For 30 years I have felt compelled to heal the sick.
I’ve no idea how many people I’ve prayed for or how many people I’ve trained to do the same, but the motivation for this compulsion is very much as it always was: if we are to be disciples of Jesus we have to learn to do all the things that Jesus did, and one of the most important things he did was heal the sick.
For many of those 30 years I have focused on the truths that I have needed to learn about healing, truths that have helped me (and others) to pray more effectively for the sick and I’ve tried to be honest about the difficulties I’ve confronted along the way.
Here’s a summary of what I’ve learned so far:
You can pray in hope.
Hope, which borders on, or actually becomes desperation, is something that we see regularly in those who came to Jesus for healing. The blind men – one of whom was Bartimaeus – cried out “Son of David have
mercy on us!” (1) Desperation and mercy go well together. Our desperation – which you might call ‘hope in a time of crisis’ – meets God’s mercy, and a miracle happens. Hope is always a useful backdrop to our prayers especially when the prayer is for ourselves or for those who are closest to us.
You can pray in faith.
Faith that is ‘as small as a mustard seed’ (2) is all we need – that’s what Jesus tells us. But faith, however large, comes by ‘hearing’ (3) the word of Christ. That ‘word’ – which for me is usually something along the lines of – ‘The Father wants his children well’, creates faith in my heart and in the hearts of others.
Faith is born out of God’s word to us, rather than simply our need, and so it is greater than hope, for our faith is ‘hope
made certain’ (4). Faith is particularly helpful when you are praying for lots of sick people and do not have either the time or the capacity to ‘feel’ everyone’s hurt. Some of the most remarkable healings I’ve seen occurred through people who were simply praying for others out of obedience and faith, with very little sense of emotional engagement. So we can pray in hope and we can pray in faith (by now I’m sure you know where I’m going), but we can also pray in another way, something that the apostle Paul calls a ‘better way’ (5).
A Better Way
When I look at the passages that speak of Jesus healing the sick it appears as though he was simply moved by love. For instance, when Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed the sick. – Matthew 14:14
I was texting a friend of mine, Chad Norris – the Pastor of the local church that Sally and I attend – the other day and he expressed this truth really well. I thought I would share our text conversation with you: