When you or a loved one is faced with a terrible disease, what is the first thing you should do? To whom should you turn? The psalmist declared, "God is our refuge and strength, a well-proven help in trouble" (Ps. 46:1).
The psalms are filled with prayers and cries from people in desperate trouble who rejoiced when God heard their cries and delivered them. You may turn to those prayers and pray them in your hour of need as well, expecting your loving heavenly Father to answer you as well. But sometimes it is difficult to know exactly how to pray specifically in times of crisis. Here are five effective ways I have found to pray when you are facing a crisis.
- Pray for openness to hear God's voice.
After a diagnosis, you may be overwhelmed with unsolicited advice from well-meaning friends or loved ones or from someone who has faced a similar illness. You may also face confusing decisions as to which tests or procedures to undergo or which medical options to pursue. Your doctor may be biased toward a certain treatment option and may be pressuring you to make decisions for which you feel unprepared.
The first step to take at such a time is to pray for God's voice to cut through the din of all other voices and clearly make Himself and His will known. His way will provide the greatest peace and can direct you toward the most effective path for your healing.
- Pray to know how to pray.
Sometimes the confusion can be so great that you may feel at a loss to know how to pray for healing. The Holy Spirit is your heavenly guide—your instructor in the things of God (John 16:13). He is willing and available to show you how to pray. Begin to spend time waiting on God, and ask the Holy Spirit to give you the words to pray.
- Pray for correct understanding of Scripture.
When you understand what God's Word has to say about health and healing, and God's role in that healing process, you will become more effective in your prayers. There are three major biblical truths about healing that you need to accept when seeking God for healing.
First, you must understand that God wants you to be healed! Read the following Scriptures and allow them to sink deep into your heart, building your faith for healing:
- "For I am the Lord who heals you" (Ex. 15:26c).
- "I will remove sickness from your midst" (Ex. 23:25b).
- "The Lord will take away from you all sickness" (Deut. 7:15a).
- "He sent His word and healed them" (Ps. 107:20).
- "For I will restore health to you, and I will heal you of your wounds, says the Lord" (Jer. 30:17).
- "He ... healed all who were sick" (Matt. 8:16b).
- "They will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover" (Mark 16:18b).
- "By His wounds you were healed" (1 Pet. 2:24b).
Second, agree to accept the biblical truth that the price for your healing has already been paid—by Jesus Christ on the cross. When Jesus came to Earth, mankind faced not one but two tremendous needs: We were hopelessly sinful in heart, and our bodies desperately needed healing. Strange as it may seem, while all Christians believe that Christ died on the cross to redeem mankind from sin, some are not sure about God's provision for healing. They have never understood that on the same day Jesus was crucified, He also took upon Himself our sicknesses, providing redemption for the body of man as well as his soul.
If we believe in salvation—through Christ's sacrifice on the cross to forgive our sins—then, according to the Scriptures, we must believe in physical healing as well. The Bible declares of Christ's death: "He Himself took our infirmities and bore our sicknesses" (Matt. 8:17). The terrible price Christ paid on Calvary bought our physical healing as well as our salvation from sin.
Third, the Bible teaches us to persevere in prayer. Too often we expect to receive answers from God instantly, and if they do not appear immediately, we pout and say that God did not hear us. But, as I have mentioned, Jesus taught us to persevere in our prayer efforts. In Luke 18, He told a parable of an unjust judge to illustrate His point. The first verse of that chapter tells us, "He told them a parable to illustrate that it is necessary always to pray and not lose heart" (Luke 18:1). Then He told of a judge who neither feared God nor regarded man. When a widow came to him seeking justice, he ignored her at first, but she kept coming back and crying out to him. Finally, the judge said, "Though I do not fear God or respect man, yet because this widow troubles me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she will weary me" (Luke 18:4b-5).
We must not think we are twisting God's arm to get an answer; He is not an unjust judge. The Scriptures are clear that we often wrestle against unseen enemies that do not give in easily in their desire to defeat us (See Dan. 10 and Eph. 6). Jesus' point was this: "And shall not God avenge His own elect and be patient with them, who cry day and night to Him? I tell you, He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?" (Luke 18:7-8). God places a high premium on developing perseverance in His children so that they can defeat the most stubborn enemy.
Have you prayed to be healed and the answer has not come? Pray again, and keep on praying. Don't give up. Be persistent. How often should you pray and how long should you persevere? The Bible says, "Pray without ceasing" (1 Thess. 5:17). And again, "Pray in the Spirit always with all kinds of prayer and supplication. To that end, be alert with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints" (Eph. 6:18). Be patient. Be faithful. Be determined. Keep praying and believing, and persevere until the answer comes.
- Specifically target your prayers against your disease.
Become informed about your illness. Learn as many specifics as you can. This is where your doctor can help. Arm yourself against the enemy with as much information as you can gather, and then actively pray, using that information to your advantage. For instance, if your doctor tells you a specific artery near your heart is becoming blocked and causing cardiovascular difficulties, then pray specifically for that particular artery, that it will become clear, in the name of Jesus. Or if there is a cancerous growth in your body, find out specifically where it is, and then continually lay your hands on that part of your body, commanding the cancer to shrink and disappear.
- Pray for your own individual pathway to healing.
Perhaps most importantly, pray for God to make clear His pathway to healing—the path He has designed specifically for you. Bring the options that your doctor presents to you before the throne of grace, and ask the Father which way He would have you to go. Remember, God wants you to be healed. As you acknowledge Him, He will give you His peace and will guide you with His Holy Spirit into the way you should go.
This article is an excerpt from Hidden Bible Health Secrets by Reginald Cherry, M.D. Copyright 2017 by Reginald Cherry, M.D.
Reginald Cherry, M.D., has practiced diagnostic and preventive medicine/alternative medicine for over 40 years. Frustrated with the limited number of people he could help, he was led to expand his outreach through ministry with weekly television, books and other materials. He is the author of numerous books, including The Bible Cure and The Doctor and the Word.
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