A Reminder About Healing
"Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective."1
Does God heal people today? Let me answer by first asking another question, "Does God answer prayer today?" My answer is, "Sometimes, 'yes.' Sometimes, 'no.' Sometimes, 'wait a while,' and sometimes, 'you're praying the wrong prayer!'" James in the Bible wrote about prayer saying, "You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures."2 In other words, when we don't get prayer answered, sometimes it is because of false motives or simply that we're praying amiss; that is, we're praying the wrong prayer.
The same principle applies to prayer for healing. Sicknesses can have many causes for the simple reason that we live in a sin-sick, broken world. And, as it rains "on the just and on the unjust alike,"3 sickness also "rains" on the just as well as the unjust.
However, we can avoid many sicknesses by living a wholesome life, resolving impaired relationships, putting wrongs right, avoiding stress, and resolving super-charged repressed negative emotions such as guilt, hurt, anger, hostility, jealousy, irrational fears, and other sins of the spirit. This is why the Bible, God's Word, makes it clear that before we even pray for healing, we need to confess all sins to God (and, at least, to one safe person)—including the sins of the spirit—in order to clear the way for healing.
In my many years of being involved in church life from childhood until the present, and having heard a number of "faith healers" in years past, I have never heard one of these preachers even mention James's instructions regarding the necessity to confess one's sins to one another before ever praying for healing.
As I have shared before, I grew up in a very dysfunctional family and was taught early in life to bury and deny my negative feelings, but when I realized the fallacy of this teaching, and got in touch with my "super-charged repressed negative emotions," and confessed them in a growth support group as well as to a counselor, I was healed of several years of miserable hay fever and painful bursitis. In fact, I am physically healthier today than when I was half my age, for which I truly thank God that I followed the biblical principle for healing.
The fact is that some sicknesses (not all by any means) are symptoms of a deeper fault, sin, or unresolved problem. In these situations the prayer for healing needs to be directed not merely towards the symptom, but on the deeper cause (or causes) which need/s to be confessed and resolved to clear the way for healing.
Being honest with one's self, with God, and with at least one trusted person is the righteous thing to do; and such prayers are truly powerful and effective.1
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, whenever I have any unresolved problems, issues, or sicknesses, please confront me with the truth of any cause in me that might be in any way contributing to or causing the problem I am experiencing; give me the courage to see it, to confess it to a safe person, and the help to resolve it so that I can be healed. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."
1. James 5:16 (NIV).
2. James 4:3 (NKJV).
3. Matthew 5:45 (NLT).