“My grandma is in the hospital, and she needs prayer. Can you pray for healing for her?”
“Of course, let’s pray.”
There’s nothing wrong with this dialogue, but the conversation ending there is tragic—yet, this is how most prayer meetings go. We pray to God like He is going to do all the work. We act like we don’t need to be involved. Ultimately, God does do all the hard work, but that doesn’t make us exempt.
Who is going to wipe grandma’s sweaty brow? Who is going to read her a book, or bring her something to read? Who is going to stay up all night with her when she is in pain? Who is going to bring her meals when she comes home? And who is going to lay hands on her hurting body and pray for her?
There’s a reason why there’s no one around to pray for all the grandmothers in our hospitals. We no longer believe that God uses us to heal people. Instead, we think of healing in abstract terms, or in medical terms. (The typical, "Let the doctors have healing hands" prayer.)
Paul lists miracle workers as the fourth spiritual office in 1 Corinthians 12:27–31. In light of this passage, we’ve already discussed that:
In the New Testament, Jesus and the disciples lay hands on people, pray for them, and they are healed. Yet, we have made the people who want to pray over people feel awkward.
Healers are displaced in our churches.
I bet you can’t recall the last time someone told you that they have the gift of healing, or the spiritual office of miracles. People with the office of miracles are scared to say so; and they shouldn’t be.
We don’t see miracles when we look at the church today; instead, we see gridlock. We see church folks locked into pews, and locked into a belief that the work of the church starts at 10 AM and ends at 11 AM. If it doesn’t happen in that hour, it must not be church. We have locked ourselves into an idea of church that’s comfortable—it’s something we can isolate like the rest of life. By thinking of church in these terms, we’ve conveniently pushed out the Spirit: the individual who does the work that God really wants done. And the Spirit just happens to be the one who prophesies and performs miracles through people (John 6:63; 1 Cor 12:4-11).
By pushing aside those with the spiritual office of miracles, we’ve made the church normal. We’ve made the church everyday. It’s boring.
Miracles are the sign of God pushing back the darkness. Miracles are a sign of the kingdom reigning. And if we aren’t pushing back the darkness, and God’s reign is not growing stronger in the world, then we’re not being Christians. You heard me right: a lack of miracles is a sign that we’re not being Christ-like. That was a sign of his ministry, and it must be a sign of ours.
I don’t know who has the office of miracles in my church yet, but I hope I find out soon. Because there are likely people in our congregation who need healing, and I want the Spirit to be able to freely work when that day comes. I want being missional in my faith community to mean pushing back the darkness. I want it to mean the kingdom reigning through our lives. And that means miracles.
What’s the situation in your church? Is the office of miracles at work in your congregation? If so, share with us how. If not, tell us how you think you could revive that office.