Thursday, November 11, 2010

Where There's the Will, There's a Way to Pray

by Niki Turner

It has been a hard week. The kind of week that tears at our faith, sowing doubt and fear in our minds and hearts.

Close-up of a young woman with her eyes closed VerticalFellow writer Sandi Rog was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer, sparking a flurry of prayer requests and support from friends and acquaintances online. Locally, doctors discovered multiple tumors - stage 4 blastosarcoma - in a not-quite 2-year-old girl. One tumor in her abdomen is the size of a grapefruit. She started chemotherapy immediately to battle the disease.

One of our church youth was diagnosed with scoliosis. The adult daughter of a church member has been struggling with chronic, severe pain from a broken wrist for several months despite treatment and surgery. And personally, we learned that the newborn daughter of my cousin-in-law is blind. You probably have your own reports of sickness, disease, and debilitating ailments from friends, family, and colleagues. Or symptoms and illness in your own body to deal with.

Whatever you personally believe God's will to be concerning healing and divine health, I've yet to hear a Christian argue against praying for the sick, asking God to have mercy upon them (and their families) by working healing in their bodies. How to pray for the sick and suffering is a question shared by many believers. When we are deluged with reports of illness, our prayers can feel dry and dull, certainly not the powerful sword of the spirit we ought to be wielding.

Bible open to Psalms
Thankfully, where there's the will of God, there's always a way to pray.

Following are some of the promises in God's Word (His revealed will) that refer to healing..This is by no means a comprehensive list, it's just a way to start. 2 Corinthians 1:19-20 tells us that all the promises of God are "yes" and "amen" to us in Christ Jesus. As believers, we are ALL called to pray, to petition God, to seek His best and highest will for His children.You can't get any better, or higher, than His Word.
Directions: To be read aloud to (or by) the person experiencing symptoms of sickness and disease twice daily, more frequently in the case of acute illness. Overdose is impossible. Mix with faith, hope and love for best results.
Ex 15:26
26 and said,"If you diligently heed the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in His sight, give ear to His commandments and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have brought on the Egyptians. For I am the Lord who heals you."

Ex 23:25-26
25 "So you shall serve the Lord your God, and He will bless your bread and your water. And I will take sickness away from the midst of you. 26 No one shall suffer miscarriage or be barren in your land; I will fulfill the number of your days.

Deut 28:1-2
"Now it shall come to pass, if you diligently obey the voice of the Lord your God, to observe carefully all His commandments which I command you today, that the Lord your God will set you high above all nations of the earth. 2 And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, because you obey the voice of the Lord your God:

Ps 27:1-3
27 The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid?
2 When the wicked came against me
To eat up my flesh, My enemies and foes, They stumbled and fell.
3 Though an army may encamp against me, My heart shall not fear;
Though war may rise against me, In this I will be confident.
Ps 30:2-3
O Lord my God, I cried out to You, And You healed me.
O Lord, You brought my soul up from the grave;
You have kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit.*

Ps 91:1-7
91 He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say of the Lord, "He is my refuge and my fortress;
My God, in Him I will trust."
3 Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler*
And from the perilous pestilence.
4 He shall cover you with His feathers,
And under His wings you shall take refuge;
His truth shall be your shield and buckler.
5 You shall not be afraid of the terror by night,
Nor of the arrow that flies by day,
6 Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness,
Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday.
7 A thousand may fall at your side,
And ten thousand at your right hand;
But it shall not come near you.
8 Only with your eyes shall you look,
And see the reward of the wicked.
9 Because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge,
Even the Most High, your dwelling place,
10 No evil shall befall you,
Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling;
11 For He shall give His angels charge over you,
To keep you in all your ways.
12 In their hands they shall bear you up,
Lest you dash your foot against a stone.
13 You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra,
The young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot.
14 "Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him;
I will set him on high, because he has known My name.
Ps 103:1-5
Bless the Lord, O my soul;
And all that is within me, bless His holy name!
2 Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And forget not all His benefits:
3 Who forgives all your iniquities,
Who heals all your diseases,
4 Who redeems your life from destruction,
Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies,
5 Who satisfies your mouth with good things,
So that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.

Ps 107:19-21
19 Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble,
And He saved them out of their distresses.
20 He sent His word and healed them,
And delivered them from their destructions.
21 Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness,
And for His wonderful works to the children of men!

Ps 138:8
8 The Lord will perfect that which concerns me;
Your mercy, O Lord, endures forever;
Do not forsake the works of Your hands.

Prov 4:20-22
20 My son, give attention to my words;
Incline your ear to my sayings.
21 Do not let them depart from your eyes;
Keep them in the midst of your heart;
22 For they are life to those who find them,
And health to all their flesh.

Isa 53:4-5
4 Surely He has borne our griefs
And carried our sorrows;
Yet we esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten by God, and afflicted.
But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed.

Jer 1:12
12 Then the Lord said to me, "You have seen well, for I am ready to perform My word."

Jer 30:17
17 For I will restore health to you
And heal you of your wounds,' says the Lord,

Nah 1:9
9 What do you conspire against the Lord?
He will make an utter end of it.
Affliction will not rise up a second time.

Mal 4:2
2 But to you who fear My name
The Sun of Righteousness shall arise
With healing in His wings.

Mark 16:17-18
17 And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; 18 they* will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover."

Rom 8:11
11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.

1 Cor 15:57
57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

2 Cor 2:14-15
14 Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place.

2 Cor 10:2-6
3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.

Gal 3:13-14
13 Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree"*), 14 that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

1 Peter 2:24-25
24 who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness — by whose stripes you were healed. 25 For you were like sheep going astray, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer* of your souls.

