Praying for healing
By Niki Behrikis Shanahan
Lord my God, I called to You for help, and You healed me. Psalm 30:2
Although the main focus of this ministry is on animals going to Heaven, I hear from many people asking for prayer for their pets. That was the reason why my second book was Animal Prayer Guide, because I could see that people needed help in praying for their pets. We all need help with prayer at one time or another. It's good for us all to pray for each other and for the animals. I wanted to share some information from the Bible that might be helpful for all of us as we pray. For many this will be a review but sometimes we need that, and I know myself I find it good to go through this often. I hesitate sometimes to do an article like this, because there are so many aspects of it that need to be covered. I'm really not covering all of it, but I'll try to get the fundamentals reviewed. Here are some questions we have all had, and I will try to answer them according to what the Bible says.
1 Is it God's will for us to be healed?
2 Does God still heal today?
3 Where does sickness come from?
4 Who do you pray to and how do you pray?
5 What circumstances can hinder answers to prayer?
I have had some people write and say they are praying for their pet to be healed IF it's God's will for them to be healed. When it comes to praying for healing for sickness for our animal companions as well as ourselves, it's important first to establish where the sickness came from, and if in fact it is God's will for us or them to be healed. If you don't know the answer to that it will be very difficult to pray for healing and I'll explain why. If we think it came from God then how will we receive help and who might we go to for help? If we think He doesn't want us well, should we still pray for help? I know many say God allows it, but we really have to go by the book (Bible) to see what God says we should do when these troubles come, because Jesus did tell us that in the world we would have trouble.
First we need to establish how God feels about the creatures that He created. He has told us in the Bible that He loves all His creatures. He said when He created people and animals in the book of Genesis that "it was good." There was no sickness until Adam and Eve sinned, because God doesn't want us sick. So where does sickness come from? Jesus said the devil comes to steal, kill and destroy but I have come that you might have life and more abundantly. (John 10:10)
In the Bible we all have read the many, many stories about how Jesus went about doing good, and healing people from sickness. We can see that in this verse. "…how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how He went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with Him." Acts 10:38
Notice what it said there, "healing all who were under the power of the devil." That tells us right there that it came from the devil. We can see who put it on them and who is taking it off them. Now if God put the sickness on people Jesus would have been working against the Heavenly Father if He started healing them. You can see that doesn't make any sense. John 5:19 says, Jesus gave them this answer: “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by Himself; He can do only what He sees His Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does." So Jesus wants everyone well and God wants everyone well.
Many people feel like if they are sick maybe it's God's will that they suffer or that it's just their time to go. I'm not denying that we all go some time, but Jesus did not have the attitude that some should just give up and not go to God for help. In fact, He said until now you haven't asked Me for anything in My name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete. (John 16:24) There's the invitation to ask. The other important point in this verse is that Jesus said to ask God in His Name. So we pray to the Heavenly Father in Jesus Name.
Some people will pray to saints and that might be something in your religious tradition or something you like to do, but the Bible says pray to the Father in Jesus Name. I have not seen anywhere in the Bible where we are taught to pray to anyone other than the Father in Jesus Name, and it is simple enough to do that. Actually, why would we want to go to someone else when we can go direct? I know some people feel the need to see if they can get some extra help somewhere, and I suppose that is why they think they should pray to a saint. However, there really isn't any reference in the Bible that I can recall where any person who has died is looking out for us here on earth except Jesus. If they are looking out for us, we are not told about it. So when these saints die they go to Heaven, and they are with the Lord, but there is no reference that they are helping us or that we should pray to them. On the other hand, there is much reference to the angels helping us and looking out for us which I have outlined in my book Angels Are Watching Over Us. But we are not to pray to them. They will help us as a result of our prayers to the Father in Jesus Name, and at God's direction. Also, in Angels Are Watching Over Us I cover where the devil came from. So you can make your own decision as to whether you want to try to go through a saint as long as you know it's not Scriptural, and Jesus did not instruct us to do it. You can read the Bible especially in the New Testament though to check that out for yourself.
