liturgy for now and not yet

Our daily prayer rhythm includes a different characteristic every day. Alongside scripture, this leads the focus of our worship and – very often – shapes how, or even what, we intercede for that day too. We’ve found this approach to be rich and transformational, magnifying our God ever more as we follow it day by day. But of course some of the characteristics are more straightforward to respond to than others. And sometimes the trickiest ones are surprising because they take us right into the prayed and lived tension of the now and not yet of the kingdom…

Friday’s characteristic¬† was one of these. A real wrestle when we started honestly responding to God in worship and intercession with it. This characteristic was our God is our Healer (Jehovah Rapha)

The thing is there are widely different views and emphases held in the church about healing, and our own personal experiences can be so formative that it can be difficult for each of us to see past them to what scripture sets out about how, to what extent, and when, our God heals.

But it’s important isn’t it, that we root ourselves in the truth of who God is, else we quickly start to come unstuck as we offer up situations breaking our hearts, or simply come face to face with our own disappointments.

So in Friday’s worship we decided to go step by step; to tread carefully, thanking him truth by truth with some shared liturgy, in the dear hope that as we prayed this together, we would see our HEALER more clearly, and experience more freedom, joy and praise in our worship of him for being this both in the essence of who he is, and in his relationship with us and the world he so completely loves.

We found it really helpful, and freeing and – as it plays so centrally into the now and not yet of interceding for situations of brokenness and suffering – thought we would share it with you as a resource for wider worship and prayer too:

Thank you God that you are both our HEALER and completely for our healing
Thank you that you made us.
Thank you that you value us more than anyone else does – that you knit us together in our mothers’ wombs and we are fearfully and wonderfully made.
Thank you that you know how we work, how we get broken, and how to re-construct and repair us – and that you want to do this however we got to where we are now.
Thank you that you long for our full healing, wholeness and flourishing so much more than we do.
Thank you that you are always generous to the point of being lavish with your care.
Thank you for sending Jesus – whose life and death demonstrated your passionate desire to see us healed and restored.

Thank you God that you do heal – physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually – both directly, and indirectly in this life, and still today.
Thank you for all the examples in scripture – Old and New testament both, but especially in Jesus and in the Holy Spirit’s work through the early church – of you healing body, mind, soul and spirit.
Thank you for all our experiences of your healing touch in our own lives, in the lives of others around us, or through the testimonies we have heard resound from both the global and historic church.
Thank you for the Holy Spirit in us and with us, and the supernatural gift of healing whenever and wherever you, our HEALER, wisely and lovingly choose to give it in this life.
Thank you for all the natural healing resources you laid in place on the earth, and in people, to help bring transformation, ease pain and suffering, and re-train the body, mind, soul and spirit through doctors, medicines and wholesome therapies.

Thank you God that you are making, and will make, all things new, in your perfect time.
Thank you that we neither need to cling on to any particular specific healing having to come in this life. Nor do we have to give up on expecting that it might. Neither, most of all, do we have to be resigned to living with it forever – for you do heal in part today, and one day those who follow you will all experience full and complete healing.
Thank you that our ultimate hope of healing is in you yourself, in our restored relationship with you, and in eternity; and that it is absolutely, completely unshakeable because of this.

Thank you God that you never change, and that you never break your promises about healing, or anything else.
Thank you that Jesus’ ministry on earth is totally consistent with who you are now – you physically healed/heal many, but not all who were/are alive, and none who experienced/experience your miracle healing lived/live forever in this life.
Thank you that the counsel of your living word makes it clear that some of our healing – physical, mental, emotional and spiritual – comes in the now, and some in the not yet, of the kingdom.Thank you for both.
Thank you that your offer of full healing in eternity, and some healing now, is open to everyone – even though the latter looks very different in different people’s lives as you work on different things, in a different order for all of us, in pursuit of the same aim for all of us – that we would respond to you, and grow up in you.
Thank you that you never make promises you don’t keep; never speak empty words that don’t have substance; and never raise and dash our hopes.
Thank you that you are endlessly merciful with our tendency to get confused about what you have and haven’t said, to give up on your promises, or to hold you to ransom over words that were never really yours or which we misinterpreted somehow.

And so God, our HEALER, we ask you…
Come now, and heal our expectations and perspective of you as HEALER so we might love and worship you more truly, and more fully for who you are, what you have done, what you are doing, and what you will do.
Restore our vision and hope where we have lost them; redirect our vision and hope where we have misdirected them; re-form and recapture our hearts and lives to be set above all on you, and on eternity,
in your name – Jehovah Rapha – and for your glory,
Amen.

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