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The Power of Prayer

Eric Walsh


Eric Walsh

Pastor and Physician



  • July 10, 2017
    12:00 PM

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When I was asked I thought it was an interesting topic to praying for the critically ill and and looking at the power and importance of prayer as practitioners as individuals in the hospital or in health care at all and one of the Bible stories that jumped out at me was found in Luke Chapter eighteen and verse thirty five so then it came to pass that as he was come nigh unto Jericho a certain blind man sat by the wayside begging and hearing the multitude pass by he asked what it meant and they told him that Jesus of Nazareth passes by and he cried saying Jesus son of David have mercy on me and they which went before rebuked him that he should hold his peace but he cried so much the more the son of David have mercy on me and Jesus stood and commanded him to be brought on to him and when he was come near he asked him saying what wilt thou that I shall do unto you and he said Lord that I may receive my sight and you said unto him receive your sight your faith has saved you and immediately he received his sight and followed him glorifying God and all the people and all the people when they saw it gave praise on to God I like the story because it really speaks to what we're trying to deal with today deals with what do you do with the person who is critically ill blindness and sickness in that time was viewed as punishment for sin somebody had to have sin for him to be blind of his parents or he sinned and so there was a judgment on an individual like this and that and that's why when he gets begins to pray to Jesus folks run out to stop him to rebuke him he's not worthy of bringing a petition before the Messiah and so they try to stop him they they run out before him but when you look at the story he does a few things to teach us about praying in critical situations one he is persistent even one folks. Hey Be quiet don't three Hey leave Jesus alone he's persisted and he continues number two when Jesus tells him to come he follows the command of Jesus so it is a two way conversation let me say it a prayer would have time for this because it kind of deal it in a medical sense but prayer is not a one way conversation not a one way communication to prayer goes back and forth between God and between the person praying so he does that he gets up becomes a Jesus and I like it because Jesus asks him a simple question What is it that you want. His answer is I just want to be able to see Lord Ah your face has made you whole meaning that when you come to Christ you come to him believing believing that he can do what he says he can do and he will answer prayer and a final part of the prayer is that he Gleek begins the scripture says he leaves and follows glorifying God and when everyone saw it they praise God So one we don't just pray and ask for things we glorify God at when God answers our prayers. And God will sometimes allow sickness difficulty trials problems because when God shows up in The Situation. Praises are lifted up to him when people see the deliverance that God offers so when people ask me as a physician you know why is it that God allowed my loved one to get this disease or why is it that they're in this situation I will often have to give a short synopsis of the great controversy that sin has entered the world that there are consequences and that God cannot control what people do and so there are many many consequences but but God will allow the tough things that come into your life because if you leverage those tough things properly with God You can build a closer relationship with God despite the difficulty and sometimes because of the difficulty that has come into your life. Prayer allows for that it invites God into the darkest situations when life itself is on the line when it seems as if you will not survive when all hope seems to be gone prayer brings God into a to mulch a situation and can allow God to transform the legal situation into a powerful one I was working as the medical director of the urgent care and one of our doctors Dr Mark certain was like a brother to me now was one of the doctors there and Mark had written raise that vanity had slipped away from the faith as testimony is powerful but while working with us there we began to have Bible study with one with each other and with other staff and faculty at each campus urging care he really accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior became recommitted to God's remnant church and and gave his life back to Christ in fact after while he was an elder in his church down in Orange County. One night I was I was speaking at the dress and center for a student gathering vespers and he called frantically while I was still speaking I couldn't get to it so I picked up my phone afterwards I could hear him sobbing and crying in a panic on the phone that his one of his young sons had drowned in the Jacuzzi in the backyard of their house and he knows about drownings know that a warm water drowning is worse than a cold water drowning and the ambulance had come and taken him away and when he got to the hospital there in Orange County they had pronounced that his child at best would be brain damaged