[In June 2013] Some 360 doctors and medical professionals from 24 countries gathered in Mexico to examine actual case studies of miracles presented by various respected doctors, but Dr. Alvin Joonha Hwang spoke on the thorny topic of why not all prayers for healing result in miracles. This South Korean doctor is also Professor of Science & Spirituality, Alliance Holiness Theological Seminary, Seoul.
He began by saying, “It is said that only 10% of prayers translate into healing. Some say, ‘If God does not answer us the way we insist He should, we must rest in His all-knowing sovereignty.’ Others say that ‘we need to rethink God’s principles and apply them differently if we are to see different results.'”
“So I’d like to discuss our sovereign God’s principles of divine healing with practical examples.” The doctor went on to share about the importance of persevering faith which does not give up. He added that “intense repentance is effective to remove the barrier to divine healing.” He also taught, “Third, until we receive the kind of faith by which we can receive God’s answers, we must pray on and accumulate the necessary sum of prayer. Fourth, we need to earnestly continue to imitate Jesus Christ and share deeper spiritual understanding and love with Him.”
Dr. Hwang went on to teach on the importance of love, the fruit of the Spirit, and of following the beatitudes. But even if all these conditions are met, one still might not be healed. “This is not because of lack of love or faith, but because of the delay of the answer from God caused by some special reasons according to God’s justice and love,” explained the doctor. “One may be spiritually linked with the sins of other people. That may be the fifth principle.”
Dr. Hwang also said, “Of course there may be many other principles…”1
One other principle
To help explain the disappointing 10% rate of people who are actually healed, we would like to present one other principle which is clearly taught in the New Testament but has been neglected by the Church as a whole.
Our Lord Jesus Christ did not pray for the sick as we do traditionally when we ask the Father to heal the sick. Because His Father had given him power and authority over infirmities, he simply healed the sick—generally by issuing spoken commands of some sort to the infirmity or the infirm person. Authority is not exercised by prayer, but rather by commanding that which is under our authority. Whatever was under Jesus’ authority was forced to submit to his spoken commands.
In Luke 9 and 10 Jesus called his Twelve and his 72 disciples respectively and gave them power and authority over disease and demons. He then sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick. He clearly did not command them to “pray for the sick” as we do traditionally. We see the same pattern in Matthew 10. The disciples actually obeyed his commands, going out to preach the gospel and to heal the sick and cast out demons—using the power and authority He had given them over disease and demons.
Then Jesus promised that those who believe in him would do the miraculous works that He did (John 14:12), especially in the context of demonstrating his identity as the only way to the Father (John 14:6) and his being one with the Father. Now unless one is a cessationist and believes that this power and authority is no longer available today, one can reasonably conclude that present-day disciples should be healing the sick and casting out demons using that power and authority and in the same manner as Jesus did 2,000 years ago. Indeed in The Elijah Challenge we are now seeing this take place before our very eyes as we train the Lord’s disciples how to heal the sick as Jesus did from New Testament Scriptures.
We are now witnessing the beginning of the fulfillment of John 14:12, and are seeing much better than a 10% rate for healing. In some evangelistic crusades conducted by trained disciples, a 100% rate (or very close to it) has been reported.
What about James 5:14-16?
Notwithstanding the argument put forth above, we note that when the apostle James taught about ministry to sick believers he did mention prayer.
James 5:14 Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up.
As a result, generation after generation of believers have been praying for the sick in the time-honored, traditional manner. But as noted at the outset of this article, at best only about 10% of infirm people are healed following prayer. But James taught that “the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up.” There rings a strong note of confidence in that verse, a confidence which is betrayed by the actual results that we see. No matter how you cut it or try to explain it as Dr. Hwang does above, a 10% “success rate” falls far short of what the scripture appears to promise.
For our explanation of this discrepancy, please click on the link below.
1 Abstracted from an article by Dan Wooding, 72, who was born in Nigeria of British missionary parents. Dan is an award winning British journalist now living in Southern California with his wife Norma, to whom he has been married for 49 years. They have two sons, Andrew and Peter, and six grandchildren who all live in the UK. He is the founder and international director of ASSIST (Aid to Special Saints in Strategic Times) and the ASSIST News Service (ANS) and he hosts the weekly “Front Page Radio” show on the KWVE Radio Network in Southern California and which is also carried throughout the United States and around the world. Besides this, Wooding is a host for His Channel Live, which is carried via the Internet to some 192 countries. Dan recently received two top media awards — the “Passion for the Persecuted” award from Open Doors US, and as one of the top “Newsmakers of 2011” from Plain Truth magazine. He is the author of some 45 books, the latest of which is “Caped Crusader: Rick Wakeman in the 1970s.”