Divine Healing – A Scriptural and Practical Approach – Part 2

 

Obstacles to Effective Divine Healing Ministry

Dead Traditions

Some assume that God will do whatever He wants to do and therefore if He does want us well He will do it regardless of anything on our side. While it is true that God is sovereign, and well able to heal even when many of these obstructions mentioned below are present in a particular case, we should seek to remove all possible obstructions from our lives in any case – because they offend God.

Religious traditions in doctrine we have already discussed in part in a previous section. They can form a great barrier to the reception of divine healing. Another form of tradition that we have not looked at is more subtle. It comes from those who are attempting to minister divine healing according to a pattern that they have learned.

If God blesses one method today, it is no guarantee that similar methodology will bring the same blessing tomorrow. Perhaps one day the Lord led the minister to call all those who are sick to the front of the church and lay hands on them from left to right, anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord. People were wonderfully blessed and many testimonies of healing followed.

But if the same procedure was followed every week without consulting the mind of the Lord, it can gradually degenerate into a mindless tradition in which the sick are rarely healed and the same method is followed slavishly without result.

This is only one example. Many could be constructed. The principle to bear in mind here is this: we must follow Jesus and the Spirit of God closely. God is a God of variety. He wants us to depend on Him, and not a method, in our ministries. Jesus Himself could do nothing of Himself, but “only what He saw the Father doing” (John 5:19) Jesus’ methods varied tremendously. At times He even spat on the ground and used the mud so formed to place on the eyes of a blind man, thus healing him. Sometimes Jesus healed with a touch, other times with a word. Other times Jesus simply gave an instruction – “Stretch out your hand”, or “go your way”. Obedience to the Word of Jesus produced healing.

It is so easy for a church to create a dead tradition – even in the matter of healing. This is done by setting up a system of laws, rules and regulations – written or unwritten. When such systems are followed more than the leading of the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit may well choose not to get involved in what is being done. When that happens, nothing of lasting value will be achieved.

Unbelief

Jesus often rebuked his disciples for their unbelief, hardness of heart, doubt and little faith (Mark 4:40; Matthew 28:17). One time Jesus said when his disciples failed to cast out a demon: “O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him here to Me.” (Matthew 17:17).

Unbelief is a spiritual condition of the heart, formed by accepting bad ideas and rejecting God’s Word. Unbelief steadfastly refuses to accept and trust God’s promises, or to really consider that the Bible means what it says. God calls this unbelief sin. “Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God.” (Hebrews 3:12).

When faced with the promises of God concerning healing, a person with unbelief will not rejoice or give thanks. Immediately they will dismiss it, or, if they are Christians, they will look for excuses, raise objections, harden their hearts and allow sadness and hurt to fill their heart.

In Nazareth, Jesus’ home town, where He had been brought up, “He could do no mighty works there … because of their unbelief.” (Mark 6:5,6) If unbelief could limit Jesus in his healing ministry then, it certainly can today.

If a person has no confidence that God will heal them, how can they claim to have no problem with unbelief in this area? How can they say that God should honour their faith and heal them? If when they pray, they have an assurance that nothing will happen, there is a problem with unbelief. They are believing something else more than the promises of God concerning the matter.

There are three kinds of unbelief which hinder the flow of divine healing: personal unbelief, unbelief on the part of the ministers (Matthew 17:20), and general community unbelief (Mark 6:5,6). However, even in these circumstances, it is possible that God will do a work of divine healing anyway. He is Sovereign.

Negative Words and Curses

Romans 12:14
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.

Since there is power in words (Proverbs 18:21), especially those heartfelt words of a believer, it is important that we make positive and not negative pronouncements over people, places and things. A curse is invoked when negative words are pronounced over something or someone. Many factors influence the power or otherwise of a curse. Negative words spoken by authority figures such as parents over a young child’s life can bring a very powerful negative effect on their future. Heartfelt words of doubt, fear, dismay or encouragement from believers or others can have a negative effect also. One activity of witchcraft is that of placing curses on others. A believer who is following God’s divine order can escape, but those with open doors to Satan in their lives may be afflicted. God himself has cursed those involved in idolatry and occultism even to the third and fourth generation (Exodus 20:3-5). In many cases a believer whose ancestors have been involved in such things will have to take conscious steps of renunciation and prayer before the inherited curse is effectively broken from off their lives.

