Oh the questions, so many questions when it comes to healing
There are so many questions asked daily by millions of people on the planet when it comes to God and healing, suffering and death. I have had countless questions of my own, and I was raised in a Christian home, the son of Pentecostal missionary pastors. I witnessed the power of prayer and the supernatural, and people being healing instantly and progressively, as well as the stunned silence of what appeared to be unanswered prayer, as people suffered and died in their sicknesses and afflictions. I have witnessed what it is to see the miraculous, where the people you love, who are caught suspended by that thin thread between this life and the life in the hereafter, to see them raised up when physicians had all but given up hope. I have also witnessed these same people, sometime later, sometimes years later, succumb to their affliction and leave this life and enter the embrace of Jesus on the other side of the Jordan.
I have no answers as to why some people are healed and why some are not. I have no idea why God allows suffering to go on. I have no idea why as a father I had to witness my nine year old daughter Carragh die after suffering for seven years with cancer, and all the battles she almost lost along the way. All I know is that I began to really understand the horrible evil effects of sin in this world and how sickness and disease are part of that fallen creation, and how the evil one continues to use sickness and disease to turn people against a loving and gracious God. I have seen the anguish and heard the anger of people who professed faith, who in their agony of soul and broken spirits, have clenched their fists and cried out to God in that moment of such suffering all they can do is rile out to Him. For others it was just accepting the hard reality that in this situation, there would not be another miracle, and that God was very present in that moment, feeling the ache and the agony along with me. I was not alone, and while I did not receive the answer to my prayer, I did receive the comfort of God and His peace for the sorrow I was going through. I understand the wailing and the crying out in the agony of sickness and death, and the feeling of being abandoned. It is all too human and too real. We all need to go through all that emotional trauma in our own way and God is more than big enough to handle our wrath and anger, and He will not smite us for our words and our venom. He knows us all too well, and yet, His grace and love and mercy is more than sufficient. He can and does absorb all that angst and anger and sorrow.
Our Heavenly Father knows about suffering, as He watched His own beloved son, Jesus, die a horrible death on a cross. He knows. He knows. He truly knows us and our suffering. Jesus knows all about suffering, pain and death, and knows how to heal and does heal. In His death, death itself was defeated. In the resurrection we see and experience the finality of the breaking of the power of sin and death. Death does not have to be feared. It is defeated through Christ Jesus, for us, all of us.
In spite of experiencing sickness myself and the death of loved ones, I choose to believe
I cannot explain this to you. But in spite of my own physical battles with injury and sickness, where I have seen God answer supernaturally as well as with medical care, and in spite of dealing with the effects of illness, I choose to believe that God cares about my health and wellbeing. I know that even now, as I deal with an abscess and the effects of an open wound and having it packed daily, that God loves me and cares for me. Even in this time where I could if I wanted to, feel sorry for myself, and the disruption and discomfort I have to deal with as I journey to the clinic on a daily basis, and get the wound unpacked and cleaned and repacked, that I am in the care not only of the nurses, but in the very hands of the God whom I love and trust with my life and my concerns. Sure, God could have healed me instantly. I believed He could all along, but He chose not to. I had to endure the abscess, and had to go to day surgery, and when they could not drain the abscess I had to deal with the current situation of an open wound that needs to be clean and changed every day. It is two weeks now. I cannot imagine what people go through as they go through literally years of this kind of daily changes for their wounds. But I have an idea of it now. God has been and continues to be very present with me at this time, and I have His peace as I walk my faith out daily in all circumstances. I have a new sense of gratitude for what I do have, and the access to the healthcare that I have as a Canadian. I have chosen to believe, to pray and to keep asking God to heal not only me but others. Daily at home with my wife Lori, we celebrate the Eucharist, and we read the Bible and we pray for healing for others and ourselves. Every day we prya for healing. We both have chosen to believe that God still heals and He heals in many ways. God is big enough to deal with my doubts and with all my persistent questions. And I still ask God the question, “But Lord you could have healed me right away, why didn’t you?”
My conclusions are that God still heals and that He loves me whether or not I am healed
I believe that God has healed from the very beginning. We have instances in the Old Testament where God healed and restored people. God healed them from sickness and disease as well as raised the dead. God healed Adams rib where the incision had been (Gen 2:20-22); there was the fiery serpent on a pole that brought healing to those who had been bitten (Numbers 21:4-9); God took away Hannah’s infertility (1 Samuel 1: 19, 2:21); God healed the Philistines (1Samuel 5:10-6:12); God resurrected the woman’s son (II Kings 4:13-37); God healed Namaan’s leprosy (II Kings 5:1-14); Hezekia was healed (II Kings 20:1-7); the fear of God is healing (Proverbs 3:7-8); The prophesy of Jesus bearing our diseases (or griefs) (Isaiah 53:4); and Nebuchadnezzar punishment with insanity was healed (Daniel 4:29-36). As you can see there are plenty of examples of healing and restoration found in the Old Testament, where God directly intervened and used people as His instruments to bring healing to others.
Not only do we find it evidenced in the Old Testament but even more so in the New Testament. From the onset of the announcement of Jesus as the promised Messiah, His ministry was identified with and promoted healing and restoration as a key component of the arrival of the Kingdom of God in power and glory in the earth. Jesus’ ministry reveals incidents of healing, such as the casting out of an unclean spirit (Mark 1:23-27; Luke 4:33-36); Simon’s mother healed of fever (Matthew 8:14-15; Mark 1:29-31; Luke 4:38-39); the casting out of spirits and healing the sick (Matthew 8:16-17; Mark 1:32-34; Luke 4:40-41); Jesus travelled to Galilee healing the sick (Matthew 4:23); Jesus travelled through Galilee preaching and casting out demons (Mark 1:39); Jesus went about healing and forgiving sins (Mark 2:1-2; Matthew 9:2-8; Luke 5:17-26); Jesus healed on the Sabbath (Matthew 12: 9-14; Mark 3:1-6; Luke 6:6-11); Jesus healed people with many diseases and spirits (Matthew 4:24-25; Mark 3: 9-11); Jesus gave the disciples authority to cast out demons (Mark 3:14-15); Jesus healed the servant of a Roman centurion “long distance” (Matthew 8:5-13: Luke 7:1-10); the healings of Jesus were given as a sign to John the Baptist (Matthew 11:4-6; Luke 7:22-23); the casting out of demons (Matthew 12:22-45; Mark 3:22-30; Luke 11:14:32); casting out the demon from the Gadarene man (Mark 5: 1-20; Matthew 8:28-34; Luke 8:26-39); the resurrection of Jairus’ daughter (Mark 5:21-23; Matthew 9:18, 23-26; Luke 8:40-42, 51-56); the healing of the woman with issue of blood for 12 years (Mark 5:25-34; Matthew 9:20-22; Luke 8:43-48); the healing of the blind (Matthew 9:27-31); casting demon out of blind man who then could speak (Matthew 9:32-34); Jesus did few miracles because of people’s unbelief (Matthew 13:58; Mark 6:5-6); the healing of the multitude (Matthew 14:14; Mark 16:34; Luke 9:11); Jesus healed multitude (Matthew 14:34-36; Mark 6:53-53); demon cast out of daughter of Canaanite woman (Matthew 15: 21-28; Mark 7:24-30); healing of multitude (Matthew 15:29-31); healing of two blind men (Matthew 20:29-34); healing of deaf/dumb man (Mark 7:32-37); healing blind man (Mark 8: 22-26); casting out of spirit (Mark 9:17-29; Matthew 17:14-18; Luke 9:38-43); healing of blind man (Mark 10:46-52; Luke 18:35-43); resurrected dead son of a widow (Luke 7:11-17); many women who traveled with Christ had been healed of spirits (Luke 8:1-2); casting out demon (Luke 11:14-15); healing on the Sabbath (Luke 13:10-12); healing on the Sabbath (Luke 14:1-6); healing 10 lepers (Luke 17:11-19); healing of ear cut off by disciple (Luke 22:47-51); healing on the Sabbath (John 5:1-16); healing of blind man (John 9:1-41); resurrection of Lazarus (John 11:33-45); Peter and James heal lame man (Acts 3:1-10); many sick healed by Peter and others (Acts 5:15-16); healing and casting out of demon by Phillip (Acts 8:7); Ananias heals Saul of blindness (Acts 9:10-18; 22:11-13); resurrection of Tabitha (Dorcas) by Peter (Acts 9:36-42); Paul heals blind man (Acts 14:8-10); Paul casts demon out of slave girl (Acts 16:16-18); healing/resurrection of Eutychus by Paul (Acts 20:9-10); Paul heals many on island of Malta (Acts 28:7-9); healing is one of the spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 12:9); not everyone has the gift of healing (1 Corinthians 12:30); and prayer and anointing with oil for sick for healing (James 5:14-16).
