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The problem of praying to be healed

The problem of praying to be healed? Really? There’s a problem with praying to be healed? Maybe. It depends. The person praying probably has good intentions. Wants what’s best for the person they’re praying for. And yet, one question remains. What does the Bible say, in its full context, about praying to God for someone to be healed?

The problem of praying to be healed is article #14 in the series: Do not waste your cancer. Click button to view titles for entire series

I often think of healing as somewhat controversial when it comes t Christians, praying, and those who claim to be able to heal.

Sure, some Christians are healed from various illnesses and diseases.

But hey, so are lots of non-Christians.

Likewise, plenty of both Christians and non-Christians aren’t healed.

Ultimately, there comes a time, for all of us, when we aren’t healed. Everyone dies.

Even those healed by Jesus died. Every single one of them.

What about Enoch and Elijah?

Just in case anyone wants to get into it, let’s look at the two people recorded in the Bible as being taken up to Heaven without dying. Enoch and Elijah.

Enoch

From Adam to Noah

Ge 5:1 This is the written account of Adam’s line.

When God created man, he made him in the likeness of God. 2 He created them male and female and blessed them. And when they were created, he called them “man.’”

Ge 5:3 When Adam had lived 130 years, he had a son in his own likeness, in his own image; and he named him Seth. 4 After Seth was born, Adam lived 800 years and had other sons and daughters. 5 Altogether, Adam lived 930 years, and then he died.

Ge 5:18 When Jared had lived 162 years, he became the father of Enoch. 19 And after he became the father of Enoch, Jared lived 800 years and had other sons and daughters. 20 Altogether, Jared lived 962 years, and then he died.

Ge 5:21 When Enoch had lived 65 years, he became the father of Methuselah. 22 And after he became the father of Methuselah, Enoch walked with God 300 years and had other sons and daughters. 23 Altogether, Enoch lived 365 years. 24 Enoch walked with God; then he was no more, because God took him away.

Enoch did not die.

Elijah

Elijah Taken Up to Heaven

2Ki 2:1 When the LORD was about to take Elijah up to heaven in a whirlwind, Elijah and Elisha were on their way from Gilgal. 2 Elijah said to Elisha, “Stay here; the LORD has sent me to Bethel.”
But Elisha said, “As surely as the LORD lives and as you live, I will not leave you.” So they went down to Bethel.

2Ki 2:3 The company of the prophets at Bethel came out to Elisha and asked, “Do you know that the LORD is going to take your master from you today?”
“Yes, I know,” Elisha replied, “but do not speak of it.”

2Ki 2:4 Then Elijah said to him, “Stay here, Elisha; the LORD has sent me to Jericho.”
And he replied, “As surely as the LORD lives and as you live, I will not leave you.” So they went to Jericho.
2Ki 2:5 The company of the prophets at Jericho went up to Elisha and asked him, “Do you know that the LORD is going to take your master from you today?”
“Yes, I know,” he replied, “but do not speak of it.”

2Ki 2:6 Then Elijah said to him, “Stay here; the LORD has sent me to the Jordan.”
And he replied, “As surely as the LORD lives and as you live, I will not leave you.” So the two of them walked on.

2Ki 2:7 Fifty men of the company of the prophets went and stood at a distance, facing the place where Elijah and Elisha had stopped at the Jordan. 8 Elijah took his cloak, rolled it up and struck the water with it. The water divided to the right and to the left, and the two of them crossed over on dry ground.

2Ki 2:9 When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, “Tell me, what can I do for you before I am taken from you?”
“Let me inherit a double portion of your spirit,” Elisha replied.

2Ki 2:10 “You have asked a difficult thing,” Elijah said, “yet if you see me when I am taken from you, it will be yours—otherwise not.”

2Ki 2:11 As they were walking along and talking together, suddenly a chariot of fire and horses of fire appeared and separated the two of them, and Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind. 12 Elisha saw this and cried out, “My father! My father! The chariots and horsemen of Israel!” And Elisha saw him no more. Then he took hold of his own clothes and tore them apart.

2Ki 2:13 He picked up the cloak that had fallen from Elijah and went back and stood on the bank of the Jordan. 14 Then he took the cloak that had fallen from him and struck the water with it. “Where now is the LORD, the God of Elijah?” he asked. When he struck the water, it divided to the right and to the left, and he crossed over.

