If you’ve been following this short series on prayer, I’m hoping you can spot at least two things wrong with these statements. First, it is always God’s will to heal the sick just as it is always His will to save the lost. Jesus died to save us and His atonement provides for our forgiveness, healing, deliverance and provision. Second, there’s no power in asking God to do something He’s already done. As we saw in Part 1, Jesus instructed us to “heal the sick,” not “ask God to heal the sick.” And as we saw in Part 2, Jesus wants us to speak directly to our mountains.
On my journey I have discovered that there is a huge difference between the traditional view of prayer and what the Bible teaches. We have already looked at six differences. Here is one more:
Traditional: Sometimes the answer is no
Biblical: God is faithful!
Some people will tell you that God hasn’t answered your prayers because you are not doing enough works. They’ll say you’re out of fellowship with Him or you haven’t pounded the gates of heaven or you haven’t confessed all of your sins. Others will try and manage your expectations with doctrine based on their experience rather than His word. Listen to these sorts of people and I guarantee it’ll neutralize your faith.
We need to rest in Jesus’ promise that whatever we ask in His name we shall receive (Jn 14:13, 16:24). “Ask me,” says Jesus, “and I will do it” (Jn 14:14). What is the key to doing the works and greater works of Jesus? It is simple faith in Jesus Christ (Jn 14:12). But sometimes we pray and there is no immediate manifestation. The sickness lingers. Does that mean God said no? Not according to Matthew 21:22 and John 16:24. Let God be true and every man a liar! God’s faithfulness is the one constant in the equation. He is the Rock on which we stand.
Daniel famously prayed two prayers that were both answered instantly. But the manifestation of one prayer took a few minutes, while the other took three weeks (Dan 9:23, 10:12). What was the variable? Not God! In Daniel’s case there was demonic resistance to the second prayer.
One reason why our problems sometimes linger is because the enemy is challenging our authority. He wants to see how serious we are. What should we do? Should we quit? Should we ask God to take over? No. Be encouraged. The devil will flee when we resist him and we do that by submitting to God and His rock-solid promises (Jas 4:7). That sword in your hand isn’t for decorative purposes. Use it! Here’s Andrew Wommack in his book A Better Way to Pray:
“When I minister healing to someone, I’ll pray for them two, three, four, or more times. I don’t care! I’m willing to pray for them until I rub all the hair off of their head! However, I’m not going back to God and saying, ‘Father, it didn’t work the first time. Let it work now, please!’ No! I believe it happened because God is faithful. He gave, but something’s wrong with our receiver. So I work on it. If the devil withstands one dose of the Holy Spirit, I’ll shoot him again! Just like Jesus did with the blind man of Bethsaida (Mark 8:22-26), I pray until I see the answer manifest. You need to get this attitude that God is faithful and He’s already met your need before you ever had it.” (p.125)
Understand that we’re not fighting to get the victory; we’re fighting to enforce the victory that Christ has already won. Satan and sickness were disarmed at the cross (Col 2:15). That’s why we’re called to stand rather than advance (Eph 6:13). We’re not taking ground, we’re holding ground that’s already ours through Christ. So stand firm and declare God’s word over your circumstances. Your tongue holds the power of life and death (Pro 18:21), so proclaim life and grace and health and freedom over your situation.
If the devil’s one variable, guess who’s the other? We’ll find out in the fourth and final part of this series.