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What Is Faith?
Many people wonder, "Have I got enough faith to be healed?" All sorts and types of problems arise over this insistence on a proper response to visions given. In general terms, the sign of healing requires faith (Mark 16:18) even by non-Christians. The gift of healing does not require faith from the sick person! The Lord could even heal His enemies (Luke 22:50-51) when under God's anointing.
What is the kind of faith required by the sick person? You must believe God exists and He will meet the diligent seeker (Hebrews 11:1-6). This is basic!
Faith starts with God and His prophecies and not with man's feelings (Ro. 10:17). The individual must be prepared to listen to God's word and be unwilling to hear anything that contradicts it if God has given His promise to heal. There comes a moment when it is unbelief to go on asking. Therefore the healing minister and the sick person should seek first to hear from God, and once He communicates be prepared to act (James 2:26). Realize that God has more to lose than you do, if He fails to keep His promises. Peter stepped out of the boat on Christ's word (Matthew 14:29). If he had drowned thereafter, Christ would have been responsible for calling him out of the boat, knowing in advance what would be the outcome! Peter was upheld, even when he doubted, because Jesus had given His word!
Once the minister and the patient are both sure they have heard from God, they should look at Christ - not at themselves to generate faith.
Faith rests on the character of God, not human attributes (Numbers 23:19)! Jesus, not the healing minister, starts and finishes genuine faith (Hebrews 12:2).
The healing minister needs to have confidence that Christ will always finish what He begins (Philippians 1:6). He should exhort the sick person to look continually to Christ, so that they can remove every obstacle to believing. The Lord Himself did this in the vision on the mountain. Hebrews 12:2 says, "Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God."
The teacher may emphasize what you believe. The healing minister must emphasize Whom you believe! At Darkley Assembly (later the scene of an IRA massacre) I showed a sick man all the doctrine and he saw the correct teaching. He was only healed however, when the pastor commanded him. "My cows have missed milking two mornings, coming to speak to you. God is reliable. He is saying to you 'Get out of bed now!'" The man acted on the command and was permanently healed!
What Is The Prayer Of Faith?
The minister lacks authority if he prays "Heal this person, if it be thy will!" His job is to find the will of God through the Holy Spirit, and then pray it through.
This is "the prayer of faith" (James 5:14-15) which is for all sick people. This kind of prayer brings a healing, because it is based on four things.
First, it is based on a sure knowledge of the will of God. "If it be thy will" is the kind of prayer to discover the will of God, which is not the same as knowing it. In other words, we want to determine God's will to heal before we pray, not in the middle of the prayer.
Second, it is based on the finished work of Christ on the cross, not the merits of man (1 Peter 2:24). Just as Moses healed by divine direction through the sick looking at the brass serpent (Numbers 21:9), so the sick must be given a prophetic vision of the finished work of Christ at Calvary (John 19:30).
Third, this is based on the assurance God will hear prayer, even when no immediate answer can be seen. Just as the prophet Elijah knew there would be rain when Israel repented through God's covenant in His word (1 Kings 18:41), yet he continued in prayer until something visible happened (1 Kings 18:43-45).
Finally it is based on a revelation from God that this is God's time to work. The sick man in Acts 3 had been passed by the Lord, and even daily by the apostles, without result. He expected money not healing, but Peter knew this was the time to pass on the power of God. That is why he said, in Acts 3:6, "Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have, give I thee; In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk." The story continues, "At once his feet and anklebones (medical Greek terms supplied by Luke the doctor) received strength."
He received the gift of healing. The gift has to operate under divine authority and direction - as the Roman Centurion pointed out in Matthew chapter 8. The healing minister can only speak under authority to achieve such results; but when he speaks, things happen!
How Do We Get Faith?
How then, do we get faith? Genuine faith comes by a word from God (Romans 10:17). Christ did not pray for the sick, but gave them the word of God, on which they then acted and received a miracle.
How does this affect us today? We should read our bible with hearts open to God and cultivate daily relationship to the Lord through the Holy Spirit. We believe with our heart not just with our head (Romans 10:10). We need a personal word from God to hide in our heart (Psalms 119:11). In other words, we need to listen to Him and hear His voice so we can receive His guiding and direction. The Lord Jesus had many healings in one place (Mark 1:35) but after early prayer, He moved on to other places. Paul was told not to heal but to go preach in another area (Acts 16:6), while Phillip was taken from miracle meetings to the middle of a desert in Acts 8:26! We need to hear God's will and follow it, even if it means a change of venue from our current location and plans.
