18 January 2011 (Shleshi/Bikkurim)|
Day #308, 5934 AM
It's Unbelievably Important
I am one of the first to admit that I find prayer baffling and so far it is one of the secrets of the cosmos that Yahweh has not opened up to me very much. So what I write today is by faith alone. Since Yahweh has decreed it and demonstrated it, I am bound to accept it, baffled or not.
You all know the story of the paralytic let down through a man-made hole in the apostle Peter's roof. There's a lot of faith going on in this story but the way I read it, it is not principally the faith of the paralytic that is doing its 'magical' work but the faith of his friends.
Yesterday morning, shortly after my experience with the 12 hour day, Yahweh told me to look up Matthew 4:24 - the words just popped into my head. To my 'surprise' (though I am getting less and less surprised these days, I have to say), there was a topic I have been thinking about a lot recently, and in particular with regard to my own deteriorating health:
"Then they came to Him, bringing a paralytic who was carried by four men. And when they could not come near Him because of the crowd, they uncovered the roof where He was. So when they had broken through, they let down the bed on which the paralytic was lying. When Yah'shua (Jesus) saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, 'Son, your sins are forgiven you...I say to you, arise, take up your bed, and go your way to your house.' Immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went out in the presence of them all, so that all were amazed and glorified Elohim (God), saying, 'We never saw anything like this!'" (Mark 2:3-5,10-12, NKJV)
It seems that sometimes our own faith is not enough and that we are supposed to function as bodies of believers. What, after all, is "faith" (emunah)? Aaron Lindford says that:
"Then His fame went throughout all Syria; and they brought to Him all sick people who were afflicted with various diseases and torments, and those who were demon-possessed, epileptics, and paralytics; and He healed them" (Matt.4:24, NKJV).
Many think that ministers are supermen with big stocks of faith and need no spiritual faith-supplements from others. They are totally wrong. We have the same need as everyone else, more so in some respects, because ministers have to carry a lot on their backs. The same is true of parents or anyone in leadership for that matter. To demonstrate the inter-dependance of the unilplural Messianic Bride, Yah'shua makes it very clear that faith not only acts on behalf of others but that it is also accepted by Yahweh on behalf of others. Faith can often be vicarious - where we are weak, the faith of others standing in the breach is accepted by Heaven
"Faith is discernable by action, augmented bu co-operation and immovable in motion. Above all, faith can be vicarious in operation. '[Yah'shus] saw their faith'; the paralysed man may have been beyond helping himself but believing friends brough him to [Yah'shua]" (Aaron Lindford, Just a Thought - Aleph Publishers, Preston, England: 1998 - 17 March).
That boggles my mind. It really does. It means that we have a far greater responsibility towards others whom Yahweh brings into our lives than we might at first suppose, and that if we are led to pray for someone, it may be because we have the legal (spiritual) right to offer proxy faith - faith on their behalf - in our prayers. It means that we cannot charge a weak brother or sister for lack of faith if we have been given the charge ourselves to stand in the gap and make up for that weak faith. And yet this is not such an alien concept scripturally:
Here the elders (the spiritually mature with faith) are exercising their faith for the healing of the sick. However hard this may be to compute theologically or intellectually, the principle of proxy faith is a redemptive, kosher truth. I am assuming, of course, that the one seeking healing, forgiveness for sin, or salvation generally has to make a choice somewhere along the line, and that those others spiritually holding his hand by exercising faith in his behalf is in reality Yah'shua working His salvation through others so that ultimately it is Messiah who heals, forgives and saves, not man. Ours is to shoulder a burden while the one in need of the blessing works things out within his own soul. No one can actually do our choosing for us - free agency is inviolable.
"Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Master. And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Master will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven" (James 5:13-15, NKJV).
I admit I could do with some proxy faith right now. In this time of recession, we like most are being hit by crushing economic pressures. Add to this health concerns, battles with the powers that steer governments to make life hard for believers, lapsed believers and unbelievers actively opposing and sometimes persecuting the ministry, and much else besides. There is indeed much to carry. So I hope you will help bear up your ministers as they seek to bear you up too. And as the times get worse so, I predict, will the need for the proxy faith of others grow in great demand. Prayer will increase as theologising decreases.
We don't usually ask much of those to whom we minister, if anything, but if this ministry has touched or enabled you in anyway - and even if it hasn't - would you consider lifting us up in prayer as we often do you? Thank you and Yahweh bless.