Table Charismata Matters

Monday, July 29, 2013

Quotes on Divine [Physical] Healing

posted 4/6/2015

It is also argued that because "there is healing in the atonement," as the slogan puts it, every believer has the right to avail himself or herself to the healing benefit secured by the cross. Sadly, noncharismatics have sometimes responded to this by denying that there is healing in the atonement – a position that can be defended only by the most strained exegesis. Of course there is healing in the atonement. In exactly the same sense, the resurrection body is also in the atonement – even though neither charismatic nor noncharismatic argues that any Christian has the right to demand a resurrection body right now. The issue is not "what is in the atonement," for surely all Christians would want to say that every blessing that comes to us, now and in the hereafter, ultimately flows from the redemptive work of Christ. The issue, rather, is what blessings we have a right to expect as universally given endowments right now, what blessings we may expect only hereafter, and what blessings we may partially or occasionally enjoy now and in fullness only in the hereafter.-
D. A. Carson, Showing the Spirit: A Theological Exposition of 1 Corinthians 12-14; Baker Books, 2000 (original: 1987); p. 175-176 [as copied from Vincent Cheung's Biblical Healing (2012), p. 9]

All Christians would probably agree that in the atonement Christ has purchased for us not only complete freedom from sin but also complete freedom from physical weakness and infirmity in his work of redemption. And all Christians would also no doubt agree that our full and complete possession of all the benefits that Christ earned for us will not come until Christ returns: it is only "at his coming" (1 Cor. 15:23) that we receive our perfect resurrection bodies. So it is with physical healing and redemption from the physical sickness that came as a result of the curse in Genesis 3: our complete possession of redemption from physical illness will not be ours until Christ returns and we receive resurrection bodies...When people say that complete healing is 'in the atonement,' the statement is true in an ultimate sense, but it really does not tell us anything about when we will receive 'complete healing' (or any part of it).- Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology; Zondervan Publishing House, 1994; p. 1063. [as copied from Vincent Cheung's Biblical Healing (2012), p. 9-10]

Christ  suffered  and  died  so  that  disease  would  one  day  be utterly destroyed. Disease and death were not part of God’s original  way  with  the  world.  They  came  in  with  sin  as  part  of God’s  judgment  on  creation.  The  Bible  says,  “The  creation  was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope” (Romans 8:20). God subjected the world to the futility of physical pain to show the horror of moral evil.

This futility included death. “Sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin” (Romans 5:12). It included all the groaning of disease. And Christians are not excluded: “Not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit [that is, those who trust Christ], groan inwardly as we wait eagerly  for  adoption  as  sons,  the  redemption  of  our  bodies” (Romans 8:23).

But all this misery of disease is temporary. We look forward to a time when bodily pain will be no more. The subjection of creation to futility was not permanent. From the very beginning of his judgment, the Bible says God aimed at hope. His final purpose was this: “that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God” (Romans 8:21).

When  Christ  came  into  the  world,  he  was  on  a  mission  to accomplish this global redemption. He signaled his purposes by healing  many  people  during  his  lifetime.  There  were  occasions when  the  crowds  gathered  and  he  “healed  all  who  were  sick” (Matthew 8:16; Luke 6:19). This was a preview of what was coming at the end of history when “he will wipe away every tear from their  eyes,  and  death  shall  be  no  more,  neither  shall  there  be mourning nor crying nor pain anymore” (Revelation 21:4).

The way Christ defeated death and disease was by taking them on himself and carrying them with him to the grave. God’s judgment on the sin that brought disease was endured by Jesus when he suffered and died. The prophet Isaiah explained the death of Christ with these words: “He was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5).  The  horrible  blows  to  the  back  of  Jesus  bought  a  world without disease.

