Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Why do you NOT want to pray for the sick?

Preamble: This is the sermon (notes) for my sermon at a Divine Healing Service, for 21 June 2014 (It flows like an article, and so, you should have no problem reading it through) [the underscorings are only to assist in my sermon delivery.  The “greyed out” portions may or may NOT be delivered in the sermon, depending on the time available].

There are Christians and local churches who prayed NOT, for the sick or do NOT believe in Divine Healing.

Have you wondered why?

Today, we are going to look at some of the reasons:

1. Not applicable anymore – Cessationists’ view
2. Healing can come from source other than God
3. Why bother God with it?
4. Sickness is good
5. Sickness is from God
6. No faith or lack thereof
7. Malu – this is a Malay word, for embarrassment

NOT applicable anymore?
The Cessationists said that signs and wonders and miracles, including Divine Healing ended with the completion of the foundation of the Church, with the completion of the written Word, with the founding of the early Church, and passing of the apostolic age (the Apostles have since passed on).  And so, they argue that praying for the sick is no longer applicable in our modern context.

Actually, there is no saying of that in Scripture, in any direct way of it.


1. We still have the Apostle James telling us to seek Divine Healing, in the Book of James. 

James 5:14 reads: Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord.

2. We have Divine Healing in the on-going Great Commission.

Mark 16:15-18 reads: 15 He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.

The Divine Healing ministry door is NOT shut; for more, you can read this: Divine Healing Ministry Door is NOT shut; where I concluded that some of us are barking at the wrong tree (foundation of the Church); the right tree should be the Great Commission. 

Since the Great Commission is still on-going, signs and wonders and miracles, including Divine Healing will still be applicable.

Healing can come from source other than God?
Here, people are referring to other spiritual source, NOT talking about doctors or medicine.

Some Christians believe that when we pray for the sick or ask for supernatural intervention, it is possible for some other gods, other than our Lord, or the Father God or the Holy Spirit, coming to perform the supernatural.

Yes, in the spirit realm, there is NOT only God and His angels, there is also Satan and his devils (minions), and Satan and his minions are NOT without some powers.

Is there also such thing as healing in other religious faiths? Yes, there is. Is it possible that it is genuine that one is healed in those other faiths? Yes, gods, in almost all religious faiths, are inevitably tied to spirits in spirit realm. Spirits can perform various degrees of supernatural, including healing of a sickness, depending on the “prowess” of the spirits.

But the matter is NOT confined to praying for the sick.  Anything we want spiritual help, is caught here.  Everything we pray for, and expect God to help, the help is spiritual help or supernatural intervention.  If we need no such, then we would have just done things by ourselves, without praying.

If Satan and his minions can be believed to come in place of God, when we pray for the sick, likewise, they can come in the answer of any prayer we make; even for someone to find a job, for example.

If one trusts that belief, then he should never pray, but strange enough, people who have this belief will pray for other things, but NOT for the sick.  Meaning?  It is just an excuse for NOT wanting to pray for the sick.

Is the belief possible? It will be exceptional that God will allow Satan or his minion to act in this manner - you call to God, Satan answers! (God can use anything, even Satan or his minions, but that is another matter/topic altogether).
Why bother God with it?
The grounds, I can give us, are these:

1. God CAN and DOES heal. This is a truth; for more, you can read my 2-part article on it, here: "It is God CAN heal and God DOES heal"'.  We bother Him, because He CAN, and He DOES heal; if He cannot or does NOT, we will NOT be bothered.

2. Scripture tells us that God is mindful of us, and He cares for us (Ps 8; 8:4). 
Ps 8 talked about the majesty of the Lord; including how He has set the heavenly bodies in place; yet in v4, it was said there, that God is mindful of us, and He cares for us; isn’t it awesome?!); on this ground alone, we can always pray to God concerning our sickness afflictions.

3. Scripture prescribed so,

(a) that when we are sick, we ask for prayer (James 5:14), and

            (b) we, be praying for the sick (including those demonised) (Mark 16:15-
             18 – Great Commission text).

4. Jesus showed us willingness on His part, and therefore, on God’s part.  We see it in

         a) Matt 8:2-3 – the “are you willing” leper healed by Jesus. 

         b) Matt 15:22-28 – demon-possessed daughter of Gentile healed
             by Jesus.  Here, because the Gentile woman kept calling after
             them, the disciples asked Jesus to send her away (v23), but after some
             exchanges, and saying “It is not right to throw the children’s bread to
             the dogs”, still Jesus was willing to heal.

5. Jesus did NOT ignore the smaller matter.  We see it in

         a) Matt 8:14 – Jesus healed the fever of Peter’s mother-in-law.

         b) John 2:1-11 – Jesus turned water into wine; although it is NOT
             a healing, it is still a miracle.

        Now, is fever a small matter? Turning water into wine, a frivolous
        miracle?  Who decides?  It is NOT for us to say-alright!

