Healing Prayers

March 26, 2017

I love
this story.  Here we see Jesus healing
not one person or two but four in three separate instances and if we had of
kept reading we would have discovered that after leaving the blind men he
healed a man who was mute.
And this
wasn’t an isolated incident in the story.  
Contained within the 4 Gospels are 16 specific instances of Christ
healing people, He healed the lame, the blind, the lepers, the epileptic, he
even healed one of the soldiers who came to arrest him.
And after
Matthew had recorded these four specific healing incidents, he tells us Matthew 9:35-36  Jesus
traveled through all the towns and villages of that area, teaching in the
synagogues and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom. And he healed every
kind of disease and illness.  When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on
them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.
 
As we
read through the gospels one thing that we discover is that Jesus really didn’t
seem to care who he healed, he wasn’t all that selective over the type of
disease, the geographical area, the race of the healee or the technique that he
used.
He healed
blindness, epilepsy, leprosy, and paralysis. 
He healed in Galilee, Nazareth and Jerusalem, and he healed Jews,
Samaritans and Gentiles.  Some people he
touched, some he spoke to, some he made mud packs for their eyes.  Some he didn’t even see but simply spoke the
word from a distance and the healing took place.
And in
all the charges that Jesus’ enemies brought against him they never doubted that
he healed people, there was just too much evidence.  In some instances his critics  saw it with their own eyes.
The one
common denominator that we see in all of these healings is the element of
faith.  Time and time again we hear Jesus
tell people “You are now well because of your faith.” and
sometimes it didn’t even have to be the sick person who had the faith, in the
book of Mark some guys brought their paralyzed friend to Jesus and when they
couldn’t get him through the crowd they went up on the roof tore a hole in the
roof and lowered their friend down listen to what it says in Mark 2:5  Seeing
their faith, Jesus said to the paralyzed man, “My child, your sins are
forgiven.”
Notice it
wasn’t how much faith the crippled man had but the amount of faith the crippled
man’s friends had. 
Years
ago, I met a man by the name of Rod Lewis. 
He was a singer, and had been in a wheelchair since birth.  And he told me about how he’d been prayed for
at different times through the years to be healed and when it hadn’t happened
he had been rebuked for not having enough faith. But throughout the bible we
see people being healed and a lot of times it wasn’t necessarily their faith
that was commended. 
Sometimes
they didn’t even know that a healing was in the cards.  One of my favourite stories in the bible is
from the book of Acts when Peter and John were on their way to pray in the
temple and saw the crippled man laying outside the gate begging. 
And Peter
goes over and tells him Acts 3:6  But Peter said, “I don’t have any silver or gold for
you. But I’ll give you what I have. In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene,
get up and walk!”
The
beggar didn’t have a clue who Peter was or what Peter had to offer, all he
wanted was some change and he was healed, not because of his faith but because
of Peter’s faith. 
The
story is told that Thomas Aquinas, was being entertained by Pope Innocent IV.  One day the pope, looked around at the Papal
palace and told Aquinas: “You see that the Church is no longer in an age
in which she can say, Silver and gold have I none” “It is true, holy
father,” replied Aquinas, “nor can she now say to the lame man, Rise
up and walk!”  That is what is known in preaching as “An aside”.
But what
is faith?  The Bible defines faith in the
book of Hebrews
11:1
when it says Faith is the confidence
that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things
we cannot see.
Often
when we think of healing we think of a physical healing, the lame walk, the
deaf hear, the mute speak the blind see. 
But that isn’t the only type of healing we see in the bible.
There is
a Healing for our Spirit.
  Sometimes we view the people of
the bible through rose coloured glasses, never believing that they might have
problems or be in the least bit down or depressed. 
In the
book of 1 Samuel we read the story of Hannah, maybe you know the story, maybe
you don’t.  In the first chapter, we discover
that she was married to Elkanah and they loved each other very much but they
couldn’t have children.  And that was
