For years, I have struggled with praying for healing. My religous pedigree includes Baptist, Presbyterian, Methodist and Pentecostal church experiences. I have seen lots of bad theology played out as people pray for all sorts of things.
Healing has been a tough thing for me because I have seen people miraculously healed from all sorts of diseases and physical problems. I have also had some people who are close to be experience the untimely death of a loved one due to disease. All of my easy answers went away as I discipled a young man who lost his father to cancer.
There are so many different views on divine healing. Some Christians believe that God doesn’t really heal today. Others pray for strength through their time of need. The pragmatic Christians pray for healing although they leave wriggle room for God to do whatever He wants. Others speak with authority and declare healing over somebody in faith. Some go to the point that they fight against the “demons” and evil spirits plaguing the person. Our experiences and personal journey tends to shape our belief about healing.
As people of faith, we attempt to discover what we really believe about God and His desire to heal. Most Christians believe that God can do anything. The big question is, “Does God always want to heal?” If He does, how do you explain all the people who never get healed on earth? If God doesn’t always want to heal, what does that show us about God as love and friend? We try to figure out which camp we are in. Sometimes the truth is between the camps. Sometimes the truth is hard to accept because it leaves so many unanswered questions.
Healing is a hard issue for my local fellowship because it hits so close to home for many families at the church. A few weeks ago, Pastor Fred Michaux honestly told the congregation about his struggle with healing and prayer. He admitted that God had changed his mind that week about the subject. Until that point, Pastor Fred had prayed for healing while adding the caveat that utmost he wanted God’s will to be done. This kept him from feeling like he was telling God what to do. It also gave him wiggle room just in case the person did not get healed.
For years, I had prayed much the same way. I knew that God could heal, but I didn’t know what to do when the person remained sick or died. I felt double minded and uncertain of what to pray.
Pastor Fred said that he was recently praying a healing/God’s will combo prayer when he stopped to listen and heard the Spirit impress on him a challenging though. Pastor Fred remembered the Scripture passage about Jesus giving his disciples the power to heal all kinds of diseases and sickness. Then Pastor Fred said that he heard Jesus ask him, “When did I ever give you the freedom to pray for anything other than outright healing?”
In this moment, a godly pastor was convicted and encouraged at the same time. He talked in his sermon about faith and hope being the two wheels of a bicycle. We must have both to pray effective prayers. You can hear Pastor Fred’s complete message at MCC sermons.
My journey with healing prayer has gone from skeptic to hope prayers to listening for God’s direction and then trying to pray what I sense the Spirit impressing on my heart. Now, I have something new to consider. And I am praying through this to fully grasp what God wants me to take from Pastor Fred’s message. At times in the past, I found myself at odds with other believers who always prayed for healing, especially those who seemed to almost demand it.
Pastor Fred’s message has further impressed on my heart that we don’t need to really worry about results. This is hard to accept in a society where the criteria for success is measured by if something works. In the Kingdom of God, all we need to do is pray in faith God’s will. Then, we trust God in the situation no matter what happens. The measure of our faithfulness in prayer is our obedience not the results.