The speaker in a talk I heard a little while ago said that there were just two things that were required to receive God’s spiritual gifts: firstly, to ask for them and secondly, to eagerly desire them. It set me on a quest. Since I have retired from medical practice, the opportunities to pray for people have not been so apparent. In practice as an anaesthetist it was so easy, and such a blessing to be in a position to offer prayers to those to whom I was going to administer an anaesthetic. I was going to be intimately involved in the whole critical process of their operation and usually they were only too glad to know that I was asking God for help for them in that situation. Prayer for, and with, others was a part of my everyday life. And, with all that constant practice I saw God come through, as you will read in God in the ICU.
Since retiring, however, the opportunities are far less obvious and I have bemoaned the fact that I am seeing less of answers to prayer for healing than I have in the past. So it was like a challenge from the Lord when my friend – a gifted teacher – pointed out that Paul exhorts us to eagerly desire the spiritual gifts. I realised that in a sense, I was waiting for the gift to come to me. If I desire it, surely I should look for opportunities to practice it. A passage from a biography on Billy Graham comes to mind. After some resistance, he finally acceded to God’s mandate to preach. From then on, he practiced at every opportunity, even preaching to the frogs in the marshy fields near his house when he had no other audience! Once he had made up his mind, he eagerly desired the gift, not just as a longing, but setting out in a practical way to get it.
I do desire the gift of healing. I long to see God move in power as I have tasted it before and written of. So I’m asking God afresh and praying for healing at every opportunity I can – even looking for opportunities and trusting God to give them. And I am hoping that this blog will give some good positive feedback. On Friday I prayed for a man who could understand but not move or speak. How I long for God to touch him as He did the man at the pool of Bethesda. Watch this space (and do your own eager desiring?)