By CHRIS FIELDS
What are our nonverbal prayers telling God?
One of the single most important things in the Christian faith is prayer. We Christians are supposed to pray for any and everything. The Bible admonishes us over and over to make our petitions known and to pray about this and that, to cast our cares on Him, to pray continually without ceasing, and so on.
As I progressed in my walk with Christ, one of my biggest questions was, “How in the world do I pray without ceasing?” Last I checked, without ceasing meant nonstop. So in my naivete, I began practicing the discipline of always murmuring under my breath, “Thank you, Jesus” or “Thank you, Father” or something of that nature, verbally expressing my gratitude. I quickly learned the difficulty of the task. Praying without ceasing is literally impossible if you don’t have a clear understanding of what it actually means to pray nonstop.
Prayer is defined this way: a wish, an earnest hope or communication with God. The Hebrews define it as an evolving means of interacting with God. Communication and interacting must be synonymous in order for us to get a better understanding of prayer — and communication must be taken in its full context.
Communication is a verbal and nonverbal exchange of thoughts and feelings from one party to another. It’s defined this way by Merriam Webster: the act or process of using words, sounds, signs, or behaviors to express or exchange information or to express ideas. Effective prayer includes all of that — the verbal, nonverbal and behavioral. Only when this happens can it become an evolving interaction with our God.
This is how praying without ceasing can become a reality. Jesus says His house is a house of prayer, and His house is in you and in me as His vessels, and the only way that can become truth is when our prayer becomes an evolving interaction, not just one of verbal communication.
Most notably in the Christian faith are prayers for blessings, whether it be financial or provisional blessings, and prayers for healing physically, mentally and spiritually. We often verbally express to Jesus our needs and wants for more financial blessings while nonverbally communicating to Him poor financial management, creating a misleading interaction. We express wants for new jobs, raises, titles and positions — while nonverbally expressing ingratitude in our current job situations.
What I’d like to focus on are our prayers for physical healing. One thing that has always stuck out to me in Jesus’ ministry of healing were the times when Jesus healed and told the recipients to go and sin no more after receiving their healing (see John 5:14), leading one to believe that sin left them in a diseased state. One thing that we should always understand as Christians is the truth that sin leaves us in a diseased or “dis-eased” state.
We verbally send up prayers for healing while still living in an unrepentant state, nonverbally expressing to Jesus that we aren’t ready to receive our healing. When He instructed people to go and sin no more, He knew that they knew exactly what to do to stay out of sin and prevent relapse. Jews and Israelites were the direct recipients of Jesus’ healing ministry while He was on earth, and they were given a set of laws to live by, with some of those laws being dietary in nature.
Metabolic diseases and some physical diseases are caused by improper dietary habits, and now it’s being learned that some cognitive diseases are due to poor dietary habits — “poor” in the sense that food is not properly being broken down and utilized as energy.
As advancements in medicine are being made, and as our understanding of the human body continues to grow, Jesus is instructing us through scientific advancements and discoveries what it looks like to “go and sin no more.” He is showing us how to effectively pray for healing. He is showing us what it looks like for us to be involved in an evolving interaction with Him.
This is how we live a life of prayer for physical healing: eating right, moving more, exercising our physical body and our spiritual, keeping our stress levels down, and releasing His healing powers that we’re supernaturally designed with.
Chris Fields is the founder and executive director of H.E.A.L. Mississippi and a graduate in kinesiology with advance studies in nutrition. He serves as a clinical exercise physiologist/CPT and is credentialed in Exercise Is Medicine through American College of Sports Medicine.