The Lord has called me to equip the body of Christ around the world to heal the sick as Jesus did to demonstrate to the world that He is the only way to the Father. Jesus commanded his disciples to heal the sick in Matthew 10:8, in Luke 9:2 and Luke 10:9 as they proclaimed the kingdom of God. As part of the teaching I always pose the question to the people: which is easier, to pray for the sick or to heal the sick?
If one understands the question and its ramifications, the answer is obviously praying for the sick. When we pray to the Father in the name of Jesus to heal an infirm person, it is God’s decision and responsibility to heal or not to heal. We ourselves do not perform the healing and are thus not responsible for the outcome. All we do is ask. Therefore if the person is not healed, we have not failed and need not feel embarrassed.
In contrast, healing the sick means doing exactly what Jesus did; for example, miraculously opening the ears of the deaf such that the deaf person can actually hear. When we heal the sick, we have a measure of responsibility to perform the healing in Jesus’ name. Attempting to do this, especially in public view, would appear to be fraught with the risk of failure—that is, when nothing happens—and subsequent embarrassment.
But I was surprised time and time again to hear some believers, especially in Third World countries, reply that healing the sick is easier than praying for the sick. I was puzzled, but eventually came to understand this reasoning. The basis for it is Mark 11:24.
Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.
Some believers have applied this verse to receiving supernatural healing from the Lord. The infirm person asks the Lord to heal him. He believes that he has received his healing, that is, that he is already healed regardless of what his body may tell him. In this way the healing will materialize.
One can also apply this same verse to healing the sick. This is how it is done: we tell the infirm person that in the name of Jesus Christ he is healed “by faith.” Whether or not the person is actually healed in reality is immaterial. The infirm person must truly believe that he is already healed. If he truly believes and does not doubt in his heart, he will receive his healing in due time. The person cannot rely on what his senses tell him—for example, that the pain is still there—by his faith he is already healed.
This is the reasoning by which some believers say it is easier to heal the sick than to pray for the sick. To heal the sick, we simply say to the infirm person, “In the name of Jesus Christ you are healed by faith” and then we believe that the person is healed. That is the end of our responsibility; it is settled. If we say it a second time to the infirm person it means we doubt that he is already healed. Whether or not the person is really healed is now up to the faith of the infirm person.
Without a doubt people have been healed by this approach. However, there are some matters that should be raised at this point. The first is that the great majority of miraculous healings done by Jesus Christ as recorded in Scripture does not follow this pattern. Jesus generally did not heal people “by faith.” No, he actually and really healed them on the spot. People were actually healed when he ministered to them. The blind did see and the deaf did hear when he healed them. Only in a few instances as recorded in Scripture were people healed afterwards by their own faith. Yet in today’s church hardly anyone heals the sick as Jesus did. Most believers and ministers, especially in Pentecostal circles, heal the sick “by faith.” And by that we mean primarily the faith of the infirm person. By this definition, healing the sick is very easy indeed.
It is convenient but unscriptural to throw the greater burden of the responsibility for the healing on the infirm person. Whether or not he is healed depends on his faith. The minister gets off practically scot-free. But Jesus was balanced. He would praise certain infirm people whose faith had healed them, but he also taught the responsibility of his disciples to exercise their authority over diseases and demons with mountain-moving faith (Matthew 17:19-20). Many of the instant miraculous healings as recorded in Acts were performed in this manner. But today’s believers are afraid to take the risk of using their mountain-moving faith to heal the sick instantly as Jesus did because of the risk of possible failure and embarrassment. It’s safer to shift the responsibility to the sick person. But this is the very spirit of fear which has brought significant paralysis to the Church in the area of healing.
Within the walls of the Church before believers who understand, one might practice the concept of healing the sick “by faith.” But in the gospels and Acts, miraculous healings were performed instantly so that the lost would put their faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Would healing the sick “by faith” as practiced by some today impress non-believers and draw them to Jesus? They would certainly not accept such “healings” as genuine miracles. For the Church to use miraculous healings as a means of drawing the lost to the Kingdom of God, we must learn to heal the sick as Jesus did, not simply “by faith.”
It is time for balance to be restored to the Church in the area of healing. Because of the spirit of fear and some unbalanced teaching, miraculous healings are rare in today’s Church compared to their frequency in the gospels and Acts. Once we study the Scriptures and understand how Jesus and his early disciples healed the sick, we discover that indeed it is not as difficult and risky as we think it is. Sometimes it is downright easy.