MORE ABOUT FAITH, PRAYER, HEALING, WORDS
A. Introduction: We live in a broken world, a world that has been damaged by sin. As a result, life on this
planet is very challenging. Jesus Himself said that in this world we will have “tribulation and trials and
distress and frustration” (John 16:33, Amp).
1. There’s no easy way to get through this life. Many, if not most of life’s problems can’t be avoided or
easily changed. Instead, we have to learn to deal with them.
a. For much of this year, we’ve been talking about the importance of learning to praise and thank
God continually, in the good times and the bad times. Continual praise and thanksgiving not only
glorifies God, but it helps us by lightening the load of this difficult life.
b. What I’ve said has led to some questions, since a lot of the popular teaching in Christian circles
today gives people the idea that we can use our faith and our words to change our circumstances. In
the last three lessons we’ve been addressing these questions and have more to say tonight.
2. The idea that we can change our circumstances and fix all our problems through our faith and our words
comes from several Bible passages that have been taken out of context and misunderstood.
a. We specifically looked at Mark 11:22-24 which is used to say that you can move mountains and kill
fig trees (change your circumstances) if you believe that what you say will come to pass, and don’t
doubt. Therefore, whatever you desire, when you pray, believe that you receive and you’ll have.
1. Jesus spoke that passage. We’ve made the point that He was speaking to His twelve apostles
about what they would do through their ministries after He returned to Heaven. Jesus did not
make a blanket statement that applies to everyone. (Review last three lessons if necessary).
2. In a number of Christian circles today, this passage has become a technique that many use to try
to get their prayers answered and change their circumstances by speaking the right words, by
not speaking the wrong words, and by believing they have something before they see or feel it.
b. These lessons have raised a number of questions about praying for healing and the power of words.
Some have asked me: Do I still believe that it’s God’s will to heal? Yes I do. Do I still believe in
the importance of our words and the need to learn to speak in line with God’s Word? Yes I do.
1. I’ve said this in previous lessons. I’m not trying to take anything away from anyone or confuse
anyone. If you’re moving mountains and killing fig trees with your faith and your words, keep
doing whatever you’re doing. But I can’t go along with the popular teaching on this because,
not only does it not produce results for most people, it isn’t consistent with the Scriptures.
2. My goal in these lessons is to take people’s focus off of our faith, and what we have to do and
say to get what we want, and put it back on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. Heb 12:2
B. Let’s first talk about more physical healing. If you’re familiar with some of the popular teaching on healing,
then you know that it includes the idea of believing and saying that you’re healed before you see or feel it. It
also includes the idea that you shouldn’t say you’re sick, despite how you feel, because you’re already healed.
1. We pointed out last week that no one in the Bible (Old or New Testament) believed that they were healed
before they felt better (Mark 5:25-34; Mark 10:46-52; etc.). The idea that we are already healed, even
though we don’t see it or feel it, is based on a phrase in I Pet 2:24—With Jesus’ stripes we were healed.
a. This phrase is taken out of context. When we read the entire context, we find that Peter was
reminding his readers that Jesus is our example of how to respond to unjust suffering. When Jesus
suffered He didn’t sin. He committed Himself to God who judges righteously. I Pet 2:19-23
1. Then Peter stated the purpose of Jesus’ death: He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree,
that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. For
you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls
(I Pet 2:24-25, ESV).
2. No original reader would have taken this phrase to mean that they were healed at the Cross by
the stripes that Jesus received, or that they were now physically healed—even though they had
some type of sickness or infirmity in his or her body. (Review last week’s lesson if necessary.)
b. Jesus did not go to the Cross to heal us of sickness. Jesus went to the Cross as a sacrifice for sin.
Through the sacrifice of Himself, He satisfied justice on our behalf, so that we can be released from
the penalty of sin (eternal separation from God).
1. We were not healed at the Cross any more than we were saved from sin at the Cross. The
sacrifice needed to save us from the penalty and power of sin was made, but we must believe
and acknowledge Jesus as Savior and Lord in order to be saved from sin. Eph 2:8-9; I Tim 4:10
2. When we believe in and commit to Jesus, God by His Holy Spirit (by His power) produces in
us, carries out in us, what has been made available to us because of the Cross.