2Ki 2:15 The company of the prophets from Jericho, who were watching, said, “The spirit of Elijah is resting on Elisha.” And they went to meet him and bowed to the ground before him. 16 “Look,” they said, “we your servants have fifty able men. Let them go and look for your master. Perhaps the Spirit of the LORD has picked him up and set him down on some mountain or in some valley.”
“No,” Elisha replied, “do not send them.”

2Ki 2:17 But they persisted until he was too ashamed to refuse. So he said, “Send them.” And they sent fifty men, who searched for three days but did not find him. 18 When they returned to Elisha, who was staying in Jericho, he said to them, “Didn’t I tell you not to go?”

Elijah didn’t die either.

What’s next for Enoch and Elijah?

Of course, we don’t know for sure. However, there any many Bible scholars that think Enoch and Elijah are in the following passage.

The Two Witnesses

Rev 11:1 I was given a reed like a measuring rod and was told, “Go and measure the temple of God and the altar, and count the worshipers there. 2 But exclude the outer court; do not measure it, because it has been given to the Gentiles. They will trample on the holy city for 42 months. 3 And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth.” 4 These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth. 5 If anyone tries to harm them, fire comes from their mouths and devours their enemies. This is how anyone who wants to harm them must die. 6 These men have power to shut up the sky so that it will not rain during the time they are prophesying; and they have power to turn the waters into blood and to strike the earth with every kind of plague as often as they want.

Rev 11:7 Now when they have finished their testimony, the beast that comes up from the Abyss will attack them, and overpower and kill them. 8 Their bodies will lie in the street of the great city, which is figuratively called Sodom and Egypt, where also their Lord was crucified. 9 For three and a half days men from every people, tribe, language and nation will gaze on their bodies and refuse them burial. 10 The inhabitants of the earth will gloat over them and will celebrate by sending each other gifts, because these two prophets had tormented those who live on the earth.

Rev 11:11 But after the three and a half days a breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and terror struck those who saw them. 12 Then they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, “Come up here.” And they went up to heaven in a cloud, while their enemies looked on.

Rev 11:13 At that very hour there was a severe earthquake and a tenth of the city collapsed. Seven thousand people were killed in the earthquake, and the survivors were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven.

Rev 11:14 The second woe has passed; the third woe is coming soon.

If scholars are correct, Enoch and Elijah were taken to Heaven before they died. Then will be brought back to earth to witness for God. Then they will be killed. And finally brought back to life and once again taken up to Heaven.

But we aren’t those two men. We will die. Unless the rapture happens during our lifetime.

The problem of praying to be healed

Now that we know this is likely to apply to every one of us, let’s have a look at the problem of praying to be healed.

I started writing this several days ago. It was going to be a stand-alone piece. Then I turned it into a short three-part series, of which it’s the third and final segment.

During that time, I had a colonoscopy done. My oncologists said that since it was time for it, I should have it done before starting radiation treatment for my cancer. The last one I had showed two spots that were }pre-cancerous”. I expected they’d turn up positive for cancer this time. Maybe that’s because of my anxiety/depression problems. Who knows.

Amazingly, to me at least, not only were there no new polyps, the previous ones didn’t even warrant another biopsy. Of course, people were praying for that result. However, the full prayer request that I had was more than just that.

We’ll get into what it was shortly. I brought it up now, because it adds to the idea of praying for healing. We also pray for good results, especially/more strongly when past history shows that good results are not as likely to be forthcoming.

The first two segments in this series look ed at various passages in the Bible. They kind of danced around the edges of the topic. Some/many of you may have already gotten the point. But for those that didn’t, and for those that want to verify their conclusions, here’s one to really get to the point.

The Prayer of Faith in James

Let’s look at something from James. It’s a passage that’s very easy to look at and think anyone who isn’t healed either didn’t have enough faith or pray hard enough. Another excuse I’ve seen is that those prying for the person had the same issues. Let’s read it and see why these thoughts are so wrong.

The Prayer of Faith

Jas 5:13 Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. 14 Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. 16 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.

Jas 5:17 Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. 18 Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.

Jas 5:19 My brothers, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring him back, 20 remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins.

