(February 14, 2022) Robert McQuillan shares…
Personally, I strongly believe in God’s power to heal whoever calls on Him when sickness strikes.
It used to be common that Christians testified on Sundays about having asked God for healing and how He had answered them! They wanted to share how trusting God and His word had resulted. But for many years trendy music, overdone announcements and tithing mini-sermons have been more important!
Today, in many churches it’s a rarity to invite slickly people to respond to an altar call for prayer in respect of needed miracles.
Don’t church leaders believe in the power of God’s word regarding healing? Have they forgotten how to pray with confidence? Has the great truth of divine, not faith, healing by God’s power been forgotten, no longer understood?
Positive power words
Maureen and I delight to pray positively for sickly folk, having experienced several divine healings – and miracles – ourselves over a lifetime.
Example: Years ago we were asked to teach a church camp about healing and praying for the sick. But… Friday I suddenly developed a severely sore throat, and couldn’t talk.
Now I could have phoned and hoarsely whispered a negative ‘I can’t come Saturday.’ But I didn’t. Instead we stayed overnight enroute with good friends who made me a cosy bed on a comfortable couch before a roaring log fire. Feeling so ill, I enjoyed a hot drink, sucked honey and relaxed.
Appreciating the comforts, I prayed positively to God, asking in Jesus’ name that He graciously heal me, confirming that I trusted Him to restore me. Even claimed a healing scripture that means so much to me… 1 Peter 2:24b: ‘By His wounds (stripes) you have been healed,’ and endeavoured to fall asleep.
But, as Brian Bell mentions in his article, sometimes God’s answer is ‘Wait’ (The ‘Ministry’of Sickness)!
Well, I certainly waited… all night! But, strangely I felt to keep repeating in my mind throughout the night my own positive paraphrase of that cherished scripture… ‘By your stripes, Lord, I was healed!’
Around 6am I finally fell into a deep sleep… but when I awoke two hours later, I was totally recovered!
Did the hot drink, honey and rest heal me? Oh they helped, but it was my confidence in God and positively quoting that verse. Most importantly, believing in that scripture and trusting God to fulfil it.
At the camp I shared this testimony, then taught on divine healing using scriptures such the one above, Psalm 30:2 and Jeremiah 30:17. In closing I encouraged campers themselves, rather than Maureen and me, to pray positively with confidence in God’s word for any sickly around them. Several did and individuals received God’s touch either for themselves or friends they stood in for.
One thing I know that I know that I know and believe in my heart is that based on I Peter 2:24 (and Isaiah 53:5) salvation and healing were secured for us by Jesus!
A major problem is that, unfortunately, wrong teachings over the years have hindered Christians from receiving healing.
The worst scriptural misconception came from bad teaching by misguided Pentecostals in the early 60 and 70s… so-called ‘Faith Healing.’ That if you don’t have enough faith, you won’t get healed. Scripture doesn’t say this! No, we must understand that God’s miraculous healing is divine healing, not faith healing! We ask and then we trust!
Many times faith is absent, or weak! Such as the Mark 1:40-42 leper begging Jesus for a healing, saying, ‘If you are willing, you can make me clean.’
Let me clarify something here… my particular e-Sword version wrongly says Jesus was indignant. But the Greek word here is splagchnizomai, meaning compassion, have pity, be deeply concerned. If you think splagchnizomai is too ‘deep’ to pronounce, its meaning is even deeper in respect of Jesus! Look up every time He moved in compassion and you’ll find He did so in love, pity and concern. And something wonderful, miraculous happens!
For example, the NLT reads, ‘Moved with compassion, Jesus reached out and touched him. “I am willing,” He said. “Be healed!”’ (v41). Immediately the leper was miraculously cleansed, ‘his skin smooth and healthy’ (v42Mge).
That poor man obviously didn’t know faith as do many Christians (or should know). Yet in his trusting he got his miracle! He, the untouchable, was compassionately touched by Jesus.
Faith, whatever level, should of course be exercised when we ask for God’s touch. God divinely responds to our prayer even when our faith is low! Healing is a divine touch of His grace to His spiritual children.
It is the children’s bread that Jesus spoke of in Matthew 15:26, a reference to Exodus 15: 26, ‘I am God your healer.’
Our part when we ask as God’s kids for healing is four-fold…
Of course, if after praying we feel to consult the medical profession then that’s a wise move. Maureen and I have had to do that at times, seeking professional help. This is God-given commonsense, sanity!
But the point is that, as Christians, we should seek the Lord first. We should recall scriptures on divine healing, quoting them and confidently trusting in them without a shadow of doubt – just as we do when we ask forgiveness of sin (1 John 1:9). Otherwise we disappoint the one who achieved so much for us on Calvary’s cross.
Two leaders’ attitudes
2 Chronicles 16 tells about King Asa having a bad disease. What did he do? Verse12 says that ‘he did not turn to the Lord for help’… only to doctors. Result: He died in his sickness. Yet… his very name, Peloubet’s informs us, means healing!
2 Kings 18:5 highlights another ruler, King Hezekiah who put his whole trust in God. When he became terminally ill his attitude was to turn to God (2 Kings 20:1-3)… weeping deeply and acknowledging that God was his answer. And as he trusted God, verse 5 tells that he was not only granted healing but 15 additional years lifespan to serve his Lord!