A. The Cross opened the way for us to be restored to sonship (our created purpose). When
we believe, God indwells us by His Spirit and we are born of Him Titus 3:5; John 1:12-13
B. The Cross didn’t heal us. It opened the way for us to be restored physically by God’s
power. This includes physical healing and strength in this life, and resurrection of the
body when Jesus returns to this world (lessons for another day). Rom 8:11; I Cor 15:51-52
2. Sincere people talk about healing in the following terms, none of which are consistent with the Bible:
I’ve got my healing by faith. I’m waiting for it to manifest. I’m calling myself healed so I’ll be healed.
a. We need to make some points clear about faith. Faith is translated from a Greek word that means
persuasion. Faith is trust or belief in the truthfulness, accuracy, and reality of any person or thing.
1. Faith must always have an object—it’s faith in someone or something. Faith is trust or
confidence in a person. Biblical faith is always related to and directed at God.
2. II Cor 5:7—Christians are instructed to walk by faith, not sight. Faith is contrasted with sight
because the object of our faith is invisible or beyond the perception of our physical senses.
b. There are two kinds of things we cannot see—things that are real, but invisible (not perceived by our
our physical senses, i.e. God), and things that don’t exist yet (they are future). What we have now
is the promise that they will come to pass because the one who promised (God) is faithful.
1. Because many today believe that we were healed at the Cross and we are therefore now healed,
they’re trying to believe they have something that doesn’t exist yet.
2. People say: I’m healed—you just can’t see it yet. But there’s no such thing as invisible
healing or healing that I have or am, but can’t see. You’re either healed or you aren’t.
c. Some mistakenly use Abraham as an example of one who believed he was something (a father)
before he actually had a son. Neither Abraham nor his wife believed that. They believed that God
would keep His promise to give them a son, even though both were too old to produce a child.
1. Rom 4:20-21—(Abraham) grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that
God was able to do what he had promised (RSV).
2. Heb 11:11—By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past age,
since she considered him faithful who had promised (RSV).
3. We made this point last week. If Christians are healed because we were healed at the Cross, then why
does the Bible say that we are supposed to pray for one another that we may be healed?
a. James 5:14-16—Are any among you sick? They should call for the elders of the church and have
them pray over them, anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord. And their prayer offered in
faith will heal the sick, and the Lord will make them well. And anyone who has committed sins
will be forgiven. Confess your faults to each other and pray for each other so that you may be
1. Notice James refers to sick Christians who are sick and states that if we pray, the Lord will heal
them. There’s no hint of: You’re already healed. Believe that you’re healed before you feel
better. Just confess that you are well. You’re not sick—you’ve got lying symptoms.
2. Notice that James links healing of the body with forgiveness of sins. This is because the same
sacrifice that made it possible for us to be released from the penalty of sin through repentance
and faith made it possible for us to released from physical sickness through prayer and faith.
b. Believing you’re healed while you’re sick, and refusing to say you’re sick, is not the prayer pattern
that we see in the New Testament. Instead, we see impartation of power through contact. Laying
on of hands (touching or putting hands on people) is a foundational Christian doctrine. Heb 6:1-2
1. James’ epistle instructs the elders to anoint the sick with oil (James 5:14). This requires touch.
Oil doesn’t heal. Anointing with oil is a symbol of consecrating or committing someone to the
Holy Spirit. Elders are people who know what they are doing and can pray effectively.
2. This pattern began with the apostles and other disciples during Jesus’ earth ministry, when He
sent them out to preach and heal in His name. Mark 6:7-13
A. Before Jesus returned to Heaven, He said that believers will lay hands on the sick in His
name, and they shall recover. Mark 16:18
B. The earliest epistle we have, James’ letter, gives us an idea of how the first Christians were
instructed to pray for each other about healing. James 5:14-16
3. Human hands by themselves can’t heal anyone of anything. No one would have been healed if
God by His power did not act when they prayed and laid lay hands on people.
4. I’m not going to do a teaching on how to pray for the sick for a number of reasons. My point in giving
this information is to show what prayer for healing looked like in the early church, to help us get our
focus back on Jesus and off of our faith and our technique. Let me make a few brief comments.
a. James 5:15-16—The prayer [that is] of faith will save the sick and the Lord will restore him (Amp);
the prayer offered in faith shall make the sick person well, and the Lord shall raise him up (Wuest).
The earnest (heartfelt, continued) prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available—
dynamic in its working (Amp).
1. Note that this is a not ritual or a technique. It is prayer that is motivated by faith. Remember
what faith is. Faith is trust or confidence in a person (Almighty God) to keep His Word.
2. How do we pray? Lord, we lay hands on this person in your name (with your authority and
power) with the expectation that you will raise him or her up. Thank you that you have
delivered us from sin and sickness through the Cross. In your name we command this disease
to go. We thank you that you are at work and will raise this person up.
