“So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.” 1 Cor 15:42-44
1 Cor 15:42-44 tells us that our human body is subjected to decay, dysfunction and death. This includes experiencing physical and mental disorders (e.g. genetic diseases, barrenness etc) which may be passed on from one generation to another. Just like natural calamities, physical sicknesses and diseases are the consequences of the Fall.
While Christ has redeemed us from eternal condemnation, believers will still experience physical decay and death on earth. However, the day of resurrection will come whereby believers will put on a new body, an everlasting one that is filled with glory.
While waiting for that day to come, believers have the privilege to draw near to God and experience His healing grace on earth.
How then should we pray for healing?
1. A right view of life
Let us remember that life on earth is temporal. Physical death is inevitable. We need to have a right understanding on the afterlife. We must not cling on to our earthly existence as though we have no other. We must hope in our heavenly inheritance. We must also have a right view of life’s purpose. Scripture testifies that God created us in His image in order for us to know Him, love Him and serve Him. Therefore, our desire to be healed and remained on this earth is to know Him, love Him and serve Him and not because we are unwilling to part with our earthly possessions.
2. A right view of God
God is Maker, Sustainer and Taker of life. He is not our genie. He does not exist to serve us. Therefore we should approach Him with reverence and submission. We should never command God nor hold Him to ransom by His own promises. We must come humbly before Him to seek His will. The joy of every believer is that we can ask God to reveal Himself to us in a personal way. We can pray: “Lord, we want to know You, please heal us that we may experience You power in a personal way.”
3. A right view of the Cross
Christ’s died on the cross to set us free from the penalty and the power of sin. However, the presence of sin remains in this world and the believers continue to battle sin within them (Romans 7). The removal of sin, evil, sickness and suffering from this world will take place in the second coming of Christ. We should let this hope of our salvation cheer us as we pray for physical healing.
At a time of great terrible loss, Horatio Spaffold clung on to the Cross and found comfort even though he had just lost his family members in a tragic ship-wreck. He considered what Christ has done to save him from the greatest tragedy in life, that is eternal condemnation, and penned this wonderful hymn:
In the same way, let us not let our physical condition blinds us from the cross of Christ. Instead, may we always remember our eternal hope in Him. Come what may, our eternity is secured in Christ.
4. A right view of Sicknesses and Diseases
So often when we are sick, our minds are pre-occupied with seeking healing. We fail to pause and consider what the Lord may be saying to us and risk wasting the sickness. Let us take time to seek the Lord and discern the cause(s) of our sickness so that we may pray more appropriately. I have written an article that explores the possible causes of sicknesses and diseases entitled – “Don’t Waste Your Sickness“. Please read it.
5. A right view of God’s Conduit for Healing
Even as we pursue God’s healing grace, know that He can choose to heal us in the following ways:
- Naturally – He is the maker of our bodies. He created our immune system. He is able to restore our immune system and our mental capacities through proper diet and exercise and rest.
- Medically – All knowledge on this earth comes from God. All good medicines are formed through chemical elements or herbs which He created. In His kindness, He has given wisdom and understanding to scientists and doctors and uses them as His conduit for healing.
- Spontaneously – God can also heal us spontaneously even when our immune system is down and when there is no medicine available for our condition. He is able to heal a person in a supernatural way within a second or over a period of time.
It is therefore important for us to embrace all the ways God may bring healing to us and not dismiss any flippantly.
6. A right view of God’s Answers
As we pray fervently, we wait patiently for Him to answer us. He can answer us in the following ways:
- He answers through healing – When King Hezekiah was sick, he prayed for healing. God answered his prayer and extended his life for fifteen more years. Interestingly, God told Isaiah to take a cake of fit and boil it and let King Hezekiah consume it. In other words, God chose to heal Hezekiah through medicinal intervention (2 Kings 20).
- He answers through silence – King David prayed for his sick child born out of adultery. God told king David that the child would die due to the consequence of his sin. King David fasted and prayed for forgiveness and for God’s mercy upon the child. God did not respond to his prayer. When he found out that the child had died, King David came out of his fasting and went into the house of the Lord to worship Him. He accepted God’s will. Many of us will experience the same. We prayed fervently for our loved ones to be healed, but God remained silent. Sometimes God does not reveal His will through words but through the act of taking our loved ones home. We must learn from King David, to come before God and worship Him, saying “Your will be done.”
- He answers in an unexpected way – Apostle Paul prayed and asked God to remove the “thorn in his flesh” for three times. Many scholars believe he was referring to a physical ailment. God answered Paul in an unexpected way. He told him to stop praying about it and to allow that thorn in his flesh to keep him humble and dependent on Him.
God does grant healing in this present age and believers can certainly pray for physical healing. However, God in His unsearchable wisdom does not always choose to heal and even if He does, all healing on this side of heaven is temporal. Every believer will still have to face physical decay and death one day.
So let us look forward to the eternal hope we have in Christ, the day of the resurrection of the dead, whereby we will all put on a new body that will not suffer decay nor death (1 Cor 15)!
By Pastor Rick Toh