I have a pretty long list of questions I want to ask when I get to heaven; like how many angels can dance on the head of a pin?  Could God make a rock so big He couldn’t lift it, and what is Martinizing and why does it only take one hour?  Seriously, there are lots of things I struggle to know about God.  The top question on my list is; why do some people receive divine healing and others don’t?  Oh, I know all the cutesy answers like, ‘you just lack faith’ or ‘there is unconfessed sin in your life’.  I’ve got a newsflash for you.  There is unconfessed sin in every one of our lives so therefore no one should ever get healed.  And, most of the people Jesus healed didn’t have an ounce of faith, but He healed them anyway.  Divine healing is a complex issue that I could not hope to unravel in a few short paragraphs.  But let me share a few thoughts.

When I was a newer christian I was part of a group that held a month long 24 hour prayer vigil for a 25 year old young woman dying of cancer.  She confessed every sin known to man and we prayed with every once of faith that seems humanly possible.  She still died.  Many of the group  became so disillusioned they stopped praying for the sick altogether.   Some reacted even worse and were spiritually shipwrecked.  I was in the other camp that decided I was going to become even more vigilant to pray for healing.

I have lost many battles since that day including my father and brother that both died of cancer while I prayed by their bedsides.  I mourn their losses, but I have only increased my resolve to see a breakthrough in healing.  In this church, we have declared war on cancer and are determined to fight till we win.  We receive hundreds of prayer requests every month in our prayer room.  We pray for them one by one.  You would be shocked at how many families are being touched by cancer today.  We hear terrible tales of this relentless disease afflicting the young and the old.   You can’t help but feel their pain when you pray for people by name.

I think it is important to remember ALL healing comes from God.  I have a friend who is an orthopedic surgeon.  He tells me, “Mark, I can’t heal anybody.  All I can do is set the bone and rely on God to heal them”.  I love his humble attitude, but I also think we need to be of the same mind and be open to however God wants to heal.  If someone gets healed by chemo, antibiotics, medical intervention or herbal supplements I am going to give God the praise.  The ultimate goal is healing, I don’t care how we get there.

One evening we called folks forward who had pain in the sciatic nerve.  Of the 30 people that came forward probably 10 got healed.  It was a particularly good night.  One man had been off work for 5 years and the pain was completely gone and has now been able to go back to work.  Another had had a neural stimulator implanted under his skin and in the 8 months since we prayed that night, he has not had to use it once.  He has been completely pain free.  I love to share these stories, but what about the other 20 that did not get healed?  I think there could be any number of reasons why some do not seem to get healed when they receive prayer.  In my experience, we are not likely to figure out why.  I just don’t know why we don’t see results every time.  Anybody that thinks they do is only fooling themselves.  All I know for sure is that God has made it clear in his word that He wants to heal us.   But when Jesus knew it, He withdrew from there. And great multitudes followed Him, and He healed them all. Mt 12:15  And the whole multitude sought to touch Him, for power went out from Him and healed them all. Lu 6:19

For me it is like any battle, the more people you can get on your side the more likely you are to win.  My appeal is for christians everywhere to get into the fight and just keep on asking, keep on seeking and keep on knocking.  I don’t feel any need to MAKE something happen.  We don’t push people down when we pray for them and we don’t pretend they got healed when they clearly didn’t.  God doesn’t need us to lie to protect His reputation.  Jesus said, “And these signs will follow those who believe… they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” Mark 16:17-18.   Simply put, it is our job to do the praying for the sick, and then, leave the results up to God.

