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Quandary of Healing Prayer
April 4, 2017

Reading through the gospels, one finds some pretty interesting stories of Jesus’ healing methods.  In Mark 5 a woman with a bleeding disorder snuck up on Jesus and touched his clothing before she was healed.  In Mark 7 Jesus stuck his fingers into the man’s ears then he spit and touched the man’s tongue before he prayed for healing.   In Mark 8, at the town of Bethsaida, the people brought a blind man to Jesus.  So Jesus took him out of town and spit on the man’s eyes and laid hands on him before asking him if he could see anything.  There was only a partial healing until Jesus laid his hands on the man’s eyes a second time and he was healed.

The dilemma of human suffering and sickness are probably some of most troubling for believers.  On the one hand we have many broad promises like the one in 1 John 5:14-15.   “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.  And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.” On the other hand, many languish in suffering without being healed.  It may seem that either we don’t know God’s will very well or God is not true to his promises.  

It seems to me that there are some pretty tough issues surrounding healing prayer.  Here are a few suggestions.

  1. Sometimes people do not receive healing because they don’t ask (James 4:3).
  2. There are times when we desperately desire to be released from a sickness or situation but God knows that it is better for us that we grow in wisdom from the experience (2 Corinthians 12:9). 
  3. There is something good that happens when we humble ourselves before God and cast all our cares on him (1 Peter 5:6, 7).  There are connections developed that would otherwise never be made. 
  4. God longs for us to surrender to Him like Jesus surrendered to the will of the Father in the Garden, “Not my will but yours be done.”  Luke 22:42
  5. Sometimes confession of sin needs to precede healing prayer (James 5:13-20).

In a study guide on the book of James in the Bible Chuck Swindoll gave the following guidelines when it came to healing prayer based on James 5.

  1. The will of God is paramount – respect it.
  2. The use of medical assistance is imperative – seek it and obey it.
  3. Confession of sin is healthy – employ it appropriately and honestly.
  4. Praying for one another is commanded – practice it. 
  5. When healing comes from God – Praise Him.

When have you had the opportunity to pray specifically for someone or for a special need?   How have you seen prayer bring changes in people or circumstances?   What hinders Christians from praying with confidence?   What circumstances beyond our control can we affect through prayer?



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