From my 2009 Journal. I get a little confused when I hear others pray and teach on prayer for the sick. Chrissy claims the blood of Jesus “by His stripes we are healed” for anyone who is sick and expects instant physical healing. She had a little crisis of faith when her father passed away. One pastor says it’s weak praying to say, “If God wills” because we shouldn’t be asking for healing unless we know it’s His will. What if, he says, the illness is “unto death” and we don’t know the person’s heart? What if he/she needs to let go of rebellion before God wants to heal him/her? How can we ask if we don’t know what to ask for?
Maybe it’s God’s will that all be healed, but Man still has a will and a choice as to how he treats his body, and God is not obligated to override his choices. I can’t ask God to make a person choose something, but I can trust God to know how to get a person’s attention like He did for Jacob or for Jonah.
Somewhere there must be discernment in our prayers for the sick. The biblical author James says to pray for the sick, and the elders of the church should anoint with oil. Should we do this for every sniffle?
Sometimes I think we’re so focused on physical healing, we forget to pray for the spiritual. Jesus often mentioned the faith of the person who asked for healing. The disciples healed many sick after the resurrection. Did they stop to ask if the person wanted healing or what was preventing their healing?
Maybe our prayer for the sick could be, “Reveal to X anything that is preventing his healing, give him courage to face his pain, may God be honored through his responses and reactions, and heal his body if it will give God greater glory.”
I take comfort in the fact that God knows my heart. He can interpret my words and intent and use them for His glory. He knows me well enough to know what I believe and mean.
2020 Update. I find it interesting to look back at how I struggled 10 years ago. Those questions no longer burn in my heart. It’s not that I have fewer questions; it’s that I’m more content with not knowing all the answers. I just ask and let God sort it out. This past week a dear friend and prayer warrior had a massive stroke. The church gathered together to pray for her, but our emotions were conflicted. We wanted to see Mary Lee fully restored to health, but we opened our hearts and hands to release her to heaven. We trusted God to do what was best. Today she is dancing with the angels, and I’m okay with God saying no to the cries of our heart to give her physical life back.
Your blog here made me think of David, when his son by Bathsheba was sick. He went in his room and wept, not only for his son and Bathsheba, but also repented for himself. He prayed for his son’s healing, hoping for the Lord’s mercy. When the child died, he rose and dressed, knowing God had answered. It sounds harsh set out in words like this, but somewhere in there, David left his son – and himself – in God’s hands.
I did the same thing three years ago with my grandson, Johnny. We knew he was sick before he was born and that he had a less than 50% chance of living. But still we prayed, believing God would do His perfect will. Johnny was born and immediately went on a heart/lung machine. Still we prayed. Then my dad had a massive stroke, and we knew he had a limited time with us. We prayed for him, but our prayers were for comfort for his heart and mind. We lost both of them three days apart, which was really hard, but we knew they were at peace with no pain. I had to leave my questions with the Lord and move on in His peace. It doesn’t mean we don’t miss them, but I know the Lord’s plans are perfect.l