One  day  all  disease  will  be  banished  from  God’s  redeemed  creation.  There  will  be  a  new earth.  We  will  have  new  bodies. Death  will  be  swallowed  up  by  everlasting  life  (1 Corinthians 15:54;  2  Corinthians  5:4).  “The  wolf  and  the  lamb  shall  graze together; the lion shall eat straw like the ox” (Isaiah 65:25). And all who love Christ will sing songs of thanks to the Lamb who was slain to redeem us from sin and death and disease.- John Piper, The Passion of Jesus Christ chapter 18

"And while we recognize the doctrine of the Divine Sovereignty, to which we have elsewhere  referred, this should no more prevent our asking in faith for the healing of our bodies than the doctrine of election should prevent our asking with the fullest assurance for the salvation of our souls. These observations in this closing chapter, let it be remembered, are especially for such as maybe called to exercise the ministry of healing. If there are those who desire this office we believe they should seek with all their heart the consecration, the separation from the world, and the surrender to God's will, which the Scriptures enjoin as conditions of prevailing prayer."- The Ministry of Healing by A.J. Gordon, from the chapter "Conclusion"

But have they no sickness? Yes, but they commit themselves to Jehovah-Rophi, the Lord, the Healer, and He either heals their sickness, or gives them the grace to endure it.- Charles Spurgeon, sermon #3059

Morning and Evening: Daily Readings

September 2


 "But Simon's wife's mother lay sick of a fever, and anon they tell him of her."-  Mark 1:30

   Very interesting is this little peep into the house of the Apostolic  Fisherman. We see at once that household joys and cares are no hindrance to the full exercise of ministry, nay, that since they
   furnish an opportunity for personally witnessing the Lord's gracious work upon one's own flesh and blood, they may even instruct the teacher better than any other earthly discipline. Papists and other sectaries may decry marriage, but true Christianity and household life agree well together. Peter's house was probably a poor fisherman's hut, but the Lord of Glory entered it, lodged in it, and wrought a miracle in it. Should our little book be read this morning in some very humble cottage, let this fact encourage the inmates to seek the company of King Jesus. God is oftener in little huts than in rich palaces. Jesus is looking round your room now, and is waiting to be gracious to you. Into Simon's house sickness had entered, fever in a deadly form had prostrated his mother-in-law, and as soon as Jesus came they told him of the sad affliction, and he hastened to the patient's bed. Have you any sickness in the house this morning? You will find Jesus by far the best physician, go to him at once and tell him all about the matter. Immediately lay the case before him. It concerns one of his people, and therefore will not be trivial to him. Observe, that at once the Saviour restored the sick woman; none can heal as he does. We may not make sure that the Lord will at once remove all disease from those we love, but we may know that believing prayer for the sick is far more likely to be followed by restoration than anything else in the world; and where this avails not, we must meekly bow to his will by whom life and death are determined. The tender heart of Jesus waits to hear our griefs, let us pour them into his patient ear.- Charles Spurgeon, Morning and Evening, morning September 2

"But I have even brought disease upon myself by sin," says another. "There is a kiss for you, for I am Jehovah-Rophi, the Lord that healeth thee, who forgiveth all thine iniquities, who healeth all thine diseases."- Charles Spurgeon, sermon #2236

[[This may not refer to physical sickness but rather spiritual sickness- AP]]

If thou askest for coarse meal, wilt thou be angered because He gives thee the finest flour? If thou seekest bodily health, shouldst thou complain if instead thereof He makes thy sickness turn to the healing of spiritual maladies? Is it not better to have the cross sanctified than removed? This evening, my soul, forget not to offer thy petition and request, for the Lord is ready to grant thee thy desires."- Charles Spurgeon, Morning and Evening, evening November 3

[[This is representative of the many times Spurgeon teaches that the healing of the soul is more important than the healing of the body.  And that sometimes God may use sickness as a means to by which to lead people to consider their need for spiritual healing.- AP]]

We do not pray because we doubt, but because we believe. To pray unbelievingly is unbecoming in the Lord's children. No, Lord, we cannot doubt thee: we are persuaded that every word of thine is a sure foundation for the boldest expectation. We come to thee and say, "Do as thou hast said." Bless thy servants house. Heal our sick; save our hesitating ones; restore those who wander; confirm those who live in thy fear. Lord, give us food and raiment according to thy word. Prosper our undertakings; especially succeed our endeavors to make known thy gospel in our neighborhood. Make our servants thy servants, our children thy children. Let the blessing flow on to future generations, and as long as any of our race remains on earth may they remain true to thee. O Lord God "let the house of thy servant be blessed." - Charles Spurgeon, Faith's Checkbook, October 22

[[This may not refer to physical sickness but rather spiritual sickness- AP]]

A few short weeks may reduce the strong man to a skeleton. Consumption may set in, the cheek may pale with the shadow of death. Let not the strong man glory in his strength. The Lord "delighteth not in the strength of the horse: he taketh not pleasure in the legs of a man." And let us not make our boast concerning these things. Say, thou that are in good health, "My God, bless me indeed. Give me the healthy soul. Heal me of my spiritual diseases. Jehovah Rophi come, and purge out the leprosy that is in my heart by nature: make me healthy in the heavenly sense, that I may not be put aside among the unclean, but allowed to stand amongst the congregation of thy saints. Bless my bodily health to me that I may use it rightly, spending the strength I have in thy service and to thy glory; otherwise, though blessed with health, I may not be blessed indeed." Some of you, dear friends, do not possess the great treasure of health. Wearisome days and nights are appointed you. Your bones are become an almanac, in which you note the changes of the weather. There is much about you that is fitted to excite pity. But I pray that you may have the blessing indeed, and I know what that is. I can heartily sympathise with a sister that said to me the other day, "I had such nearness to God when I was sick, such full assurance, and such joy in the Lord, and I regret to say I have lost it now; that I could almost wish to be ill again, if thereby I might have a renewal of communion with God." I have oftentimes looked gratefully back to my sick chamber. I am certain that I never did grow in grace one half so much anywhere as I have upon the bed of pain. It ought not to be so. Our joyous mercies ought to be great fertilizers to our spirit; but not unfrequently our griefs are more salutary than our joys. The pruning knife is best for some of us. Well, after all, whatever you have to suffer, of weakness, of debility, of pain, and anguish, may it be so attended with the divine presence, that this light affliction may work out for you a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, and so you may be blessed indeed.- Charles Spurgeon, sermon #994

We shall try, this morning, to set forth before you, by the help of the Divine Spirit, this grand Character of God, that He is the God that heals us. First, we shall notice the healing of our circumstances, dwelling upon that in order the better to set forth the greater fact, “I am the Lord that heals you.” Secondly, we shall remember the healing of our bodies which is here promised to obedient Israel and we shall set forth that Truth of God, in order to bring out our third point, which is the healing of our souls. “I am the Lord that heals you”—not your circumstances, only, nor your bodily diseases, only, but yourself, your soul, your truest self—for there is the worst bitterness, there is the sorest disease and there shall the grandest power of God be shown to you and to all who know you....................II. Let us now proceed a step further. As we have spoken of God’s healing our circumstances, so now we have to think of THE LORD’S HEALING OUR BODIES. Why are diseases and pains left in the bodies of God’s people? Our bodies are redeemed, for Christ has redeemed our entire manhood, but if Christ is in us, the body is still dead because of sin, even though the spirit is alive because of righteousness. It is not till the Resurrection that we shall enjoy the full result of the redemption of the body. Resurrection will accomplish for our bodies what regeneration has done for our souls. We were born again. Yes, but that Divine work was exercised only upon our spiritual nature—our bodies were not born again—therefore they still abide under the liability of disease, decay and death, though even these evils have been turned into blessings....................Even to this day the body is under death because of sin and is left so on purpose to remind us of the effects of sin—that we may feel within ourselves what sin has done—and may the better guess at what sin would have done if we had remained under it, for the pains of Hell would have been ours forever. These griefs of body are meant, I say, to make us remember what we owe to the redemption of our Lord Jesus, and so to keep us humble and grateful. Aches and pains are also sent to keep us on the wing for Heaven, even as thorns in the nest drive the bird from its sloth. They make us long for the land where the inhabitant shall no more say, “I am sick.” Yet the Lord does heal our bodies. First He heals them by preventing sickness. A prevention is better than cure. The text says, “If you will diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord, your God, and will do that which is right in His sight, and will give ear to His commandments, and keep all His statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon you, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the Lord that heals you.” It is concerning this same healing Lord that we read, “.......there shall no evil befall you, neither shall any plague come near your dwelling.” ....................But we see this healing hand of the Lord more conspicuously when, like Hezekiah, we have been sick and have been restored. Sometimes we lie helpless and hopeless like dust ready to return to its fellow dust. We are incapable of exertion and ready to be dissolved. Then if the Lord renews our youth and takes away our sickness, we praise His name—and so we ought! It is not the doctor; it is not the medicine—these are but the outward means—it is the Lord who is the true Physician and unto Jehovah-Rophi be the praise! “I am the Lord that heals you.” Let those of us that have been laid aside and have been again allowed to walk abroad, lift up our hearts and our voices in thanksgiving to the Lord who forgives all our iniquities, who heals all our diseases! According to the analogy of the healing of Marah, the Lord does this by means, for He cast a tree into the water. Those who will use no medicine, whatever, certainly have no Scriptural warrant for their conduct....................The use of means is not to hinder faith, but to try it. Still, it is the Lord who works the cure and this is the point which is so often forgotten. Oh, come, let us sing unto Jehovah who has said—“I am the Lord that heals you”! Do not attribute to secondary means that which ought to be ascribed to God! His fresh air, warm sun, or bracing wind and refreshing showers do more for our healing than we dream of, or if medicine is used, it is He who gives virtue to the drugs and so, by His own Almighty hands, works out our cure....................This should also be a further proof to us that if He can heal our bodies, the Lord can heal our souls! If this poor worm’s meat, which so readily decays, can be revived, so can the soul which is united to Christ and quickened with His life! And if the Almighty Lord can cast out evils from this poor dust and ashes which must ultimately be dissolved, much more can He cast out all manner of evils from that immaterial spirit which is yet to shine in the brightness of the Glory of God! Therefore, both from His healing your souls and from His healing your bodies, gather power to believe in the fact that He will heal your mental, moral and spiritual diseases!- Charles Spurgeon, [updated language] sermon #1664 [See Sermon JEHOVAH-ROPHI to read Spurgeon's second point regarding physical healing in its entirety]

 "Great multitudes followed him, and he healed them all."

  Matthew 12:15

   What a mass of hideous sickness must have thrust itself under the eye
   of Jesus! Yet we read not that he was disgusted, but patiently waited
   on every case. What a singular variety of evils must have met at his
   feet! What sickening ulcers and putrefying sores! Yet he was ready for
   every new shape of the monster evil, and was victor over it in every
   form. Let the arrow fly from what quarter it might, he quenched its
   fiery power. The heat of fever, or the cold of dropsy; the lethargy of
   palsy, or the rage of madness; the filth of leprosy, or the darkness of
   ophthalmia--all knew the power of his word, and fled at his command. In
   every corner of the field he was triumphant over evil, and received the
   homage of delivered captives. He came, he saw, he conquered everywhere.
   It is even so this morning. Whatever my own case may be, the beloved
   Physician can heal me; and whatever may be the state of others whom I
   may remember at this moment in prayer, I may have hope in Jesus that he
   will be able to heal them of their sins. My child, my friend, my
   dearest one, I can have hope for each, for all, when I remember the
   healing power of my Lord; and on my own account, however severe my
   struggle with sins and infirmities, I may yet be of good cheer. He who
   on earth walked the hospitals, still dispenses his grace, and works
   wonders among the sons of men: let me go to him at once in right

   Let me praise him, this morning, as I remember how he wrought his
   spiritual cures, which bring him most renown. It was by taking upon
   himself our sicknesses. "By his stripes we are healed." The Church on
   earth is full of souls healed by our beloved Physician; and the
   inhabitants of heaven itself confess that "He healed them all." Come,
   then, my soul, publish abroad the virtue of his grace, and let it be
   "to the Lord for a name, for an everlasting sign which shall not be cut
   off."- Charles Spurgeon, Morning and Evening, morning May 7

[[Spurgeon moves from the topic of physical healing to spiritual healing. Given the previous quotations I've cited, it appears that Spurgeon saw the healing in the atonement as covering both physical and spiritual healing- AP]]

"It pleased the Lord, I think, to give me in some cases something like the gift (not grace) of faith, so that unconditionally I could ask and look for an answer. The difference between the gift and the grace of faith seems to me this. According to the gift of faith I am able to do a thing, or believe that a thing will come to pass, the not doing of which, or the not believing of which would not be sin; according to the grace of faith I am able to do a thing, or believe that a thing will come to pass, respecting which I have the word of God as the ground to rest upon, and, therefore, the not doing it, or the not believing it would be sin. For instance, the gift of faith would be needed, to believe that a sick person should be restored again, though there is no human probability: for there is no promise to that effect; the grace of faith is needed to believe that the Lord will give me the necessaries of life, if I first seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness: for there is a promise to that effect. (Matt. vi. 33.)" - George Müller

