That’s not a trick question… although it can be a tricky question. But it’s not too tricky if you know what’s written in God’s Word.
Let’s ignore the latter part of that question for a moment, and focus on the word pray. The Bible gives us some specific instructions about prayer: to pray about everything, without ceasing, with thanksgiving and faith, in Jesus’ name…
All these things boil down to one major command: we are to pray!
Prayer is our way of communicating with God. But praying to God is not merely speaking words with your lips. It requires the involvement of your entire being. It’s not simply a friendly chat, but a heart expression of total faith in the One who is sovereign over all.
Prayer is communication on the most intimate level.
Prayer is also communication at its fullest.
The word prayer is actually rather broad in its implications throughout Scripture. It can mean conversing, imploring, beseeching, worshiping earnestly, supplicating, petitioning, desiring greatly, entreating, pleading for mercy, interceding, groaning, or sighing.
We are to enjoy this most intimate, most full, communion with God on a regular basis. He tells us to ask, seek, and knock – implying persistence and passion in our prayers:
Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find;
knock, and it will be opened to you.
For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds,
and to the one who knocks it will be opened.
And Paul tells us to offer supplications in every circumstance – implying there is nothing too small or too irrelevant to pray about:
Do not be anxious about anything,
but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving
let your requests be made known to God.
Now, what about praying for healing?
Once again, God’s Word holds the answers. Psalm 50:15 tells us to call upon God in the “day of trouble.” He wants to commune with us, no matter what our circumstances are. He wants us to humbly surrender our suffering to Him, “casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7). And we can surrender them with confidence to our great High Priest, who understands our suffering and is waiting to offer “mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).
God’s Word also offers examples to encourage us. For instance, the Old Testament prophet Nehemiah. He responded to difficulty after difficulty by praying to God for help. Another is King Hezekiah, who responded to a fatal illness by begging God for healing. He was granted an extra fifteen years of life as a result of his prayer. And throughout the New Testament, we see various apostles praying for those who are suffering physically – and God answering those prayers either with physical healing or divine strength to endure through their trial (2 Corinthians 12:9).
You see, wherever there is lack or need, there is reason to pray. For instance, in times of war we pray for peace, and in times of drought we pray for rain. Thus, it follows that in times of sickness, we ought to pray for healing.
So, if we pray according to the standards set forth in His Word – with boldness, humility and reverence, thanksgiving, persistence, passion and expectancy, and surrender – will God answer our prayers for healing?
That’s another tricky question…
Although we must believe God will answer our requests in the way we desire, we must also acknowledge His ways and thoughts are far beyond our human comprehension. Even as we pray expecting God to answer, we must remember that He has promised to fulfill everything we truly need, not simply everything we desire.
And what He determines we need may be different from what we think we need. But remember – He has the helicopter view of our lives, we only have the dashboard view.
Would you want your own way all the time, with your limited knowledge and faulty wisdom? I know I wouldn’t!
So pray for healing. Pray confidently and boldly – but also pray with humility, understanding that God’s ways are not always what we expect. But they are always perfect!
Have you ever prayed for healing? What happened?
For more about praying for healing, read my book Touching the Hem: A Biblical Response to Physical Suffering. (Order on Amazon here.)