something she wanted desperately. 
It’s so
hard for those of us who have children to understand sometime the heartbreak
felt by those who are childless.  On the
other hand, It’s so hard for those who are childless to understand sometime the
heartbreak felt by those of us who have children.
And it’s
not all that uncommon, just off the top of my head I can think of a number of
couples within my circle of acquaintances who
can’t have children for one reason or another and I’m sure that many of them
share the feelings that Hannah expressed in 1 Samuel 1:10 Hannah was in deep anguish, crying bitterly as she prayed to the Lord.
But
Hannah wasn’t the only person in the Bible that experienced the blues listen to
what Moses had to say in Numbers 11:14-15 I can’t
carry all these people by myself! The load is far too heavy!  If this is how you intend to treat me, just
go ahead and kill me. Do me a favor and spare me this misery!”  Sounds like the life of the party
doesn’t he?
And
listen to Elijah in 1 Kings 19:4 Then he went
on alone into the wilderness, traveling all day. He sat down under a solitary
broom tree and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take
my life, for I am no better than my ancestors who have already died.” 
And then
there was King David, who wrote most of the Psalms, who penned these
words:  Psalms 22:6-8 But I am a worm and not a man. I am scorned and despised by all! Everyone
who sees me mocks me. They sneer and shake their heads, saying, “Is this the
one who relies on the Lord?” Each of these people needed to have their
spirits healed because they had given up.  And each of them eventually received the
emotional healing they needed.
I’m not
saying that their problems weren’t severe, but their problems certainly weren’t
unique nor were they fatal.  In 2017 our
country and our churches are full of people who have fallen and can’t get
up.  And here is the good news for the
morning, we will all fall.  You ever
watch babies learning how to walk?  They
don’t just get it.  They try and they
wobble and they fall down, and they get back up again and they try again and
they wobble again and they fall down again. 
It’s kind
of a recurring theme until they finally get it right, because babies have
discovered the truth of life and that is “If you walk you will fall.”  Sometimes we fall because of fear, or
inexperience or lack of preparation or over confidence or sometimes we just
fall.
And the
more we attempt to do the more likely we are to fall.  Like it or not them are the facts.  Can anyone remember where they were on
January 28, 1986?  No how about this can
anyone remember where they were when Christa McAuliffe died?  She was the school teacher aboard the space
shuttle Challenger when it exploded 73 seconds after take-off. I was driving on
Pictou Road in Bible Hill when I heard the news on the radio.
There are
those who would say that had Christa McAuliffe not gone into space that she
would have survived, yes but the question is would she have lived?
Life is
going to be full of falls, the farther you reach, the faster you run, the
longer you go the percentages begin to pile up. 
The privilege of success is tempered by the risk of a fall.
The
difference between Success and failure is contained in our reaction to our
falls. 
Some people center their entire experiences
around one fall, they look at it, replay it, over and over again but they never
get on with life.  It doesn’t matter how
successful they had been and can be all they see is the fall.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again,
you’re not a failure until you quit. 
Never be down, either be up or getting up.
And if
you are down, and you don’t think you can get up by yourself maybe you’re
right.  But then again if you are a child
of God then you don’t need to get up by yourself cause he’s there to help you
up.  When Christ started his earthly ministry,
he began by making an appearance in the synagogue he
read a passage of scripture that would shape his ministry listen. 
The
scripture that Jesus read that day were the words of Isaiah 61:1  The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is upon me, for the LORD has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and
to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed.
If you’ve
fallen then God is there.  If you can’t
get up, if you’re too tired and you’ve called it quits, don’t despair listen
again to the words of Jesus He has sent Me to comfort
the brokenhearted.  Do you fit in
that category?  Has your heart been
broken, has your spirit been crushed?  But
you have to be willing to be picked up.

