I love a good testimony. It is exciting to hear how God moves in our lives as we step out in obedience and pray for others. I love to shout from the rooftops just how wonderful and glorious God is. However, we must always be aware that we do so in a sacred place when praying for others. That sacred place needs to be guarded and covered. We must resist the temptation to seek the thrill of a great testimony to add to our trophy shelf.
When praying for the sick, our motivation must be birthed from an understanding that God loves that person and wants them set free. Our heart posture must ooze with compassion born from God. Suppose we are not solid in our identity in Christ. In that case, there could be secret places in our hearts that seek validation from working for God’s approval.
I attended a four-day school many years ago where we were taught how to pray for the sick. I was a walking target at that event because it was evident that I lived with a disability. On the first night, I noticed a young man intently staring at me. I recognised that look. I was a target. He saw my healing as a potential testimony for his trophy shelf.
We were asked by our instructors to not pray for fellow students until we were released to do so. This did not stop this young man, however. When I saw him coming toward me at the end of the session, I slipped out of the sanctuary. I knew I’d encounter this eager young man eventually.
Sure enough, at the first opportunity we were given to pray, he appeared, towering over me as I sat. I half expected him to be wearing a superhero outfit. At the same time, a teenager approached me to pray. He knew me and loved me. Crouching beside my chair, he took my hand in his and prayed. The testimony trophy hunter looked a little disgruntled and tried to take over the prayer time. I allowed him to pray. However, others picked up on his attitude.
A member of my church came by and laid a soft hand on my shoulder. An older gentleman I had not yet met came behind me to pray as well. I turned around and was met by a pair of smiling eyes. I felt loved and cared for by my friends and the older brother in the Lord, but I felt unseen by the young man. And yet, they followed the same protocol. I was relieved when the young man moved on. I felt at peace and full of faith and hope as the others checked in with me after prayer to find out how I was doing.
Later that day, I took the young trophy hunter aside. I asked him why he wanted to pray for me as gently as I could. His reply confirmed my suspicions. He wanted to have a cool testimony to bring back to his small church. I asked him if he would like a bit of feedback. Reluctantly, he agreed. I quietly explained how I felt when he prayed for me. And then, I shared how I felt when the others prayed.
I thanked him for his prayer but bluntly stated the truth. I felt as if I were a task that he needed to check off to get his ‘healing badge’ and not a person God loved. Unfortunately, I didn’t get through to that young man that day.
Hopefully, he continued to pray for the sick as he matured in his faith. My prayer was that he would do so only from a deep understanding of his identity in Christ. As Bill Johnson often says, “We work not for his favour but from his favour.” When we have a heart understanding of our identity, we stop performing for approval and recognition from man.
A good testimony points to Jesus. God’s redeeming, healing work should be the focus and not our spiritual prowess.
Christ oozed the love and compassion for every individual he healed. He saw them, called them by name, and probably locked eyes with them. Jesus never took the glory for himself and always gave that glory to His Father. We are the hands and feet of Christ. Let us carry His compassionate power wherever we go.
©2022 Katherine Walden