How Should I Pray for Healing?

In Kenya, groups are popping up in the name of ‘healing ministries’. You will see them leading the masses to believe they can cause their sickness and disease to disappear from their bodies. Under such preachers and self-made healers, families have lost loved ones who were made to stop medication after praying for healing. Should we throw away the whole concept of miraculous healing? Does God heal? Does it happen nowadays? How should I pray for healing?

There are no three steps or four ways to receive healing through prayers; however, scripture truths guide our approach.

Acknowledge the Sovereignty of God

The first thing we must accept is that the sovereignty of God does not always agree with the natural wisdom of man. When we say God is sovereign, we mean that he is powerful and authoritative to the extent of overriding all other powers and authorities (Rom. 13:1; Heb. 1:3; Eph. 1:11; Ps. 135:6; Prov. 16:33). This aspect of God’s character does not always excite the heart, especially when it touches on sickness and disease. 

In Scripture, we see God working through the fallenness of our world and using great pain and suffering for His glory and the good of His people, ranging from the widespread plagues (Ex. 7:17, 8:2, 8:21, 11:1, 14:14; Jos. 24:6-7), to the personal account of Job losing everything he held dear (Jb. 1:13-19). We see God place a thorn in Paul’s flesh, about which he laments but for which he does not curse God (2 Cor. 12:7-10). Even the suffering of our Lord Jesus Christ was ordained by God (Isa. 53; Acts 2:22-24). Jesus begged the Father to take the cup of suffering from Him (Matt. 26:39,42), but when God’s will was that the Son drink the cup, Jesus obediently submitted and, like a lamb, was led to slaughter. Therefore we should also understand that the world is fallen and that a sovereign God is working to redeem the world. Sometimes that will include my miraculous healing; sometimes, it will not. My job is to accept that an all-wise and sovereign God can use my sickness or healing for good (Romans 8:28) as he did with Job.

Pray in Faith

James calls us to pray for the sick in faith (5:13-16). If healing by prayer was not possible, the Spirit would not have challenged us this way. Scripture contains many examples where men prayed in faith, and God performed healing miracles (Mark 11:24, Matthew 4:23-24, Mark 1:29-31, Matthew 9:19-22, 2 Kings 20:1-11, 2 Kings 5:1-14). We must note that our confidence in times of prayer must be in the object of our faith and not our faith. We have faith in Jesus, the miracle worker, and not faith in faith. Faith’s reality and power are not seen only when physical healing happens. Faith is not dependent on outward changes. Faith is hinged on its object- Jesus Christ, who never changes (Hebrews 13:8). Therefore, pray for healing with Jesus as the focus. Ask him according to his power to heal you. He does answer prayers with faith the size of a mustard seed (Matthew 17:20-21). 

Pray with Understanding

In our prayer, we should acknowledge that though God has the power to heal, he does not heal everybody. Sickness and disease are consequences of sin’s brokenness and rottenness. God is not pleased with the realities of sin’s repercussions- even sickness- in the lives of men. When he heals (takes the sickness and ailments away from us here on earth), we should ascribe greatness to him for the work and rejoice. However, we must also receive the truth that, at times, God’s healing will not be seen in taking away the sickness here but in calling us to himself, granting us complete healing and rest. That can be very hard for us to receive this plan (Luke 16:19-22). Sometimes those people we are praying for have conditions that will be dire and deadly. Are we willing to accept that the person will not be healed physically on this earth? Understanding the heart of God will help us be objective and receptive to the outcome, knowing that if this person is a believer, they belong to God in life and death (Rom 14:7-9). 

Acknowledge God’s Providence in Medicine

We have seen many in foolishness dismiss the need for medication as they claim faith in times of sickness and end up dead. Faith is vital for all of us; however, we must acknowledge that God will also use medicine to heal us. He is the giver of wisdom, even in medical discoveries and other things (Daniel 2:21). God is not limited to medicine but is always working behind the scenes. Pray that God will heal you. Trust in Him alone to help you. 

Caution

Having said all the above, we must be cautious of those who have gone a long way off the mark, claiming to have authority over disease and sickness. You will hear them declaring and decreeing that men will be healed, commanding, as it were, the heavens to perform such and such works. Let us not be deceived. Healing does not reside in the preacher’s charisma or “depth of insight”. Healing resides in the Lord. As much as God gives us the grace to experience his power in healing, it is not at our disposal nor our command that he does the healing. Our God will do what he wills to whom he wills (Psalm 135:6, 115:3, Daniel 4:35, Isaiah 46:9-10). All this he does for his glory and fame. 

References

https://www.desiringgod.org/interviews/what-is-the-sovereignty-of-god
https://www.thevillagechurch.net/resources/articles/is-god-sovereign-over-illness-and-suffering

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