The question is so common it’s almost cliche’. I believe God still heals today, so why don’t I see more healing? For many, however, this isn’t merely a theoretical question. They’ve had to bury their loved ones. Their spouse struggles every day with chronic pain. Their child is facing a lifetime of physical limitation. Their friend has lost all their hair from the toxic treatments they undergo to stay alive.
I’m convinced that God does still heal today, that it’s God’s will to heal, that healing is a normative demonstration of the kingdom of heaven, and that Jesus has, in his atoning work, given every believer access to his kingdom authority over sickness.
Yet my own experience doesn’t match my theology.
The tension can be very difficult. There’s such a temptation to resolve the tension between experience and theology by adjusting theology. Maybe it isn’t God’s will to heal. Maybe sickness is a tool in the hands of a sovereign God to develop our character. Maybe God used to heal but doesn’t do that sort of thing much anymore. Maybe now that we have the Bible we don’t need God as we witness him in the Bible.
I refuse to adjust the Biblical standard of God’s self-revelation in the person of Jesus in order to alleviate the tension between my theology and my experience. Jesus healed all who came to him. If they had great faith, he healed them. If their faith was small, he healed them. He never made anyone sick to teach them a lesson. This is what God is like. I will make him no smaller to justify the limitations in my own experience. I will not reduce him to an idol made in my image.
This decision has brought me on a journey. On this path I’ve actually begun to see more miraculous healing than I have before. I still have a long way to travel. But I have learned some things that have helped.
- Don’t blame. It’s not my fault. It’s not God’s fault. It’s certainly not their fault. Fault isn’t the issue. We’re not on a search for who to blame, who to judge as inadequate. Learning to walk in healing is a growth process. It’s not all or nothing. It’s a journey. We expect to see results. We expect to see results increase as we grow. We therefore expect to consistently experience the “room to grow” that’s facing us. This isn’t about blame. It’s a willingness to realistically own our current progress on this journey. If you’re going to blame anyone, blame the devil. The thief comes to steal, kill and destroy.
- Pray for people. I regularly ask groups I teach to raise their hands if they want to see more blind people healed. 90% of the hands in the room shoot straight up. I then ask them to keep their hands up if they’ve prayed for a blind person in the past 6 months. Almost all of the hands immediately drop. One of the keys to seeing healing is to simply pray for healing on a regular basis. Some would argue that they don’t feel the faith for that. They’re waiting until they have more faith. I would argue that faith looks a lot like the bold step to go ahead and pray for someone even when you’re feeling uncertain.
- Check for results. Lot’s of people know how to receive prayer. Fewer know how to receive healing. I love praying a very short prayer and then immediately asking the person to check to see if there’s improvement. They’re often shocked. It hadn’t even occurred to them that we would pray with the expectation that something would change. Checking for results actually sets a new expectation level. Pray again. Check again. It’s amazing how often I see results the second time having reset the expectation level by checking for results.
- Celebrate small improvement. Instead of being focused on the 80% of pain that’s still present, celebrate the 20% of pain reduction. Then pray again. Then check for results again. Repeat as needed.
- Pray short prayers. Long prayers are perfectly appropriate in your prayer closet. When praying for a sick person, I find that long prayers are most often a way to delay checking for results. They are, in those cases, expressions of fear and unbelief. People expect you to labor, strive and pray some long religious sounding prayer. Surprise them. How long does it take to say “Pain, go away in Jesus’ name!”
- Speak to the condition. Many people seem very comfortable “asking” God to heal the sick. This isn’t wrong and I’ve seen answered prayer from that approach. But Jesus spoke to the condition, commanding healing. His disciples followed that same model. I encourage you to try it. Speaking authoritatively to the condition recognizes that we already know God’s will, that Jesus has already finished his work, and that he has authorized us to minister in his name.
- Start now. Assuming that breakthrough in this area will require a process of growth, it would be wise to begin now by praying for the sick whenever you find them. If the time comes that my loved one needs healing, I would prefer not to be a complete beginner at that time.
I’m not an expert, but I’m growing. Hope you’ll dive in and grow with me. If you’re in the DFW area, I’m teaching a 5 session Healing Ministry Training this Friday night and Saturday at our Southlake campus. More info and online registration is available on our site: