I recently completed a wonderful Bible Study presented by one of the most popular Bible teachers in America today and was pained by her struggle to teach strong scriptural faith while obviously wrestling with the question of why some who are prayed for are not healed.
I also recently visited a church where, at the end of the service, the minister added some prayer list reports he had overlooked earlier. I couldn’t believe my ears when he said, “_________ is doing amazingly well right now with her cancer. She feels great……But we need to keep praying because we know she will be feeling worse at some point.” Was it a prayer list or doubt list?
I also had an almost surreal experience at a church we had attended for several months when, at the suggestion of the minister, I volunteered for the prayer team…..and was rejected because the elders said, “the prayer team teaches a lot and we want to be sure members are taught the “our” doctrine (this was a “non-denominational church”)….not giving false hope because God can’t heal everyone”. They actually said “God can’t heal everyone”. They quoted a few “excuse” scriptures “at” me about Paul’s “thorn in his side” and “Paul leaving Trophimus ill in Melitum” as proof it’s not God’s will to heal everyone. False hopelessness? I think so.
In another very nice church I visited, a wonderful man came forward to give the invocation and included in an otherwise moving prayer, “If it be your will, heal those who are ill, but if not, we ask for comfort.” When in scripture was it not Jesus’s will to heal?
In Mark 11:24(NIV), Jesus says, “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it and it will be yours.”
It is true that everyone who is prayed for is not healed. Is that reality a proof that it is not God’s will to heal everyone? NO! What about our own will? In fact, what about Trophimus’s will (faith) in Melitum (2 Tim 4:20) And, what about that infamous “thorn” that God permitted to vex Paul even though he prayed three times for God to take it away. (2 Cor 12:8). The term “thorn in a side” in the Bible, as in modern terminology, refers to something that tries our patience like people who irritate us as it was used in Numbers 33:55 regarding the Canaanites being a persistent irritation to the Israelites because they did not destroy them as God said. No place in scripture indicates a “thorn in one’s side is disease”.
Are we holding back putting our full faith in the healing power of God’s Word because we are so wounded by having lost loved ones for whom we have prayed to be healed? Are we trying to make our theology match our “reality” rather than believing God’s Word has the power to change our reality? Ministers and teachers with powerful healing ministries seem to be answering, “Yes!” Charles S. Price, F. F. Bosworth, Smith Wigglesworth, T.L. Osburn, T.J. McCrossen and Kenneth E. Hagin all had powerful healing ministries in the last century and all write eloquently on the role of faith in physical healing. The humble but Spirit filled minister who conducted my own oil service that began my healing process agrees with these men as does Marilyn Hickey (www.mhmin.org) who, at nearly 80, is still traveling the world teaching and healing the sick even in “dangerous” countries like Pakistan and Moroco where large percentages of her “audiences” aren’t Christian (at least not until she begins bringing healing to them).
Miraculous physical healing is achieved with great success in the “third world” where faith is childlike and “modern medicine” not competing for that faith. “Proper” American churches tend to fall into various degrees of “cessationism”–either ignoring altogether the Bible’s teachings regarding physical healing or rationalizing against the scriptures that God no longer heals the physically ill…..still they profess that God is “the same yesterday, today and tomorrow” about everything else…..or almost everything else. Prayer lists are almost always made up listing people who rushed to “modern medicine” first adding prayer “for good measure”. Seldom do we pray to discern God’s will for our treatment.
I was raised in a proper, formal church that never taught the healing scriptures so, when faced with an “inoperable pancreatic tumor” and married to a classically trained physician, I “faced a stone wall”. Miraculously, just days before I learned my shocking diagnosis, a fencing contractor who came to bid on a job for me told me about his wife being miraculously healed according the the Fifth Chapter of James. At the time, I thought, “That’s a nice story…. and went on to discuss the fencing project.” This nice gentleman was the first person I called a few days later after I realized I truly needed a miracle. I believed because I had heard this man’s testimony. I had childlike faith when he had the minister call me and we prayed on the phone. That very evening my husband and I attended his church and were warmly welcomed by many people who had healing testimonies. I had no idea what to expect but believed I would be healed. After the praise and worship, the minister asked for any with prayer requests to come forward and I went and simply received prayer while my forehead was anointed with oil and immediately I knew a change had taken place in my body….and, more than that, I realized an old life ended and a new one began just that simply. I was calm. It wasn’t a big production.