I maintain that Satan produces all the maladies which afflict mankind, for he is the prince of death. St Peter speaks of Christ as healing all that are oppressed of the devil. He not only cured those who were possessed, but he restored sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, speech to the dumb, strength to the paralytic; therefore I think all grave infirmities are blows and strokes of the devil, which he employs as an assassin uses the sword or other weapon. So God employs natural means to maintain the health and life of man, such as sleep, meat, drink, etc. The devil has other means of injury; he poisons the air, etc.- Martin Luther, Table Talk

Second, Jehovah-rapha means "the LORD who heals you." This is the expression that A.B. Simpson picked up and gave meaning to so it could shine through again. "I am the Lord who heals you." We do not see much or hear much about that now. The doctrine of divine healing is divided into two classes: those who are making a circus out of it, and the discouraged people who are trying to believe and take pills to beat sickness. There is very little of real knowledge of Jehovah-rapha, the God who heals, anymore.- A.W. Tozer, Rut, Rot or Revival: The Problem of Change and Breaking out of the Status Quo

They make themselves ridiculous, therefore, by pretending that they are endued with the gift of healing. The Lord, doubtless, is present with his people in all ages, and cures their sicknesses as often as there is need, not less than formerly; and yet he does not exert those manifest powers, nor dispense miracles by the hands of apostles, because that gift was temporary, and owing, in some measure, to the ingratitude of men, immediately ceased. - John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, book IV, chapter 19, section 19

Neither are men to be trusted in for the health of the body, any more than for the protection of lives and properties; physicians may be made use of, but not to be confided in; Asa's sin was, "that he sought not to the Lord" for the cure of his bodily disease, "but to the physicians"; only, in them he put his confidence, to the neglect of the great Physician of soul and body (2   Chron 16:12). - John Gill, Body of Practical Divinity, Book I, chapter 7 Of Trust and Confidence in God

 For our health, and for the continuance of it, and for restoration to it when it has been interrupted; health is a very valuable mercy, and without which the outward blessings of life cannot be comfortably enjoyed; and therefore is greatly to be desired, both by ourselves and for our friends; thus the apostle John wished for Gaius, that he might “prosper and be in health, even as his soul prospered” (3 John 1:2), and persons favored with such a mercy have reason to be thankful; as also when it has been lost and restored again; thus Hezekiah, when recovered from his sickness, said, “The living, the living, he shall praise thee, as I do this day” (Isa. 38:9, 19), and a contrary behavior, as it very unbecoming, is justly resented; as in the of the ten lepers (Luke 17:15-18).- John Gill, Body of Practical Divinity, Book I, chapter 13 Of Thankfulness to God

4c1c. Keeping off diseases from them, and healing of them according to the promise, “He shall deliver thee from the noisome pestilence—neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling; for he shall give his angels charge over thee” &c. (Ps. 91:3, 7, 10, 11), and if evil angels can, by divine permission, inflict diseases, as appears from the case of Job, and doubtless they would oftener do it, was it not for the interposition of good angels, why may not good angels be thought capable of healing diseases? and those many strange and wonderful cures wrought when all means have been ineffectual, may be ascribed, at least many of them, to the good offices of angels in directing to simple things, whose nature and virtue they are well acquainted with; and even they have cured diseases in a miraculous way, witness the pool of Bethesda, whose healing virtue for all diseases was owing to the agitation of its waters by an angel (John 5:4). - John Gill, A Body of Doctrinal Divinity, Book III, chapter 2 Of the Creation of Angels

 John Walvoord, the former President of Dallas Theological Seminary, understands the gift of miracles to be “the power to perform miracles at will in the name of Christ.” Therefore he holds that the gift of miracles has ceased. But he still argues that we can pray for miracles today: “A Christian can still appeal to God to do wonders, and God does answer prayer. God can still heal and even raise the dead if he chooses, but these miracles are sovereign and individual....While therefore the gift of miracles is not part of the present program of God, the power of God to perform miracles must be affirmed” (The Holy Spirit [Wheaton, Ill.: Van Kampen, 1954], pp. 179–80). - Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Bible Doctrine, chapter 17 Miracles, footnote 35

