What feelings and thoughts does the mention of the word “healing” stir up in you?
For some, great excitement and hope rise to the surface of their hearts bringing a smile to their face as they remember the great promises God has given us for healing and times they have witnessed His great power working the impossible. Indeed, Jesus, the same yesterday, today, and forever, still heals deaf ears, mends the broken-hearted, and even raises the dead. I have personally seen Him heal headaches, restore sight to the blind, bring a fellow student out of a wheelchair, heal cancer, and cause my baby sister to be born completely free of the genetic disease that had caused doctors to urge my parents to have an abortion. John wrote at the end of his gospel account that all the books in the world could not contain the record of all Jesus had done in just his lifetime. How much more in all the years that have passed since then?
Yet I also have prayed for healing that I have not yet received, and I have loved ones in heaven now that I prayed would recover. For some, talk of healing and prayer stirs up feelings of disappointment, confusion, anger, or even resignation. In the face of such pain, it can be tempting for us to change the way we pray based on our personal experiences. Sadly, some have even changed the doctrine they believe and teach based on what they have seen or not seen. If you are personally experiencing pain today over prayers that do not seem to have been answered, stay with me. Likewise, if you have theological reservations about praying for healing today, stay with me.
James 5:15 says, “And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.” KJV
Just what is this prayer of faith? I am so thankful for my spiritual heritage and the countless hours that I have been taught about faith. I learned so much truth straight from the pages of the Bible, and I misunderstood a thing or two. I confused some personal convictions with teaching from Scripture, and I have since found that some of what I considered to be faith was probably fear trying to earn the precious promises of God rather than simply believe them. I remember a few years ago when I faced a crisis of faith.
I found myself torn between two different belief systems regarding healing and unsure where to place my faith. On the one side, I have great people of faith in my life who have out of personal conviction in the face of sickness chosen to rely on prayer, reading of the Scripture, and other spiritual exercises without any treatment from doctors. On the other side, I have great people of faith in my life who have considered medical treatment as the tangible works that accompanied their faith that God desires for them to be in health. Both pray the prayer of faith, but their beliefs and actions in the face of sickness differ significantly. I have seen both receive miracles, and I have seen both struggle at times for health. What was I supposed to believe and what would be the consequences of wrong belief?
These well-intentioned and seemingly high stakes questions rolling around in my mind were thankfully not necessary for me to answer.
It was in this crisis that Jesus became bigger to me. As He met me in that moment, I could almost picture these two spheres of thought as mere paper globes resting in His lap. When He stood up to answer me in my distress, they simply fell away.
“And Jesus answered them, ‘Have faith in God.'” Mark 11:22 ESV
Far more important than what we believe is Who we believe. Throughout the biblical accounts of Jesus’ time walking on this earth, He healed every person who came to Him for healing, and He never sent anyone away sick because their doctrine was incorrect. Don’t get me wrong. Studying God’s word and allowing Him to transform us through the renewing of our minds is of utmost value. Nevertheless, we must remember that Jesus paid for our healing on the same cross that He paid for the forgiveness of our sins. They are free gifts that need not be earned with good deeds nor good creeds. With that understanding, let’s invite God’s Spirit within us to do this renewing work in our minds as we look at a few Scriptures together.
“For we walk by faith, not by sight.”2 Corinthians 5:7 KJV
Faith invites us beyond what we have seen or cannot see.
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1 KJV
Faith invites us to believe and to hope for what we would otherwise dare not.
“And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.” Hebrews 11:6 NLT
Faith is believing that God exists and will reward our seeking after Him.
“So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Romans 10:17 NKJV
Faith is based on what God’s word says rather than human reasoning or experience.
4 “My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, 5 so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.” 1 Corinthians 2:4-5 NIV
Our faith rests on God’s power and need not be limited to what we can explain.
24 “Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. 25 The disciples went and woke him, saying, ‘Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!’ 26 He replied, ‘You of little faith, why are you so afraid?’ Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm. 27 The men were amazed and asked, ‘What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!'” Matthew 8:24-27 NIV
It is our view of God, not our faith, that needs to be expanded. Small faith is a small view of God. Great faith is a big view of God.
5 “The apostles said to the Lord, ‘Show us how to increase our faith.’ 6 The Lord answered, ‘If you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘May you be uprooted and be planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you!'” Luke 17:5-6 NLT
Even a small amount of faith in God can do the otherwise impossible.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,” Ephesians 2:8 NKJV
Your faith is not earned; it is a gift.
“God has apportioned to each person a measure of faith.” Romans 12:3c WEB
God has given you enough faith.
“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20 KJV
We live by the faith of Jesus…not that of ourselves.
4 “For everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. 5 Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.” 1 John 5:4-5 NIV
Our overcoming faith is simply belief in Jesus.
“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2 BSB
Jesus is the source of our faith, and He is perfecting it.
2 “Consider it nothing but joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you fall into various trials. 3 Be assured that the testing of your faith [through experience] produces endurance [leading to spiritual maturity, and inner peace]. 4 And let endurance have its perfect result and do a thorough work, so that you may be perfect and completely developed [in your faith], lacking in nothing. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom [to guide him through a decision or circumstance], he is to ask of [our benevolent] God, who gives to everyone generously and without rebuke or blame, and it will be given to him. 6 But he must ask [for wisdom] in faith, without doubting [God’s willingness to help], for the one who doubts is like a billowing surge of the sea that is blown about and tossed by the wind.” James 1:2-6 AMP
In the middle of every storm, God is working for your good. If you do not know what to pray, ask Him and He will show you. Simply believe that He is willing to help!
“If we are faithless, he remains faithful— for he cannot deny himself.” 2 Timothy 2:13 ESV
The foundation of our faith is His faithfulness which never fails.
20 “But you, dear friends, must build each other up in your most holy faith, pray in the power of the Holy Spirit, 21 and await the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ,” Jude 1:20-21a NLT
We can encourage each other in our faith, pray together, and wait together for Jesus to answer.
15 “And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. 16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” James 5:15-16 KJV
When we confess our doubts, fears, questions, and unbelief, and pray for each other, we are healed.
Whether you feel full of faith and excited hope or you feel discouraged, you do have the choice today to turn towards God and entrust those feelings to Him. He is God our Healer, and He is eager today to heal our physical ailments, our broken hearts and minds, our loved ones, and even people that we pray for whom we may never meet. You do not need to suffer alone. God is with you, and we, your brothers and sisters, are for you. Let us turn to God together and ask Him to forgive our unbelief so that our faith can rest confidently in Him, His promises, and the demonstration of His power.
Choose one of the verses listed here and share how God is using it to encourage or challenge your faith.
1. Pray for one another that areas of past hurt or doubt will be healed so that we can put our wholehearted faith in God.
2. Agree together in prayer for the demonstration of the Spirit’s power in and through our church to minister healing to those in need.