Hey, why bother God with aches and pains, small matter-le!  We have seen, even a fever, Jesus would heal; don’t decide for God.  Small or big matter is often NOT for the by-standers to decide; ache and pains can be big matter for the sufferers; in fact, this is one area doctors often cannot do very much; often, all they do is to give you pain-killers; pain-killers don’t heal! 

You will be surprised that many people are suffering silently with their aches and pains.  And that may NOT be quite life, life abundant, which we read Jesus had come, that we may have, recorded for us in John 10:10b. 

Also, we don’t know if the current small matter sickness may lead to a big problem, but God knows, and if He would nip the sickness in the bud, so to speak, what is it to you?!

How about, “But they can afford to pay the doctor-what?”  God is no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34, KJV); it is NOT “the rich He will heal” nor “the rich He will NOT heal” (His healing is by grace; and we do NOT question His sovereignty);

Caveat 1: But don’t get me, wrong; I am NOT saying there is anything wrong with going to see the doctors for our sickness.  Doctors and medicine are part of the healing regime of God, but don’t ignore He can directly heal you, or heal you in combination with medicine and works of the doctors.

Caveat 2: As healing ministers, we should NOT tell people to “NOT see doctors for their sicknesses”, and we do NOT tell people to stop taking the medication that they have been prescribed by the doctors.  If the person wants to stop taking the medication, that is solely his decision; you and I do NOT get ourselves involved in that decision.

Seriously, we “bother” God with many things, one more, out of love and compassion for the sufferers, does NOT put God off; in fact, acting in love and compassion pleases God. Ministering to the sick, in my view, is a good way of loving people which we can all do.

Sickness is good?
No, sickness is NEVER good; even if it comes from chastisement of God.

Chastisement from God is good, but sickness is NEVER good.

Even if, and it would be rare, that your chastisement from God comes in the form of a sickness, it is still you are to try to understand the rationale of your chastisement, and learn from it, and have the chastisement ended (because you have learned from it), and NOT stay in sickness.

We should NOT believe sickness is good or we will have problem praying for the sick.

If sickness is good, we might as well tell the person NOT to seek medical treatment, since it would be oxymoron – why have it treated when it is good for the sufferer?!

If you want more on this, read my separate article, “Sickness any good? Nah”.

Sickness is from God?
The correct position I believe is this: a sick person’ sickness is NOT from God; that is the premise we will assume unless God reveals otherwise.

If you still think God gave you the sickness, you should ask Him.  If you have asked Him clearly enough, and HE does NOT say it is from Him directly, you just assume it is NOT from Him, and therefore, you should want it healed, even divinely, by Him.

Are there OT examples of God inflicting sickness on someone?  Yes, but uncommon.  E.g.  Miriam stricken with leprosy (Num 12:1-15) [She talked against Moses because of his Cushite wife, for he had married a Cushite wife].  But Miriam knew she was leprous from the chastisement from God.  Even for this case, with Moses’ pleading prayer, Miriam was healed by God in 7 days.

For more on this, read my separate article, “Sickness and God

No faith or lack thereof?
There is a verse in Scripture that led us to say, “to do thing within the measure of faith that we have”; but the faith in that verse (which we will look at shortly), is NOT referring to the gift of faith or supernatural faith, but to normal faith.

Why is this understanding of gift of faith or supernatural faith, and normal faith important?  Because some may have the gift of faith or supernatural faith, but NOT all; and so, some people use it as an excuse for NOT praying for the sick, purportedly saying, “I don’t have the gift of faith to pray for the sick, so, I don’t pray [for the sick]; or it is NOT within my measure of faith to pray for the sick”.

But the faith required for praying for the sick is normal faith, and all believers have normal faith, even though, NOT all have the gift of faith or supernatural faith.

However, my normal faith and your normal faith may differ; or we say we have differing measure of faith.  The “faith” in the “differing measure of faith” is the normal faith, NOT the supernatural faith of the gift of faith.

Rom 12:3 is the verse from which we get the “we are to operate within our measure of faith”.  Rom 12:3 reads: For by the grace given me I {Apostle Paul} say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.

The “faith God has given you” in the verse does NOT suggest, God MUST give you the faith you are to operate with.

For a fuller understanding of this Rom 12:3, read the section, “Romans 12:3 – faith is given by God?” of my separate article, “Correct understanding of salvation, and relationships between salvation, grace, faith and good works”.

Very briefly, it is the verse is exhorting us NOT to “run-ahead” or “run outside” of what God is doing or intending to do with us.

It is important to know that the onus of normal faith lies with us, NOT God; otherwise Heb 11:6a is meaningless!

Heb 11:6a said that without faith it is impossible to please God.  But if faith is to come from God, then it is possible for us to say to God, this – “God, I don’t please you, because I do NOT have faith, but I do NOT have faith is NOT my fault; it is your fault; you did NOT give it to me!”