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  1. Teresa Fehr says:

    Pastor Mark,

    That is an extremely thoughtful answer. I am originally from Vancouver and know families who were mislead about who was in charge of their son’s healing and what they had to do to obtain it. This story didn’t have a happy ending. When I was a new Christian I was told I didn’t have any faith because I still had to wear glasses. At another church, a Pastor who had to wear thick glasses when he was a child had received healing in his 20’s and has never needed glasses or contacts since. Once we laid hands on a lovely older lady and prayed; and she was healed. Then a young man from the same church was also was diagnosed with cancer. We laid on hands and prayed for him too but he passed on. And later so did the elder woman. I agree with you that it is our responsibility to pray but to leave the results up to God. In the case of my Grandmother, whom I loved (love) deeply, I prayed not that God would heal her, but that He would be kind enough to take her home. It still hurts to say that but that is how I felt lead and that is the answer the Lord provided. I know I will see her again. I believe we are all healed – but some healing is here on earth and the rest is fully in heaven. That’s my two cents. 😉

  2. K says:

    This subject is one that I along with family members talk about often.My mother died of cancer 8 years ago and if I thought God would heal anyone I thought it would have been her.She loved and served her Lord and her faith was SO strong.After months of being in the hospital and Doctors saying she could go anytime she still hung onto the believe that God was going to heal her.She never stopped believing.God did take her home and we struggled to understand why he didn’t heal her(I think we were actually shocked).Though I know she has had her ULTIMATE healing…she has her heavenly body now!!I must say that it still stikes a nerve when I hear of someone being healed of cancer(though I am happy for that person).I wonder if I am completely healed emotionaly from that all?
    I struggle with a health issue myself and cry out to God to heal me,I am believing for complete health one day.I will not let the death of my mother waver my faith.God had a reason for not healing her as he does for as of yet not healing me.It is difficult to understand why he doesnt seemingly hear our pleads but he never promised this life would be easy.When I am in the midst of my physical pain I NEED others to uphold me in prayer and remind me God HAS NOT left me.Its very important to have continued prayer and never stop asking for your healing!God does hear,his plan might be just a little different than ours is all!
    I wonder if it will even matter to us once we are in heaven if God answers these “whys”?

  3. Steve says:

    Pastor Mark,
    I understand what you are talking about.I read in the Bible that it says lay hands on the sick and they will be healed.Why God doesn’t heal some I have no idea.I remember my father in law who was very sick. He is a legalistic person who doesn’t believe in the new testament but goes to an old mennonite church.I don’t get it either.Anyways me and my wife were going to see him in the hospital and on the way I was contemplating whether I should be bold and pray for him or not.I got this amazing sense that God was going to heal him if I could just put my hand on him and pray that he would be healed.I struggled the whole time we were there to find a reason to pray.Finally just before we left I did it and felt he would be healed because of my prayer.Guess what, he wasn’t healed.
    I have no idea why God didn’t answer my prayer but I know that it says in the Bible to heal the sick.This doesn’t make me feel God doesn’t answer prayer, instead I feel more angry that I want people to be healed. And maybe my father in law did have something happen because he looked teary eyed when we left.Who knows maybe the healing God was showing me was the healing of his heart.Whatever it was I am never going to believe God doesn’t heal.
    Another time I had the stomach flu so bad that I thought I was going to die.I was praying the whole time asking God to help me.It was so bad I lost consciousness.There was a puddle of sweat around me and my wife said I looked like a ghost.God got me through it but I felt Him say to me that Jesus went through these same things.That He would call on God and God didn’t seem to answer Him either.But we all know the amazing things Jesus did.The Bible tells us He was no stranger to sickness.Why should we quit believing because a few prayers didn’t look like they were answered? I can’t understand people who say God doesn’t heal people anymore.The Bible says different so we should never give up.

  4. Toni says:

    The subject of healing is always going to be controversial and confusing – especially to those who pray for it. When I was a young girl, my father was constantly having me put my hand on the radio, or go forward for prayer. I always believed I didn’t have enough faith or that God didn’t like me enough, because I wasn’t healed. Since becoming an adult I have come to believe that God can and still does heal, but sometimes the healing is not physical, but rather a healing of the soul and spirit. There are countless people who have touched many lives because they didn’t receive a miracle, like Joni Erikson Tada. Many people followed Jesus because of what He could do for them in the way of miracles. Let’s follow Him because He did the best thing of all – died for our sins, and someday we will know true healing.

