Sunday, July 31, 2022

Praying for the Sick

By Gerald Cowan


    How does God respond to us when we pray for someone who is having health issues and other issues? How are they blessed? Will God always answer our prayers for others?

    We are taught to pray for one another when we have health issues, including spiritual health as well as physical health (James 5:13, 16). The promise of spiritual healing seems firm, assuming that both the praying one and the one prayed for act in penitent faith (James 5:16). We do offer prayers and intercessions for others (1 Tim. 2:1-4). We are not told that all our requests for others will be granted, or that prayers for ourselves will invariably be granted. We can be sure that asking is essential. Some things we do not get because we do not ask (James 4:2), but the request itself is not sufficient. Unwavering faith is also essential (James 1:5-6). We are also told that improper motives will prevent any positive answer to our requests (James 4:3). There is still more: the mind and disposition – the faith and inclination toward God – of the person prayed for must be considered too. God will not override the will of the person we pray for. We may pray for changes in the person, not only physical but mental and spiritual as well, that the person himself resists, refuses and does not want.

    Our faith is tested in that we pray for good things to happen and sometimes those good things do not happen. We pray for bad things not to happen, or to be taken away, but those things come and do not go away. God answers every prayer of His faithful people, but sometimes the answer is and must be NO. Any prayer answered in the affirmative for the faithful provides strength to endure what cannot be changed or what God does not change (1 Cor. 10:13). But even when we do not understand and when we do not get a yes answer, we keep on praying – we do not faint or give up on God (Gal. 6:9-10).

- Gerald Cowan, a longtime preacher and missionary, is retired from full-time pulpit preaching. Gerald publishes an e-mail newsletter entitled GERALD COWAN’S PERSONAL PERIODICAL WRITINGS. He is available for Gospel Meetings and he may be contacted at

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