1 Thess 5:23-24
23 Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.

Heb 10:23
23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.

Heb 10:35-36
35 Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. 36 For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise:

Heb 13:8-9
8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

1 John 5:14-15
14 Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.

Rev 12:10-12
10 Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven,"Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down. 11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.


  1. Niki, thank you for going beyond your own sadness to get to the "crying out" place. This really spoke to my heart! Sometimes it seems like the needs are too great to even pray about. You reminded me of how I need to go to the Rock, no matter what. That there is no other source of life and peace but in Jesus!

  2. Wonderful reference list, Niki.

    I find it hard to find the words sometimes, because I want healing and yet I want God's will, too.

    Locally, there was a little boy who'd been sick for all his 4 yrs of life. In his waning weeks, someone I know kept saying she knew God would heal him. She told us she even wrote a letter to the parents (who weren't the same faith) reassuring them their little boy would be healed because God answers prayers.

    He died a couple weeks later.

    After that, I always wondered what the parents thought about our church.

    I know that if I had been in contact with that parent, I would have offered the assurance of heaven and that he would be remembered. I really don't know if that would have been as much comfort, though.

    Praying for you, Niki.

    Anita Mae.

  3. I think its important to stay positive and in faith for as long as we possibly can. Even the world knows that. Patients who stay positive and keep fighting have a much higher survival rate. When we give up or even just sit passively by, we give the enemy room to move in.

    I also think that sometimes people are afraid to really stand in faith because it can almost seem judgemental of people who don't get healed. Like they must be in sin or something. News flash, we're all in sin. None of us are perfect yet. Or like Anita mentioned, we're afraid of the fallout if the person isn't healed.

    These scriptures are great encouragements to build our faith. I actually sent a similar list of scriptures to Sandi when she was first feeling sick and didn't even know the problem yet. Our Hiswriters group has really been battling along side her with prayer.

    I realize its not always as simple as faith. Wisdom can also be a big factor. In Sandi's case, I was pleasantly shocked by how quickly her doctors diagnosed her and started treatment. So many other things can be factors as well including the words we speak over ourselves, nutrition, genetic issues, spiritual attack, sin, unforgiveness. The list goes on and on. So we need to be sensitive to hear from God.

    But I do believe our role is to stay in faith. The Bible tells us so again and again. I don't believe that by standing in faith for healing we can ever be on the wrong side of the battle.

    If things don't work out as we might have hoped, then in humility we turn to God for comfort without seeking to cast blame. We're still imperfect humans in an imperfect world and we don't have everythng figured out.

  4. Cheryl,
    You are most welcome. The Scriptures truly are given "for our comfort" and when I feel overwhelmed, just going to the Word is such a relief.

  5. Anita,
    I've been in similar positions, trying to explain a stand of faith for healing on one side and trying to explain why someone died on the other side.
    One thing that has helped from a pastoral POV is to recognize that our faith can't override someone else's faith. God won't even override someone else's faith! So finding a point of agreement with the person facing the illness is very, very important.

  6. Dina,
    I agree with you about the importance of staying positive. In Chinese medicine, if the physician diagnosed cancer, they wouldn't even tell the patient, they would just do their best to treat the disease. The survival rates were remarkably high because the person wasn't battling the fear that came with a scary diagnosis.

    The human spirit/soul/body is a complex organism with multiple layers. So many different variables are in play, and there's no way we can know all the intricacies of another's heart to understand what things are affecting their physical bodies. God and His Word, however, are NOT variables, they are constants, and in that we find strength and comfort.

    That said, we can stand in faith, and SHOULD stand in faith, because God's Word clearly says His will is for us to be healed. Here's the rub... sometimes we don't see that that promise fulfilled before our earth suits wear out, or we get battle fatigue and decide we would rather go HOME. It's kind of like the soldier who dies in battle, knowing his country has already won the war. No matter how you look at it, we end up healed and whole, on one side or the other. IMO, taking the fear of death out of the faith equation makes it that much easier to attack the enemy and resist him until he flees! Whether I die in my sleep, or die in battle, I know this much... I want to cross over to the other side with faith and praise in my mouth, not fear, doubt, and unbelief!

    Yikes. Sorry for rambling.

  7. I'm looking for a good book or bible study on prayer. Any suggestions on one you've read that has energized your prayer power?

  8. I think one of the things you said in your comment Niki is really important. Sometimes healing doesn't come in life. But that doesn't mean it hasn't come.

  9. Deb,
    It's funny you ask that. This is a terrible confession for a PW to make, but I've never found a book on prayer that I loved. The best thing I ever did was go through the Lord's prayer and really study the outline Jesus gave us and all the various things it means.

    I heard someone say "prayer is better caught, than taught." I think it helped me to realize that God was less concerned with my "prayer form" than with me talking to Him.

    That said, I'm sure there are good books out there on prayer, and if anyone has one to name, by all means, share!

  10. Lisa,
    There's peace in that, isn't there? Healing always comes. It may not come when we want it, but then, what DOES come on our timetable?

  11. Well, since Niki doesn't have a recommendation, I was thinking of How to Hear God's Voice by Mark Virkler at

    What it really teaches is the relational and listening side of prayer. Once you learn that, I think praying becomes a joy. It's not a terribly well-written book, but I think the tools he offers are very helpful.

  12. OK, I feel guilty for not having a recommendation. I'll send my teaching notes on prayer to anyone who wants them!

  13. Niki, I needed this...thank you so much.


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