  5. Karen says:

    Sometimes God doesn’t heal people the way WE want him to heal people. When my dad was dying, I prayed for God’s will, not my own. Of course I wanted my dad to live for the rest of my life! But God, in his wisdom, knows what is best for all of us.
    I also remember that the (so called) Pastor of the church in our area lecturing me about how little faith I had because I didn’t pray for a healing miracle for my dad. he didn’t understand that I was depending on God to heal my father in only the way He knows how. That’s good enough for me

  6. K says:

    Karen,you said just what I went through too(didnt add this to my comment above)I prayed too for Gods will to be done,heal Mom or take her home.I couldnt believe how people took that as I had no faith that God could heal her.Thats not it at all.I FULLY believed he could but I wanted HIS will to be done not mine!God will do the healing whether our faith is “big” or ‘small”,he’s the almighty healer not us!

  7. Leora says:

    Pastor Mark: Why do you think so many people in the church feel they have to judge others when they do not receive the manifestation of physical healing (as in the above comments?) Surely we do not have to make already hurting people feel even worse! My Bible says:”salvation belongs to the Lord”. The word salvation also encompasses divine healing (as well as the salvation of our souls). I believe nothing is too hard for the Lord, but many times we allow Satan a foothold to bring sickness & disease into our lives through unforgiveness & bitterness. This is not always the case however. We need discernment from the Lord to know how to pray for people. Sometimes deliverance is needed. Above all else we are called to walk in love. I too know how painful it is to loose a loved one to cancer. Perhaps we will never understand the “why” this side of heaven, but I know this much, God is good & He has good plans for His children. (Jeremiah 29:11)

  8. MaterialDefender says:

    Remember that story in John 9:1-12 about the blind-man? You know, the one that goes something like:

    “As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. 2His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life. 4As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. 5While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”

    How is it that Christians are so quick to pick and choose verses that they like and ignore these sort of passages? The response by Jesus pretty much says it all.

    God sometimes does not heal people, but it is not always their fault.
    I don’t know where ‘Christians’ get off attacking people claiming that they “Don’t have enough faith”. If anything, they should be praying for them…and help them mourn instead of attacking.

    Sometimes people don’t get healed because of sin or unforgiveness, sometimes it is their time to go, and other times it is because of the foods/water/vaccines we use here in North America.

    Did you know that more people die from Vaccines than many of the diseases that they supposedly cure? Some Doctors in the early 1920s used to prescribe Alcohol to pregnant mothers. Medical Science is good for a lot of things, but sometimes they are wrong. Of course, some doctors are psychopaths (*Cough Kevorkian *Cough ObamaCare *Cough) but that’s a whole different story….

  9. Jasmine says:

    “My thoughts are completely different from yours,” says the LORD. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.
    For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.”
    Isaiah 55:8-9

    I don’t have a terminal illness but I’ve lived with chronic pain since 2003. Sometimes I feel like He allowed me to experience this pain to help me mature in love, faith and compassion for others.

    Life has been difficult and I became frustrated when I was unable to do the things that ‘normal, healthy’ people could do without any difficulty or even a second thought.

    But I have not allowed this ‘thorn in my side’ as Paul called it to limit me in my service to our Lord. It has helped me become more tender-hearted instead of bitter, more forgiving of others, more patient and less short-tempered.

    Intercessory prayer is a serious undertaking and should never be taken lightly. There is power in prayer and if we pray for something that is not in line with God’s purpose, it could change the course of that person’s life. I never pray for God to take my loved ones out of the situation He has allowed them to be in just because I feel they shouldn’t have to suffer so much. Jesus suffered more than us, and we will suffer in order to share in His glory in eternity. So I pray for God to be their comfort and strength and that His will be done in my loved one’s life and in the lives of everyone that person’s life has touched.

