Tuesday, May 22, 2012
Prayer For the Sick
I am all in favor of praying for the sick and at the same time, there are times we need to not pray. Most of the times that I say we should not pray is that we are not prepared to pray, either by the one doing the praying, or the one receiving. Even though I was educated from a Word of Faith perspective, I will try to give a practical and balanced view of healing prayer.
The Word of Faith movement, also known as "name it and claim it" by those who like to poke fun at "faith" people, believes that God wants and wills to heal all people. I love that concept, and there are plenty of scriptures that back that up. It seems to define the God that I know: One who does not make people sick to teach them lessons or keep them humble. There are a few issues about those that heavily push this doctrine though: the extreme of this perspective is that if someone is not healed after this kind of faith prayer, that is is all our fault. Either there is not enough faith, or "sin" lingering in the lives of the believers doing the praying, but it typically puts the guilt on the sick person. I have seen a lot of people give up on their faith because of this. Some leave their religion entirely while others can go into a sort of denial. Many feel ashamed that there is some kind of sin and doubt that they can't seem to figure out what it is.
On the other hand, these "faith" preachers can also get a lot of results if they sincerely practice this perspective. Sometimes even if the person receiving prayer doesn't even believe, the strong faith and anointing (the Holy Spirit resting on the believer, and through the believer to be a sort of "channel" to God's power) and spiritual gifts can be enough to allow God to do wonderful things.
Another misconception is the difference between a healing and a miracle. This idea will probably not get in the way of someone's prayer, but it's interesting to study. To put it simply: a healing is to fix something that is ill and a miracle is to create something that is not there. One way this concept can come in handy is that if someone knows they have healing faith but not miracle faith, they may want to consider working on what they believe.
Healings and miracles can demonstrate God's love, draw those who do not believe, and help us to live better lives. At the same time, we can get distracted by the sensational and miss the simple fellowship with God.
What do we do when we don't receive our healing? This is a very tough subject, and I would love to go over more of this some time. All I can say now is that we need to find peace in our life which ever road we take. If we find peace accepting this sickness as part of our life and we can still love and believe God; I can't argue with that way of life, especially if trying to fight the illness would cause strife. If we find peace in holding on to the hope that we have our healing whether we feel it, see it or have received its manifestation; fighting the "good fight of faith" can be a challenging but rewarding way of life. The important thing is to find out where you are at in your heart and what you believe, and not let sickness get in the way between you and God.
Then there is the principal that these patterns can sometimes surprise me when things seem to work in contrary to everything I have learned about faith and answered prayer. We need to always understand that we don't have all the answers. I have heard stories of ministers who are very gifted in the areas of healing and miracles and yet they suffer themselves. There is the principle of child-like faith which folks can get healings and miracles without being at all educated in these matters. People get answered prayer all the time without knowing what they are doing, even people that don't read my blog (LOL!). There are people that don't even believe, or folks that have things in their life that hurt themselves and others; and they get all kinds of prayer answered. No fair... But I love this about God. We really can't put God in a box. My philosophy has been that we need to get in God's box.