These aren’t your typical prayers for healing after surgery because: 1) They’re inspired by Jesus’ temptation in the desert (Jesus wasn’t praying for healing from shoulder surgery — but I sure am! And I’m slowly walking through Matthew, so my tips for healing prayers are woven into the tempter’s attempts to destroy Jesus Christ); and 2) These “prayers for healing” grew from what Jesus didn’t say and do.
Why am I praying for healing? I’m glad you asked! Nine months ago I broke my shoulder while running. I tripped on a crack on the sidewalk and ripped my arm bone (humerus, but it wasn’t very humorous) from my shoulder socket (Glenohumeral joint). The orthopedic surgeon used a metal plate and eight bone-sized screws to put my shoulder pack together; three days ago the same surgeon removed the plate and screws. Hence, I’m writing about prayers for healing after surgery…but I don’t want to share the same tired old “how to pray for healing” tips.
I wrote Prayers for Healing and Recovery After Surgery after my first shoulder surgery. “When you’re saying prayers for healing and recovery after surgery — whether you’re praying for yourself or a loved one — prepare for dark nights because they are the worst. I couldn’t lie down after my shoulder operation, and it never occurred to me to get a neck pillow (which is an excellent gift for a patient after surgery!). I sat up all night long on the living room sofa, popping pain pills and worrying that I’d get addicted. I prayed, but didn’t really feel God’s presence. I was in too much pain.”
My current experience — healing and recovering from my second shoulder surgery — isn’t as painful as the first, but I’ve been having a hard time. I’m weepy, weak, and woeful. I’m sad and tired. I just want to hide under the covers and whimper.
I’ve never been big on praying for healing. My “default prayer” is worship, praise, humble adoration of God the Father. I embrace the Holy Spirit and bow my knee to Jesus Messiah…but I rarely pray for things, circumstances, people, or even healing after a major shoulder surgery. I always pray “Your will be done” but rarely ask God for my will. Reflecting on Jesus’ interaction with Satan in the wilderness has, almost unfortunately, affirmed my tendency to ask God for less and praise Jesus for all He’s already done, given, achieved through the Holy Spirit.
3 Unusual Tips for Praying for Post-Surgery Healing
In How to Fight the Lies Satan Wants You to Believe – Matthew 4 I described how Jesus responded to Satan’s three temptations in the wilderness. I should be echoing Jesus in Matthew 5 now but I just haven’t been able to move on from that scene in the wilderness.
This morning I realized what Jesus didn’t pray for while He was facing temptation…and His non-prayers are the basis of my own prayer tips for healing and recovery after surgery.
3 Things Jesus Didn’t Pray For in the Wilderness:
- Escape or deliverance
- Healing or help
- The “most powerful” or “best” prayers
We can learn a lot from how Jesus didn’t respond to Satan’s temptations in the gospel of Matthew.
1. In the wilderness, Jesus didn’t pray for escape or deliverance
In Matthew 4:4 Jesus answered, “It is written: Man must not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” Satan’s first attempt to derail, dethrone and destroy Jesus was by questioning life and faith. According to pastor Bob Deffinbaugh in The Temptations of Jesus – Matthew 4, “Satan wanted our Lord to doubt God’s goodness and guidance, fearing that He might die if He trusted and obeyed the Father. Satan wanted the Lord to act independently of the Father, saving His life by making bread from stones. Jesus knew that true life came from trusting God’s Word; it came by faith.” Jesus didn’t ask God to stop the temptations or deliver him from Satan’s devilish promptings.
When you’re praying for healing after surgery, trust the Holy Father. Whether you’re praying for healing for yourself or a loved one — whether you’re waiting outside an operating room in the hospital or you’re struggling to get through a dark, lonely, painful sleepless night — trust that God the Father is here. If you know Jesus Christ, you have access to the deep eternal power of the Holy Spirit. Trust that even if you don’t feel the Lord’s presence, even if you don’t know what to pray or how the healing will progress or what will happen next…you are in God’s good hands. Take a deep breath. Know that God knows, cares, and acts. Trust the Father to guide the post-surgery healing and recovery process His way and in His time.