What does The Prayer of Faith really say/mean?

I don’t remember ever doing this before, in more than a dozen years of writing. But this analysis/commentary of the passage is so aligned with what I think the passage must mean that I’m including the whole thing. Please note, the excerpt uses passages from the KJV.

THE PRAYER OF THE RIGHTEOUS IS A POWER

Yes, Prayer by true believers is a power. However, I’m not sure that all believers really understand what that power is. And maybe especially, what that power is not. That’s what the commentary below will show, And so will our own minds, as we look at this Prayer of Faith within the context of the full Bible.

Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms [James 5:13].

James says that the afflicted are to pray and the merry are to sing psalms. 

Notice, there are two different sets of people. And, there’s a different response for each of them. No doubt, there are way more than just these two groups. But, given the context of James’ letter and the reasons for writing it, these two were appropriate. I don’t believe he’s ruling out any other possible grouping for people’s emotions/feelings about what we go through at various times.

Sometimes a song leader will get up in a service and say, “Now everybody sit up and smile.”

I’ve sat through things like this. Not necessarily a worship leader, but someone speaking to the congregation and going through the “God is good all the time” – “All the time God is good”, and expecting all of us to respond appropriately. You know, sometimes I just don’t feel like doing that. It’s not that I don’t believe god is good.

But there are times when, based on my feelings at the moment, I’m just not in the mood for something like that. I feel like I have to manufacture the joy associated with that kind of thing when I’m not feeling it. And that’s a lie. That’s why I really like the next portion of the author’s comments.

 I used to have a song leader like that in a church I pastored years ago. I told him, “Don’t you know that in this congregation there are people who are really burdened? As I look out there, I see one man who is a doctor and who has been busy all week taking care of patients. I also see a lady who is a buyer in a department store. She is weary and tired. And you ask them to sit up and smile!” No, you don’t have to sit up and smile. The afflicted are to pray. The merry are to sing psalms. Some people go to church and then try to work up some enthusiasm. We ought to have the great passion and enthusiasm in our hearts even before we go to church, but we do not need to put on a false front.

So true! We’re not robots with no emotions. God gave us emotions. And He knows that, at various times, we feel all of them. So why not be honest about it?

Also, for those people around us, especially those who know exactly what we’re going through, what do they think of us when we’re pretending to feel something we don’t? Aren’t we being a false witness that is essentially saying we should bury our God-given emotions and just pretend everything’s great all the time?

Yes, we know that bad things happen for a reason. That God will make all things turn out good for those who love Him. And that we will grow in the process. And that He’s with us. But you know what? Sometimes we just don’t feel it. And that’s OK!

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 [James 5:14].

Pray, of course. But, pray for what?

A few years ago there was a tragic incident which occurred in a little town near Los Angeles where a man threw away the insulin that his little son was supposed to take because he said God was going to heal his son. The little fellow died, and then the man, who must be very fanatic, said, “The Lord is going to raise him up from the dead because he has been anointed.” The leaders of the denomination to which the man belonged said that he had never been taught anything like that. I believe that is true because I have had the privilege of meeting on several occasions with the man who taught theology in one of the outstanding Pentecostal schools. He said this to me, “Dr. McGee, I want you to know that I agree with you that not everyone can be healed. It must be the will of God in order for someone to be healed.” That is my position, and I agree with what he said.

Yes – that all important condition. It must be the will of God in order for someone to be healed.

You may remember something Jesus said. Something we looked at earlier in this series. But this time, let’s look at Matthew’s Gospel, rather than Luke. Luke was the doctor, with his analytical view of what was going on. Matthew was the Jewish tax collector, with his Jewish view of things. Therefore, I often like to reference Matthew because it can show the religious context in a way that Luke sometimes doesn’t. (That’s OK, because they had different audiences and wrote for different purposes. We should look at both and take what both have to offer.)

Gethsemane – Matthew

26:36-46 pp — Mk 14:32-42; Lk 22:40-46

Mt 26:36 Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” 37 He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. 38 Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”

Mt 26:39 Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.

Mt 26:40 Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. 41 “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.”

Mt 26:42 He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.”

Mt 26:43 When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. 44 So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing.

