How Prayer Can Hinder The Healing of God’s People
The response to last week’s Health Tip story “How Churches Promote Ill Health” was incredible!
In fact it generated more response than any Health Tip I had previously written (and I have written some 700 of them).
Here is a sampling of those responses:
“Rev. Malkmus: I wholeheartedly agree with you. But, I think you left out one thing in your comments. Food IS a GOD. Sometimes it’s the MOST WORSHIPPED GOD in our churches.”
“Praise God for this awesome message, Dr Malkmus! I often preach the same thing as I educate others about honoring God with their temples.”
“Thank you, Bro. Malkmus! I just read your sermon on the foods that church people eat and I totally agree with you! In fact, I would like to send this to my pastor, but first I need to pray for the courage to forward it.”
“AMEN! Thank you for posting this! It’s about time someone said it. You have just expressed my thoughts completely!!”
“Hallelujah once again for a great message. Since 2002, when I first learned the truth about nutrition, I have been hearing those “90% of the prayers” in churches everywhere — prayers for divine healing of diseases that we have unknowingly brought upon ourselves.”
“Praise the Lord I feel like shouting right now, I’ve been saying this and saying this. We go to the alter for prayer, have hands laid on us, and that’s all good, but we go right back to our seats and to our house and eat the same as before and never change or do our part. Because God requires we have a part to play in our healing, we never receive our healing. In fact I was that person, but when I got tired of being sick and tired, I got on my face and cried out to God to help me. And ever since that day I’m not the same person. What a wonderful change has come over me. Before I changed my diet I weighed 198 pounds. Today I weigh 134 pounds. That’s a 64 pound weight loss. Before the diet change I was on 12 medications and today I’m only on one and on my way to none. Glory to God for the things He has done.”
This week I want to deal with a similar subject; but first let’s take a brief look at how most churches deal with sickness.
How Churches Deal With Sickness
I personally pastored various churches for nearly 20 years up until I was told I had colon cancer at age 42 (36 years-ago). I know how I personally dealt with sickness in the various churches I pastored back then. Guess what? It’s still the way most pastors and churches deal with sickness today.
In my churches, especially on prayer meeting night, after the people had opportunity to share their prayer requests, we would have prayer for those sick individuals. Also, when people would come up to me individually and share that they or a loved one was seriously ill, I would immediately stop and have prayer for that sick one.
However, by asking God to heal that person of their infirmities, in reality, we are turning over to God any responsibility the person has for dealing with the physical problem themselves.
What kind of results are we getting in response to these prayers for healing in our churches?
Be honest, now…
Why Are So Many Not Receiving Healing In Answer To Prayer?
In most churches, requests for healing of physical problems are the dominant prayer request – usually over 90%.
Does everyone for whom we pray get well in response to these prayers?
Don’t get me wrong. I believe that the Bible is the very word of God (see II Timothy 3:16-17). I also believe that the God of the Bible is also a prayer hearing and answering God. “Call unto me and I will answer thee . . .” (Jeremiah 33:3).
During my pastoring years in both large and small congregations, numerous people asked for prayer for the physical needs of themselves, a friend or loved one. Not only would I earnestly beseech God for healing in prayer on their behalf, but I would also share these prayer requests with the congregation for additional prayer.
Sadly, there were numerous times when the congregation and I would pray earnestly for someone’s healing, especially for a seriously ill child or someone with cancer, and yet I ended up conducting that person’s funeral.
How can we explain this?
Is it God’s fault healing did not take place or ……
Could Prayer Sometimes Hinder The Healing Of God’s People?
There is a song we used to sing in our church, and one of the verses goes like this:
If your body suffers pain and your health you can’t regain,
And your soul is almost sinking in despair,
Jesus knows the pain you feel, He can save and He can heal;
Take your burden to the Lord and LEAVE IT THERE.
I believe one of the primary reasons prayers for healing so often do not result in healing is because that is exactly what we do, we “Take our burden to the Lord and LEAVE IT THERE.”
Could our leaving our burden with the Lord present a problem?
Could this hinder healing?
If we want to obtain healing from our numerous infirmities, we need to do more than just ask God to heal us – we must also seek His guidance as to what part He would have us play in that healing.
We have already learned that prayers and faith in so many instances are not sufficient to bring about healing and here’s why…
“Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works” shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. Thou believest that there is one God thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead.” (James 2:17-20)
Now I believe God is capable of healing our physical problems in answer to a prayer without any help from us.
But obviously, when we see so many of those for whom we prayed not receiving healing (and dying), we need to seek the reason “WHY”.
And that reason my friend, I believe, is that God usually wants us to participate and become active in the bringing about of that healing.
Sadly, our churches do not teach us to go beyond “taking our burdens to the Lord and leaving them there”.
When we desire healing for ourselves or another, our prayer should not just be, “Lord heal me” or “them”, but rather: “Lord, please reveal to me the knowledge I need, that will put me on the path to bring about the healing I am praying for.”
The Bible even tells us how to obtain that knowledge:
“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.” (Matthew 7:7-8)
My Personal Experience
Way back in 1976 I was told I had colon cancer. But I had lost all faith in the medical community to heal my cancer because of my mother’s horrible experience going the medical route.
Not to mention, God had not answered my prayers for her healing.
So, I changed my approach.
I asked the Lord to show me where to turn for help in my healing.
In answer to that prayer, the Lord led me to Evangelist Lester Roloff who encouraged me to change my diet to what we call today “The Hallelujah Diet.”
The knowledge Brother Roloff imparted to me not only led to the healing of my cancer, but also led to the founding of Hallelujah Acres. So, essentially, that prayer for direction has resulted in health restoration for millions of Christians around the world, removing all manner of both physical and psychological problems for the past 20 years.
If we desire to stop seeing all those prayer request sheets in our churches loaded with people dealing with cancer and numerous other physical problems…
If we desire to stop seeing them die and attending their funerals…
Then we the church must do more than just pray for a person’s healing.
The church must also inform people that the sick person needs to become an active participant in their own healing by asking: “Lord what must I do to help bring about this healing I am seeking?”
It is so thrilling to receive letters from people who approached their healing this way. These letters testify that, after being prayed for in the church and not receiving healing, the pastor or another member of the church encouraged that person to investigate The Hallelujah Diet.
And when they did, it put them on the path that led them to the healing they were seeking!
How Faith In Modern Medicine Can Hinder The Healing Of God’s People
In our churches, after prayer, what is the very next thing a person is advised to do by the pastor and most everyone else in the church?
Is it not, “you need to get to a doctor”?
By going to a doctor, we are actually saying, “I do not believe God is capable of bringing about the healing and God needs help.”
This act indicates that we do not have faith in God’s ability to heal us, and that we believe the modern medicine is God’s source of help.
But how is modern medicine doing?
Is it bringing about the healing we so desire? Or are we still, in spite of it all, watching people continue to get sicker and eventually dying?
NEXT WEEK I will, Lord willing, and if the creeks don’t rise too high, deal with the subject: “IS THERE A BETTER WAY?” We will take a close look at the results we are obtaining when seek help from modern medicine. Don’t miss this eye-opening message! In fact, you may want to share it (and today’s message) with your pastor, Sunday School teacher, and fellow Christians.
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