at a rest of his life. I call as I called him back and he gave me the update I had everyone in the room that night at the drapes and center get on a nice and collectively break into groups and we began to pray for his son I left there because we both worked at the urgent care and drove to the east campus hospital and got the nurses and the staff we pulled into the back hallway so held hands and we began to pray for his son this thing is sweet. And then I got in my car took my cousin and drove all the way to the hospital in Orange County on a late on a Friday night and got there as he and his wife had his child laying watching his child laying on the bed limp and seemingly almost lifeless. And we began to pray His wife was not an advantage not us not a believer that you know he had come back into the church and before she had it and we sat and we prayed and and I agonized with God over that child and I said Lord this is your child. I pray that tonight this hospital and these individuals will see that there is power in calling on the name of Jesus. By the time I left no change that is done by the time I hit the freeway. And began to drive back to Loma to the local in the area I got a call on my cell phone he said you're not going to believe this but he has awoken. He's awake and the doctors here cannot believe it because his conversation with them and asking for food and there is no sign of brain damage. You see I believe in prayer not because it's some esoteric idea in the sky but because I have learned it like like like physical exercise if you exercise your face through prayer prayer is the resistance training machine that will grow the muscles of faith in your life. So the question is asked what is prayer. So let's look at a little bit a bit here I Merriam Webster online says here one and an address such as a petition to God or a god in word or thought another definition as I said order a set order of words used in praying an earnest request or wish the actor practice of praying to God or a god. College Dictionary on line says prayer is the activity of speaking to God. Is the words a person says when they speak to God you can refer says to a strong hope that you have as your prayer. Definition pretty straightforward but Ellen White gives a very powerful definition of prayer one that I like to use when I think about praying she says in a book called stand apart page twenty six Prayer is the opening of the heart to God as to a friend not that it is necessary in order to make known to God What we are but in order to enable us to receive Him Prayer does not bring God down to us but brings us up to him the problem with not praying for patients is that in fact we do them a spiritual and even medical disservice. Because not giving them the connection to divine authority that many of us know exists is to short change the patient from the full Qadri of remedies available. To not pray. When a patient is in trouble. Disparaged really says I'm not going to give everything I can to the healing in this situation. I was. Close I was in my office where I work now because field and I want to clinics I work one of the nurses pregnant video kind of from reminded me of this and she had gotten a call while I was in the office and it's the wound care clinic so I go back and forth and and take your wounds and. When I walk back in before I did check my didn't check my phone with off and text me when they need me and I just walked back over to see if they needed me she was in a corner crying on the phone. So when the other nurses said well we're going to need to pray. And I said what's going on she said what are all our obstetrician called and and the obstetrician gave her. Some some some unnerving new said it was unclear that that maybe something had been found in one of the tests he had just done and they wanted to see a specialist but the person on the phone at the office couldn't give her any more details so she's kind of panic now. Because she doesn't know what's going on not what's interesting is that when I left my office of something just told me to come over it turns out that the text from the other nurse was doctor was I think we're going to need you to come over and pre. I never saw the text I just had the sense that I needed to go over and pray and we laid hands some of the people in the room don't even believe in God. Yet because of the situation and the care for the nurse everyone joined in and laid hands on this on the womb of this young lady. Who was by this time in a full blown panic in tears worried about her unborn child. And I prayed and one of the young people who'd young workers there who does not believe in God at the end said that was one of the most beautiful experiences I've ever had to hear someone praying for someone else. That nurse calmed all the way down and I believe the Bridgeport turned out that everything is going to be fine for her and her child. Sometimes prayer is something that we're invited to do sometimes is something that we have to offer to do and it's difficult because sometimes it's difficult to know when so the second thing I want to talk about is the importance of prayer Well the scripture says it like this be careful for nothing but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known and to God Be careful for nothing can be translated be