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#92 - How can prayer free us from sin and sickness?
by Robert Nguyen Cramer
This BibleTexts website administrator has very much enjoyed questions and insights that have been emailed to him ever since this site was launched in September of 1996. On this page I share with BibleTexts browsers a few of the questions, insights, and responses, so that we all can further learn from and with each other.
How can prayer free us from sin and sickness?
Response #92 from BibleTexts.com:
In the Holy Spirit (the Comforter, the Counselor, the Advocate) and in Christ, God already has made us free! (See Rom 8:1,2; 1Co 15:57; S&H 496:15) Since God knows what we need before we ask him (Mat 6:8,32), prayer can be thought of as our humble, admission of complete dependence upon what God has done and is doing. This includes our grateful, joyous acknowledgment of what the Holy Spirit (the Comforter, the Counselor, the Advocate) is telling us of how well God made His/Her creation, including each one of us. (See Gen 1:31.) Prayer also includes our alert and categorical rejection of being controlled by or even believing in any god, power, or influence other than the one God. Prayer exemplifies our consistent desire for and celebration of God's love and care for us and for all His/Her creation. Jesus' resurrection already provides the complete precedent for and proof of our freedom -- and the ultimate proof of God's great love for us. To explore "Some of the many types of prayer taught in the Bible," browse:
Christ Jesus freed many, many people from sin, sickness, and even death. He told us (Joh 14:12, NRSV):
Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works that these, because I am going to the Father.
Prayer should be refreshing and exhilarating. As Jesus taught it, prayer is not a rote repetition nor a display of religiousness (Mat 6:7), publicly or privately. It is not intellectual gymnastics or merely cerebral "knowing" (Joh 8:31,32). In fact by reading John 8:31-32 in its true context, we discover that Jesus is telling us that our 'knowing the truth' and being free are the results of our continuing in Jesus' word and in our truly being his disciples. They are the results of our thoughts and lives truly representing Jesus' example and teachings -- the results of our thoughts and lives bearing witness to and experiencing life in Christ. If we are accurately stating that we are 'knowing the truth,' we are actually stating that we are living the spirit of Truth and Love that Jesus exemplified. In the biblical context, knowing is an intimately experiential act.
In Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures [book review], Mary Baker Eddy writes (S&H 452:18-20):
The teacher must know the truth himself. He must live it and love it, or he cannot impart it to others.
This is reinforced throughout Science and Health. For example, see S&H 149:12; 418:9,22; 454:31; 461:31; 495:25-31. See also the entire chapter on "Prayer" (S&H, pages 1-17), including "the test of all prayer" (S&H 9:5).
Prayer is not an intellectual exercise. It naturally would include a humble affirmation of the truth that the Holy Spirit (the Comforter, the Counselor, the Advocate) is pleading for us and stating to us. (For an allegorical example of the pleading of this Comforter, see S&H 430:13-442:15. Note also also S&H 55:27; 127:26; 271:20.) The truth does not originate with us. It all comes from God. It is God who makes us free.
Note: To further explore the ever active role of the Holy Spirit (the Comforter, the Counselor, the Advocate), browse:
As the Psalmist celebrated (Psalm 103:1-6, TEV):
Praise the LORD, my soul! All my being, praise his holy name! Praise the LORD, my soul, and do not forget how kind he is. He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases. He keeps me from the grave and blesses me with love and mercy. He fills my life with good things, so that I stay young and strong like an eagle. The LORD judges in favor of the oppressed and gives them their rights.
Copyright 1996-2002 Robert Nguyen Cramer