I did something brave this week. Actually, I did a few brave things, and I’m feeling like a proper hero about it. Okay, not a proper hero, but I’m really proud of myself for following through on a few challenging moments that allowed me to see growth and beauty in my life. 

Back when I was on my mini prayer retreat last week, I was pondering the prayers that have been offered up to God over the past ten years related to my healing. I thought about how many times I’ve posted on the internet and received thousands of prayers in response as I ask a generic request that has had slow and steady progress. God, please heal me. Holistically – which includes physically – heal my heart, soul, and body. 

I’ve written a lot about the bold move I made to ask someone to pray for me in person a few years back and how horribly it backfired on me. As I was catching up with a friend this week, she commented on how obvious the connection was between that burn and the fact that I’ve asked almost no one in person to pray for my physical healing. When I’m in places where prayer requests are being shared, I’ll either keep quiet or share something emotional or work related. Rarely physical, and rarely, rarely for a full healing. 

I felt a Holy Spirit nudge, a butterfly on my shoulder if you will, that I should maybe ask some people to pray for me. I figured my staff team would be a scary and safe place to start. I genuinely love these humans I work with; they are passionate Jesus followers who are actively seeking to obey the promptings of the Holy Spirit. I’m also still keenly aware of being the new kid on staff and trying not to rock the boat too much while hopefully offering valuable new perspectives. What kind of value is the perspective of asking for my whole physical healing from these people when we’re only ever gathered for staff meetings or prayer purposes? Oh, hold up, you saw that, didn’t you? We gather once a week to pray. Why have I never asked them to pray for me? Because there’re more obvious needs in our church for other people to find healing. My request is too lavish, too big for God. Oh, did you catch that one too? 

It’s not that I didn’t (or don’t) believe that could heal me if I asked for prayer in person; it’s that I didn’t believe that he would if I asked for it. Surely he would only heal me miraculously if someone else was Holy Spirit nudged to pray for it. I want it too badly, or something. To be honest, there was a lot of illogical baggage crowding up my head, and I slowly sifted through it to settle into the conviction that I should ask the staff team to pray for me during our next prayer meeting this Wednesday.

Tuesday morning we had an extended staff meeting and one of the notes was on our intentional culture to “live in the uncomfortable” which sounds wild, but we consider it a way we can purposefully pay attention to what God is doing this year. As I told my friend Alyssa about this value, she responded pretty forcefully about how thankful she was that I was in a place safe enough to choose to be uncomfortable. I wasn’t floundering in my job or drowning in my life circumstances, and I trusted my coworkers enough to choose to be vulnerable around them. 

There was an opening, and I choose to be uncomfortable. I related Alyssa’s comment about my safety in this group, and I commented on how I was going to ask for prayer the next day because that was a growth point God was working in my heart. 

“Pretty much the last time I asked someone to pray for me in person was three and a half years ago and the person told me that God wouldn’t heal me until I’d learned my lesson about suffering.” 

What happened next was pretty incredible. We shifted course from the meeting agenda for a few minutes, and this team of Jesus followers gathered around me and prayed for me on the spot. They shared Scripture and encouragements, and they told me they would keep praying alongside me until I was healed. My body felt the same after, but something in my heart healed. I wasn’t hurt when I made myself vulnerable in that way, and these people had no fear of praying wild and big prayers. 

Two days later I found myself in a group with two other people passionate about Jesus, and before we started our brief prayer time, one of them asked me directly, “Laura, is there something we can pray for you about?” 

I laughed lightly before I nodded and said, “I’ve been convicted this past week about needing to ask for prayer for my physical healing.” Both guys laid a hand on my shoulder and prayed beautiful words inviting the Lord to come move in my body. 

For people outside of New Zealand, I should explain that one of the guys is an absolute legend in youth ministry here on the south island. I’m not even exaggerating to say that every Christian teenager in Canterbury knows this guy’s name and face. With absolute compassion and humility, he told me that as he prayed, he saw a picture of me standing up slowly from my chair while I was surrounded by youth. He wasn’t declaring this as a vision of exactly what would happen in my life and healing, and he said he didn’t even know if he should share it. We all know that’s not a scenario I can manipulate into reality, but it was an encouragement to hear nevertheless especially for someone who shares my passion for seeing transformation in the lives of young people.

After that gathering, I went home and spent a good amount of time in prayer on my own. I don’t know what the future holds in details related to my healing, but I know there’s something to be said for being brave enough to ask God to show up in big ways. I live my life pretty publicly in ministry, and how silly is it that I struggle to ask Christians around me to expect God to do big miracles. The next few days gave me a couple other opportunities to ask people to pray for me in person, and I love that I have been brave enough to step into that.

This morning in church a friend was telling me what a blessing I am here and other kinds words, and she mentioned how brave it was for me to move to Christchurch on my own. That move hardly felt brave at all because the moment Haley hugged me when I made it through customs I knew I was home. It took me four years to find that same sense of connection and belonging in Germany that was awakened on arrival when I landed here in August. It’s funny the parallels of what feels brave and what doesn’t when we’re responding to the Holy Spirit. Moving overseas and asking for prayer in person are both brave things; one of them happens to be easier for me personally. Both of them were prompted by the Holy Spirit and richly rewarding when I obeyed.

As I told two of my youth group kids this morning, I’m seeing God do such amazing things in our church and our city and with the youth of this nation, why would I limit God and not ask for my physical healing? It’s certainly easy to post this on the internet, but that doesn’t make it any less valuable of a request. Will you pray for my whole physical healing today? God is moving, and you’re invited to share in this work he’s doing.

Leave a Reply