For weeks I have been partnering with a dear friend, several fellow church members and a hurting mother in prayer for her son. I don’t know the details just that he became suddenly ill and was airlifted to a hospital far away. Regularly mom has texted updates; occasionally we have spoken by telephone, continually we have prayed.
We have prayed fervently. We have prayed specifically. We have prayed the promises of the Scriptures. We have prayed in our hearts and aloud; standing, sitting and on bended knee. We have prayed believing.
This evening mom texted an update that was not good. And for a brief flash of a moment, I questioned all that praying and all those prayers. Doesn’t God see us? Didn’t God hear us? Why this response?
Likely you know instances where prayers for healing were offered and you did not witness healing. Sometimes it even appears that the opposite happens – the condition worsens. Perhaps you’ve had your own questions. If you’ve experienced this, I suspect one of your questions might have been “Why?” followed by “Why bother? Why bother to pray for healing?”
We pray for healing because our Heavenly Father wants us to be whole – in mind, spirit and body. Whenever and wherever there is sickness, there is an opportunity for God to display His glory. He will heal. The struggle comes for us because God does not always move in our timing or in ways that we have imagined. Whatever the illness, we have an image in our minds of what the healing will look like. We also have an idea about when the healing should occur with our thoughts typically being, “No time like right now, God!” We believe that if we believe, we pray and there should be an immediate response and that response should look like just what we asked for. Instead of “Thy will be done,” we are, in truth, thinking more along the lines of “My will be done!”
Sometimes we fault ourselves when prayer appears to go unanswered. The Scriptures instruct us, “Ask, and it will be given unto you” (Matthew 7:7). If we do not receive what we expect, we sometimes assume we have asked incorrectly. Perhaps we did not pray long enough or hard enough or using the right words. Surely we ought always to examine our hearts for doubt and unbelief any time God answers “No” to our prayers. We should ask Him to search our hearts and to reveal any areas of sin or any doubt that we might harbor – knowingly or unknowingly – and to help us deal appropriately with it; then we should continue to pray because not only is praying for healing a privilege, we are instructed to do so (Acts 20:28, James 5:13-20). We are to pray with fervor and boldness. We are to pray believing (John 14:14, Mark 9:23, Jeremiah 33:3, 1 John 5:14-15). Sometimes we worry that if God doesn’t respond just as we have requested, it will appear as failure on our part. But our job as believers is to take a hurting person’s needs to the Lord, to intercede on their behalf and to trust God. He will choose when and how to respond.
The truth that I know for sure is that some of the blessings Jesus purchased through His suffering on the cross will not be fully realized until we are in His presence one day. Sometimes this includes healing. Hebrews 11:6 says, “Those who come to God must believe that God is.” That means that we not only believe that He can and will answer our prayers, we also trust His timing and that His response is the right response. Always He will heal. The healing may be immediate; it may be gradual or it may be ultimate – when we see Him face-to-face.
What, then, are we to do? Take a cue from Luke 18:1 (CEB) – “[Jesus] told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not to turn coward (faint, lose heart, and give up).”
Didn’t God hear us? Yes. And He will answer. He will heal.
Healer (Hillsong): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q7M6nTV1tFs
By His Stripes We Are Healed (Esther Mui): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ga3dVzhIzio
Who I Am? (Casting Crowns): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VU_rTX23V7Q&list=PLB7455A80B9FBC9BF&index=74