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”!