Have you seen them? You know – those posts where someone asks for prayers for a certain situation, then suddenly the entire thread is filled with medical advice, opinions, and treatments the requester needs to try. The entire conversation wanders away from the original appeal - PRAYERS.
We have witnessed this many times.
Over the years, it’s happened repeatedly after we petitioned prayers for people through our ministry page. Requests came in for babies diagnosed with critical illnesses, preemies, elderly, accident victims, cancer patients, emergencies and more. When prompted by Yahweh, sometimes we also post requests for our own family. The requests are always for prayer, not for medical advice.
Many times, though, strong opinions of some remedy that worked for one person or another is pushed, sometimes forcefully, then elevated above what the requester asked for: prayers. The most difficult time to watch this happen is when young parents have been given a critical diagnosis for their infant or toddler, and they are dealing with so many emotions, decisions, and pressures. From a ministry perspective, the last thing they need is to be told to use a remedy recommended on social media. What they need is “virtual hand-holding,” like a virtual hug, all wrapped up in compassion and comfort. They need prayers for Yahweh to fill them with courage, wisdom, and understanding, and they are seeking prayer warriors to stand with them.
Imagine, for a moment, the modern social media attitude applied to Yeshua’s ministry. He is called upon to heal someone, just as we pray to Yahweh now in our prayers. Yet, instead, everyone starts calling out their favorite home remedy, natural solution, or dietary change that will be the perfect healing answer to the ailment afflicting the sufferer. What just happened?
Well, Jesus walked into the room when called upon, reached out his hand to grant the miracle, yet humans invalidated the power of that great blessing. The impact of that moment was stolen in the blink of an eye, or you could say: the sound of a spoken word. Crushed is the chance for Yahweh to work in the lives of all those present, not just the person seeking healing, but every person there would have a witness of His great wonders. Instead, He is pushed aside, and the latest, greatest “perfect healer” is elevated above Him.
There is a time and a place for medical intervention, but when families post prayer requests, they generally already have that part well in place. Medical advice given amid prayer requests appears as the opposite of what was asked for.
Luke 11:10-11 KJV “For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent?”
Families or individuals asking for prayer are like the son asking the father for bread and fish in these verses. Yet, the father, gives a stone and a serpent. Someone will say this does not apply and isn’t even the same. Yet it does, very well. The son needed something that would satisfy his great need: hunger. Yet the father gave him something that was not at all helpful at the time. And in fact, was of either no use (the stone), or might bite him on the hand, causing harm.
People are already surrounded by those who can address the medical needs – doctors, specialists, nurses, and such. You may disagree with their choices, you may believe there are “better ones” that you would choose in the same circumstances. Yet you are NOT in their circumstances. Instead, give them what they asked for, what will satisfy the hunger that they have at that moment. A spiritual hunger, a hunger for the body of Christ to stand with them in their time of need. Anything else merely comes across as a disruption or distraction as families attempt to maintain the spirit of the original post.
I recognize that many times people offer treatment ideas out of concern and sincerity. Put your emotions aside for a moment and recognize theirs. I respect the fact that many people choose natural remedies, treatments, and nutritional paths to heal or maintain their own and their family’s health. We have even used many ourselves over the years and continue to use them. Many have worked to help our bodies heal and to alleviate symptoms, yet we also use prayer. And when we ask for prayer, whether for ourselves, our family members, or those who Yahweh prompts us to ask prayer for, why not offer what is asked for: prayer.
I believe some of the greatest courses I have taken in college are those that help in dealing with people in a medical crisis. Some days I think that as believers, all ought to take classes on being better “listeners,” so that we are better able to handle social media situations such as these. Families are asking for spiritual guidance, direction, support, and encouragement. If we are better “listeners,” or readers in the case of social media, we will better serve both Yahweh and His people.
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Lead Author (Bio)
Jim, (Judi's husband), has Sephardi Jewish ancestry and is a minister and head of Shofar Productions. Jim was a denominational pastor, hospital chaplain, and former director of a non-profit community organization.
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