Jul 23, 2009

Faith to Heal

Hi Tom, I know you are super busy. You do not have to get back to me any time soon. On the way home, last night, I brought up something and I want to find out your thoughts on it. While being trained, for the prayer team, it was drilled into us never to insinuate that the person is not being healed due to a lack of their faith. If we were to ever tell a person, already suffering, that they lacked enough faith to be healed, it would crush them. We have always been told that it the person praying (the pray-er) that needs the faith. But, Smith Wigglesworth seems to constantly repeat that it is the (pray-ee’s) faith that enables the healing. In what I have read so far, prior to praying for anyone, he asks them if they have the faith for it. He even quotes scripture about believing when asking. If I really think about it, I don’t think these 2 ways are opposites, just different approaches. But, as a pastor and student, what are your thoughts? How would you discern the path between these 2 ways? Thanks, Matt

Matt; Good question. I think that you are right that it isn't either or but, perhaps, both. Here is my answer to your question.
First of all, God is SOVEREIGN; He does whatever He wants to Psalm 115:3 But our God is in the heavens: He does whatever He pleases.

Jesus said we should ask for God’s will to be done; Mat 6:9 Therefore pray in this way: Our Father, who is in Heaven, Hallowed be Your name. 10 Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.

And we shouldn't add condemnation to someone doesn't get healed simply because that isn't the way God chose to respond. I believe that Smith's daughter was never healed of her deafness in spite of all of his faith and prayers. There are examples in scripture where Jesus answers prayer because of OTHER PEOPLE’S FAITH who believed that Jesus could heal someone who was sick: Luke 7:8 For I also am a man set under authority, having under me soldiers. And I say to one, Go, and he goes; and to another, Come, and he comes; and to my servant, Do this, and he does it. 9 And hearing these things, Jesus marveled at him. And turning to the crowd following Him, He said, I say to you, I have not found such faith, no, not in Israel. Mat 9:2 And behold, they brought to Him a paralytic, lying on a bed. And Jesus, seeing their faith, said to the paralytic, Child, be of good cheer. Your sins are forgiven you. Mat 15:28 Then Jesus answered and said to her, O woman, great is your faith! So be it to you even as you wish. And her daughter was healed from that very hour.

There are examples in scripture where Jesus answers prayer because of THE FAITH OF THE ONE WHO WAS SICK who believed that Jesus could heal: Mat 9:22 But turning and seeing her, Jesus said, Daughter, be comforted; your faith has saved you. And the woman was saved from that hour.
Mat 9:29 Then He touched their eyes, saying, According to your faith let it be to you. Mat 17:20 And Jesus said to them, Because of your unbelief. For truly I say to you, If you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you shall say to this mountain, Move from here to there. And it shall move. And nothing shall be impossible to you.

I think that it is a combination of BOTH the pray(er) and the person receiving prayer that makes things happen “more successfully”. I it is certainly much easier to pray WITH someone that FOR someone. There is power in agreement. This passage is referring to forgiveness, but I think that it can be applicable:

Mat 18:18 Truly I say to you, Whatever you shall bind on earth shall occur, having been bound in Heaven; and whatever you shall loose on earth shall occur, having been loosed in Heaven. 19 Again I say to you that if two of you shall agree on earth as regarding anything that they shall ask, it shall be done for them by My Father in Heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered together in My name, there I am in their midst.

Jesus challenged His disciples to have faith: Luke 8:25 And He said to them, Where is your faith? And being afraid, they marveled, saying to one another, Who then is this One? For He commands even the winds and water, and they obey Him!

Jesus Challenged them to use the faith they have: Luke 17:5 And the apostles said to the Lord, Give us more faith. 6 And the Lord said, If you had faith as a grain of mustard seed, you might say to this sycamore tree, Be rooted up and be planted in the sea! And it would obey you. Luke 9:40 And I begged Your disciples to cast him out, and they could not. 41 And answering, Jesus said, O unbelieving generation, one having been perverted, how long shall I be with you and endure you? Bring your son here.

Matthew records the story this way: Mar 9:19 He answered him and said, O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him to Me! 20 And they brought him to Him. And when he saw Him, the spirit immediately convulsed him. And he fell on the ground and wallowed, foaming. 21 And He asked his father, How long ago has it been since this came to him? And he said, From childhood. 22 And oftentimes it has cast him into the fire and into the waters to destroy him. But if You can do anything, have compassion on us and help us. 23 Jesus said to him, If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes. 24 And immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief. 25 And seeing that a crowd is running together, Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to him, Dumb and deaf spirit, I command you, come out of him and enter no more into him! 26 And the spirit cried out, throwing him into convulsions, and came out of him. And he was like one dead, so that many said, He is dead. 27 But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose. 28 And He entering into a house, His disciples asked Him privately, Why could we not cast him out? 29 And He said to them, this kind can come out by nothing except by prayer and fasting.

Again, God is SOVEREIGN; He does whatever He wants to Psalm 115:3 But our God is in the heavens: He does whatever He pleases.

I hope this helps. Tom Oestreich

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