When you pray for someone and they are not healed it can cause deep disappointment, discouragement, and disillusionment. I understand that on a very personal level. But if we are going to continue to advance Jesus’ kingdom on the earth, we must press on, doing what we can to release more heaven on earth.
Here are three things that have helped me press on:
1. Grieve the loss
There are two ways to approach healing prayer. Both result in disappointment when healing does not happen, but one much more than the other.
a. Pray that the Lord’s will be done. This is the easiest track and produces a much lower degree of disappointment because from the very stary you leave it all up to Him. Peace is easier to come by because you simply accept whatever the Lord’s will is. This, of course, is the bedrock of the Christian life, praying for God’s will, not ours, to be done. However, I do not see this prayer being offered for healing, or salvation, or deliverance in the New Testament. The only two places I see that phrase is Jesus in Gethsemane, asking His Father if there is another method of saving the world besides the cross, (which I believe to extrapolate that out to salvation, healing, and deliverance for yourself or a friend is erroneous), and when James is telling us not to boast about our future, but to make our plans, then say, “If the Lord wills.” This is about assuming our future activities in life.
b. Contending for the Kingdom. This is the much track to take. Knowing that Jesus paid the price for our salvation, healing, and deliverance and fighting for it. When we choose this approach and it does not happen, the disappointment is much higher because we have invested much more of our faith, hope, and energy into it.
Think of a line going straight up, numbered from one to ten, ten being the highest number and representing the results of Jesus’ ministry, the rest of the numbers representing what we experience. The gap between what we see in Jesus’ manifestation of the kingdom and ours equals the degree of our disappointment.
This is why some have concluded that plan A is better because you live with less disappointment. It can look like humility, but it is actually fear, unbelief, and/or an avoidance of disappointment. Personally, I do not think that is Biblical. I think we are called to fight for the kingdom of heaven on earth, and then do the next thing.
2. Ask yourself if you did all you could do
Once all hope is gone, ask yourself if you did everything possible to see that situation change. If you believe you did, let it go. At that point, leave it in God’s hands. If you are not sure if you did everything you could, or wonder if you missed something, ask God. The Bible makes it clear that are reasons why some people do not get their prayers answered – unbelief, disobedience, sin, God had something better in store, or they simply did not ask. Or… we just do not know. This is a very important answer to have in your theology box – “I do not know”.
So, what do we do next?
3. Pray for the next person
If you decide to stop praying, no one will get healed, saved, or delivered – and that would be hell on earth. The kingdom would stop advancing. As I said above, I do not know why some do not get saved, healed, or delivered when we pray for them, but what I do know is that no one will happen if we stop praying.
Do not give up. Do not give up on the kingdom of God. Do not let the enemy afflict, harass, and harm people uncontended. We must pray, believe, and contend for the kingdom until Jesus returns. This is our assignment and the only hope the world has against the works of the devil.
“For this reason, the Son of God came, to destroy the works of the devil.” 1 John 3:8b
“As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” John 20:21
Q. What have you done with the disappointment of things you were praying for not coming to pass?
Q. What have you concluded about God’s will to heal? How did you come to that conclusion – from Scripture or your experience?
Q. Have you stopped praying, or do you pray less, and with less expectation due to disappointment? If so, what do you think your next step should be to begin contending for the kingdom again?