anxious for nothing one of the major reasons I see patients now is anxiety and if you work in urgent care as a primary care is a large proportion of who comes in to see is an anxious because I believe I learned this from the. Veterans down the street at the V.A. hospital when I worked in addiction medicine are more prone to preventive medicine residency that just as those veterans taught me that God made the human heart so big that only he can fill it. The vetter to these drug recovering veterans taught me one of the most important spiritual principles of learned in my life God made the human heart so big that only he can feel it and and I said to one of the leaders I So what do you mean he said You see if you try and fill the god sized hole in your heart with alcohol or drugs or gambling or many other things you simply become an addict to it because those things will never make you feel full satisfied or complete you'll be left anxious because there's always going to be a gap around the edges of that hole. That you're hoping gets filled. Prayer is one of the ways to invite God into the God shaped sized hole in your heart. Be anxious for nothing in fact I have an equation i use of a sermon called a stress equation and an equation I use as the stress equals demands minus resources so I use this for patients when i patients who are stressed out all right on a on a on a progress note stress equals demands minus resources and I say well what does that mean Doc I say see your demands are probably pretty fixed although you can sell a car get rid of a payment you can try and get a new job or ways you can try and reduce your demands. But how many resources do you have and how fixed your resources are most patients will say my resources are completely fixed I make this much money I'm married to this person I work at this job these are my kids it's fixed and I say Ah that's what I want to give you I've got good news today I want to tell you that in fact your resources are unlimited. That you've got resources to deal with anything that comes at you and I said What do you mean I say Have you ever heard that god own the cattle on a thousand hills and I say Oh yeah when I was a kid I went to church and I remember vaguely them saying that and I say he. Doesn't just own a thousand cattle on one hill he owns the cattle on a thousand hills which means the God of the universe the creator of land and sea he who put into balance oxygen and nitrogen and allowed the clouds to rise and to move to cross the sky that God is the God of your resources you have untapped unlimited resources. So to stop worrying. Stop fretting. If you invite God into your life and into your experience what he's doing Jesus as a new great teen one becomes a political men all are always to pray and not to faint don't get a single pool episode because you wouldn't pray. Don't pass out because you wouldn't allow god into the situation. Jesus himself Eliza's while he dwelt among men was often in prayer our Savior identified himself with our needs and weakness in that he became a supplement it petitioner seeking from his father fresh supplies of strength that he might come forth braced for duty and trial he is our example in all things he is a brother and our infirmities and all points tempted like as we are but as the sinless one his nature recoiled from evil he endured struggles and torture of soul in a world of sin his humanity made prayer and assess a tea and a privilege he found comfort and joy in communion with his father and if the Savior of men the Son of God felt the need of prayer how much more should feeble sinful mortals feel the necessity of fervent constant prayer. If he prayed how much more important is it that we pray. Especially when we enter the realm of illness and sickness and even death remember the run of colds and is Camp a hospital at night. The family medicine urgent care docs used to and I remember one night when someone who totally dissed did not believe in God had a patient was angry with God it was time we thought they were going to die they were D.N.R. and so not much was going to be done and I went over just to to check on the patient and and I remember this patient with verbal The voiced their disgust their discretion told nature with God saying to me whispering to me in the last bit of strength pray for me. Pray for me. There's power in prayer Mark nine tells the story of the demoniac boy who his father had taken him to the nine disciples as Peter was up with three of them in the Mount of Transfiguration as Jesus was up in a mama Transfiguration Peter James and John. And they couldn't cast out this demon Jesus comes down and takes a physical history a physical talk to the boy and determines the problem says that a father how long has it been this way to since he was a child and he would try and take them and throw him in the water and in the fire and he foams at the mouth and all these things happen. The man prays a prayer to father and Mark nine twenty two he says if you can do anything have compassion on us and help us he if Jesus I my English teacher in eleventh grade was a brilliant lady and she said that if is the law a biggest word in the English language understood that it is only two letters she said if makes everything possible and nothing possible all at the same time the man if