Rev. John Willoughby
A BIBLICAL APPROACH TO DIVINE HEALING.
(All scriptures in ‘New King James Version’, unless otherwise stated.)
IX. HEALING FOR CHRISTIANS TODAY – PRAYING IN FAITH.
The Bible says that, “faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” and that “without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Heb 11:1, 6). Faith is also a gift (Heb 12:2) and is very different from presumption. The following are some aspects related to praying in faith.
1. FAITH IN A BIG GOD.
a) It is based solely on what God’s Word declares. John 17:17. The Bible says, “let God be true and every man a liar” – Romans 3:4. Our faith does not look to any other source for confirmation or encouragement. If we are to pray in faith, we must know the Word of God, concerning His will about healing. To know it we must read, study, memorise and meditate on it. The more we do this, the more our faith will increase (Jn 15:7).
b) It knows the will of God. Matt 8:1-4. The leper said to Jesus, “if You are willing, You can make me clean” (v2). He hahewd no doubt that Jesus was able to heal him, but he doubted whether Jesus had the will to heal him. Jesus replied, “I am willing, be clean” and the Bible says, “immediately his leprosy was cleansed” (v3). We must also be certain in our hearts about the fact that He wants to heal. (There are sometimes things in our lives, which can delay healing, such as unforgiveness or sin, but the desire of God is still to heal).
2. FAITH IS BOLDLY SPECIFIC.
a) It has a definite object. Mark 10:46-52. Jesus asked, “what do you want Me to do for you?”. The blind man was specific, “that I may receive my sight” (v51). We too must ask specifically and not vaguely.
b) It confesses boldly. Mark 11:23-24. Paul wrote, “since we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, ‘I believed and therefore I spoke’, we also believe and therefore speak” – II Corinthians 4:13. The literal meaning of the word ‘to confess’ is ‘to agree with’ or ‘to say the same thing’. We need:
* Our confession to agree with the Word of God.
* To confess in faith to ourselves and others what we have prayed for and (by faith) received.
* To act on the confession of faith. Many do not receive healing, because they do not act on the words of faith that have been spoken. James wrote, “faith without works is dead” – James 2:20).
3. FAITH HAS RIGHT MOTIVES.
James 4:2-3. In this passage we see that there are two main reasons we do not receive – we do not pray (v2) and when we do ask, we pray with wrong motives (v3). We are simply channels for God to use in order to fulfil His purposes, for we in ourselves can heal nobody, nor can we heal ourselves. God is extremely jealous of His glory and will not share it with another. Jesus said to His disciples, “Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give” (Matthew 10:8). Pride or personal gain should have no place in the heart of one who prays for or receives healing, rather let us always give honour to Him for the wonderful things that He alone has done, for it is not our faith that has caused the miracle, it is God’s power and grace.
4. FAITH IN GOD, DESPITE SICKNESS.
Our faith must be in a Heavenly Father, who loves us and wants the best for us, despite whether we are healed or not healed. It is good to trust Him for healing, but we must also be honest and admit that not all are healed, when prayed for in faith. We need grace:
a) To trust in Him despite past disappointments. John 5:2-8. In Mark 5:25-26 we read, “Now a certain woman had a flow of blood for twelve years, and had suffered many things from many physicians. She had spent all that she had and was no better, but rather grew worse.” This woman had been disappointed over many years, yet when she reached out by faith and “touched His garment” (v27), she was instantly healed (v29). Sometimes we have received medication for many years and have been prayed for many times, yet we are not healed. Our trust must still rest in a Father who loves us and wants the best for us.
b) To continue steadfastly in faith. Matthew 7:7-8. God often heals over a period of time and very often our faith is tested, because the healing is sometimes not immediate. True faith endures and continues to believe steadfastly, even when the healing is not immediately evident, for its foundation is the Word of God. In Heb 10:23 we read, “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.” He continues, “Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward” (v35).
c) To continue to believe that God loves us and wants our best, despite not being healed immediately. Romans 8:28. We are living in a fallen world system and sometimes we are called to show His grace, as we go through suffering. This suffering (whether physical or not) can often entail much grace and faith. A loving sensitivity with a lack of condemnation for those who are not healed (including ourselves) is most important. Whatever happens He has promised, “never to leave you nor forsake you” (Heb 13:5).
5. STEPS OF FAITH FOR HEALING.
The following can be of help, as we pray and seek God’s healing for our body:
* Be sure that you are in a right relationship with God and others – I Corinthians 11:27-30.
* Seek the presence of Jesus in you life, for it is He who will give your heart the faith you need – Romans 12:3.
* Saturate yourself with God’s Word – Rom 10:17.
* Continue to expect a miracle – trust in Christ’s power – Matthew 7:8).
* If you are not healed immediately, continue to remain in a loving relationship with Him – John 15:1-7. Through all situations we can grow spiritually and it is good to examine your life to see what changes God is trying to bring about in you – Romans 8:28.
* Call for the prayers of others – the elders of the church, family members and Christian friends – James 5:14-16.
* Attend a service where a person with a respected healing ministry is present – Acts 8:5-7.
* Keep on rejoicing, whether healing comes immediately or whether you have to wait for it Philippians 4:4, 11-13.
* Have peace in your heart that God’s delays in answering prayers are not denials of those requests. Sometimes God has a larger purpose in mind that, when realized, results in His greater glory – John 11:4, 14-15, 45.
* Our focus of faith needs to be on God, but also realize that the Bible acknowledges the proper use of medical care – Matthew 9:12.