I was taught that all those stories about healing in the Bible were just for that time, that miracles don’t happen anymore. Then I went to a healing service and witnessed the bent back of someone I knew well, straighten visibly after one prayer. When your beliefs don’t match reality, it’s time to overhaul your theology.
That was years ago. Since then I’ve been part of prayer groups that have witnessed the healing of headaches, backaches, depression, bulging discs, out of control eating, cystic fibrosis, a brain tumor…. lots of healing. I’m confident now that God wants to heal us and often will do it as soon as we ask. There are whole books on why healing doesn’t always happen, and how to pray for healing. In a short blog I can only focus on a first step.
Faith plays a key role. It’s like the current that connects us to God, and through which God’s power flows. Jesus said, “…Whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it and it will be yours.” So we want to train ourselves into faith, just was we’d train for anything else – a marathon, new software. People talk about faith enviously, as if it were something that you just have or don’t have, like long legs. It’s not. You train for it, you exercise it, you fight for it when it’s attacked.
Faith grows when we see God directly answer a prayer, especially when the outcome is hard to explain otherwise. So we should start praying for healing. Why not start with ourselves? Then when we feel better, it will also boost our faith. Double benefit.
Here are some commonly taught guidelines for how to pray for healing (My reading has included Agnes Sanford, Richard Foster, John Wimber, and Francis McNutt) :
- Start by praying for something that is simple. Pray for sore throats before you tackle progressed cancer; a habit of worry before schizophrenia. Ask yourself if you believe the problem can be healed.
- Ask God for guidance about how to pray for the problem, and pay attention to the thoughts that come. You may be about to pray for a stomach ache, then realize that the stomach ache worsens when you’re around someone who makes you mad. Obviously you need to pray for healing in that relationship, and probably help in forgiving.
- Focus on the love and dependability of God. Jesus came to show us that, so a mental picture of Jesus doing one of the things recorded in the gospels, is a good thing to hold in mind. That’s who we’re connecting with – someone who loved us enough to come to us and die for us.
- When we’ve centered ourselves on the goodness of God, and asked for guidance, then hold in your imagination what you believe you should be praying for. If your arm is in a cast, imagine the bone fused straight and strong, and you swinging your arm with no pain. Then ask God for it, boldly, hopefully.
- Don’t weaken your faith with some “If it be your will…” qualifier. You’ve asked for guidance to pray for the right thing, so just ask.
- Don’t be discouraged if nothing happens right away. Keep asking. Persistence is rewarded. (Read the story of the widow in Luke 18.)
- Thank God for healing after it happens, and tell people about it. Often experiencing or witnessing healing helps people to draw closer to God, so don’t keep it to yourself.
2 thoughts on “Healing 101 (10 Ways to Spiritually Recharge, Part VI)”
What about Paul (certainly a faith-filled, Godly man)? He prayed that his ‘thorn’ would be removed, but the Lord did not do so. (II Corinthians 12:7-9) Although we can’t be certain whether this was a physical, emotional or relational affliction, I believe the principle is the same: Paul accepted a ‘no’ or ‘wait’ answer, praising God, learning from it and trusting in His sovereignty. So “if it be your will” IS Biblical – in fact, Jesus prayed it and it’s also in the Lord’s Prayer. Some healing comes in this life, but often after death. God is not a celestial Santa nor a doting grandfather. Sometimes we need to accept an infirmity, committing it to the Lord and turning our attention to things we can control. His grace is sufficient.
Rich, Thanks for you comment. Yeah, I agree that “If it be your will” is definitely a posture we need to live in. But when we have discerned that it’s time to pray for healing, I think we need a laser focus on faith for healing during that prayer time. I think most of us in non-pentecostal traditions tend to give up too soon. Hope that makes sense.