According to Isaiah the Messiahs suffering has given us unlimited access to Gods healing power. But all of us know that in practice being healed is not always that simple. Though God now freely gives healing there are also forces that prevent us from receiving it, and they may not be easy to recognize. Some arise from complex issues of the heart while others may be the result of a subtle spiritual attack. We need only experience what happens when God reveals the hindrance and we obey what were told to discover how powerful He is. What takes place seems effortless for Him. What the Spirit shows us may seem so unrelated to our need that we wonder if God forgot why we were praying. He might unearth matters that are emotionally painful requiring forgiveness or repentance, even to the point of requiring something we are simply not willing to do. Add to this other hindrances such as the possibility that our thinking might be clouded with fear, distorted teaching about God or hidden shame; or the problem may be we are the target of a spiritual assault; or we may be in a situation where we and /or the people around us have not yet grown deep enough to function effectively in ministering healing. Were sincere, but our attempts are too little, too late. And then, frankly, there are times when it appears we have run headlong into Gods sovereign will. No matter what we do the final healing does not occur, yet His powerful presence continues to remain in us enabling us to suffer victoriously. And sometimes we realize its simply time to come home.
What does Isaiah say?
v3 A man of pains (mental anguish, physical pain) and known of sicknesses (to become sick or faint, including from physical injury or wounding)
v4 Surely our sickness He has borne (to lift up, carry, take) and our pains He carried (to bear a heavy load). We thought He was struck, beaten physically by God, bowed down
v5 but He was pierced for our rebellion. He was crushed (in spirit) for our guilt. The correction by punishment for our peace (Shaloam) fell on Him and with His wounds we are healed (Rapha: to heal, restore)
v10 The Lord was pleased to bruise Him painfully, He has made Him sick if He shall put His soul as a guilt offering
The Messiah carried upon Himself our moral guilt and endured the terrible punishment we deserved. In doing this He absorbed all of Gods wrath so there is now none left over for us to bear. God is completely at peace with us, willing to help us whenever we need Him (body, soul, spirit) (Jn 3:36).
Because of the Messiahs sacrifice the Spirit of God can now be given to us without measure (Jn 3:34). We need do nothing to convince Him to help us, but we must remove the obstacles that prevent us from receiving.
What does Peter say? (1Pe 2:20-25)
Jesus died to set us free from the power of sin. Our sin-diseased heart is healed.
What does Matthew say? (Mt 8:14-17)
Matthew makes it clear that Isaiahs words are intended to include deliverance and physical healing.
What does Paul say?
1 Corinthians 3:21-23
2 Corinthians 1:20
So in theory it would appear that all should be healed, but in practice some are and some are not (in this life).
What have I learned?
Having prayed for what must be thousands of people over my lifetime and having repeatedly sought to understand the process of healing so I could be more effective, I have indeed come to some personal conclusions, but I have also learned that the ministry of healing will always humble me whether someone is healed or not. Here are lessons Ive learned about praying for those who are seeking healing:
1. Prepare yourself and the room before you pray. A strong sense of the Spirit must be present (a cold, empty room vs. a warm, loving room)
2. Listen to the Spirit before you pray.
Expect guidance (wisdom, knowledge, discernment) not just power.
Obedience is an essential part of ministering and receiving healing.
Repentance, forgiveness, exercise, diet, rest
We dont get zapped, the Lord personally comes to us.
3. Eloquent prayers often get in the way.
4. Dont try to push energy out of yourself. Focus on receiving the presence of the Spirit.
Let Jesus put His hand on top of yours.
I have no power in myself, I must wait for Him.
5. To be effective I must live a holy life and earnestly maintain my own relationship with the Lord.
I must keep my faith strong (Jude 20) and my conscience free of guilt.
6. I must be bold and confident of Gods favor. Begging, bargaining or hesitant prayers have little or no effect.
Based on what Isaiah says this must be because they expose my inability to receive.
7. Healing is seldom instantaneous. It is usually received by those who persistently place themselves in Gods presence.
8. There are often obstacles that must be overcome before healing can be received.
The Syrophoenician woman (Mt 15:21-28)
Bartimaeus (Mk 10:46-52)
The woman with the issue of blood (Mk 5:25-34)
9. I can pray and see others healed even when Im sick.
10. Praying as part of a team is generally more effective and far less exhausting than praying alone.
11. I dont have to play God and decide whether its a persons time to die or not. I can pray till He tells me to stop or the person dies.
12. God wants to heal and will use doctors in the process. However, believers must realize that the medical world doesnt generally have miraculous healing built into its thinking, and its personnel are often legally bound to tell you all the possibilities to which your symptoms point. This tends to produce fear (which is a great obstacle to receiving healing).
13. The greatest hindrance we face is fear. It drives out faith and seems to invite sickness. It gives it a foothold. We have to settle in our hearts the issue of the fear of death (Heb 2:14, 15). It cannot be ignored. It is a great foothold for the enemy.
The real question becomes why are we so in earnest for healing: to escape death or to fulfill Gods plan?
Many attempts to have faith are actually desperate acts of denial.
Being released from this fear is a miracle of God, it doesnt come from confessing theological truth.
When this fear is gone we can rest in Jesus loving care, trusting Him to lead us.
14. Get prayer as soon as you can.
Go first to God, before fear takes hold, if possible.
Before you look at it.
Even before you know you have it (communion).
Before you hear a medical prognosis.
Before fear grips your heart.
15. Practice, learn on minor illnesses. Dont wait for major crises.
Not just illness. Learn to listen and pray for all types of needs (lost keys, finances
16. God never punishes confessed sin with disease (Heb 8:12; Jer 31:34).
17. Receiving a healing is not enough. A person must also learn to retain a healing.
We are assailed with the temptations of doubt and fear afterward as well.
18. Some people are wired by God with a ministry of healing, although all believers can pray for the sick.
19. If healing doesnt come (in this life), refuse to assign blame realizing such matters involve spiritual complexities which only God understands. Your assessment is at best incomplete and at worst plain wrong.
If youre sick or full of sorrow:
1. Call for help, dont deal with it alone.
2. Draw close to God in corporate worship.
3. Remind yourself of the clear teaching of His Word: The Messiah has borne all of Gods wrath for your sin so Gods Spirit comes to you now unhindered.
4. Pray repeatedly allowing Him to minister to you over and over again.
1. Have you or someone close to you been healed? Tell us what happened. What did you learn?
2. Is there an area where youve prayed but are still waiting for a healing? What have you learned from that experience?
3. What is your favorite Scripture promise concerning healing?