Maturing as believers involves continually learning about the power of prayer. There are plenty of things to pray about in our lives, and talking directly to God allows Him to intervene on our behalf. With this in mind, correctly dividing His Word in this area reveals the difference between Old-Testament and New-Testament prayer. When we get sick, instead of earnestly praying for healing in the future, we can joyfully thank God for the healing that’s here right now.
During His ministry, much of what Jesus did for the people who came to Him involved healing, either of body or mind. The restoration of their health was independent of anything they did through their own efforts—they simply believed in Him. The faith they had, untainted by religious thinking, was what positioned them for healing. When sickness shows up and we go to God for healing, this is the kind of trust that’s necessary in our prayer lives. “Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them” (Mark 11:24, NKJV).
Under the law, the focus was on doing, not believing. Sin, which had given birth to sickness and disease, was still an issue, and it separated God from man. The people therefore had to plead and implore God for anything good when they prayed. “Don’t keep looking at my sins. Remove the stain of my guilt… Do not banish me from your presence, and don’t take your Holy Spirit from me” (Psalm 51:9, 11, NLT). Strict obedience to all the rules and regulations was necessary or else the curse of sickness would result.
By contrast, now that Jesus has gone to the cross to make healing available to us, no begging is required—only thankfulness. “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done” (Philippians 4:6, NLT). Healing is one of Jesus’ finished works. It’s a gift, not something we have to work for. Religion tells us we must do certain things to deserve it; however, this is no longer true.
After we’ve received our healing, we mustn’t forget to thank the one responsible. When Jesus healed the ten lepers, only one thanked Him. “And they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us. And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go shew yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed. And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan… And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole” (Luke 17:13-16, 19). Thankfulness is a key component in New-Testament prayer. It causes us to focus on all the good God has done for us and reminds us to count our blessings.
God’s will is for us to enjoy the blessing of perfect health. We can have full confidence in this because no one can curse what God has already blessed (Numbers 23:8). Faith in this leads us into a thankful, grateful mindset that empowers our prayers. No matter what the doctor says, nothing can change the truth of God’s Word.