  10. Gramama says:

    YES!! Agree!! We have the same experience in our church….some are healed and others not yet. We also are still praying for the sick and will not give up….and of course most of all pray that people will know the Lord.
    I received healing from scholiosis at the most recent praise and worship evening at Church of the Rock. I am now free to walk ,run, and have great fun !! I feel it happened so that I can serve the Lord more effectively in our family, Church and community. He gives us gifts to bless others not to keep for ourselves. It’s awesome…I hadn’t asked for healing concerning that and was so happily surprised when it happened. I was actually asking for healing in other areas..and I’m still asking. I guess God knows what HE wanted me to have that evening.
    My husband and I are thankful for for your example of showing God’s Love, mercy and Grace with no pretence. Keep on pressing on!! Blessings!!

  11. Steve says:

    No one should ever tell someone they don’t have enough faith for not being healed. All this does is confuse people and make it harder for them.
    My Grandpa had prostate cancer and was supposed to die.One night he was in the hospital lying in bed.In front of him he saw Jesus and His angels.The angels were calling my Grandpa to come with them, but Jesus said in low german,”Whoa boys, we all know how much he loves his grandchildren.We’re not going to take him just yet.” Jesus then had a long talk with my Grandpa.Grandpa said he could tell Him anything. He never told us what they had talked about though.Anyways my Grandpa was healed after that and ended up dying of prostate cancer sevn years later.
    Sometimes God heals and other times He doesn’t, but it’s all part of His plan somehow. Maybe God kept my Grandpa alive to pray that I would be saved.If that was the reason, it worked. Thanks God and thanks Grandpa.

  12. Karen says:

    Sometimes we shouldn’t ask “why” but instead ask “God, what are you showing me this situation.”

  13. Gramama says:

    THat is a cool story Steve. My Grandma had a similar experience to your Grandpa. She was very sick and had a glimpse of heaven and a talk ( probably high german..hehe) with Jesus 🙂 He sent her “back” saying her family was too young and needed her. That was when my Mom was little. According to the story, the doctors were amazed. My Grandma was healed, raised her family to God’s Glory, and then was an awesome blessing for all of us grandchildren and even some greatgrandchildren. However she was always homesick for heaven after that. Her example to us was “For me to live is Christ and to die is gain” God knows our time and unless we are foolish in our life style, etc He is the One who decides.
    I do feel a righteous indignation at times when people are taken by evil sicknesses before it seems to be their time to go, believing that God’s plan is for us to go to heaven at an old age feeling great…like Moses did. There may be some exceptions to that idea but I can’t seem to shake that concept. My husband’s wonderful Mom went to be with the Lord recently in her mid 90s. She actually got healthier as she got older. She just kept pressing on when she got sick. She often quoted Psalm137:1-5. She believed every promise in His Word. Her youth was renewed like the eagle’s. She’s my hero and I want to follow her Jesus example.

  14. cindy says:

    When I was diagnosed with cancer, I had many questions about healing and went forward any chance I had to get prayer for healing. Had my home group and MANY other people praying for me and for healing. Early on I had this word from God that there was more to be accomplished in walking me THRU the journey than in giving me the healing I desired. I have not stopped praying for healing, but have been walking the journey … surgery, chemo, radiation, more drugs … while I believe that God is healing me thru the process, I also believe he’s been using the journey to change me, and to touch the lives of those around me. I don’t understand how or why He heals some and not others … but I know that He is working in every situation, no matter what the outcome, He never leaves us alone!
    Thanks Pastor Mark for addressing and raising this discussion on healing!

  15. todd says:

    The power of prayer is fascinating. It’s also known as the power of intention. I’ve heard some amazing accounts of groups of people that pray/focus on a subject or item even on the other side of the planet and it is affected. There’s a connection that all of us share and prayer is a conduit. The most powerful case of this is about a now world-wide known mother who was in an accident with her son who drowned in the upside-down car and was dead for 30 minutes. The doctors told her to take him off life support after a few weeks and she had a dream to gather people and pray bed-sed for 24hr/day for 10 days. He woke up and was and is completely normal including brain function. Her vision included that they lay hands on him while praying. Anyway, she’s since started and it’s a massive network of prayer participants who impact on all things big and small.