2. In the wilderness, Jesus didn’t pray for healing or help
In Matthew 4:7 Jesus told Satan, “It is also written: Do not test the Lord your God.” Again, Bob Deffinbaugh’s comments are insightful. “In the first temptation, Satan was seeking to persuade Jesus that God was far off. He tried to convince Jesus that He would die because He had no food. Even today we call places like that wilderness ‘God forsaken.’ … Now, in the second temptation, Satan is not arguing that God is remote and that Jesus must therefore act on His own; Satan takes Jesus to the place where God has chosen to dwell.” Matthew tells us that Jesus’ second temptation was in Jerusalem, at the pinnacle of the temple. This is God’s dwelling place, which means that Jesus’ succumbing to temptation might bring Him closer to God. Satan is using and twisting Scripture to destroy Jesus. Jesus didn’t respond by asking God for help, healing, or wisdom. Jesus recognized Satan’s lies and answered briefly, without long prayers for healing or endless hours of petition.
When you’re praying for healing, recognize God for who He is — not just what He gives. What if you found out that God was never going to answer another prayer of yours? Imagine God not only not helping with healing and recovery after surgery, but also absenting Himself from other parts of your life? I wonder what it’d be like if we discovered that God did it all in Jesus Christ, and no more good stuff was coming. After all, Christians have round-the-clock access to the Holy Spirit, God the Father, and Jesus Christ. We have already glimpsed the glory of the Lord — His love, forgiveness, grace, joy, peace and freedom! Would you be satisfied with what you’ve already received…or would you keep longing for more?
3. Jesus didn’t seek the “most powerful” or “best” prayers
In Matthew 4:10 Then Jesus told him,“Go away, Satan! For it is written: Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.” Then Satan the tempter left Jesus, and angels came and began to serve him. Our pastor and teacher Bob says, “Satan seems to gloss over the fact that God’s protection is for those who are devoted to Him, who are loyal to Him. God’s protection is for those who trust and obey. Satan urges Jesus to step out on His own, out from under divine protection. Satan would have Jesus disobey Deuteronomy 6:16 by putting God to the test.” Jesus quickly saw beneath’s Satan’s third and final temptation, and responded shortly. Jesus’ words — “Go away, Satan! For it is written: Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him” — can be applied to any situation…even prayers for healing and recovery after surgery.
Pray through your fear, anxiety, hopes and expectations after surgery. There is no one-size-fits-all piece of clothing, space or even piece of pie that is perfect for everyone, much less a typical or powerful prayer for healing and recovery after surgery! In the past I’ve written articles that help readers learn how to pray (e.g., How to Pray for Healing in Your Body)…but my current post-operative experience and my reflection on Jesus’ temptations in the wilderness are changing my relationship with God. It’s important to be honest and real with God — including praying for the desires of your heart, which may very well be prayers for healing and recover after surgery! But it’s crucial to nurture your relationship with Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit…and praying for what you want and need doesn’t deepen your relationship with God.
If you keep searching online Bibles and Christian websites you’ll find powerful, comforting prayers for healing and recovery after surgery. But I encourage you to remember Jesus in the wilderness. He didn’t pray for escape or deliverance, or healing or help. Jesus didn’t even pray for the most powerful or best ways to dodge Satan’s temptations. Rather, Jesus leaned on the Scripture verses that we swirling around in His mind, heart, spirit and soul. Jesus prayed the way He felt led, and He didn’t fall prey to the schemes of the devil.
Might you do the same?
Your big and little comments are welcome below! What do you want to pray for? Feel free to say prayers for healing and recovery after surgery, or perhaps for a closer walk with Jesus. Pray for more hope, faith and love. Ask the Holy Spirit to send echoes of Jesus through your heart and soul, to draw you closer to the Father, and to give you strength and hope to walk humbly your God all the way home.
In peace and passion,
P.S. Do you struggle with lack of focus when you’re talking to God? Read 3 Easy Ways to Stay Focused When You Pray.