Mt 26:45 Then he returned to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour is near, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 46 Rise, let us go! Here comes my betrayer!”

Even Jesus, when He knew it was His time to die, still said to the Father – your will be done.

So how is it that any of us (humans) think we have the right, or even the possibility, of overriding God’s will and going with our own? Not to mention, all the stuff I said earlier that we, as Christians, claim to believe about God.

If you say that it is God’s will for every Christian who gets sick to be healed, you must agree that the logical conclusion of that line of thinking is that the Christian will never die. He will be healed of every disease which causes death. May I say, that is ridiculous. I have been healed of cancer, but I expect to die, if the Lord does not come in the meantime. It is a cruel hoax perpetrated upon simple believers that it is God’s will for all to be healed.

Absolutely. God gave us a mind. And Jesus told us what to do with that mind.

The Greatest Commandment – Matthew

22:34-40 pp — Mk 12:28-31

Mt 22:34 Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. 35 One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: 36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

Mt 22:37 Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

So if we’re going to use our God-given mind to love God, shouldn’t we look at what we believe? Be sure it’s in line with the Bible. And be sure we work out any contradictions in what we believe.

We know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that except for Enoch and Elijah, every person born on earth has either died, or is still alive. And we know that in our lifetimes, and in available recorded history, no one lives much beyond 120 years. Just as God told us would be the case.

The Flood

Ge 6:1 When men began to increase in number on the earth and daughters were born to them, 2 the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose. 3 Then the LORD said, “My Spirit will not contend with man forever, for he is mortal; his days will be a hundred and twenty years.”

Therefore, we also know that, barring the rapture, we will die. Given all that, we must realize that not every prayer for healing will be answered. It can’t be. It’s impossible for every prayer for healing to be answered, and yet for every person to die!

Taking this one more step, with what we know about God’s will being the one that is going to be done, it’s cruel to blame a lack of healing on a lack of faith.

So, what are we supposed to do when someone gets sick?

James is not actually asking a question here. He is saying, “Someone is sick among you.” What are you to do? “Let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him”—that’s the first thing. The second thing is—“anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.”

But even something this simple doesn’t necessarily mean what we think it does. Why not? Because we read in it English, or whatever language you may have translated this into to read it. But, the original text is Greek. And our English word “anoint” has two different words in Greek. You may be shocked to find out what “anoint” really meant in what you just read. I was.

There are two Greek words which are translated “anoint” in the New Testament. One of them is used in a religious sense; that word is chrio in the Greek. From that we get the word Christos; Christ was the Anointed One. It means to anoint with some scented unguent or oil. It is used only five times in the New Testament, and it refers to the anointing of Christ by God the Father with the Holy Spirit.

The second word translated “anoint” is aleipho. It is used a number of times in the New Testament. In Matthew 6:17 we read, “But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face.” That simply means to put oil on your hair so that you will look all right. Trench comments that aleipho is “the mundane and profane word.” The other, chrio, is “the sacred and religious word.” The word used in this verse in James is aleipho, and all it means is to rub with oil. You remember that when Hezekiah was sick, they put something medicinal on that boil he had. James is saying something very practical here. He says, “Call for the elders to pray, and go to the best doctor you can get.” You are to use medicine, my friend. It is a mistaken idea to say that this refers to some religious ceremony of putting a little oil from a bottle on someone’s head, as if that would have some healing merit in it. It has no merit whatsoever. James is too practical for that.

Wow. Anoint means to treat the sick person with the best medicine you have/can get! That totally flies in the face of someone who says doctors and medicine aren’t needed, because God will heal.

Ultimately though, this isn’t a surprising meaning. It’s one I always thought made sense. Even while thinking it means anointing in the religious sense. It was surprising, but also pleasant, to find out it does mean treatment with medical “things”. People. Knowledge. And why not? Isn’t all (good) knowledge from God? Yes, knowledge can and is corrupted for evil purposes and to achieve evil ends.

But if we pray for God’s will to be done, pray for the doctors/nurses/other members of the care team, aren’t we praying for the “good” knowledge from God to point even non-Christians to the best available solutions for a sick person?

Added to that is the fact that we must realize/acknowledge that we also pray for God’s will to be done, not ours.

At this point, you may be thinking, if “all we’re going to do” is pray for God’s will o be done, then why bother praying?

