pray for the sick

A few years ago in Melbourne, I was privileged to hear a message from a pastor who has 30,000 in his church. He wanted to share the ‘secret’ of church growth. No, it was not one of the latest methods or fads to come out the America. No recipe or formula which, when followed scrupulously, will lead to larger numbers. His secret for growth? He used just four words: pray for the sick. He said that if you do it, you will grow your church.
For skeptics and ‘intellectual’ Christians, the notion of miracles and healings is as remote as Santa Claus and a moon made of green cheese. Even for Christians who ‘want to believe’, they find that their lack of experience in the supernatural causes them to, by default, not believe. Yet, the fact is, that miracles and healings are still happening in our world today, just like they happened in the New Testament.
On a recent visit to Sri Lanka, I saw this first hand in a Colombo-church. This congregation felt led of the Lord to begin weekly mid-week healing meetings. I did not attend such a meeting but my guess is that they had singing, a short homily from the Scriptures, and then a time of prayer for the needs of the sick. One thing you will never run out of ... sick people! Just as Jesus said ‘the poor you will have with you always,’ the same applies to the sick. They are a constant. For example, years ago I was in the Russian oblast of Karelia, near the Finnish border (in a stunningly beautiful place named Petrozavodsk, which has Europe’s second largest lake called Onego nearby). I gave an altar call for those who wanted prayer for healing. This was at the night service, which had less people than the morning. Virtually the entire congregation -- about 200 people -- came forward for prayer!
Our Sri Lankan friends have reported some very impressive miracles since commencing their healing meetings. One man whose name is Nihal, a Roman Catholic, 60 years old, was suffering and dying of cancer. He had resigned himself to the fact that soon he would be dead. Having heard of these healing meetings, he came ‘for a peek’. Since that first time, he has not missed any of the weekly meetings. More importantly, he reports that the cancer is completely gone. The doctors verified it.
Another incident occurred during my visit. A two year old toddler, a very active and happy-go-lucky girl, fell backward while playing, bumped her head, became unconscious, and stopped breathing. All attempts at resuscitation failed. So the pastor and his wife, along with the distraught parents, were driving to the regional hospital to seek medical attention. While en route to the hospital, they all prayed in the Spirit (tongues). After nearly one half hour of the child being breathless, she suddenly, and without explanation, took a deep breath, opened her eyes, sat up, and became active again ... as if nothing had ever happened. Her parents were ecstatic!
Even before the commencement of the healing meetings, I was used of the LORD in this same church. On a previous visit a couple came to me holding a young child. Apparently, on an earlier visit they came to me for prayer because of their childlessness. I prayed for the Lord to ‘open the womb’ and, now here is the child I prayed for. Simple faith is powerful faith.
The Bible teaches that God’s supernatural power is available for all who believe. Here are some Scriptures to ponder (all references are KJV):
Matthew 8:16-17: “When the even was come, they brought unto him many that were possessed with devils: and he cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick: 17 That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses.”
Mark 16:17-18: “And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; 18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.”
Acts 3:6, 16: “Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk. 16 And his name through faith in his name hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know: yea, the faith which is by him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.”
James 5:14-15: “Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: 15 And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.”
Since God is still in the ‘healing business’, why don’t we see more healings? A couple of reflections:
1. We are not seeing healings because we are not asking for healings. We need to start praying for the sick regularly and consistently.
2. We are not seeing healings because we are not asking in faith. This is always the key. Persistent ‘bulldog’ faith. Years ago, an associate of John Wimber’s gave a simple challenge: tell the LORD that you will pray for 100 sick people. If you don’t start seeing a healing flow by the 100th person, you no longer have to pray for the sick. However, if you see the healings come, you must go well beyond the 100. Then he said ... if you will pray for 100 sick people ... you will never stop praying for the sick! The message: persist in prayer and you will strike oil.
This simple church in suburban Colombo is seeing the glory of God, simply because they ‘ask in faith’.
Go and do likewise -- you too, will see the glory of God.