What happens in the spiritual world is this. Negative words are carriers for evil spirits, which are assigned to bring them to pass. Blessings are words of life which God honours and causes good to follow. Satan may attempt to counterfeit blessings, but he always brings a greater curse with the so-called blessing.

The subject of blessings and curses is a vast one, and cannot be properly treated here. It is a reality however that many diseases have as their root cause a curse. In some cases, unless steps are taken to break the curse by verbally renouncing all those elements which gave it the possibility to exist in the first place, healing may be delayed or even stopped.

Curses have been legally dealt with by the work of Jesus at the Cross. However, once again, the legal victory must be practically applied by using the Word, confession of sins, forgiveness of others, detailed renunciation of evil and a bold, faith filled declaration in the name of Jesus. The Holy Spirit is our helper and guide to lead us out of curse into blessing. Only He can uncover some of the elements that may be important for our healing and deliverance.

Unforgiveness

Sin has hurt us all, and sometimes people hold on to resentment in their hearts because of the unjustices they have suffered at the hands of others, even in church life. We cannot expect to receive the blessings of the gospel while we allow any place for unforgiveness, resentment or bitterness in our lives. It is God’s law. Jesus said just after talking about the power of faith these words:

Mark 11:25,26
And when you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive your trespasses. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.

There is nothing like unforgiveness for blocking the flow of grace and blessing to our lives. We must show mercy if we hope to receive mercy from God. Divine healing is grace, mercy and love. It is not something we ought to demand from God, any more than we should demand that He forgive us. No. We should receive it as undeserved grace and mercy to our lives.

Many physical conditions such as arthritis and cancer can be brought on by unforgiveness. This is not the cause in every case, but it is often so. I know a pastor’s wife who was greatly hurt by the way church people treated her. Her unforgiveness brought her to the final stages of cancer. Yet she was healed by forgiving those people and patiently confessing and believing the promise of God’s Word to her. The whole healing took more than a year to fully manifest. How many would have given up first in discouragement?

There are cases when by refusing to forgive ourselves as God has forgiven us we are unable to receive God’s healing. We would be wise to forgive when God does. It is pride not to do so. Pride & Stubborness

These sins can be hindrances to receiving God’s healing. Such a person may not be willing to obey God’s instruction for their own healing. The instruction may be as simple as “Come out the front if you are sick”. I have known people to refuse to come out even when a word of knowledge detailing their condition is given. Then afterwards they come up to you asking for prayer.

A subtle trap is to be proud of all the things you are doing for your own healing. Once we start believing that God will heal us because of what we have done, we are looking to the wrong things. We should be looking to Jesus and his work for us, not to our religious discipline and exercises, even if it be confessing the Word of God.

If we believe that God owes us healing, we could become bitter towards God when we understand that He is delaying in giving us what He owes us. We need to understand that all God’s gifts are due to the undeserved, unmerited favour of God.

Other personal sins

As mentioned before, personal sin needs to be repented of. Attitudes like envy, strife, rebellion, lust and other unconfessed sins and acts of disobedience can block the flow of God’s healing to a person. The thing to do is to confess them, repent of them and make any restoration to others necessary.

Wrong Focus

We are supposed to be “looking unto Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2), but when we look to other things more we can fail to receive healing.

a. If we look more to men than to God, this can lead to disappointment. For all the people healed in some evangelist’s meetings, there are many more who go away unhealed. We must recognise that God is the source of healing and give Him all the glory.

b. If we believe the word of the doctor more than the word of God, we will miss out in many cases. If we look to religious friends trying to ensure we are not going to disappointed by encouraging us not to believe, we may not be disappointed, but we are unlikely to be healed either. Stories of others who were not healed though it was claimed they believed are not going to help our faith. Only God knows the full facts on these cases. Looking to religious doctrines preached by spiritual leaders which emphasize the place of sickness in the life of a believer once again will weaken our faith. God calls all such reports “evil” because they look more to the natural than to the promise of God (see Numbers 14:37 in context).

