How do I receive healing?
- John from Hemet, Ca.
Healing by all means (Part 1)
What a great question! In order to ask it, you must believe that healing is possible and you are right. There are many different types of healing and God specializes in all of them. He is the Divine Physician.
Since Jesus said; "I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly" (John 10:10) healing for our body, soul and spirit is available. Sickness and disease does not provide the abundant life. Jesus did not leave people in their sick beds with the admonition that "this is good for you." Wherever he went, he freely healed those who asked and he sometimes singled out those who did not ask.
The first thing to know about receiving healing is that there is no magic formula. In fact, the formula mentality can be a hindrance. Sometimes people try to receive healing by following something someone did in the past which worked. One, two, three steps and "Bingo" - here comes the healing. But God is fresh every day and though he never changes who he is, he often changes how he works.
Even so, there are principles in scripture that we can look to for guidance in how to receive healing. "Faith" is one of those. Jesus often said; "your faith has healed you" as he did to the woman with the issue of blood. (Matthew 9:22) He also said that "unbelief" hinders healing. In fact, when he was in his hometown of Nazareth the scripture says; "And he did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith." (Matthew 13:58)
Faith is not always involved. Jesus approached the man who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years at the pool of Bethesda and asked him if he wanted to get well. The man really never said yes; he simply explained why he couldn't get into the waters soon enough to receive healing. Jesus said; "Get up! Pick up your mat and walk." (John 5:8) That was that; he was totally cured.
Another admonition regarding receiving healing is found in James 5:14. "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. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up." In this case, it appears that the faith is on the part of the elders who are praying rather than the afflicted person.
Next: What stops healing in its tracks?
Hindrances to healing (Part 2)
Remember yesterday when I recounted how Jesus asked a lame man if he wanted to be healed? Why would he do that - doesn't everyone with an ailment want to be healed? Amazingly the answer is no. Few will admit it because it doesn't make sense but some people cling to their diseases and afflictions.
Years ago a pastor I knew told the story of an elderly man who went forward in his congregation for healing of deafness. The miracle really happened and he could now hear perfectly in both ears. After a few weeks though, his healing became a source of irritation to him. He disliked the noise level and he found he actually preferred the sound of silence. The healing gradually slipped away and in the man's heart that was the way he wanted it.
Sometimes healing does not come because the real root issue is not being dealt with. For instance, bitterness or forgiveness may have caused another condition and healing is being sought for that condition. Really, if the root issue were handled, the condition would clear up. Other times there is a curse active in the situation, either through sin in the person's life or handed down through generations.
Whenever seeking healing, always ask the Holy Spirit about the root issue. Is there anything that needs to be dealt with so that the healing can be received? Always make sure there is no unforgiveness toward any person. Always repent of all sin and bring every curse under the blood of Jesus.
Next: So how do I pursue healing?
Pray and expect (Part 3)
I think it is important to hold a mindset that God desires us to be healed and whole. He cares about cancer and he cares about phobias. He cares about feelings of rejection and he cares about traumatic incidents which diminish our joy, peace and happiness.
When we seek healing we should go to the Lord with an expectant heart. We should look everywhere because we don't know how God may heal us in this particular case. Maybe he will use a doctor. Maybe he will heal us as we kneel down at the altar of our church. Perhaps he will use a friend to speak words of life to us that bring healing for our soul. Or maybe we will be anointed with oil and that will be the turning point.
Do not give up. If you have received prayer over and over with no apparent results, keep going back for more. Some healings are gradual and some are instantaneous. If time passes seemingly unproductive, it is time to cling more fully to God's Word. It is time to build up faith and to develop trust. No prayer goes unheard and God is working his plan, often behind the scenes.
Keep asking. Keep reminding God of his promises. Keep on believing that God is good and "no good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly." (Psalm 84:11b)
Note: For more information on Healing and all the other supernatural gifts read Holy Spirit Gifts - Building Blocks of the Church.