PRAYER - HEALING
Scriptures are cited from the King James (Authorized) Version, unless stated otherwise.
Question: Is it proper for the consecrated to pray for physical and mental healing for others and for themselves?
Answer: One who has consecrated his life to the Lord has vowed to put his own will to death, and to take the Lord’s will as his will. As to the consecrated praying for physical and mental healing for others the proper attitude would be “Thy will, not mine be done.” That does not mean, however, that we should not seek to help others who are suffering from physical and mental ailments as we have the means and the opportunity, especially those whom we are responsible for, such as our immediate family, etc. Those of the consecrated who have come to an accurate knowledge of God’s Word recognize that God has set aside a time for the world to receive restitution blessings, and that due time will begin when the earthly phase of God’s Kingdom is established.
For the consecrated to pray for physical and mental healing for themselves would be out of harmony with the Bible. There is not a suggestion anywhere that our Lord’s disciples were healed by Him. While Jesus sent forth His disciples to heal others, He never told them to heal themselves, and they never did. The Apostle Paul mentions several brethren who were sick, and the Lord had mercy and finally healed them, but the Apostle did not command any magic work be done for them, nor give them any aprons or napkins, etc., though he did to others. When Peter’s wife’s mother was sick of a fever, she was healed, but not Peter nor any of the disciples. When Timothy was afflicted with indigestion, the Apostle counseled the use of a little wine for his infirmity. The Apostle Paul himself was afflicted with painfully weak eyes (a “thorn in the flesh”) and prayed for relief, but his prayer was not granted. From the above, it seems as if we not only have a right, but also a responsibility to do anything we can properly do for our physical and mental health, including praying for wisdom as to the proper care of our physical minds and bodies. Whereas a babe in Christ might pray for physical healing in all good conscience, and might be granted an answer as a reward for the faith and prayer, an advanced Christian should recognize that we are nowhere authorized to pray for physical healing for others or for ourselves.
Two Scripture Passages Examined
Two passages of Scripture are relied upon as proof texts to show that it is proper for the Lord’s people to pray for physical healing: (Mark 16: 17, 18) and (James 5: 14-16). Although the Mark passage is genuine, the miracles mentioned in that passage only applied during the time of the operation of the Spirit’s gifts. When the Apostles and those whom they conferred various gifts upon died, the gifts themselves passed away.
As for the statement of James, it is evident from the sixteenth verse that the sickness referred to is recognized as being a chastisement for sins – not a slight sickness, but a serious one, making it worthwhile to call together the elders of the Ecclesia. The implication seems to be that sin lay so close to the door that the sick sinner felt practically cut off from fellowship with God. And under such circumstances we should expect that the sins would be confessed and their forgiveness prayed for, and just so the record reads: “The prayer of faith shall save the sick [from the condemnation in which he was], and the Lord shall raise him up [to health – the restoration being a sign of the forgiveness of the sin]; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him” (v. 15).