Healing Line

Healing Line

Why You Shouldn't Pray for Healing

by Francis MacNutt
Jan/Feb/Mar 2012

Over the years we have heard many reasons why we shouldn’t resurrect the ministry of healing. One of the most persistent, (you have probably heard it yourself) goes like this:

  Not everybody gets healed and if you present God as if he wants to heal everybody, you are just setting people up for disappointment. Not just any kind of disappointment, but disappointment in God so that your way of promoting healing prayer may strike at the very heart of our belief in God. If we promote false hopes of healing do we really have faith?  

Those of us in the healing ministry are well acquainted with cancer patients in the hospital who are given a grim medical prognosis and then some zealous hospital visitors tell the sick person to have faith that God will heal him, if only he or she really has faith. Then if the sick person doesn’t get well his/her faith may be damaged at the very time when he is dying. Not only the sick person can be hurt in his/her faith but all their friends are too — just when they need encouragement the most.

Over the years we have learned to suffer through these unsettling experiences when friends are desperately sick. But let’s take one problem at a time and answer the person who says we should not encourage the sick to talk about healing. You are leading them, they say, into disillusionment — not only for the sick person but also for all their friends.

I think that the simplest answer to this attitude is to compare it to our own attitude when we seek medical treatment.

Suppose, for example, I was given a grim medical prognosis. The physicians may then recommend a course of painful medical treatment. And suppose the physicians suggested treatment only holds out about a 10% hope of being healed of the cancer. Even still, with physical healing having only a minimal success of 10%, I would still grasp at the treatment held out to me. I would take what I could get, and hope to be in that 10% group that would be cured. I wouldn’t complain that the hope is no better than 10%, but look at the hopeful side of this life–saving medical treatment, fully aware that the certainty of healing is not being promised to me.

One of our most helpful teachings is that there is mystery connected with the healing ministry. I believe that we need to teach optimistically that astonishing things often happen when we pray. I personally believe, although I can’t prove it, that I’m still alive at 86 because of prayer. And my eyesight and hearing are still good. On the other hand, my gait is not so good, and is about what it normally should be at my age.

Our ministry is dedicated to the belief that God still is in the business of healing the sick and this makes it much easier — not more difficult — to believe that God loves us.

The healing ministry convinces me more deeply than ever that Jesus and his power surrounds us and enables us to have the strength to continue on. Believing in the healing ministry does not set me up for disappointment. It gives me hope.

In my spirit I am “walking and leaping and — praising God!” (Acts 3:8b)

Francis MacNutt Francis MacNutt is a Founding Director and Executive Committee member of CHM. Jan/Feb/Mar 2012