So, if we have no faith or lack of it, to pray for the sick, for example, it is because we have NOT learned to develop our faith (in that same article, it was mentioned briefly how faith is developed, you should read it).

We have responsibility to develop our normal faith through exercising.  The exercising part cannot be stressed enough.

Scripture has many recordings of Jesus and His disciples, too, praying and ministering to the sick, with the result that God healed the sick.  Jesus did the ministering, and the disciples, too; if faith is NOT exercised, it is still very much a belief, at best, a non-operative faith or what is also called dead faith.  Dead faith is quite useless, don’t you agree?!

What kind of a measure of faith must we possess before we can pray for the sick?  We will NOT here, dwell into it, but the brief answer is: the mustard seed’s kinda of faith is needed for living; it is small, but to say smallness of the faith is all there is, for the mustard seed’s kinda of faith is over-simplication.

I am here, just stressing that we should NOT excuse ourselves simply on the ground of “no faith or lack of it”.

Malu or embarrassment?
It is of course, a common impediment to prayer.

Self-consciousness is another, but it is a lesser one, for no matter how non-elegance my prayer is, if it brings forth healing, soon enough all self-consciousness will disappear.  Trust me, I speak from experience!

But embarrassment from the lack of effectiveness of our prayer is altogether a different thing.  When we pray, and the result is NOT forthcoming, all kind of negative thoughts enter our mind:  “maybe I am NOT good enough, NOT righteous enough, NOT holy enough”; “people will think that I am without favour with God!”  Or “appeared holy but without power, or got form, no substance”; or “I should have sat tight, and did nothing; in that way nobody would know”, and so on and so on.

Healing, as the subject of prayer, of course, makes it worse, for often, instantaneous result is expected, and we have to face the result on the spot with the person we are praying for.

If you are praying for someone to get a job, it is NOT expected that instantly he secures a job; whereas, those in pain expect the pain to leave, and to be able to do the things they previously could NOT do, and instantly to feel a difference in their conditions. 

When the result isn’t showing, some ministers feel embarrassed.

Just for correct understanding, divine healing can be instantaneous or progressive.  We ask for instantaneous, but if God gives it, progressively, we take that, happily, too.

Also, sickness often falls under the category of “the sufferer can ‘effort not’”, unlike other conditions, like the need of a job or progression in career or business, where the person is expected to effort, and in due course, perhaps, by a combination of factors, no less, his effort, satisfactory outcome can be seen in the future, in another time, NOT at the prayer session or at the end of it.

Because of the greater possibility of embarrassment, many people do NOT want to pray for the sick.

You feel embarrassed, so how?  How do we overcome the sense of embarrassment?

First thing first; when you serve the Lord, you endeavour to serve Him well, and you do all that is necessary, and NOT do any that hinders.

Afterwards; even if there is no positive result, you are to understand that it is NOT you could have done anything supernatural, like it is you who heal the sick; rather it is the Lord who does/does NOT do any such things. 

Another very important thing is that we are clear that God can and does heal, NOT He MUST heal. 

When we are clear about these things, we should NOT be embarrassed if people are NOT healed.

And so, we should NEVER tell people that God MUST heal when God does NOT say it.

We will NOT here, dwell into how we arrive at “it is God can and does heal, and NOT He MUST heal”, but for more, you can read this - "It is God CAN heal and God DOES heal"'.

In a nutshell, we believe God can and does heal because of this:

“God CAN heal because

(a) He is the Omnipotent God who created us; and

(b) He is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us (Eph 3:20).

He DOES heal because

(a) HE has healed before, and He has given promises (conditional) that He would heal;

(b) Scripture has accounts of Him doing as He promised;

(c) there were also prophecies in Scripture, saying the He would heal, and they came to pass;

(d) there were also many recordings in Scriptures of Him healing people by His compassion and mercy, NOT based on Man’s desires or effort;

(e) outside of Bible, in more contemporary times, and even presently, there were and are numerous undisputed testimonies of God’s healing for individuals.

(f) Finally, there is nothing recorded in Scriptures that says God’s healing was for a season, and would NOT be available anymore, and so, there is nothing to the contrary; we can expect God to continue to heal, and so, the stand of God DOES heal.”

But it is NOT God MUST heal, and so, we do NOT need to be embarrassed if nothing happens.

[I am going to draw to a close ….]

These reasons aren’t good enough
The above reasons are NOT good enough to justify us NOT praying for the sick.

Sure, we can conveniently say, sickness of others are NOT our business, but the same can be said for the hunger, poverty, joblessness, and other afflictions of others. But if you would be bothered with these other afflictions, why single out sickness-right?!

Some may say the more practical way is to give the sick, money to see doctors. Yes, that too, you can do, and maybe you should do or do more.

But we sure can do a combination of things, including praying for them to be healed.

The point is that we should love others, more. The well-to-do, could provide financial assistance, those with time on hand, can provide of their time, but every believer can pray for the sick.

                                         ooo End ooo

Anthony Chia, high.expressions

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