116. Conditions of Answered Prayer

Today’s reading: “The Ministry of Healing” p. 227.

Many persons bring disease upon themselves by their self-indulgence.

We start with a great promise,

If we live according to His word, every precious promise He has given will be fulfilled to us. We are undeserving of His mercy, but as we give ourselves to Him, He receives us. He will work for and through those who follow Him.

How do we “give ourselves to Him” and “follow Him,” because,

In many cases of prayer for the healing of the sick, that which is called faith is nothing less than presumption.

So how do we get this real “faith” and have our prayers answered?

First we look at our faith, then we will look at that of our patient.

This section began,

Those who minister to the sick should understand the importance of careful attention to the laws of health. Nowhere is obedience to these laws more important than in the sickroom. p. 219.

So, with today’s reading we understand why half-hearted obedience, to any of God’s laws, the spiritual or the health laws, can not only be fatal to us but to our patients because God’s promised healing “will not be fulfilled to us.”

Our character determines the outcomes of our prayers. Any less would be God encouraging sin (in us). We don’t have to be perfect but we do have to be on the journey. Remember from our very first reading from p. 503,

Continual progress in knowledge and virtue is God’s purpose for us. His law is the echo of His own voice, giving to all the invitation, “Come up higher. Be holy, holier still.” Every day we may advance in perfection of Christian character.

The next condition of answered prayer is that our patient needs to lay aside unhealthy habits of eating, drinking, dressing and working, and give up every vice. In short, self-indulgence must cease.

Two days ago we learned how to get them to do just that,

In the kindest and tenderest manner nurses are to teach that he who would be healed must cease to transgress the law of God. He must cease to choose a life of sin. God cannot bless the one who continues to bring upon himself disease and suffering by a willful violation of the laws of heaven. But Christ, through the Holy Spirit, comes as a healing power to those who cease to do evil and learn to do well. p. 224

So, it is good to pray for people but if we want those prayers answered, both of us, the patient and the attendant, have some work to do.

And, don’t be discouraged, I think we see this healing power of Christ at every CHIP, NEWSTART, Depression Recovery or any of the places we help people “cease to do evil and learn to do well.”

Tomorrow we look at how confession of sin fits into this picture of healing.

Index to “The Ministry of Healing” readings.

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