True faith implies equal confidence in the willingness of God to answer the prayer of faith. Any doubt about it will surely be an obstacle on the path towards complete healing. If there is any doubt about God’s will to heal us, there can be no certainty in our expectations.
Mere expectation of acceptance of our prayer is not enough to grapple with the forces of disease and death. When we pray for the will of God for our healing it does not carry the claim that Satan will quit his hold. This is a matter about which we ought to know. If we know it, then we must will and claim it because it is His will.
Has God given us any means by which we may know His will? Most assuredly, if Lord Jesus has purchased healing for us in his redemption, it is God’s will for us to have it; for the entire redeeming work of Christ was simply executing the Father’s will. If Jesus has promised it to us, it must be His will that we receive it. And how can we know His will but by his Word?
More than that, the healing that Jesus has bestowed in the New Testament is His last will and testament. It is secured through His blood and distributed in honour of His sacrifice on the cross. If you are to partake of any of the benefits, you must observe all the terms of this testament. Therefore, all your wishes and desires must diminish when the will of God is known.
The Word of God is forever the standard of His will. The word has declared that it is God’s greatest desire and unalterable principle of action to give every person based on he or she believes. Healing is promised to all who are firm in faith.
Once, I had the opportunity to pray for a woman quite active in Christian missionary work. She returned a few weeks later saying that she was no better. Asked if she had believed fully that she would receive healing, the lady replied that she believed in being healed if it was His will; if not, she was willing to have it otherwise. I told her that when your own words confirm that it is His pleasure to grant healing, she must ask with full expectation of the blessing and wait for it.
Indeed, ought we to ask anything of God until we have reason to believe that it is His will? The word is the intimation of His will. When he has promised it so totally, it is a matter of vexation and mockery to imply a sense of doubt about this willingness.
The very next morning, the lady returned and claimed the promise. She told the Lord that now she not only believed that He could, but that He would and did remove the problem. In less than half an hour, an external tumour of considerable size had wholly and visibly disappeared.
Often there is a subtle confusion in the prayer, “thy will be done”. Such a petition really expresses the highest measure of divine love and blessing. No kinder thing can come to us than that will. And yet we often take it as an inexorable destiny. We have to say with Job, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him.”
Be right with God
We have to make sure that we are put right with God. If our sickness has come to us on account of any sinful cause, we must repent sincerely and confess our sins, turning back to Him as soon as possible. If sickness has been a discipline designed to separate us from some evil, let us at once present ourselves to God in honest self-examination and surrender, claiming from Him the grace to sanctify ourselves and keep us holy.
A tainted heart becomes a ground for a disease. A sanctified spirit is wholesome as it is holy. Make sure that we do not let satan paralyse our faith by throwing us back on our unworthiness, telling us that we are not good enough to claim healing. We never deserve any of God’s mercies. The only plea is the name, the merits and the righteousness of Christ. But we can renounce all our sin and walk so as to please God.
By judging ourselves, we can put away all that God shows us to be wrong. The moment we do this, we are forgiven. “If we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged” (1Cor11:31). “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1John1:9)
Do not wait for forgiveness or joy, but let your will be wholly turned to God, and believe that you are accepted. Then, “draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having your heart sprinkled from an evil conscience and your body washed with pure water” (Hebrew10:22).
When we receive God’s correction and turn to Him with a humble and obedient heart, He may then graciously remove the pain and make the touch of healing a token of His forgiving love. “The prayer of faith shall save the sick and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he has committed any sin, they shall be forgiven him. Confess your faults one to another and pray one for another that you maybe healed” (James 5:15-16).
Often, sickness is a moral malaria contracted by infringing on satan’s territory. We cannot be healed until we step away from the forbidden place and stand again on Holy grounds. Thus, this question of our personal state is a very important element in our healing.
The great purpose of God in all His dealings with us is our highest welfare and our spiritual soundness. To the suffering faithful, therefore, there is no better counsel than the old exhortation from lamentation: “The Lord is good unto them that wait for Him… He doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men… Let us search and try our ways and turn again to the Lord.” (Lamentation 3:25, 33, 40).
Commit and claim
Having been fully persuaded by the Word of God, the will of God and our personal acceptance with God, let us commit our body to God and claim by simple faith His promise of healing in the name of Jesus. Do not merely ask for it, but humbly and firmly claim the healing as His covenant pledge, as our inheritance, as a purchased redemption right. Claim it as something already fully offered us in the gospel and the waiting only for our acceptance to make good our possessions.
There is a great deal of difference between asking and taking, between expecting and accepting.
We must take Christ as our healer not as an experiment, not as a source of future benefit, but as a present reality. We must believe that He does now, according to His promise, touch our life with His almighty hand and bless us with His strength. Do not merely believe that He will do so, but claim and believe that He does touch us and thus begins the work of healing in our body. And then, go forth counting it done, acknowledging and praising Him for it.
We have to prepare ourselves for this solemn act of committal and appropriating faith. It ought to be deliberate and final step. In the nature of things, it cannot be repeated. Like the sacrament of matrimony, it is a sealing of a great transaction. Once we take the first step, there is no question of turning back.
Before we take the step, we should weigh each question thoroughly and then regard it as forever settled. We should step out solemnly, definitely, irrevocably on new ground. God’s promise is our only backing. The deep conviction that it is forever is important here. This gives great strength and rest to the heart. It closes the door against a thousand doubts and temptations. From that moment, there is no room for doubt. God has become our physician. And he will not give His glory to another. God has healed and all human attempts to interfere would imply a doubt in the reality of the healing.
“He himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by His wounds you have been healed” (1 Peter 2:24). I know a cancer patient who was completely cured by claiming His word and praying repeatedly for four months “By His wounds I have been healed”.
The more entirely the act of faith can be complete and committal, the more power it will have. If your faith is tainted with doubt, make special preparations and prayer. Ask God to give you special faith for this act; all your graces must come from God and faith is among them. You have nothing of our own; and even your faith is but the grace of Christ himself. God imparts faith; we simply receive it. This makes the exercise of strong faith a very simple and blessed possibility.
Jesus does not say, “Have great faith in yourself”. But He does say, “Have faith of God”. Faith in God is all-sufficient. We can take Christ for our faith as we, took Him for our justification, for our victory over temptations, for our sanctification. We may then rest in the assurance that our faith has not failed to meet the demands of the promise, for it has been Christ’s own faith.
We simply trust in His name and present Him as our perfect offering, our plea, our faith, our advocate, our righteousness. Our very faith is nothing but simply taking His free gift of grace.
Come and claim His promise. And having done so believe according to His word that you have received it.
By Fr George Panackal
Fr George Panackal or Panackal Achan as he is fondly called, is one of the founding directors of the Divine Retreat Centre, Muringoor, Kerala – the world’s largest Catholic retreat centre. An eloquent preacher and an anointed mighty man of God, the kindly and affectionate priest is much loved by people of all age groups, from all across the world. Fr is the current director of Divine UK – www.divineuk.org