The Healing Power of Prayer
I am very interested in the Church’s healing ministry, and have been for a long time. It seems to me to be an important part of the life of a Christian that we try to bring healing in various ways to those around us. Healing is not the same as physical cure. It is a bigger idea. Sometimes what counts as healing may be a healing of mental trauma or of relationships. Sometimes we might even count a peaceful death as a healing.
Even so, when we pray for a sick person we are asking God, in many cases, to restore that person to full physical health, and when that doesn’t happen we might feel that our prayers have not been answered. “Where is the power of prayer?” we might ask.
Well, I believe there is a power in prayer which can contribute to healing the physical body. That power is a spiritual power. We are invited to share that spiritual power in our prayers. God invites us to do his bidding in daily life – to help a neighbour in need, to look after the environment, etc. So why should he not be asking us to do his bidding through our prayers?
If you think that sounds a bit vague or airy-fairy, do you believe that God’s Holy Spirit can touch a person – can bring them peace, or a sense of forgiveness, or guide them, or inspire the medics in their work??? Yes? Then why can’t God’s Holy Spirit help restore their physical bodies?
The key point is that we are mind, body, and soul in combination. If something touches your mind it potentially touches all of you. Equally, if something touches your body (as in say a massage) it potentially touches all of you, including your mind.
But while I would argue that our prayers have healing power, they operate in a world where there are rules of biology. If we could side-step those we could live forever – beat all viruses, never hurt ourselves, never get hungry or thirsty, etc. Thus, while God hears our prayers and we harness all the spiritual power God shares with us, some things cannot be. Everything is subject to God’s sovereign will. Sometimes sadly we lose our loved ones, despite a million prayers.