Should we pray for the sick?

“I pray that you may enjoy good health
and that all may go well with you…”
3 John 2

I received an email recently and the writer included the reference for today’s verse. Somehow it got me thinking about illness, God’s will, and prayer for the sick.

I well recall being in a prayer meeting at a certain church and mentioned a member of that church for prayer. This man had been ill for several years with a painful condition. I know the church had prayed often that the man might be healed.

The day before the prayer meeting I had visited the gentleman and we discussed the possibility that the man was not going to get better, and that he needed to learn to get along in life with this medical issue.

I had him look at the verses in 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 where the apostle Paul speaks about a physical problem he had and what he had done about it. In that passage Paul clearly indicates that he had 3 special times of prayer when he asked God to take the problem away from him. He certainly prayed that he would be healed of his health issue.

It may be readily assumed that Paul had faith in the ability of God to perform a miracle and heal him. However, after 3 times of wrestling with God in prayer, Paul came to the conclusion that the medical issue was here to stay.

During Paul’s times of special prayer for the removal of his difficulty he came to understand that the amazing grace of God was allowing him to live with the medical problem. He further realised that there was a reason for him living with illness. God had given Paul miraculous visions of Himself, and Paul learned eternal truths during these revelations.

The trials of health Paul was given by God caused him to be humbled in a situation where he might have been arrogant and proud. Paul knew that he was blessed beyond others by having this glimpse into heaven and the glories of that place. Such privilege could have easily produced a feeling of superiority on Paul’s part.

God actually caused Paul’s physical issues in order to help him know that he was not special and exceptional. Although he saw and heard things that others did not, God would not let Paul be overtaken by spiritual pride. So Paul’s physical suffering was for his spiritual good.

If today you are not well, pray for healing of course! You may want to call for the elders of your church to come and pray with you (James 5:14-16). But if your prayers do not bring the desired result, ask the Lord to help you understand what blessing can come from this issue. Do not waste your suffering.

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