c. If we consider that what we feel in our body tells us our condition more truly than God’s Word, we can block the flow of God’s power in our lives. We should focus on the promises and declarations of God’s Word, not on our physical symptons. We should think on good things (Php 4:8,9) and focussing on the problem will not help us believe God’s promises. When Peter got his eyes off Jesus onto the wind and the waves around him, he began to sank. We must look to Jesus and act in faith.

d. When we keep declaring negative things concerning our health and healing we often limit what we can receive from God. It is possible to have what you say even when what you say is negative (Mark 11:23). If we say with one breath, “God is healing me” and then we start complaining about our sickness, we reveal a divided heart and a double mind. God wants a wholehearted, trusting, thankful faith.

Negative words can attract evil spirits. We should therefore guard our lips carefully.

 

What do I do if the answer doesn't come immediately?

If the answer doesn’t come immediately, do not be discouraged. Keep seeking God and meditating on the promises. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you what He wants to do in your life. Co-operate with God. Enlist intecessory prayer support and keep taking opportunities to receive ministry through the laying on of hands, especially through anointed, spirit-empowered ministers of God. Don’t let extremists tell you it is always unbelief when you pray more than once about something. Many have been healed gradually, or suddenly after many unsuccessful attempts at ministry.

Hebrews 10:35,36
Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise.

 

What do I do if the problem goes away but then seems to return?

Many wonder why this sometimes happens, but the explanation is quite simple. Often when the power of the Holy Spirit is moving and anointed hands are laid on an afflicted person, the evil spirit responsible for the condition, feeling uncomfortable, is forced to leave. But Jesus said they will try to come back (see Matthew 12:43-45). The evil spirits will be unsuccessful, however, if you fill your life with the Word of God and the Spirit of God through thankfulness, prayer and rejoicing. When they attempt to put the symptoms back on you, simply tell them to go in the name and authority of Jesus Christ. Believe that the mountain of pain will move.

 

What about doctors and medication?

We should have nothing to do with occultic methods of healing such as charms, acupuncture, hypnosis, homeopathy and healing cults which use a spiritual power unrelated to the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Nevertheless, there is a genuine and important place for true medical science which is based on objective research and practice.

Since sickness is a work of the devil, doctors and medical professionals are normally our allies in working against sickness. If someone’s faith is not developed to the point of totally trusting God for healing and health, there may be times when it is very wise and good to go to the medical profession for help. The best thing is to go to God first though, even if there is an emergency and there is only time for a quick prayer before medical professionals arrive. In such situations it helps to have already built the Word of God into your heart for healing. It is a good insurance against premature death (Ps. 91:16).

A person under medical care should not stop taking medicines unless their doctor tells them to. A diabetic who receives prayer ministry should continue to take insulin until the doctors say it is no longer necessary. They should go to the doctor if they get insulin shock in their body because their pancreas is already producing insulin again. A person with eye-sight problems should not destroy their glasses to prove they have faith. But if they find that they can see better without them, they might put them aside or give them to someone who needs them!

Much tragedy and disgrace can be avoided if people will stop doing foolish things in the name of “faith”. We may need medical treatment at times before God’s supernatural healing power has time to work. In any case, it is the Lord who heals, even when medicine and surgery are the means used. When children are refused medical treatment on religious grounds much disgrace can come to the name of Jesus Christ and the ministry of divine healing. Even Jesus told the lepers who were healed under his ministry to report to the priests, who were the physicians of the day (Matthew 8:4). A true healing can be and ought to be confirmed by the medical profession, as a testimony to the power of God and as a guard against self-deception.

 

Who Can Minister Divine Healing?

According to Mark 16:17,18 , any true believer can minister divine healing. Obviously, the believer must believe in divine healing, or he is unlikely to be much use. Pastors, and elders of the church are called upon to visit the sick and minister the prayer of faith in the name of the Lord (James 5:14,15). Evangelists and some teachers and prophetic ministries are called upon especially to demonstrate the power of God in healing and miracles, and to equip believers in doing these things. Men with apostolic ministries are expected to minister divine healing powerfully and consistently because that is just one of the signs of an apostle (2 Corinthians 12:12).