Having teaching on healing is not sufficient by itself, but is an essential foundation and may trigger healing revelation/anointing. For instance, God may speak to us via our normal daily devotions and Scripture reading. A verse may suddenly come to us personally, just as if God were speaking directly to us, giving us a firm promise. Read God's word and also listen to teaching and preaching which is inspired by the Holy Ghost.
Psalms 119:130; Be open to God leading your eyes to see faith in others! The man did this at Lystra and got healed. Acts 14:8-9 shows that the sick person was believing God, but also Paul's eyes were directed to see him! This may be by open vision, and sometimes includes a detailed knowledge of the sickness and its history.
My experience is that this word comes prophetically without prior warning and quite distinct from structured teaching in which our mind is more involved than our spirit. There are however, different ways the Lord operates prophetically. My friend Bill sees the sickness like an x-ray, and the black part becomes gold as God heals it. My late friend Ernie, had oil from heaven appear on his hands. Sometimes the Lord communicates His will to heal by allowing the minister to feel the symptoms of the sickness in their body (Hebrews 4:15). Others have a sensation of heat when the power of God is present to heal, so there are varieties of operation (1 Corinthians 12:8-10). In some meetings, everyone can be healed when the power of God is present to do it (Luke 5:17).
What should be the reaction when this occurs? We must act on this word when it comes. The captive maid in 2 Kings chapter 5 had never seen anyone healed of leprosy (Luke 4:27) but she refused to wish ill on her captor or to limit the power of God in a genuine prophet! As a result, Naaman was healed (though not the way he thought he should be)! He was healed as he humbled himself and obeyed the man of God. The power of God to heal can often be triggered by the child-like faith of a simple soul who believes God and acts out of love!
How Should This Faith Be Applied?
First, recognize the authority of God above all. Once you have heard from God, believe Him, despite any other contradiction. In Matthew 8:8, the centurion had to press through racial and other barriers, but he knew that Jesus would only speak what He had permission to give.
Next, express your faith in action. Christ actually saw corporate faith when the paralyzed man was brought to the house by his friends and healed him on that basis (Matthew 9:2). Is it possible that they let down the ropes when they had lowered the bed because they expected him to get up and walk away? Show God you believe Him by what you do. This is prophetic action!
Let me share an example: One time a man came into our meetings eating fish and chips! "This is not a restaurant " I pointed out. "No," he replied, "I am English and love fish and chips, but I have been unable to eat any because of my stomach ulcer. When God heals me today, I shall have my first decent meal of fish and chips in ten years!!"
We need more healing expectation like this!
Faith must be shown in an attitude over a period. Bartimaeus expected healing, but had to fight unbelief and lack of compassion in others (Mark chapter 10). The healing minister must move in compassion. It is good to desire spiritual gifts and earnerstly desire healing. But it is even better when we are motivated because of our love for people and our sincere desire to see them free from their afflictions (1 Corinthians 12:30 and chapter 13).
Once healed, the sick person needs to follow the Lord! Mark 10:52 demonstrates this: "And Jesus said unto him, 'Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole.' And immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way." He was healed because he meant to go on. That was the last time Jesus went through Jericho. He would have missed the healing, if he had not pressed through.
Allow your faith to be expressed in words. Christ often extracted a confession of faith from people before He healed them. Mark 10:51 gives one such example, "And Jesus answered and said unto him, 'What wilt thou that I should do unto thee?' The blind man said unto him, 'Lord, that I might receive my sight.'" Bartimaeus told the Lord what he believed would happen.
After healing, take a public stand for what Christ has done for you. Ten lepers were healed, but only one came back to give thanks. All were healed as they walked to the priest (doctor) to be examined, but only one was made whole (Luke 17:19) by coming back to thank the Lord. Start praising! Do not continue asking! Acts 3:8, "And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God."
Realize that the anointing by the Holy Spirit is not just to heal you, but also to make you a healer of others! One of our listeners to United Christian Broadcasters in the UK had a supernatural experience of speaking in other tongues in prayer (Acts 10:45). She shared this by sign language with her teacher, born deaf and dumb. He signed that he wished for the same experience, and despite his condition, was able to speak in tongues and hear himself praising God here in Ulster!