8. Are prayers for healing always answered?
We believe that God always hears and answers our prayers, but we know that whatever our prayer, His answer is not always an unconditional "Yes". We know that sometimes God's answer to our prayers is "Yes", but we also know that sometimes his answer is "No", and sometimes it is "Not yet". Prayers for healing are no different in this respect to any other prayer.
We pray believing that God hears and answers all prayers, but we also admit that we do not know what that answer will be. We believe that God can do everything, but for reasons that we may not know, the answer may not be the one we expected or for which we hoped.
Does this mean that we should not pray for healing? No! We are instructed by Jesus himself to pray for one another and to heal the sick. We can only be obedient to that command, and pray. We cannot determine the outcome.
We also know that although some people are healed instantly when we pray for them, for many people healing prayer is more like a course of treatment, taken over time. Continuing and ongoing prayer often results in a gradual healing, which can be seen taking place over time.
What we do believe, is that when we pray for healing and blessing for a person, they do always receive a blessing from God. That may or may not be the healing that they requested - it may be that they receive healing for something completely different! Perhaps they are given the strength to endure the illness. Perhaps the healing prayer was for physical illness, yet the person receives healing for emotional or spiritual problems, sometimes that they have lived with for so long that they have grown accustomed to those hurts. We must always remember to allow God to be God, and to act in the way that He deems best - for until we take our place in eternity with Him, He alone knows the bigger picture. As St. Paul puts it:
If someone is healed after we have prayed for them, then we give the thanks and glory to God. We do not believe that we are in any way responsible, nor attempt to take the credit for the healing that has been received. In the same way, if someone is not healed, we cannot take the "credit" for that either.
Much has been talked and written about a lack of faith being the reason why some people are not healed in response to healing prayer. We can see from the Gospel accounts (see section 6 above), that Jesus healed people even when they and / or the people requesting the healing had little and sometimes no faith. It is a cruel burden to put on anyone, to tell them that the reason they have not been healed is that they, or those praying for them, did not have enough faith. We need to remember that we are not God. We need to remember that we cannot hope to fathom the mystery of his ways. As the prophet, Isaiah puts it:
We can only pray in obedience to Jesus' command, and leave the rest to Him.
Sometimes, despite prayers for healing, from many believing Christians, over a long period, the person for whom they are praying, dies. A contemporary example of this is, of course, David Watson. He himself had a large healing Ministry. When he was ill hundreds of people worldwide prayed for his recovery. Despite all of their prayers though, David died.
Does this mean that all of those prayers have been ignored by God? Does it mean that that person has not been healed? The answer is an emphatic "No"! In heaven, we will all receive God's perfect healing, as we are made whole and new in a way that is not possible in the mortal realm. The Bible promises that in heaven:
What could be a more glorious answer to prayer than that - perfect health and eternity spent in the presence of God. So, never be tempted to think that prayer for healing is in vain! It is not, ever!
9. Two final points
Sometimes, if we are not careful, we can become like spoiled children in our prayers, always asking for something, or demanding that we get our own way. While prayer for healing is necessarily a petition or a request to God, we must not forget to thank Him for the blessings, help and assistance that are received. This does not mean that we should stop praying for healing if someone has not been healed. It does mean that we should take time to see where God's hand is at work, and to thank Him for His limitless care and concern for us.
We need to remember that Jesus' primary Ministry, while He was here on earth, was to bring in the Kingdom of God, and to bring people into that kingdom- it was not to heal. His healing Ministry was a result of his love and care for all people. Healing, as with all of His miracles, was also intended to be a signpost towards the Kingdom of God, for everyone that witnessed them. Jesus is recorded as saying on many occasions that His miracles were a sign that the Kingdom of God had come near.
In the same way, any Christian Ministry of healing through prayer should point beyond actual healing, to God. It should be a way of lifting people into the presence of God, of making them aware of His limitless love for them.
Our goal, as Christians, should be to reflect some of God's light and love into the life of anyone for whom we pray. We are:
10. Why not join us?
If you are in Edinburgh or even just visiting nearby at any time, why not come along to one of our Sunday evening services and experience it for yourself. We meet in the Memorial Chapel at 6:30 p.m. on Sunday evenings. Everyone is welcome, and whether or not you ask for prayer, you will find that our quiet, reflective service will be a blessing to you, as it is to everyone who attends.
11. If you can't make Sunday evenings. . . .
. . .we do also offer prayer and blessing for healing at other times :
For all Church or calendar related issues, please contact :