread and wine that are his body and blood.  By these miraculous gifts, Christ heals us by uniting himself to us, forgiving us our sins, and bringing the kingdom of God to us.  By his holy word and precious Sacraments, divine healing is ours: the timing for that healing, however, is God's.

7 We may not experience physical healing today.  But we will all be welcomed once again into the heavenly kingdom of grace, where healing is sure to come.  If not today, then at the last and glorious day of the Lord.  So in prayer formed by faith and hammered out in hope, we confess our faults to one another, trusting in Christ's promise to forgive, restore, and renew.  We receive the body and blood of Christ, sure and certain that Christ comes and makes his home with us and within us, uniting us to himself and bringing us into the Kingdom of God.  We pray for one another and bear one another's burdens.  And we all take up the cross of Christ and carry it toward the New Jerusalem, which is our final destination.

8 There, in the city of God come down from on high, we will experience what St. John saw in the ecstasy of the Holy Spirit.  When this world has passed away and we are delivered from this vale of tears, we will know the healing of Christ in a way beyond all description.  When the Spirit tells St. John that God will wipe away all tears from their eyes, he's speaking of our tears.  When the Spirit says:

[Revelation 21.4b]

there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

he's talking about us.  And when Christ, seated upon his throne proclaims:

[Revelation 21.5]

Behold, I make all things new.

We are included in that great promise.  When this world ends and we are ushered into the New Jerusalem, we will see in their fullness the answers to all our prayers.  Our longing for relief will be satisfied.  Our bodies and souls will once more revel in the untarnished image of God, in which we were first created.  Christ has spoken, and so it will be.  As he says, his words are "true and faithful."  (Rev. 21.5)

9 While we carry our cross through this world, we receive our strength from him who makes us new, our Lord Jesus Christ.  So we trust his promise.  We pray for his deliverance.  And we live by his grace and mercy.  Sustained by Christ we lift our constant prayer up to him and him alone: Come, Lord Jesus.  Come quickly.  Amen.

Invocation In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

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