Reverend R. A. Shackles
Can prayer bring healing miracles to pass? This is a highly ambiguous area among Christians in our many variants of church life. Sadly, a misunderstanding on the subject has often encouraged what may create a dangerous conviction. Depending on miracles has tempted many people to ignore the wonders of modern medicine, including the contributions of psychology and psychiatry. Thus many have substituted prayer as the only answer, leading to “religious” refusal of blood transfusions or a belief system predicated on the doctrine that illness is merely a defect of thinking.
Based on the evidence of Scripture, there is no question that healing prayer many times, historically, has indeed produced “miracles” of cure. Still, there are many, countless examples in which despite intense prayer “campaigns” physical healing has not resulted. But, if we understand prayer rightly, that is no cause to lose faith, trust in our Lord’s promise of the benefits of prayer. Often, if not to say for the most part, prayer in sickness is effective for its power to keep us open to the sustaining strength God gives us when we thus put our lies entirely in His Love and Grace.
As one currently in treatment for cancer, I am being cured by the discoveries of modern medicine and I am grateful. Even more, my readiness to trust the medical profession is make sure, as I have made faith the appeal of my prayers. Through prayer, I quickly lost my fear of “the dreaded C-word.” god has filled me with the confidence of His Love that whatever is right for me in His sight is what prayer gives me courage to accept.
In other words, the results in exercising the power of prayer are able to be accepted as what seems appropriate to God’s plan. In any case, the effective prayer is summed up better in trusting God’s Love to sustain and “carry us through” than in tempting our Lord and God by an attitude of, “Heal me, God, or I will refuse to believe you.” That is an antidote not of life but a dose of poison to truth. It is trite, but appropriate to say, “Pray—and believe God loves you, no matter what.” It works.