cities as if if you can do anything if you can help us have compassion on us helpless Jesus replies because Jesus is a great communicator he wants to communicate you he wants to be in dialogue with you he says back to the father if you can believe all things are possible to him that believe Jesus says listen who are you anything. Oh yes and I am the one that spoke and the world came into existence I am. The one that knelt down in the dust and formed a man out of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life but the problem isn't with me. If you can believe all things are possible to him that believe the father's final prayer is one of the most important prayers to me in all of the Bible. It is a prayer a father cries out and says with tears Lord I believe. Help dial mine unbelief. So I want to liberate somebody today sometimes we think we can't pray unless our faith is full grown. This Bible story tells you that you don't just take your problems to God Take your doubt to God. The problem in our world is the one people doubt they take the doubt to the evolutionary scientists they take it to the secular world they take it to the politicians they take it everywhere else and you take it out there and Satan grows your doubt like cancer and it metastasizes all over you all of your family all of the a life. But if you take your doubt to Christ he's he's merciful when his father cried as Christ prayed a prophecy on this says that in fact if you pray this prayer sincerely you can't be lost. Lord I believe help the child mind unbelief why because righteousness is by faith Abraham believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness your doubt is your biggest obstacle to finding Christ so Jesus has come even with your doubt after he cast the demon out a little boy and boy is find the nine disciples get into the size the Lord who has embarrassed saying. How did you do that we couldn't do it and he gives us the answer with which I want you to lead a little foundation for this entire three part series he says that still this kind can come forth by nothing but by prayer and fasting. Some things will only move only move because someone prayed and fasted. So many of our preparations of the situation bleak completely impossible and no one prayed. A lie says and prophets of kings page one seventy five nothing is apparently more helpless yet really more invincible than the soul that feels its nothingness and relies wholly on God. Your powerful the janitor's are powerful. The i T. People are powerful if they are connected to the Lord Jesus Christ there is power in every person that passes through these halls. And I worked at the seven eleven as clinical for almost a year as a as a missionary I went to things that we marveled me was just the amount of prayer that went into our patients. And the transformation I saw in lives of patients not because we had medically done something so incredibly bright but because God had been invited into this situation. She says if you have faith like this you will lay hold upon God's word and upon all the helpful agencies he has appointed Thus your faith will strengthen and will bring to your aid the power of heaven the obstacles that are powered by Satan across your path though apparently as insurmountable as the eternal Hills shall disappear before the demand of faith nothing shall be impossible until you desire of ages page four thirty one on a close with. One of my favorite stories. Of prayer I was moonlight when I was in my family medicine residency in Anniston Alabama. And a town called The Tao here. And this was a town where a few months earlier. The Ku Klux Klan had marched down the center of the town because a white young man had as. Asked a half white half black young lady to the prom and it got out the Klan marched I don't know I was just trying to hustle up some extra money and then know what I was walking into somebody told me once all money is not good money. But it was OK I wanted to work I needed the experience part of what I believe I believe moonlighting is good for training physicians and I went down and I didn't know when they asked me to come that I was the first black physician to ever work in that hospital. Some of the older nurses really had a problem with that and it was difficult a bit but the younger nurses made up for it they were quite happy to have me on board and they like the University of Alabama football team and I was a University of Miami hurricane and so we actually had a good time you know just when it's over which team was best one night a lady who had never heard our health message clearly. And had you know when I took history and had eaten the typical southern fare of what I fry everything including tomatoes and smoked a pack of cigarettes a day for many years she was about forty three at the time. And had stopped exercising a long time earlier and decided that that day which day that day she was going to get in shape. That day so she went to the to the gym and got on the treadmill and she turned the thing all the way up she got to she must to read something because he knew if you put the ramp up you burn more calories multiply the calories you burn so she did that and she put the speed up of as fast as she could go thinking maybe she was back in high school I'm not sure and she began to run