  16. Tamara says:

    There is much I do not understand about prayer, but I do know this… GOD alone is the One who answers prayer, and GOD alone is the One who brings healing. The ‘Power of prayer’ is God Himself who hears us when we pray… He IS the power. We have been invited to participate with Him in the things He wants to do, and we have the privilege of making our requests known to Him… but as I once heard said, prayer doesn’t change God… it changes us. To believe for one moment that in ourselves we have power to bring healing to people through our intention, good thoughts or through the power of positive thinking is a deception. There may possibly be some kind of earthly power in the whole ‘if you can perceive it you can achieve it’ kind of thinking, but it has no power in the Spiritual realm, and it cannot accomplish the things of God. Prayer is not about sending good energy into the atmosphere…. prayer is seeking audience with the creator and ruler of the universe!

  17. selene says:

    I’ve read so much about the power of prayer , and especially more so, since my daugther Leah was diagnosed with cerebral palsy; I thank God that the only affected areas were her legs. Since Leah’s Dignosis I’ve prayed to the Lord to heal her and have faith that if is God’s will she will recover; and if she is not healed I still thank the Lord that has allowed me to get closer to him through prayer, which it might never have happended had Leah been born with no complications.
    please pray for her. thanks:-)

  18. Leanne says:

    Steve, the idea that Jesus spoke Low German is one of the most awesome things I’ve ever heard ! LOL!
    How interesting that Pastor Mark wrote an article about healing on the 8th anniversary of my mom’s passing. She was sick for 16 years and there were thousands upon thousands of prayers sent heavenward on her behalf. I simply can’t reconcile the idea that God CAN heal people with the fact that He often? sometimes? doesn’t heal them. By His stripes we are healed; or we’re not. Everything is possible for him who believes; or it’s not. Lay hands on the sick and they will recover; or they won’t. How can I believe God’s Word, how can I pray with faith and hope for healing if, when it mattered the most to me, God didn’t do it? What bigger prayer could I ever bring before God than for me, my brother, and my sister to have a Mom?
    Please be so careful when choosing words of comfort for grieving people. It might true that they have received the “ultimate healing” by dying, but that is not necessarily encouraging for everyone. I didn’t pray for my Mom’s healing for 16 years to have her die. I prayed for her to live. To me, her death is another confirmation that God didn’t heal her. I see it as the enemy’s ultimate theft!

  19. Steve says:

    Low German was my Grandpas first language and the one he identified with so I guess that is why Jesus chose to speak to him in this language.I wasn’t taught low german but I always thought it was cool even when I wasn’t a Christian that Jesus said whoa there boys to His angels.It shows that He isn’t about talking a certain way or acting high and mighty but talks to us on our own level.And He’s got a sense of humor.How cool is that!

  20. Mike says:

    Wow! Those healing stories are incredible! Imagine, people who have hidden conditions, like chronic pain, that cannot be verified, claiming that God healed them! My, how convenient! Of course, I am truly in awe of the medical verification that you provide… oh wait… you didn’t provide any did you? So, your god can heal unproven medical conditions, and yet can’t heal cancer, or, how about this one: He can’t heal an amputee. Tell you what, here is a challenge for you: the next time you see an amputee, ask god to grow him or her a new limb. It should be a simple thing for a god that can “heal” chronic pain. I can just hear you all now, “That’s not the way god works! You need faith!” Really? Read your bible.

  21. Mike says:

    Selene, you might actually try accepting your childs condition and disability rather than living in denial and believing for something that will not happen. Sorry, but that is the awful truth. I speak from personal knowledge as I have a child with multiple disabilities.

  22. sadie says:

    as i was growing up i watched as my mother was dying in the hospital miracusly she lived 25 more years! she told me she prayed to god to let her live to see her children grow he answered her prayer!! she suffered those 25 years but to her it was worth it to be here for her 10 children! finnaly god saw her suffering to much and called her home praise he lord! i believe in the power of prayer forever amen

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