I have been asked, “When I’m sick, should I call my pastor or my doctor?” My answer to this is: Call both!
There doesn’t have to be a conflict of interest between the two. Consult a doctor to find out exactly what you’re are dealing with, and then call your pastor with the specifics so that he will know exactly how to pray.
When you visit your doctor, don’t be afraid to have tests done. This is not a lack of faith. Many tests that doctors perform can help in determining the cause and/or scope of a disease. The information that medical tests provide can empower your prayers against the illness because they provide specifics against which you can target your prayers. However, some tests can also be difficult or uncomfortable to undergo, so the first prayer you should pray is that you know which tests to undergo.
Ask God to give His peace (Col. 3:15) when you pray about certain tests that you are facing. If you feel a continual sense of anxiety or dread every time you think or pray about a certain procedure, it may not be the path God would have you take. But if His peace begins to flood your heart about a certain test or procedure, you can be assured that the divine “umpire” is ruling in your heart, indicating the right course of action for you to take.
‘What If I’m Hospitalized?’
Being in the hospital can be a frightening and often confusing experience. First of all, it is important to resolve the misconception that being in the hospital is contradictory to walking in faith as a believer. Sometimes medical intervention is a necessary step in the healing process. God’s presence goes with you into the hospital just as He goes with you everywhere else. You can exercise your faith in a hospital bed as effectively as you can at home.
What many patients fail to realize is that information is key to making right decisions for their health. Ask your doctor questions. Be sure you understand what courses of treatment are available to you and what the effects are for each possible treatment. Becoming as informed as possible about your disease will help you feel more comfortable in making decisions, and you will know better how to pray.
Sometimes patients have trouble determining when their doctor will make his or her rounds in the hospital so that they can be prepared to ask questions. One suggestion is to call the doctor’s office and ask what time he or she will be visiting the hospital on that day.
Make a list of questions so that nothing important is forgotten.
Finally, remember that the doctor will always present you with the worst-case scenario. That’s his or her job. Instead of thinking of him or her as the bearer of bad news, begin to view him as a messenger of God sent to tell you the truth, to show you how to pray, and to give you the options you need to understand in order to discover your pathway to healing.
An original definition of a physician was a teacher. We need to think of our doctors in that way: They are teachers sent by God to show us the things that we can do in the natural to help prevent or treat a condition. And the knowledge they give us will help us to know more specifically how to pray.