Are you crying out to
God today for an emotional healing?  If
so he’s there.  David must have
discovered that as well because he wrote in Psalm 34:18  The Lord
is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose
spirits are crushed.
And so Jesus is there
to heal your broken spirit, but more then that we read in Jeremiah 3:22 “My wayward children,” says the Lord, “come back to me, and I
will heal your wayward hearts.”

There is
a Healing for Our Souls 
Sometimes
we pray for a physical healing and neglect a spiritual healing.  As a matter of fact, I marvel when I hear
Christians ask for prayer for the physical healing of an unbelieving loved one
and yet they’ve never asked for prayer for their salvation.  
If we go
back to the scripture we started with we read in Matthew
9: 36
When he saw the crowds, he had
compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without
a shepherd.
Why did Jesus have compassion on
the crowds?  Not because they were sick
but because they were lost.
As much
as we place a high premium on physical health, think of weight loss centers,
gyms, fitness clubs etc. we need to put an even higher premium on spiritual
health.  Psalm 41:4 “O Lord,” I prayed, “have mercy
on me. Heal me, for I have sinned against you.”
Let me
paraphrase the words of Jesus from Matthew 10:28 Jesus said “Do not be afraid of those
diseases which can kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of
those diseases which can destroy both soul and body in hell.”  That disease is sin. And it is a
terminal disease.  Listen to what the
Bible says in Romans
6:23
For the wages of sin is death.
That’s
not physical death, because if you haven’t heard yet we are all going to
die.  Instead it’s a spiritual death.
Sin is what separates you from
God, it creates a chasm that you cannot cross, and the only part that you have
in your spiritual healing is repentance. 
Repentance is simply telling God that you’re sorry for what you’ve done,
not just a little sorry but so sorry you’re not going to do it again.  That’s the message that Peter was teaching in
Acts 3:19 Now repent of your sins and turn to God, so that your sins
may be wiped away.
Did you
catch what happens there, your sins will be wiped away, that’s called
forgiveness and that’s God’s part.  Are
you crying out to God today for a spiritual healing? If so he’s there. 
But the
healing that Jesus offers is not just for our spirits and our souls.
James 5:14-15 Are any
among you sick? They should call for the elders of the church and have them
pray over them, anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord. And their prayer
offered in faith will heal the sick, and the Lord will make them well. And
anyone who has committed sins will be forgiven.
There is
a Healing for Our Bodies
 This is the one you were waiting
for isn’t it?  You are wondering “Where’s
he going with this, does he believe in divine physical healing?”  I not only believe that Jesus Christ healed
people when he walked through the Holy Land 2000 years ago, I also believe that
he heals people today.  You with me?
But in
saying that here a couple of things to think about:  
1) Let’s
keep God’s will in mind.
  Probably praying for your 96
year old granny to be healed physically may not be what God has in mind.  We need to admit that some people are ready
to be with God, and when we pray for their healing we are praying out of
selfishness, cause we don’t want to lose them. 
We say
that heaven is a wonderful place, but we don’t always act like we believe
it.  Sometimes we need to use common
sense when we pray for physical healing. 
Adam
Clarke, a
preacher from the late 1700’s wrote that when we pray for healing it ought to
be like this:  “If
it be most for thy glory, and the eternal good of this man’s soul, let him be
restored; if otherwise, Lord, pardon, purify him, and take him to thy glory.”
2)
Healing isn’t absolute
  We don’t know why but God
doesn’t always heal.  Paul spoke about
his thorn in the flesh, we don’t know what it was but most scholars feel that
it was some type of physical ailment that Paul wanted removed, listen to what
he said in 2
Corinthians 12:7-9
even though I have
received such wonderful revelations from God. So to keep me from becoming
proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me
and keep me from becoming proud.
Three
different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace
is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast
about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.
If God
healed every physical problem then people would never die and people do die.
When you
say “Faith Healing” a whole generation of people think of Kathryn Kuhlman who
traveled the world doing Healing Crusades from the late 40s to the mid 70s and
she died of heart problems on February 20th 1976.
John
Wimber one of the founders of the Signs and Wonders movement in the seventies
wrote “Power Healing” and yet he died of a brain hemorrhage on November 17,
1997. 
I saw a
sign in a doctor’s office once that said, “Don’t take life
too serious you’ll never get out of it alive.” Ain’t that the
truth. 


When I
was in High School in English we had to take poetry, remember?  And as a 17 year old one of John Donne’s Holy
Sonnets struck a chord with me, perhaps you remember it as well.
Holy Sonnet # 10 or Death Be
Not Proud
Death
be not proud,
though
some have called thee
Mighty
and dreadful,
for
thou art not so,
For
those whom thou think’st thou dost overthrow,
Die
not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From
rest and sleep, which but thy pictures be,
Much
pleasure: then from thee much more must flow,
And
soonest our best men with thee do go,
Rest
of their bones, and soul’s delivery.
Thou
art slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men,
And
dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell;
And
poppy or charms can make us sleep as well
And
better than thy stroke; why swell’st thou then?
One
short sleep past, we wake eternally,
And
death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die.
The
ultimate healing for the Christian has to be death, and that’s not a cop out,
death may be the enemy but it’s a defeated enemy, the Bible says in 1 Corinthians 15:
54-55
“Death is swallowed up in
victory.  O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”
3) Let’s
recognize that we don’t pray enough for divine healing.
  People have died because they had not been prayed
over, do you believe that?  God does heal
and he expects us to pray for healing. 
Does that mean we should neglect proper medical care?  No, being a believer doesn’t mean that you
are stupid, or at least it shouldn’t. 
God can and does heal though doctors and hospitals.  
4) It is
an act of faith.
  The term faith healer is
redundant, it’s like a Born Again Christian, you can’t be a Christian unless
you’re born again, and you can’t heal without faith.  But the onus appears to be on the healer not
on the healee.  How much is enough faith?
 I don’t know, obviously enough to
heal.  And faith will never ask less than
that you believe.
5) The Bible gives us clear
direction for healing
and that’s
laid down in the scripture in James 5:14-15  Are
any of you sick? You should call for the elders of the church to come and pray
over you, anointing you with oil in the name of the Lord. Such a prayer
offered in faith will heal the sick, and the Lord will make you well. And if
you have committed any sins, you will be forgiven.
1) They
should call the elders of the church. 
Who does the calling? The person who is sick. You can’t force a person
to be prayed over, and we can’t force our desire for someone to be healed on
them.
2) The
leaders should pray over the person who needs to be healed for healing.  Specifically for healing, let’s not beat
around the bush on that one.
3) There
is an anointing with oil.  And I’ve read
that because oil was considered. . .
4) It
should be done in the name of the Lord
5) It
must be a prayer of faith.
So, where
you at?