Counseling Sheet

Prayer - Its Place in Healing

Agatha M. Thrash, M.D.
Preventive Medicine

God's wish through Christ:

Sickness and death are the common lot of man; yet it is God's wish that His children "prosper and be in health" (3 John 2) that "they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." (John 10:10)

There are many examples that may be cited from the Bible and from current history to encourage the sick to believe that they might also be healed through cooperation with the Life-giver, the Lord Jesus Christ. The successful gardener knows that he cannot expect a bountiful harvest without diligent labor on his part, and that after he has done his best he finds it necessary to pray for rain, or for protection from damage to his crops. So, the truly successful healer must put his wits to work in behalf of the sick, making use of practical remedial agencies, at the same time praying that God will add His blessing to his efforts that the sick might be healed. As the Bible puts it, such workers are "laborers together with God." (1 Corinthians 3:9)

Why sickness?

But there is much more to it than simply praying. There is a divine science in the healing art that necessitates an understanding of healthful living, the cause of disease, and what to do to prevent its repetition should a cure be effected. Solomon declared, "the curse causeless shall not come." (Proverbs 26:2) We know that "sickness does not come without a cause." (AH 22)

Reason from cause to effect:

"Many act as if health and disease were things entirely independent of their conduct and entirely outside their control. They do not reason from cause to effect, and submit to feebleness and disease as a necessity." (MM 296, 297)

Cease violations:

"God cannot bless the one who continues to bring upon himself disease and suffering by a willful violation of the laws of heaven. But Christ, through the Holy Spirit, comes as a healing power to those who cease to do evil and learn to do well." (MH 224)

Careful consideration first:

Only as we live in obedience to His word can we claim the fulfillment of His promises.

"Prayer for the recovery of the sick... should not be entered upon without careful consideration." (MH 227)


"To those who desire prayer for their restoration to health, it should be made plain that the violation of God's law, either natural or spiritual, is sin, and that in order for them to receive His blessing, sin must be confessed and forsaken."

The Scripture bids us, "Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed." James 5:16. To the one asking for prayer, let thoughts like these be presented: We cannot read the heart, or know the secrets of your life. These are known only to yourself and to God. If you repent of your sins, it is your duty to make confession of them.

"Sin of a private character is to be confessed to Christ, the only mediator between God and man. Every open sin should be as openly confessed." (MH 228, 229)

God's promise:

"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:9)

Must be cheerful:

"When wrongs have been righted, we may present the needs of the sick to the Lord in calm faith, as His Spirit may indicate. Because God's love is so great and so unfailing, the sick should be encouraged to trust in Him and be cheerful." (MH 229)

Our prayer:

In prayer for the sick it should be remembered that 'we know not what to pray for as we ought.' (Romans 8:26) ... Therefore our prayers should include this thought: Lord, thou knowest every secret of the soul. Thou art acquainted with these persons.... If, therefore, it is for Thy glory and the good of the afflicted ones, we ask, in the name of Jesus, that they may be restored to health. If it be not Thy will that they be restored to health, we ask that Thy grace may comfort and Thy presence sustain them in their sufferings." (MH 229)

Use remedial agencies:

"Those who seek healing by prayer should not neglect to make use of the remedial agencies within their reach. It is not a denial of faith to use such remedies as God has provided to alleviate pain and to aid nature in her work of restoration. It is no denial of faith to co-operate with God, and to place themselves in the condition most favorable to recovery." (MH 231-232)

"While He did not give countenance to drug medication, He sanctioned the use of simple and natural remedies." (MH 233)

Inspire faith:

Without faith it is impossible to please God. Faith begets faith. Let the one who treats the sick tell what God has done for him in response to prayer. Let him encourage the sick to dwell upon the stories of divine healing as recorded in the Bible, especially those which most nearly fit his case. As they experience vicariously the feelings of those thus portrayed, faith will invigorate their souls. It is a gift of God. Let this be the prayer of every truehearted worker for whom he labors: "The very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." (1 Thessalonians 5:23)

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Seale, Alabama 36875