November 27, 2007

The post that I have written on public prayer along with the responses have made me wonder if we are ever suppose to pray for physical healing. The most afflicted man in the Bible, other than Jesus, is Job, so I began my search with the Book of Job.

Neither Job, nor his three friends, prayed for physical healing. They all knew Job’s problems were caused by God.

Some people would say that God would not do such things, but Job 33:29-30 says, “God does all these things to a man– twice, even three times–to turn back his soul from the pit, that the light of life may shine on him. What is it that He does? (Job 33:19-22) Or a man may be chastened on a bed of pain with constant distress in his bones, so that his very being finds food repulsive and his soul loathes the choicest meal. His flesh wastes away to nothing, and his bones, once hidden, now stick out. His soul draws near to the pit, and his life to the messengers of death.

If someone had perfect faith he, or she, would know that God already knew their plight. Knowing that God loves His children and doesn’t want anything bad to happen to them, the one perfect in faith would also know that there is a reason for sickness and instead of praying for physical healing they would be praying for understanding. The understanding of how they have turned away from God so that their soul must be turned back from the pit.

Job didn’t think that he had done anything wrong, so it really bothered him that God would allow all of this to happen to him. The closest that Job came to asking for physical healing is found in chapter 13 verse 21, where he said, “Withdraw your hand far from me, and stop frightening me with your terrors.”

This is not the approach that we take when we pray for healing. We pray for those who are close to death to be healed. Not spiritually, but physically and I don’t believe that is how we should pray.

Think about it, if God does these things to a man then why would we ask Him to stop? Do we know better than God? He has said that He does all these things to a man– twice, even three times–to turn back his soul from the pit, that the light of life may shine on him

There are many verses in the New Testament where someone was healed physically, but they were only healed as an example that Jesus, and later the Apostles, had the power to really heal someone. To turn someone back from the pit is real healing. Everyone must die, so physical healing is only prolonging the inevitable. It is not really healing.

Even the Apostles were not physically healed. When Paul wrote to Timothy he did not tell him to pray that God would heal him physically. He wrote, (1 Tim 5:23 NIV) Stop drinking only water, and use a little wine because of your stomach and your frequent illnesses.

When Paul had a physical problem (Thorn in his flesh) God did not heal him, even though he prayed three times to be healed.

If you think that I am wrong (And you always should) then you have to reconcile the fact that God already knows of any sickness that anyone might have and that He has the power to heal anyone. If you think that He is just waiting for one to ask for physical healing then consider Paul.

I don’t know if all illnesses are caused to turn someone back to God, but I am sure that we are all sinners and I also can not be sure that some illness is not from God. I doubt if Paul needed to be turned, but his illness had a purpose and God would not heal him.

A wise man that served in a Church ministry where he visited the hospitals and prayed for the sick once told me that he would hear some people say, “I don’t see why God doesn’t just take me”.

I have to admit, though it makes me seem heartless, that I broke out laughing. It seemed rather funny to me that someone who was sick would go to a doctor, then to the hospital, do everything that they could possibly do to keep from dying and then say “I don’t see why God just doesn’t take me”!




November 14, 2007

Well Jesus says that we should not. (Mat 6:6 NIV)  But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. It is a command that is not obeyed by anyone.

We read accounts in the Bible where Jesus told someone not to do something, such as the leprous man in Mark (1:40-45) and they did it anyway. We say to ourselves that we would not do something that Jesus forbid and yet we pray in public.

We are told what the results were when the man that was healed disobeyed Jesus. It didn’t hurt the man, but it did impede the mission of Jesus. (As a result, Jesus could no longer enter a town openly but stayed outside in lonely places.)

It seems to me that praying in public has the same result. It doesn’t hurt us, but it can impede the “Great Commission”.

Suppose someone who is not a believer visits a Church and the congregation prays for the healing of someone. The unbeliever doesn’t have any faith in God. He doesn’t realize that God is in control and that God might not grant the congregation’s request. If he comes again the next Sunday he may think that if God will not grant the passionate prayers of the whole congregation then there is no God, or no God that he wants anything to do with.

I have a hard time praying about anyone’s health, even in private. I do because I do not like it when anyone suffers (especially me), however it might be God’s will. I know that God knows everything, so God knows who is sick. He doesn’t need me to tell Him.

Every time I pray about someone’s healing I remember the account of Hezekiah. When God told him it was time to die he threw a fit and prayed that God would not take his life and God granted his request. Hezekiah was a good example until he did not accept the will of God, but after that he sinned greatly. God sometimes grants requests that are not in His will so be careful what you ask for.

I view prayer as a private conversation between me and God. It is only what I have to say to Him as He has said everything to me that He wants me to know, through the Bible.

I do not include praise and thanks as prayer. I believe God should be praised and thanked in public and that is the only kind of prayer (if you consider it as prayer) that should be public.

I’m not trying to make waves, I am only trying to explain my understanding of why Jesus said do not pray in public.