What a difference in the attitudes of these leaders of God’s people! Church leaders need to encourage their congregations to pray about sickness when it strikes and trust God to bring about recovery!
Praying with expectancy!
Praise God for every time He miraculously heals immediately or soon afterwards. Even when He sometimes does it differently than we expect.
God often works through the medical profession so, as advised, specialist’s advice should be sought. Many doctors believe in divine healing (see Mercy Health’s article Perfect Time for Forgiveness).
But, remember the onus is on Christians to seek the Lord first!
Pray, then trust, leaving it with the Lord. But be in expectancy! When children ask of their parents, they expect to get! Remember what Jesus said in Matthew 7:7-11 about asking and expecting to receive?
One other thought here… beyond church leadership praying for the sick, every Christian should do so at every God-given opportunity. Often we’ve prayed for people, Christian or not, in restaurants, supermarkets, indeed wherever we find someone mentioning suffering.
We don’t ask even them about having any faith… their need is there and then, and we encourage them by exercising our trust in God’s word. We’ll pray quietly, not overlong or superspiritually (behind our masks, maybe elbow-touching, not hands!)… and we don’t care if a passer-by hears us. In fact, some passers-by have heard us and added their ‘Amen!’
God’s ministry… and Christ’s
Unfortunately, I haven’t the space to open up every scripture on healing promises/incidents in both Old and New Testaments.
Neither am I getting into ‘Why?’ queries arising when some believer is well prayed over, anointed with oil and scriptures claimed… remains ill, even passes onto glory where, praise God, there is no sorrow or pain (Revelation 21:4).
Naturally I have some ideas, but I’m not a clever smart-aleck like some leaders who foolishly say something stupid like, ‘Oh, healing didn’t happen because that person wasn’t tithing.’ I’m disappointed of course but have to patiently leave it with God, knowing that one day He’ll graciously explain many, many things to me!
What I want to do is remind us that God still Almighty God and Jesus His powerful Son, whether if prayer is answered or not! In the case of divine healing I would remind readers that one of God’s compound names is Jehovah Rapha meaning ‘the God who heals.’ That Matthew 9:35 highlights Jesus’ healing ministry.
And that should tell us that God cares about us when we’re sick and understands. He wants to uphold His very name by healing us. We should go on praying for healings!
Jesus’ unending ministry
Regarding Jesus, there are many scriptures about His healing power as He went about his Father’s business. Father God’s business? Read John 5, particularly verse 17! I also especially mention Matthew 8:17’s declaration of Jesus bearing our illnesses.
Then there’s Matthew 10:1 telling of Jesus giving His disciples authority to believe for a ministry of healing… they certainly exercised that authority! People even wanted to be under Peter’s shadow (Acts 5:15). The sick were healed (v16).
Paul at times exercised this healing ministry as strangely as Jesus did… remember how Jesus, instead of simply saying ‘Be healed,’ spat on the ground making ‘a mud anointing’ for a guy’s blind eyes. Then telling him ‘Go dip in the Siloam pool’ (John 6:9)!
Well, Acts 19 tells of Paul’s ‘hankie and pinny healing ministry.’ Look up that scripture and give God the glory!
Such confident ministry needed today
I still say this… I’ll always believe in Jesus’ three-fold ministry of ‘teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people (See Matthew 4:23-24). His disciples discovered that as they asked in His name and trusted, miracles and healings happened.
History, not just Christian writings, reveals that down through the centuries divine healing hadn’t disappeared with the passing of the apostles but continued through those who understand and trust God’s word.
With the advent of ‘Modern Pentecostalism’ 1 Corinthians 12 Holy Spirit manifestations broke out afresh. What Christians and leaders need to do today is to:
- Claim God’s word.
- Pray for the sick.
- Trust the Lord to fulfil His promises.
Yes, sickness can hit any of us but we have a healer! We live in a troubled fallen world, could get ill and find ourselves suffering. Praise God for doctors and medicine. But first and foremost, turn to Jesus and ask for His healing touch via His blessed Holy Spirit. And don’t give up! Hang in and keep believing when delays happen! Delays are not denials!
Read Acts 10:38 about Jesus’ healing ministry, reach out and ask Him for help (even get a friend to pray with and for you), believe for the touch of God’s divine healing and then trust to receive. Psalm 102:27 says that God remains the same forever and Hebrews 13:8 tells that His Son, Jesus, is also the same yesterday, today and forever!
One of Maureen’s testimonies
One other encouraging scripture: ‘Are you sick? Call the church leaders together to pray and anoint you with oil in the name of the Master’ (Acts 10:38).
When Maureen was a little girl she suffered badly from psoriasis… a chronic skin disease for which there is still no known cure. Her mother, tired of the ‘awfully smelly ointment’ she had to cover Maureen with each night, called for the church elders to invoke this scripture.
Now then… picture a freezing dark winter’s night, an unlit church, no background praise music, elders praying hurriedly while anointing little Maureen. Nothing startling happened… but next morning Maureen’s body was as healthy as that Mark 1:42Mge verse above!
Wrapping up then, with a positive encouragement of hope in troubled times…