The New Testament is replete with examples of God healing many through the acts of people, and Jesus is not only the example but the model for praying for others for healing.
There are many models of prayer ministry and God is not limited to any one model
My own life is a living example of the vastness and variety of prayer models that have and continue to be used throughout the faith community and the people who hunger and cry out for God’s help, especially when it comes to healing. I prayed as a little child for my mother to be healed and she was. My parents prayed for me to be healed when I was a ten year old and I was healed miraculously. The most basic prayer was simply asking God to help, and resting in the promises of Scripture, and all these examples spoken about in the Old and New Testaments. It required simple belief and trust and confidence that God would answer our humble prayers.
I have come to realize that God is not bound to a particular model of style of prayer. He is after our hearts and hears the cry of our hearts.
There are so many models you can choose from, but I have found the simplest models are often the most effective in implementing and using. Over the last 30 years I have found the more simple a model is, then it is easier to learn and easier to teach others in its use and application. If we follow the principles modeled by Jesus, we cannot go wrong. If we watch him, and do what He did in the same manner and gentleness and grace, we will find that God will honor our fervent and diligent prayers as we pray in Jesus’ name and power. One of the models that I have found to be very effective and easy to learn and teach to others is John Wimber’s 5 Step Model.
John Wimber – 5 Step Healing Prayer Model
John Wimber is remembered for many things, as the founder of the Vineyard movement, an apostolic leader that saw a rebirth of contemporary worship that continues to impact our society and culture, and a leader and innovator in rediscovering biblical principles of key ministries like healing and evangelism and church planting. It is hard to believe that I first became exposed to Wimber’s approach to divine healing in the late 1980’s and became a practitioner of his 5 step model in the early 1990’s. The basics are summarized here:
- Interview the person – introduce yourself and ask their name – purpose of the interview is to answer the question ‘Where does it hurt’ and/or ‘What would you like me to pray for?’ While the person answers, listen at two levels, natural and supernatural, listen to the person and listen for what God will speak to you on the matter. When Jesus prayed for Bartimaeus, he asked the question ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ (Mark 10:46-52). The goal is to leave the person feeling more loved by God than before you prayed.
- Diagnosis – This has to do with identifying the root of the person’s problem – this is where you can ask God for words of knowledge, visions, bible verses, insights to help you and guide you into the type of prayer that answers the question ‘Why do they have this condition?’. There are all kinds of reasons, from natural causes (disease or accident), sin (by them or others), emotional hurts, relationship problems (lack of forgiveness), supernatural (demonic)
- Prayer Selection – This is where you decide what to pray, and this flows from what God has revealed during the diagnosis. You begin by asking the Holy Spirit to come and minister to the person, which assists the person to become receptive, especially as they feel and sense the tangible presence of god through various physical manifestations. You can share what the Lord has given you, a vision, word of knowledge, bible verse, but the timeliness of this may be an issue. You may need to hold back on what you want to share until after the prayer time. Attempt to discern what the Lord wants you to say and do and when. There are 2 main areas that need prayer regularly, the body and past hurts. When you lay hands on the person, do so appropriately, and ask God to heal the area of the body that is affected, and be attentive to what the Lord may tell you to speak out in faith as you pray over the person, as it may be a command or a pronouncement. In the area of past hurts, it may require you to assist people in extending forgiveness to other so that God can forgive them and they can receive His forgiveness. Sometimes this is difficult. If they cannot, just bless them and move on. There may be much anger that needs to be dealt with and forgiveness sought for.