3. How can we believe that God by His power is at work? Because God, in His Word (the Bible)
says that when we lay hands on the sick they shall recover. Mark 16:18; James 5:15
b. Why doesn’t laying on of hands produce immediate results as it did in the ministries of Jesus and the
apostles? I don’t fully know. I do know that Jesus prayed perfectly, and the Spirit of God was
upon Him without limit or measure (John4:34). And the apostles often prayed with gifts (special
manifestations) of the Holy Spirit. I Cor 12:7-11
1. For us, it can take a number of applications of power (according to the measure of the Spirit that
we have). And, if we don’t see immediate results, it’s easy to get discouraged.
2. This is where perseverance in prayer is necessary. We keep at it. We keep applying God’s
power and continue to believe that God is at work. But we keep our focus on Him and His
faithfulness rather than on our shortcomings or the speed of our recovery.
A. We continue to pray prayers of thanksgiving and praise: Thank you Lord that you’re
working in me by your Spirit to restore my body. Phil 2:13: Heb 13:20-21; Rom 8:11; etc.
B. Jesus, the healer, is in us by His Spirit. Paul prayed that Christians would know the
greatness of His power in us, and that we would live with the awareness that God by His
Spirit is in us. We can pray these prayers as well. Eph 1:19; Col 1:10-11; I Cor 6:19, etc.
C. Based on verses taken out of context, we’ve turned speaking certain words and not saying others into a
technique: Just say these words—and don’t say those words—because we have what we say. We could
(but aren’t going to) do a series on this, but consider these points as we close.
1. In the context of moving mountains, Jesus did in fact state that “(he) shall have whatsoever he sayeth”
(Mark 11:23, KJV). Jesus’ words must be taken in the context of everything else He said and did.
a. Jesus was talking to His apostles—men who left all to follow Him. He gave them authority to do
the works that He did. They would speak diseases and devils, and see them leave just as Jesus did.
b. No one who heard Jesus make that statement would have taken it to mean that we can decree parking
spaces to open up or declare that an annoying co-worker be transferred to another department. And
no one would have taken His words to mean: Say you’re healed before you are.
2. Perhaps you’ve used one of these figures of speech to express the idea that you don’t like something—
that just kills me or makes me sick—and a well meaning person exhorted you to stop speaking death
and sickness over yourself.
a. I realize that how you talk to yourself and others can affect you and them (lessons for another day).
But, there’s no inherent power in words per se. The words of your mouth express your view of
reality, how you really feel and what you really believe. It’s not the words; it’s what you believe.
b. Jesus said: For a man’s words flow out of what fills his heart (Matt 12:34, J. B. Phillips). Jesus
compared the words of our mouth to fruit or outward evidence of what’s in us (Matt 12:33).
1. When we come to Jesus as Savior and Lord we all have a view of reality or perspective made up
of beliefs and thought patterns that are contrary to the way things really are according to God.
2. These views about reality are reflected in our speech. We need to learn to speak in agreement
with God’s Word (the Bible), not as a technique, but because our view of reality is changing.
3. I do believe that you can build concepts into your mind, and help change your view of reality,
by speaking God’s Word to yourself—but this is not a technique to change your circumstances.
3. Consider what Paul the apostle wrote in Heb 13:5-6—Be satisfied with what you have. For God has
said, “I will never fail you. I will never forsake you”. That is why we can say with confidence, The
Lord is my helper. So I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me (NLT)?
a. Paul urged his readers to be content, and then quoted what God said to their ancestors (the Israelites)
when they were about to enter and reclaim Canaan (present day Israel) and face formidable enemies.
b. God assured them that He would not fail or forsake them. He was with them and they would be
successful in taking possession of the land. Deut 31:6; 8
1. Note, Paul wrote that God has said some things so that we may say some things. What we say
is not a word for word quote of God’s Word or a parroting of some words.
2. This person has thought about what God said (meditated on it), and has personalized and
applied it. It has become his view of reality reflected in his speech.
D. Conclusion: We live and walk by faith in a Person—Almighty God, who cannot fail and does not lie. We
can trust Him to be who He is and do what He says. No matter what circumstances we face in the difficult
life, none of it is bigger than God who is with us and for us. He will get us through whatever is ahead.
1. We’ve spent a number of months talking about the importance of learning to praise and thank God
continually, no matter what is going on in our lives or how we feel, with the awareness that He is able to
cause everything in our lives serve His purposes for ultimate and eternal good.
2. Praise and thanksgiving helps us keep our focus on the One who matters and the One who is able and
willing to help us. Let’s close this series with a statement Paul made: Let us run with endurance the
race that God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, on whom our faith depends
from start to finish (Heb 12:1-2, NLT).