5. How Then Should We Pray for Healing? How then should we pray regarding physical illness? Certainly it is right to ask God for healing, for Jesus tells us to pray, “Deliver us from evil” (Matt. 6:13), and the apostle John writes to Gaius, “I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in health” (3 John 2). Moreover, Jesus frequently healed all who were brought to him, and he never sent people away, telling them it would be good for them to remain ill for a longer time! In addition to this, whenever we take any kind of medicine or seek any medical help for an illness, by those actions we admit that we think it to be God’s will that we seek to be well. If we thought that God wanted us to continue in our illness, we would never seek medical means for healing! So when we pray it seems right that our first assumption, unless we have specific reason to think otherwise, should be that God would be pleased to heal the person we are praying for—as far as we can tell from Scripture, this is God’s revealed will.?33 ?- Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Bible Doctrine, chapter 53 Gifts of the Holy Spirit: (Part 2) Specific Gifts

-     -     -    -     -     -     -     -     -     -     -     -     -     -     -     -     -     -     -     -     -     -     -     -     -
 See discussion in chapter 13, pp. 213–16, on the secret and revealed will of God. Of course we realize that God’s secret will, unknown to us in any specifics, is that not all will be healed, just as it is his secret will that not all will be saved. But in both situations we should pray for what we see in Scripture to be God’s revealed will: to save sinners and to heal those who are ill. - Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Bible Doctrine, chapter 53 Gifts of the Holy Spirit: (Part 2) Specific Gifts, footnote 33

Sometimes God may grant a strong subjective assurance of faith, something like what James calls “the prayer of faith” (James 5:15), and Heb. 11:1 calls “the assurance of things hoped for,” and Mark 11:24 calls believing “that you have received it.” In those cases the person praying may feel confidence to say that it is probable or even very likely that someone will be healed. But I do not think that God gives anyone warrant to promise or “guarantee” healing in this age, for his written Word makes no such guarantee, and our subjective sense of his will is always subject to some degree of uncertainty and some measure of error in this life. - Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Bible Doctrine, chapter 53 Gifts of the Holy Spirit: (Part 2) Specific Gifts, footnote 35

Some have attempted to establish a difference between sickness and other kinds of suffering, and to say that the passages in Scripture tell Christians that they should expect to suffer have to do with other kinds of suffering, such as persecution, but do not include physical sickness.
This argument seems unconvincing to me for two reasons: first, Scripture talks about “various trials” (James 1:2; also 1 Peter 1:6), and the intention of the authors in both cases seems to be to speak of all the kinds of trials that we experience in this life, including physical illness and affliction. Did James and Peter not want Christians who were ill to apply those passages to their own situations? This is hardly likely. (These are both general epistles written to thousands of Christians.)
Second, unless the Lord returns, we will all know the progressive aging and deterioration of our physical bodies, and eventually we will die. Paul says, “Our outer nature is wasting away” (2 Cor. 4:16). Almost inevitably this aging process includes various kinds of physical ailments.
It seems best to conclude that the sufferings which God allows us to experience from time to time in this life may at times include physical illness, which God in his sovereign wisdom decides not to heal. There may in fact be many cases when, for various reasons, we do not feel freedom to ask in faith for God to heal. Yet even in these cases the heart of faith will take God’s Word as true and believe that this also has come into our lives “for good” (Rom. 8:28), and that God will bring good to us from it. - Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Bible Doctrine, chapter 53 Gifts of the Holy Spirit: (Part 2) Specific Gifts, footnote 37

God sees to it that when the whole man prays, in turn the whole man shall be blessed. His body takes in the good of praying, for much praying is done specifically for the body. Food and raiment, health and bodily vigour, come in answer to praying. Clear mental action, right thinking, an enlightened understanding, and safe reasoning powers, come from praying. Divine guidance means God so moving and impressing the mind, that we shall make wise and safe decisions. “The meek will he guide in judgment.”- E.M. Bounds, The Essentials of Prayer, chapter 1

The faith which creates powerful praying is the faith which centres itself on a powerful Person. Faith in Christ's ability to do and to do greatly, is the faith which prays greatly. Thus the leper lay hold upon the power of Christ. "Lord, if Thou wilt," he cried, "Thou canst make me clean." In this instance, we are shown how faith centered in Christ's ability to do, and how it secured the healing power.
It was concerning this very point, that Jesus questioned the blind men who came to Him for healing:
"Believe ye that I am able to do this?" He asks. "They said unto Him, Yea, Lord. Then touched He their eyes, saying, According to your faith be it unto you."
It was to inspire faith in His ability to do that Jesus left behind Him, that last, great statement, which, in the final analysis, is a ringing challenge to faith. "All power," He declared, "is given unto Me in heaven and in earth."- E.M. Bounds, The Necessity of Prayer, chapter 1

