Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Praying for the Sick

As a pastor, I'm asked to pray for the sick quite often. I'm always glad to do it - and I don't hesitate to pray that God would heal the ones I'm praying for - but I always have reservations about it, and at times an uneasy feeling. It's not that I don't think God can heal because I'm certain He can and know He does. But I also know that He doesn't always do it. In fact, healings seem to be quite rare (at least the miraculous type where there is no other explanation). Sometimes, I don't think physical healing is what people need most. Scripture shows that suffering, pain, and trials are used by God, more often than not, to draw us closer to Him. If that's the case, the last thing I want to pray for is healing - why deprive someone of God's means of sanctification? But because I don't know what the Lord's plan and purpose are for this specific illness, I'll pray for healing. As I do it, however, I should also pray that God would use this circumstance to bring them closer to Him in knowledge, love, and trust.

David Powlison has written an excellent article on this very subject called Praying Beyond the Sick List. You can read it here.


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