One might ask well Jesus healed in Bible days but what about now? The Bible says that Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). That means He doesn't change. God didn't just save souls in the Bible days only, He saves souls today. The same is true concerning healing. If He healed people in the Bible days, He will heal people today. Now there's certainly the faith factor which we need to have for healing, and it's something we all have to work on. Because we can all become afraid when trouble comes. We are only human. But is it important for us to have faith to receive from God? Take this scripture for example, "This man heard Paul speaking. Paul, observing him intently and seeing that he had faith to be healed." (Acts 14:9) It looks like from this verse and many others that faith is an important ingredient in receiving from God. Paul has observed that the man seemed to have faith to be healed. It sounds like what Paul is saying is I think this man can receive his healing, because he seems to have enough faith to receive it. The implication here is that if he doesn't have enough faith he may not get healed. In fact, Jesus is quoted quite often when He healed people as saying, you're faith has made you whole. This is the reason why I bring up the subject of praying and saying "if it's God's will." If you don't know if it's God's will then that's going to hinder your faith, because you're not going to have confidence because you don't know if God wants you well. How can we have faith if we don't know if God is for us or against us? We don't want to doubt or waver. James 1:6-7 says, "But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord."
How do we receive faith? The Bible says that faith comes by hearing the Word of God so that's why we have to keep these Bible promises before us. (Romans 10:17) It's a good idea to have several verses on a list that we can read, and refer to so we can see the promises of God before us all the time. I like to read a few of these verses every day when I am reading my Bible. There's no question, the tougher the problem, the harder it is to have faith for it.
Again I want to make it clear that we have all had times when we did not receive what we were praying for, and we may never truly understand until we are in Heaven why that was. However, there are some reasons mentioned in the Bible that we can review revealing why a person might not get answers to prayer. I'm not saying that these are the reasons why every person doesn't get the answer to their prayer, but according to the Bible it's the case in some situations. First, do we have enough faith to get the healing is possibly the biggest obstacle for people. We've all been there. Other reasons are if a person doesn't forgive someone or if they don't confess their sins to God. Another can be found in 1 Peter 3:7. It says husbands respect your wives so nothing will hinder your prayers. This can also go the other way that wives should respect their husbands. Being in strife with someone is a hindrance. Whatever our faults and failures are we can go to God and ask for forgiveness and do the best we can to live a good Christian life, and we can be confident that God forgives us. So then there is nothing hindering our prayers. Also, people must be followers of Jesus/be born again. If you have questions on this, here is a link to assist you with that. It's down in the section called Eternal Life For People. How To Pray
So if we go through this checklist and it doesn't seem to be any of these things and a person or animal dies, perhaps it was their time because eventually we know that will happen. One thing we can know for sure is that when our beloved animal companions leave us, they are in Heaven with the Lord waiting for us. However, it doesn't mean that while we are here we can't live a healthy and happy life. The Bible says, "Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers." (3 John 1-2) That sounds like God wants us to be in good health. In fact, Jesus told us to pray the Our Father (Matthew 6) and he said to pray to God and say "Your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven." He said pray that it would be on earth like it is in Heaven. So we have to ask the question. How is it in Heaven? Are there any sick people and animals in Heaven? I think we all know the answer to that one. So if He says to pray it's on earth as in Heaven and there are no sick people or animals in Heaven, then that's the will of God. Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of times when it is appropriate and correct to ask God what His will is. Two times we don't need to ask about God's will because we know what it is from the Bible:
1. Should I be a follower of Jesus/born again? We know that's what God wants.
2. Does God want us healthy and healed? Jesus always healed everyone and God makes it clear He wants us all well. We see these two things in 1 Peter 2:24 “He Himself bore our sins” in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by His wounds you have been healed.” (And also in Isaiah 53:5.) It says He died to forgive us of sins, and by His wounds (or stripes) we have been healed. Here it is again in Psalm 103:2-3 "Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all His benefits—who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases." One is spiritual and the other is physical.
However, there are many things we need to ask God what His will is for us. For example, we want to know if it's His will that we marry a certain person, take a particular job, move across the country, attend a particular school, etc. These are the things in life that we want to pray for God's will because it's not in the Bible. It doesn't say in the Bible, Lucy should marry John and Mark should take the job in a certain company. These are things that are personal and unique to each person, and we have to pray about them.
I think every one of us has felt that there have been some times when they did not receive the answer to prayer they were looking for. But we have to keep trying and keep working at it. Every one of us has to work at having faith and believing that God will help us. We all face troubles and challenges, but we have a loving Heavenly Father to go to and pray in Jesus Name for our needs to be met. Sometimes we have to wait a lot longer than we would like to see answers to prayer. It will often require medical attention and medicine as well, but we can both pray and seek medical help. And it's so good to know that we all pray for each other. Let's all pray for one another and encourage each other, because we all need it. I hope you have found this helpful. God bless you and your little ones with a long life, good health, and much happiness.
If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all—how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things? Romans 8:31-32
For additional help regarding praying for your pets, refer to the book Animal Prayer Guide, and also, see my article called How To Pray at this link.
Copyright 2015 Niki Behrikis Shanahan
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