A gracEmail subscriber writes that his father suffers from cancer. Their local church is praying for healing, but “an outside source” has presented a list of Scriptures, to be read repeatedly each day, substituting the sick father’s name in place of the person named in the Scriptures. The son asks whether this prescription is valid.
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First, I am sorry that your father is ill, and I commend you for taking the matter to God our Healer and for trusting his sovereign love. As for the outside advice, I would need to know which Scriptures the advisor is prescribing. It certainly is appropriate for your father to personalize any applicable promise of God by inserting his own name as he reads it. It is quite a different matter to “claim” as a promise from God some text which is not applicable to all God’s people, unless God has specifically invited your father to do so.
Much that passes these days as “faith teaching” is only human presumption. We cannot obligate God to act by declaring that we are “believing” him for a particular circumstance or situation. That is mortal manipulation, not biblical faith. Faith means agreeing with God’s applicable promises, responding “Amen” to whatever God has affirmed, saying “Yes” to whatever he commands or directs (Rom. 10:17; 2 Cor. 1:19-20). Faith is trusting God and entrusting ourselves to him.
God does heal all manner of infirmities, when it pleases him to do so — suddenly or gradually, through physicians or without them. Christ’s atonement provides healing for the whole person, a blessing we will experience fully in the Resurrection (Matt. 8:16-17; Acts 3:16; 4:12; 1 Cor. 15:42-49). However, God often gives inner and outer healing now in part, as a sign of his kingdom’s presence and as an act of mercy. If your father has not asked his church leaders to pray for him and to anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord, that might be a good step to take next (James 5:14-16).