3 things not to say when praying for the sick

3 things not to say when praying for the sick

3 things not to say when praying for the sick

When praying for the sick there are three things you should not say to avoid discouraging the sick and doing them more harm than good. My goal is that your prayers will be more effective and will not hurt those who are listening to you. If anything, God wants to free you from the hurtful words that have been said to you.

Three options

Jesus said to him, "I have been with you so long, and you have not known me, Philip. He who has seen me has seen the Father; how do you say, "Show us the Father?" (John 14:9) 

If you pray for a sick person and they are not healed, you have three options. The first is to blame God. Question his will, his timing or his compassion. Yet God wants to heal, Jesus healed people on the spot and had compassion on all who came to him. God the Father is in the same disposition, for Jesus said to Philip: He who has seen me has seen the Father.

The second option, the best and only acceptable one, is to persevere in prayer based on God's promises. Listening to the Holy Spirit for direction in prayer allows us to pray more effectively. Fasting and continuing to pray for other sick people allows our faith and healing anointing to grow in our lives. We must remain humble and recognize that if we can't heal someone, Jesus can and will. Don't fall into self-pity, but stay in learning.

The third option is the worst and easiest: blame the patient. It is the easiest, because to accuse God requires ignoring his promises and questioning his nature, the work of Jesus at the cross and the mandate he gave us to heal the sick as proof that the kingdom of God is within us. This is the worst, because if God does not fall from his throne when we are angry with him, the sick person is already suffering and blaming him for his non-healing will discourage and hurt him. Generally, those who accuse the sick do not do so to hurt them, but the result is the same. My goal is for your prayers to be effective and not to harm those who listen to you. If you are sick and have been hurt by the clumsy words of those who have prayed for you, read on, I believe it will be liberating.

You are sick because you have sinned!

This is a devastating statement. While some diseases are the result of poor health or risky behavior, most diseases are not. This view implies that God has punished the person for his or her sin by making them sick. How then can we confidently approach God for healing if he is the source of the disease?

The solution to sin is forgiveness in Jesus, obtained through repentance and faith. The problem is that confessing a sin that one has not committed is useless. Some patients who have been accused of such a sin spend their time in introspection trying to find the sin that caused their illness. It is hopeless.

If one is not aware of this famous sin, it is because it is insignificant and the punishment then seems even more disproportionate and unjust. So if you have been mistreated in this way, I ask your forgiveness. Jesus healed people without telling them about the sin. Jesus talked about sin in order to bring the solution: forgiveness, which he offered by pure grace. Jesus addressed the notion of sin with sick people only twice in the Gospels.

The first was a paralytic who was lowered from the roof in front of Jesus by his friends. (Mark 2:3-12). Jesus first said to him, "Your sins are forgiven." Notice that Jesus did not condemn him, he forgave him without the man asking. The reason is that Jesus came to save the lost, forgive the sinners and heal the sick. Then Jesus demonstrated to the crowd that he has the power to forgive sins by healing this paralytic. Jesus demonstrated that sin is not an obstacle for him to heal the sick.

The second man with whom Jesus addresses the concept of sin is the paralytic at the pool of Bethesda (John 5:1-5). This man had been sick for 38 years. Jesus approached him and asked him if he wanted to be healed. Then he said to him, "Take up your bed and go home. The man got up, it was a miracle! Jesus then disappeared into the crowd and the man did not yet know that it was Jesus who had healed him. Later, they met again and Jesus said to him, "Go and sin no more, lest something worse happen to you." We do not know the life of this man, but one thing is certain, his sins were not an obstacle for Jesus to heal him. So if you need to confess a sin to Jesus, do so in order to be forgiven. He is faithful and just to forgive you and cleanse you. But believe that no sin can keep Jesus from healing you.

If you have told someone that they are sick because of a sin, ask for forgiveness and pray for healing. 

If you have become discouraged by introspection, take courage, approach Jesus without fear, he will never turn you away. He went to the cross for you, for your salvation and healing.

You don't have enough faith

"Is anyone among you sick? Let him call the elders of the church and let them pray for him, applying oil in the name of the Lord. The prayer of faith will save the sick person and the Lord will raise him up. If he has committed sins, he will be forgiven." (James 5:14-15)

If someone asks you to pray for him for healing, he places his trust in James' promise that the prayer of faith will save the sick person. In the context of this verse, it is not the faith of the sick person, but the faith of the elders who come to pray for him. Indeed James says if someone is sick let them call the elders. The idea is to call for help from those who are well, so that their faith can help the sick person. (James 5:14-15)

Jesus did not say go from town to town and tell people to take their healing. He said to his disciples, "go from town to town and heal the sick and tell them the kingdom of God has come to you.

The responsibility for healing therefore rests primarily on the one who prays according to the teachings of Jesus. In the contemporary church, there is a tendency to say to the sick "seize your healing". One seizes eternal life by believing in Jesus. But in the Gospels and Acts of the Apostles, healing is mostly something administered by children of God to the sick.

Moreover, those who doubted Jesus' power or willingness to heal them did not go away sick, but healed. Jesus emphasized the rare and superior faith of some people, especially the woman with blood loss who took hold of her healing.

When you pray for someone, your faith is enough to heal them.  

Let's be honest for a moment, it is easier to question the faith of the one who is not healed than to recognize that my faith is not yet sufficient to heal that person.

But I can tell you one thing: if you continue to make excuses for the lack of faith of the sick, you will not see more healings. On the other hand, if you have the humility and honesty to recognize that you need more faith, this realization will push you to seek God, to understand his promises as they are by letting go of false interpretations. This realization of powerlessness will also push you to seek greater communion with the Holy Spirit and God will accompany your learning process, because Jesus is the one who makes our faith grow.

So when you pray for a sick person and he is not healed, do not blame him, but simply say: I will continue to pray for you.

If you are sick and the prayers you have received have been ineffective, I simply invite you to ask for prayer from people who see healings.

If you have blamed people for lack of faith, ask for their forgiveness and make a sincere commitment to learn how to pray effectively for the sick.

You are not healed because you have not forgiven

Forgiveness is a liberating and powerful thing. Unfortunately, it is sometimes the only tool that some Christians have at their disposal to help those who suffer. Forgiveness then becomes a kind of magic wand. It is enough to forgive to solve all the problems. It's like when aspirin was the only medicine available and doctors prescribed it for every patient. But just as aspirin can be contraindicated in certain circumstances, telling someone that they have a problem with non-pardonism when they don't is just as damaging.

Forgiving an abuser can be helpful in healing from the effects of that abuse. Forgiving ourselves can be helpful if our behavior is the cause of the physical problem.

Forgiving God or at least giving up bitterness towards him is very important in order to be able to approach him and receive his help. Indeed, many people attribute the origin of their problem to God. Bitterness is a poison and the less you drink, the better you feel.

If the Holy Spirit directs you to evoke forgiveness, you should ask the person if he or she should forgive someone. For example, you can say a simple prayer with them: Holy Spirit, reveal to me if I should forgive someone. If they do, and they forgive and are eventually healed, then you have used the right tool at the right time. But if you use forgiveness to mask the ineffectiveness of your prayers then that is wrong. Indeed, if we tell people that they are unforgiving, first we accuse them. It's like saying, "It's your fault you're sick. In addition, they will try to forgive everyone they know without it making any difference to their health, which will produce discouragement.

If you avoid these 3 mistakes, your prayers will be more effective and safe. Remember that if you pray for someone with love, compassion and respect, even if the person is not healed, you have taken an interest in his suffering and that is already important.


May God bless you

David Théry

Practical teachings to experience God

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