 

What are some principles guiding the ministry of divine healing?

The basic principle is to get people to believe the Word of God by teaching, example and demonstration. In ministering any part of the gospel a minister ought to depend on the Holy Spirit, be led by Him, filled with Him and in communion with Him. As Jesus only did what He saw the Father doing (John 5:19), so all ministers of divine healing should develop their spiritual capacity to perceive what God is doing, where faith exists (Acts 14:9) and how the Lord wants healing ministered.

Another important factor is persistence. Don’t give up until God enables you to minister effectively. Keep studying, praying and asking for the leading of the Lord. Keep laying hands on people believing that something good will happen. Be open to different methods as the Lord leads.

 

How Can a Person become More Effective in Divine Healing?

By humbling oneself one receives more grace and power from the Lord. One way to do this is through much prayer and fasting.

Another way is to work alongside someone who is already ministering divine healing effectively. In this way, there can be an impartation of faith and anointing. Elisha received a double measure of Elijah’s anointing after years of faithful and persistent service.

 

Is Divine Healing Just a Side Issue?

Divine healing is right throughout the Bible, and is more relevant to the needs of men than many other things commonly discussed in church circles – such as predestination vs. free will theologies, end-time events and even the “correct” form of church government.

Divine healing will always play a secondary role to the ministry of the basic gospel message of forgiveness and new life through the atoning death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Yet it is not a side issue. It was a major part of the ministry of the one in whose steps we are called to walk. Jesus suffered for us to enjoy the benefits of divine healing and health. We must not despise the work of the Lord here.

 

Divine Healing and Evangelism

Apostolic evangelism employs healing and deliverance. We see this in the ministry of Jesus and the apostles. Philip, the only man named specifically as an evangelist in the New Testament, was known for his miracle ministry which involved the casting out of demons (See Acts 8:5-8). Jesus never sent out anyone to preach the gospel without at least indirectly implying that they were to heal the sick and cast out demons. See my booklet on “Our Mission as Christians” for more on this subject.

Why you can expect Divine Healing to work easier amongst Unbelievers

Experience has taught me that God is more willing to heal supernaturally when the gospel is preached amongst unbelievers. God will confirm his Word with signs following if we believe (Mark 16:20) and step out in boldness, expecting something to happen.

This is because divine healing is a demonstration of the goodness and compassion of God. It becomes a sign to people of the reality of God and their need to put their trust in him not only for healing and deliverance, but also for forgiveness and a new life.

If you have only ministered to Christians along the lines of divine healing, you may be discouraged by the lack of results. Do not let this discourage you from praying for unbelievers, who are usually easier to get healed. One reason for this is that God expects more from a Christian than he does from an unbeliever in terms of faith. Many Christians have been educated to accept their sicknesses, and are not open to change. An unbeliever however usually has no such religious misconceptions. They are open to receive anything as long as it costs them nothing! A Christian, however, may have been prayed for without apparent result a number of times, and may have gotten to the place where they almost believe they are doing you a favour by letting you also pray for them. In such cases the level of faith and expectancy is almost zero. It is better to wait for a clear indication from God before ministering to such people, or your prayer ministry may actually confirm them in their doubt and unbelief rather than doing any good.

 

Divine Healing and the Kingdom of God

Divine Healing may be regarded as a manifestation of the Kingdom of God. When God’s Kingdom comes to a person, sin, demons and sicknesses are forced to flee. While the Kingdom of God will not manifest perfectly until Jesus comes, we can experience a large measure of its blessings in part. The measure to which we experience these blessings usually depends on the prayer and obedience of the Christian community in the area.

Jesus taught us to pray, “Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” There is no sickness in heaven, so it is always God’s will for us to pray for a removal of sickness from people on the earth, as long as we do it according to the leading of the Holy Spirit.

May God bless you as you put into practice what you have learned here. I would be delighted to hear of the results you obtain in so doing! Praise be to God!

What do YOU think?

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About Michael Fackerell

The Christian faith is about Jesus. He came to save the lost. About Jesus Christ, Bible teaching, Testimonies, Salvation, Prayer, Faith, Networking.

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  1. Very informative,thank you very much.God bless you and all yours.

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