- Prayer of Engagement – When you ask for the Holy Spirit to come, there will likely be physical signs of his presence. These signs do not need to be present for God to work or heal, but it does mean that the person is aware of and often assured by God’s presence in the moment. Some examples include shaking, sense of euphoria or drunkenness, jumping up and down, laughter, sobbing, slight trembling, fluttering eyelids, deep breathing, faint perspiring, weight on chest, heaviness in the air, peaceful calm look on the face. Know that the Spirit is more concerned on what is happening internally with the person than all these physical observable external manifestations. Often nothing happens at all and people get healed. Engage with the person and ask them what is happening. Stop praying when the person indicates it is over and when you believe that God has told you to stop. Stop praying when you run out of things to pray. You can indicate to the person that you are stopping by removing your hand, speaking to them, and do not move away if they are engaged with God. It is often good to remain with them when there is divine engagement going on. Check with them if they are OK.
- Post Prayer Direction – Encourage the person to spend time with God, journal, pray, meditate, reflect, stay connected with their Christian community and if possible get engaged in a small group for support and encouragement. If they were healed have them get checked out by their family physician and advise them to not discontinue their medications no matter how well they feel until a physician confirms that they can. If they are not healed, reassure them that God loves them and encourage them to keep on praying and asking for healing and encourage them to keep receiving prayer when they are given the opportunity. Treat people like you would like to be treated, with love, care and respect and dignity. Remember, we cannot heal, only God can. We are simply God’s instruments, and if He doesn’t heal, it is His responsibility and He is big enough to bear the weight of that responsibility. Do not take that upon yourself.
One last thing ~ do not minimize or judge others who are not healed
I just want to urge all of you to be considerate of other people who appear to not be healed of their sicknesses or afflictions. It is not a matter of personal faith, and the lack of faith on their part. Remember that God is sovereign, and that He heals people according to His will and purposes and according to His timetable, not ours or the person in need of healing. We ought to love people and accept them as God does, and just keep praying for them. They will either be healed in this life, or in the life to come. All we can do is love, pray and trust the Lord to do what He only can do. Let us all resist judging others or blaming the needy for the lack of faith that we think they may have. People are healed by God, and it is not due to how much faith or whether they even have more faith than others.
Trust God, have faith, He hears your heart cry
I am here today, in need myself of divine intervention for my own physical needs for healing. I confess that to God and to you who are reading my blog post right now. Take time today, to pause, relax, and speak to God as you would speak to me. Just speak what is on your heart today. As Jesus said to Bartimaeus, “What do you want me to do?” (Mark 10:46-52) Tell the Lord Jesus what you want Him to do for you. It is that simple. You do not need flowery religious language. Just be yourself. Be real. Be honest, and be daring and bold. Be of good courage, and just tell Jesus what you need today. Humbly speak and receive what He has for you today. Tell Him exactly what is going on in your heart, and wait and receive the love and peace and grace you need today. There is no religious performance or duty required of you. There is nothing you can do to make Jesus love more than He already does. He died for you and He has healing for you. Only believe Him and receive it from Him. It is that simple. Just say thank you and rest in Him and be at peace. God already knows what is going on inside your heart. He knows already what you need. Just voice it, and ask. Ask in faith and believe and receive. Peace.
~ Sam, a fellow pilgrim on the journey
John Wimber 5 Step Healing Model with Downloads (PDF & PowerPoint) – http://www.vineyardchurches.org.uk/resources/tools/5-step-model-of-healing/
Kingdom II – 10 – 5 Step Healing Model Summary (PDF) – https://gettingfree.files.wordpress.com/2009/06/520step20healing20model.pdf
5 Step Model of Healing (PDF) – http://evineyard.co/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/The-Vineyard-5-Step-Prayer-Model1.pdf