I recommend reading the books of healing ministers mentioned above (see our books tab). They will help you understand God’s will for healing as revealed in the scriptures. It is critical that we learn to pray properly according to the scriptures rather than according to our own rationalizations based on past heartbreaks. In the interest of time….because ill people need healing now….I will summarize by using a teaching from Marilyn Hickey, and I highly recommend her book and/or DVD, “Be Healed or her CD “Eight Ways God Heals”.
In her DVD lesson, Mrs. Hickey uses Psalm 107:20 “He sent His word and healed them; he rescued them from the grave.”(NIV) She says it is not how “spiritual” you are; it is how powerful God’s Word is. As scripture says, “So shall my Word be that goes forth out of my mouth; it shall not return to me void and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:11)
Marilyn Hickey practices what she preaches/teaches and, without the sometimes distasteful “sensationalism” we may see from “healing ministries” on TV etc., she simply believes that God’s word expresses God’s will and goes about bringing people to Jesus Christ by bringing them God’s healing as Jesus taught. She teaches like a caring parent but with a light in her eyes.
First, Mrs. Hickey shares her many healing stories (her own and those she has ministered) and they are faith inspiring. Second, she shares God’s healing Word and so many of these are cited in our page on “God’s Healing Word”. Third, per Mark 16:17,18, she lays her hands on the recipient and prays the scripture and specifically calls out the infirmity she is asking God to heal. She teaches that, as Romans 10:17 teaches, “faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God”. There is power in speaking and hearing God’s own words. Finally, Mrs. Hickey tells the healing recipient to act on faith to receive their healing just as Jesus did so many times in scriptur–to DO something. She explains that acting is an expression of faith–moving a limb, taking steps, standing up, whatever is appropriate when healing has manifested itself immediately. It’s not “working” but “acting on faith”. Sometimes healing does not completely manifest itself immediately, and, in those cases, she teaches it is important to begin expressing gratitude as quickly as one would if immediate healing manifestation had occurred. Gratitude is healing in itself and expressing it in faith is an act of obedience. Sometimes receiving healing is a process of faith and gratitude. NEVER say, “well I didn’t feel a sudden miracle so I guess I didn’t get healed.” The enemy loves to walk into that open door of doubt.
Simply, Marilyn Hickey teaches, “Healing takes faith and we get it from God’s Word. We hear it, speak it, believe it, obey it.” Mark 11:24 is a guide, “Therefore I (Jesus) tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”
But Jesus added an important lesson and every other successful healing minister teaches this lesson well. Mark 11:25 “And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”
Dr. Charles S. Price, as many, teach us that believing IN God is not the same thing as faith of God–necessary for receiving healing. “God simply cannot–or will not– impart His faith to us through a heart that is filled with bitterness and an unforgiving spirit.” So we must let go of any grudges or resentment before receiving our healing.
Believers minister healing, but it is God that heals “in Jesus’ name”–the “name above all names”. John 14:14 “If you ask in my name, I will do it.” And in Acts 3:1-16 we see Peter and John healing in Jesus’s name. Whatever your disease, Jesus name is above it and has the power to heal you of that disease. Believe it! Believe God is who He says He is and will do what He says He will do now as always!
- Healing is always God’s will.
- God’s Word is true–All of it. It will change our reality.
- Doubt and unforgiveness are obstacles to healing.
- We cannot “deserve” healing, it is God’s scriptural promise–“he heals ALL our diseases” (Ps 103:3)
- God IS the God who performs miracles. (Ps77:14) note the present tense in these Psalms