I would say it’s a safe bet to think that issues of health, life, and death, have been “front burner” for most us in the last calendar year. This passage from Alistair Begg’s, book Pray Big: Learn to Pray Like an Apostle offers some great, relevant insight into thinking (and praying) through these issues. He’s discussing Paul’s prayers recorded in his letters to the Ephesian church. Enjoy:
Something Bigger Than Health
The believers in Ephesus were in one sense just like us. They had concerns for food and for clothes and for shelter. They would have thought about and talked about and worried about being married or getting married…being parents or wishing they were parents, or wishing some days they weren’t parents…employment, paying taxes, wealth, health…but there’s no mention of these matters at all in what Paul prays for them.
In fact, praying about health (which, if we had the chance to listen in on the prayers of Western Christians, would likely come in at number one) is rare – almost non-existent – in the Bible. So why are we praying about it so much?
It’s because we don’t want to die.
We want to live. We’ve got a sneaking suspicion that we’ve got now, this side of death, is actually better than what God has for us then, on the other side of death. So we want to hang on to what we’ve got. But instead, we need to believe – really believe – that these things are true:
God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ – by grace you have been saved – and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 2:4-7)
You have now been raise with Christ into the heavenly places. You have been made part of a family that will never come to an end. One day, you will live in a new heaven and new earth. You will see your God face to face and, with a heart no longer burdened and distracted by sin, and a body no longer broken and decaying in frailty, you will praise him.
And you and I just want to pray that we’d stay healthy and live long!? All that matters may be brought before God, but what we bring before God is not always what matters most.
When the eyes of our hearts are opened to our future, it changes our lives now – it reorders our priorities and our prayers. We pray less about the practical details of this life, and first and foremost about the spiritual realities of our eternal life Eternal matters matter more; the concerns of today less. We live out, and we pray based on the truth that “to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21)
But, time-bound and fallen creature that I naturally am, I often forget the spiritual and eternal element of reality. That’s why the things that fill my prayers are so regularly absent from Paul’s – and why the things that fill his prayers are so regularly absent from mine. He has his eyes fixed on eternity. His prayers are spiritual. We need to make ours so, too.