5. For what can we pray for Healing?
When we mention healing, most people will tend to think first of physical healing from illness or disease. However, we also need to remember it is not only our bodies that can be sick or damaged. We can also be ill or damaged in mind, spirit or soul. It may be past memories that feel like an open sore, anger with another person, or unrepented sin that prevents us from coming in to God's presence. Anything that makes us less than whole and complete in any way, is an area in which prayer for healing is appropriate.
In her book "Chasing the Dragon" that tells of Jackie Pullinger's missionary Ministry to the Triad gang members in Hong Kong's Walled City, she tells of many people who were healed from their addictions through the power of prayer.
One former heroin addict speaking of being healed from his addiction, says:
"Well, you'd expect Miss Poon and those priests to spout the Bible and all that, but they've never kicked drugs - they don't know what it's like. It got so the pain, the screaming agony was so bad that I prayed to Jesus like they told us and it worked!"
Our creator God is not limited to just physical healing, we must never forget that He can heal anyone of anything. So, although praying for healing of our physical bodies, is of course important, we should not neglect to pray for the healing of anything that makes us less than whole and complete in any way.
6. How do we pray for Healing?
If we look at the example of Jesus' own Healing Ministry, one of the most striking things about it, is its diversity. There is no pattern or procedure, no set of "rules" that he always followed when healing people:
Jesus only spoke a word, and the person was healed:
Jesus gave an instruction to be followed, before the person was healed:
Jesus touched the person who was healed:
Jesus was in the presence of the person who was healed:
Jesus was nowhere near the person who was healed:
Jesus healed the person in stages:
Jesus was asked by the person who was healed:
Jesus was asked for healing, by friends or relatives of the person who was healed:
The person who was healed had faith in Jesus:
Those asking for healing on behalf of another person, had faith in Jesus:
The person who was healed, had no faith of their own:
The person who was healed, did not even know who Jesus was:
Jesus approached the person who was healed:
What this tells us about the way that we pray for healing, is that there is no "magic formula" we can follow. There is no way that we can force God, genie-like, to grant healing to the person for whom we are praying.
Thus, there is no set pattern as to how God will heal and no set pattern as to how we are to pray. When we come to realise and truly believe that, what a liberating experience that is! Just as every person who is requesting prayer is different, so also is every person who is praying. What matters to God is that we pray from the heart, with love and compassion, believing that God hears and answers all of our prayers. That's it - no form, no pattern, no need to be specially ordained into a specific ministry - we just pray for healing, as we pray any other prayer.
7. Does prayer make a difference?
If you ask any praying Christian the question "does prayer make a difference?" they will be able to give you examples from their own life of answered prayer, of prayer "making a difference". It may be that they received the strength to cope with an impossible situation, with which they would not have otherwise coped. It may be that they received a clear direction, or pointer, showing the way God wanted them to go on their journey through life. It may be that they have seen answers to their prayers for others - someone coming to faith, coping with an impossible situation, or an illness cured. The list of answers will be as endless as the list of people who have prayed.
However, there are those who might respond to any of these examples by saying, "God would have done that anyway, even if you had not prayed". Of course, such a position may be impossible to either prove or disprove empirically. So, let us look to the Bible for examples where we can see that prayer was answered, and where prayer really did "make a difference".
All of the healing miracles performed by Jesus, his disciples, and later, the early Church recorded in the Bible, show prayer being answered in marvellous ways. As Jesus answered the queries from the disciples of John the Baptist, (quoting the words of Isaiah 61: 1):
Prayers were answered. Prayer does make a difference. So then, how can we not pray for those who come to us asking for God's healing and blessing?
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