as fast as she could and as she ran she could feel the pretend wind blowing to worry or as you are her here she was on a treadmill the problem was her heart had not caught up with her mind. And the cholesterol plaque that had formed over all those years had not decided to dissipate when she stepped on the treadmill in fact one of them dislodged. Flew upstream and she had a massive am I on that machine in fact the way she described it later was that she had crushed sub sternal chest pain so her head went lighter she couldn't see she blacked out she got notches and she dropped on the treadmill and was tossed off the treadmill onto the floor unconscious. The man who was with her at the gym called and I won one day put her in an ambulance brought her to me now I'm already on pins and needles I wasn't too long at the hospital and already heard what had happened a new the climate and when she came in my first thought was this woman cannot die Lord. I'm the first black doctor here everybody's gotta live lord I'm here we've got to put a Lazarus a lot of everybody got to live and I want to go home. So she can see and she's unconscious she's she's she's she's on the table we take an E.K.G. and they're talking stone signs massive as the segment elevation and that's when I start to sweat. And it's a lot this is trouble not it was a real rad tech guy shot the films for us who had studied the Bible in such a way that he had begun to keep the seventh day sabbath although he had never heard of a Dom nomination that did so so just by his study to Scripture he became a Sabbath keeper and he go to church on Sunday but he keeps Friday sunset the Sabbath sunset every week because he just read in the scripture that that's what he was supposed to do I told him I said I want you to go in the back while we run this cold I need you praying because I'm not over the next or any time soon so he went in the back and he began to pray. And I got a cardiologist in Birmingham on the phone and we gave T.P.A. a never by myself done that on it I still use T.P.A. probably not for good reason so I wrote my prayers were very justified then and I didn't couldn't ask her if she had a history of brain tumors or all the other stuff us was to ask her in safe I had to give the medicine because if not I knew. She wouldn't live. I gave it and within felt like five minutes but probably a lot sooner she flatlined. I think at the same time I kind of had to. She flatlined which is later on I found out what was supposed to happen. And let me take some not prayed I prayed like I've never prayed before or since I don't think in my life and I ask God I said lord. This is your child. And I'm your humble servant tonight I laid my hand on noted nurse upright thought I was cool at this point there all time what do you want to do what you want to do I laid my hand on her forehead close my eyes and books and silently ask God. To allow this woman to live. As I open my eyes on her blip blip perfect normal sinus rhythm. Thank thank you Jesus I said you know what before she leaves the helicopters on his way let's let's make sure she had all the meds on board that they want maybe when you were two more morphine. And said Give it two more morphine and the man came in a ran into the room do not give her any more morphine she does not need any more morphine that woman that was unconscious sat up on the table too said That man is not my husband to give me the morphine. As I knew the miracle was complete. I want to leave you understood in understanding there is no shame in praying in the sick bed room it is one of the great privileges we have been offered as health care professionals to pray for those who need prayer and they were always wanted but as the video said sometimes just to offer it means that the individual understands that the person caring for them is in the care of Almighty God. And sometimes just. That thought is the seed needed to move an individual and to change the way they see the God of the universe. I believe in prayer especially for the critically ill I just ask God to continue to bless this great institution as his servants and soldiers in this institution we continue to live jesus christ up and pray on this campus and then let's pray Father God we thank you Lord for this opportunity to go through your words and through your inspired words Father God we are all sinners we're all fallen. Lord even our righteousness is as filthy rags. Father God we believe in you we believe in Jesus Christ we believe in the power of the blood that was shed on Calvary's tree and we believe that on the rez at the resurrection you gain victory over the grave and death of Father God I pray. That all of us here and even beyond here those that have streamed in listened in we would understand for ever the importance of lifting up those who are ill. In prayer. Father God every time we get an opportunity we will offer the most powerful medicine in the universe the connection to Jesus Christ our prayer in Jesus precious and holy name him and this media was brought to you by audio verse a website dedicated to spreading God's word through free sermon audio and much more if you would like to know more about audio verse or if you would like to listen to more sermon leave a Visit W W W dot. Org.


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