The divine directory in James, fifth chapter, says: "Is any among you afflicted, let him pray Is any sick among you? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him."- E.M. Bounds, The Possibilities of Prayer, chapter 6

Hezekiah had no promise that God would cure him of his desperate sickness which threatened his life. On the contrary, the word of the Lord came to him by the mouth of the prophet, that he should die. However, he prayed against this decree of Almighty God, with faith, and he succeeded in obtaining a reversal of God's word and lived.- E.M. Bounds, The Possibilities of Prayer, chapter 7

 [[As a Calvinist I don't believe we can change God's decree. However, as a Calvinist who is also a continuationist I also believe God has made faith such a priority in His dealings with human beings that faith can override (so to speak) God's revealed will. Though, of course it would ultimately be in accordance with God's will of decree. See the following blogpost by Vincent Cheung that expresses what I mean perfectly: Faith Override by Vincent Cheung]]

 How much is the bitter of life sweetened by prayer! How are the feeble made strong by prayer! Sickness flees before the health of prayer. Doubts,misgivings, and trembling fears retire before prayer. Wisdom, knowledge,holiness and heaven are at the command of prayer. - E.M. Bounds, The Possibilities of Prayer, chapter 9

In James, chapter five, we have another marvelous description of prayer and its possibilities. It has to do with sickness and health, sin and forgiveness, and rain and drought. Here we have James' directory for praying:
Is any among you afflicted? Let him pray. Is any merry? Let him sing psalms. Is any sick among you? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith shall save the sick; and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. Elijah was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain, and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit. [- James 5:13-18]
Here is prayer for one's own needs and intercessory prayer for others; prayer for physical needs and prayer for spiritual needs; prayer for drought and prayer for rain; prayer for temporal matters and prayer for spiritual things. How vast the reach of prayer! How wonderful under these words its possibilities!
Here is the remedy for affliction and depression of every sort, and here we find the remedy for sickness and for rain in the time of drought. Here is the way to obtain forgiveness of sins. A stroke of prayer paralyzes the energies of nature, stays its clouds, rain and dew, and blasts field and farm like the simoon. Prayer brings clouds, and rain and fertility to the famished and wasted earth.- E.M. Bounds, The Possibilities of Prayer, chapter 9

God suspends or overcomes the laws of disease and rain often without or independent of prayer. But quite often he does this in answer to prayer. Prayer for rain or for dry weather is not outside the moral government of God, nor is it asking God to violate any law which he has made, but only asking him to give rain in his own way, according to his own laws. So also the prayer for the rebuking of disease is not a request at war with law either natural or otherwise, but is a prayer in accordance with law, even the law of prayer, a law set in operation by Almighty God as the so-called natural law which governs rain or which controls disease..- E.M. Bounds, The Possibilities of Prayer, chapter 16

his seeking to physicians for help in his disease, perhaps, would not have been observed to his reproach, had he also sought unto the Lord, whom he ought to have sought in the first place; and when he applied to the physicians, he should have implored the blessing of God on their prescriptions; but he so much forgot himself as to forget the Lord:...- John Gill Commentary on 2 Chron. 16:12

Are we not taught by this to make prayer and supplication to the Lord in our afflictions, with the expectation that he will heal us when he finds us duly humbled, i.e., when the end is answered for which he sends the affliction?- Adam Clarke Commentary on 2 Chron. 16:12

yet in his disease he sought not to the Lord, but to the physicians — most probably Egyptian physicians, who were anciently in high repute at foreign courts, and who pretended to expel diseases by charms, incantations, and mystic arts. Asa’s fault consisted in his trusting to such physicians, while he neglected to supplicate the aid and blessing of God. The best and holiest men have been betrayed for a time into sins, but through repentance have risen again; and as Asa is pronounced a good man (2Ch_15:17), it may be presumed that he also was restored to a better state of mind.- Jamieson Fausset and Brown Commentary on 2 Chron. 16:12

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