One of the most challenging tasks pastors have is to explain people why and how they should pray. But pastors are not immune from the same challenges other “non-pastoral” people have. What I’m talking about?
If I will put in one sentence will be: “Does it make a difference in the result if I pray?”
When do people ask that? Because everyone of us have unanswered prayers. Some of our prayers are not so life-decision ones, like help my daughter to perform well in her concert. But there are other prayers that are directed to the omnipotent God to help people to get out of a situation that they can get our themselves. The main topic is physical healing.
Almost all people see sickness as something bad and not a blessing in their life. That why throughout the human history people have researched how to ease pain or heal bodies. Today believers in God or atheists to doctors when something is wrong in their bodies. SO our normal human response is to have sickness as far as we can from our bodies.
Why Christians are struggling then regarding praying to God for their healing? Here is my simple explanation of the struggle. People (Christians or other faiths) believe that God is powerful enough to get rid the evil from us, including any sickness. Jews have seen sickness and health as a result of keeping the covenant with God who wants to see them well. Christians look at Jesus as the perfect explanation of God’s will on earth. When Jesus was asked if He was willing to heal, it implicated that people understood that He can heal, but not sure if He wants to heal. Jesus direct answer to the lepper was :”Yes I’m willing to heal”. Throughout the New Testament accounts we see Jesus healing all that came to Him and sometimes He took the initiative and when where He was not known for his power and healed people.
Later we see the apostles to do awesome miracles in Jesus name. But today we see most of our health related prayers not answered as we expected. The majority of the positive outcome has been when health professionals and drugs have been involved. Some now preach that God uses the health professionals and pharmaceutic products to heal us. And many of Christians are happy to find any sign of improvement to tell others that the prayer is answered.
My questions are:
Who answered the prayer?
Does God answers prayers conditioned by the current development of healthcare-so in more developed countries people get restored more in quantity and quality than in less developed countries?
In my journey as a christian and pastor the unanswered prayers have been the main disappointment people have regarding their faith in God. That’s why need to have deep biblical answers and not the easy one: “According to God’s will”.
Paul urges his followers to know and understand God’s will. God’s will regarding healing shouldn’t be more mysterious that God’s will regarding marriage, parenting, work ethics, relationships between church and state, evangelism, discipleship. When any of the above mentioned topics is not working well, we don’t transfer the responsibility or saying more brutal “the blame” to God. We don’t blame God when the couple divorces, or when pastor’s kids walk in the way of the world, or when people are not discipled in a local church.
Christian prayer should be based on Biblical instruction. There we learn about God’s character and will, the source of good and evil, the ways God wants us to manifest His will on earth and our responsibility to accurately follow Jesus guidelines and the first church did.
Should we consider what we have been taught and believe not accurate biblically and be open to see what the Bible offers us as part of the church responsibility regarding healing AND the role of darkness forces preventing God’s will to be manifested?
I say YES. What about you?