James is also a man of prayer. He says, “Call for the elders to pray.” This is the reason that when I get sick I ask others to pray. I believe in the priesthood of believers. James makes this very clear in the following verses—

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.

Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much [James 5:15–16].

“And the prayer of faith shall save the sick.” I believe you are to call on God’s people to pray for you when you are sick.

Yes. Another of the things we claim to believe, as Christians, is that God wants us to pray. To ask for things. We are children of God. He is our Heavenly Father. And we’re to be like a child. Not child-ish. But, as a child who is dependent on our Father. And, like a child, to communicate with our Father.

Yes, He already knows everything about us. More than we even know/acknowledge about ourselves. But still, He wants to share everything with us. And like prayer, it’s a two-way thing.

You can see more about this two-way conversation in the article in the inset box.

It’s part of a series on The Lord’s Prayer.

As with any type of prayer, healing or otherwise, The Lord’s prayer is our template on how to approach prayer. Keep in mind, it’s more than a prayer to be repeatedly recited. It is indeed a model. One that we can use as a framework for our own prayers, whether they be requests or praise.

The remainder of the passage isn’t directly relevant to our topic today, so I’ll include the remainder of the commentary, but make no additional comments myself.

“Confess your faults one to another and pray one for another, that ye may be healed.” We are to confess our sins to God but our faults one to another. If I have injured you, then I ought to confess that to you. But I will not confess my sins to you, and I do not want you confessing your sins to me. You are to confess that to the Lord. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). I cannot forgive sins: neither can any clergyman forgive sins—only God can do that.

“The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” James was a great man of prayer. He was called “Old Camel Knees” because, having spent so much time on his knees in prayer, his knees were calloused. He speaks now of another great man of prayer, Elijah (Elias is the Greek form of Elijah)—

Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months.

And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit [James 5:17–18].

Can you imagine that? Elijah was a weatherman for three and a half years, and for three and a half years he held back the rain! It did not come until he prayed. You are the same kind of person Elijah was. Elijah wasn’t a superman; he was “a man subject to like passions as we are.” But he was a man who prayed with passion, and that is the kind of praying we need today.

Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him;

Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins [James 5:19–20].

“Converteth the sinner from the error of his way.” Some expositors believe that this refers to a child of God who has gone astray. However, I believe it refers to an unsaved person who has not yet come to the truth.

“Shall hide a multitude of sins.” When he comes to a saving knowledge of Christ, his sins—though they be multitudinous—will be covered by the blood of Christ. The wonder of justifcation by faith is that once God has pardoned our sins, they are gone forever—removed from us as far as the east is from the west.

This is a wonderful conclusion for this very practical Epistle of James.  1

Conclusion – The problem of praying to be healed

I could certainly go on with more passages. But I think this one is a really good summary and bring a close to the series.

When I started to write this series, I wasn’t in a good place. Since then, I’m doing much better. It’s been a reminder of why it’s so important for us to, as we say, “Stay in the Word”. To continue to read the Bible on a regular basis, whether things are good or bad. To pray – in that two-way conversation manner. Fancy words don’t matter. Prayer, no matter how it happens, matters.

When I’ve talked with people about how I’d like them to pray for me, it’s kind of in the manner of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in Daniel. It’s a bit long, but there is a point to including the whole thing. Hang in there, and you’ll see afterwards what it is.

The Image of Gold and the Fiery Furnace

Da 3:1 King Nebuchadnezzar made an image of gold, ninety feet high and nine feet wide, and set it up on the plain of Dura in the province of Babylon. 2 He then summoned the satraps, prefects, governors, advisers, treasurers, judges, magistrates and all the other provincial officials to come to the dedication of the image he had set up. 3 So the satraps, prefects, governors, advisers, treasurers, judges, magistrates and all the other provincial officials assembled for the dedication of the image that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up, and they stood before it.

Da 3:4 Then the herald loudly proclaimed, “This is what you are commanded to do, O peoples, nations and men of every language: 5 As soon as you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipes and all kinds of music, you must fall down and worship the image of gold that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up. 6 Whoever does not fall down and worship will immediately be thrown into a blazing furnace.”

Da 3:7 Therefore, as soon as they heard the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp and all kinds of music, all the peoples, nations and men of every language fell down and worshiped the image of gold that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up.

Da 3:8 At this time some astrologers came forward and denounced the Jews. 9 They said to King Nebuchadnezzar, “O king, live forever! 10 You have issued a decree, O king, that everyone who hears the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipes and all kinds of music must fall down and worship the image of gold, 11 and that whoever does not fall down and worship will be thrown into a blazing furnace. 12 But there are some Jews whom you have set over the affairs of the province of Babylon—Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego—who pay no attention to you, O king. They neither serve your gods nor worship the image of gold you have set up.”

Da 3:13 Furious with rage, Nebuchadnezzar summoned Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. So these men were brought before the king, 14 and Nebuchadnezzar said to them, “Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the image of gold I have set up? 15 Now when you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipes and all kinds of music, if you are ready to fall down and worship the image I made, very good. But if you do not worship it, you will be thrown immediately into a blazing furnace. Then what god will be able to rescue you from my hand?”

Da 3:16 Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. 18 But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”

Da 3:19 Then Nebuchadnezzar was furious with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and his attitude toward them changed. He ordered the furnace heated seven times hotter than usual 20 and commanded some of the strongest soldiers in his army to tie up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and throw them into the blazing furnace. 21 So these men, wearing their robes, trousers, turbans and other clothes, were bound and thrown into the blazing furnace. 22 The king’s command was so urgent and the furnace so hot that the flames of the fire killed the soldiers who took up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, 23 and these three men, firmly tied, fell into the blazing furnace.

Da 3:24 Then King Nebuchadnezzar leaped to his feet in amazement and asked his advisers, “Weren’t there three men that we tied up and threw into the fire?”
They replied, “Certainly, O king.”

Da 3:25 He said, “Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.”

Da 3:26 Nebuchadnezzar then approached the opening of the blazing furnace and shouted, “Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out! Come here!”
So Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego came out of the fire, 27 and the satraps, prefects, governors and royal advisers crowded around them. They saw that the fire had not harmed their bodies, nor was a hair of their heads singed; their robes were not scorched, and there was no smell of fire on them.

Da 3:28 Then Nebuchadnezzar said, “Praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who has sent his angel and rescued his servants! They trusted in him and defied the king’s command and were willing to give up their lives rather than serve or worship any god except their own God. 29 Therefore I decree that the people of any nation or language who say anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego be cut into pieces and their houses be turned into piles of rubble, for no other god can save in this way.”

Da 3:30 Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the province of Babylon.

The key part for today’s topic is:

Da 3:16 Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. 18 But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”

The key for them was that God is able to save them, but even if He doesn’t, we still believe in Him. Our faith won’t change. Actually, I’ve found that it even increases, although not right away. It’s that emotion thing. We may very well not be pleased with God’s response to our prayer. But later, we’ll “recover” and remember everything in this series.

But here’s the difference between them and us. In the Old Testament, rewards and punishments were in this world, if not in their own life. But for us, the important promise is the eternal one.

Therefore, one difference is that we have, in a very real sense, two different prayers for something like cancer – or any other potentially deadly or severely negative illness. One is for healing. The other is for our eternal soul. And the bridge between the two of them is how we live – whether we’re healed or not.

And so, another part of my prayer is for how I live if healing isn’t going to be forthcoming. In my case, my prayer (request) is that if I’m not healed, that I will be able to use God’s power, strength, presence, peace, to continue to live for Him, to teach, and to write.

God created me. Although I seem to have fought Him quite a bit, I finally did settle into the life He planned for me. And it’s been more fulfilling than any successes I had while working in IT. Then, there’s the awesome things to come in the next life. I want to be able to continue to do what I’m doing, to share these things, and to hopefully encourage others to follow Him as well.


I pray this series has been meaningful/helpful to you. Or to someone you know. It helped me. But I hope I’m not the only one. And so, I pray God leads people who need it to read this – or something like it.


Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay


The post The problem of praying to be healed appeared first on God versus religion.

Footnotes

1    McGee, J. V. (1991). Thru the Bible commentary: The Epistles (James) (electronic ed., Vol. 53, pp. 110–113). Thomas Nelson.


This post first appeared on God Versus Religion, please read the originial post: here

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