“HOW CAN YOU TEACH CHILDREN ABOUT HEALING THE SICK WITHOUT ‘BREAKING’ THEM?”
I was asked this by a children’s minister recently. It was such a foreign thought to me that I couldn’t even understand the question. “What do you mean ‘breaking’ them?” I asked. As it turns out, the question was, “What happens if you teach children about healing the sick, then they pray for someone, and that person doesn’t get healed?”
Seriously? The question was so incredulous to me, all I could say was “It’s not going to break the child!” They just stared back with skepticism on their faces.
Jesus Doesn’t Always Heal
This is such a common response from those raised in “old time Pentecost” or those who are taught that Jesus doesn’t always heal. My purpose here is not to get into a big theological debate here about healing, because that would be futile and endless. I believe Jesus heals the sick. So, let me give you some history.
When I was growing up in old time Pentecost, we had something we called “divine healing.” That was basically a code-word for “instantaneous healing” by God. It was the “divine healing” testimonies we thrived on. It was the stuff of Oral Roberts, Kathryn Kuhlman, Smith Wigglesworth and other great healing evangelists of the day were famous for. I personally remember seeing people in the local church getting prayer for healing and “nothing happened.” We all walked away with confusion and hanging heads—broken (?). If it wasn’t instantaneous, it wasn’t divine healing. Thus, it was no healing at all.
Kathryn Kuhlman in her books frequently asked God why some people were healed in her meetings, and not others. It’s the age-old question. But it never stopped her from praying for the sick and seeing thousands healed. That’s one reason we should also teach children about healing the sick.
Charles and Francis Hunter used to say, “If you pray for a thousand people and you never see any of them healed, keep praying. Because God’s word is true and eventually it will happen. And as you faithfully continue to pray, it will happen more and more often.” (My recollection of what they said, not a direct quote.) Another reason we should teach children about healing the sick.
Jesus’ Experiences Healing the Sick
First, it has taken Christians a few decades to get our thinking straightened out. Even Jesus had to pray for one blind man three times before complete healing came. Secondly, others, like the lepers, did not get healed instantaneously before the eyes of Jesus and the disciples. They were healed “as they went.” If the one leper would not have returned to thank Jesus for healing them, there would have been no verification of that healing, because it took place out of their sight.
Third the Bible was clear that were some places Jesus could do no mighty works at all because of their unbelief. Children should be taught this as we teach children about healing the sick.
To Teach Children about Healing the Sick Should be Common
In all the years that I have taught kids to pray for the sick (over 27), watching some instantaneous healings, others gradual, and some not at all, I have never seen a child “broken” because someone did not get healed. Not if you teach them what the Bible says. We walk by faith and not by sight. Our job is to obey. God’s job is to do the healing. If we do our part, He will do His, and we have to leave the miracles up to Him. If we believe and doubt not — frankly, too often good meaning saints lay hands on the sick and pray for healing and they have far more doubt and unbelief and skepticism than they do faith, then wonder why “nothing happens.”
Kids have far more faith than we do. They are quick to jump into action and obey God. They love to pray for the sick! And as long as they are not tainted with our religious doubts and unbelief, it will never occur to them to be “broken” because 100% of the people they pray for don’t get healed. Our ministry (myself and all of my global leaders) have tons of stories of children praying for the sick, and seeing both instantaneous “divine” healings, and many gradual healings. And so what if we have to pray for some people more than once? So what if not 100% of them are healed? That’s why we call it a walk of faith.
It’s far more dangerous to not teach children about healing the sick, than it is to do it and risk that not all will be healed.
Questions from Readers on Teaching Children about Healing the Sick
Question from Daniel S. “Becky, I could use some more input regarding one aspect of healing. There seem to be two camps of thought that I have been around. The first is that we “command” healing based on the authority given to the disciples (Matt 10:8) and the other is that we “appeal” for healing from Jesus who “was bruised for our iniquities… and by His stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5). What is your position please?
It’s both, and more. There is no “formula” for healing the sick. If there was it wouldn’t be faith. Something we seldom talk about is that frequently Jesus prayed all night long before going out and healing the sick the next day. Why was he doing that?
It wasn’t to build up his courage. It wasn’t to build up his faith. It was spending time with the Father who spoke to Him. He was looking for guidance and instructions. Jesus was clear–I do nothing and I say nothing but what I hear from the Father. I believe, that in part, he was getting instructions from the Father on what to do when he came upon the sick.
Think about the blind man he healed by spitting on the ground, making mud, smearing it on his eyes, then telling him to go wash it off. Did Jesus lay around in bed the night before thinking, “You know, we need to spice things up a bit. It’s getting so boring praying for blind people the same way every time. What can I do that will really capture the attention of the crowd?”
Ridiculous, right? My personal opinion was Jesus got a word from the Father in prayer, we would call it a word of knowledge, in which he saw himself doing this, and he then acted out what he got in the spirit.
But seriously–Jesus healed a lot of blind people. And he did it differently each time. Why? Was it just that he was creative? No. It’s because he did nothing and said nothing but what He saw the father say and do in prayer.
There is no one way to share our faith and evangelize people. There is no one way to minister to the broken and downtrodden. And there is no one way to heal the sick. There is no formula. All of the things you mentioned are valid, as long as you are being led by the Spirit.
Question from Emily D.: May I ask, not wanting to debate but honestly wanting to understand this viewpoint, how does death fit into this understanding. With this theological viewpoint is death considered a lack of healing or is it considered ultimate healing? If you pray for healing for someone who is on life-support And they die, is that generally considered a lack of healing possibly due to a lack of faith or is it generally considered a form of healing?
It’s an honest question, and if I had all the answers I could be rich and famous. But I don’t. Many have preached on this and have far more experience than I do, so I will simply share my personal thoughts on this for adults and as it pertains to our need to teach children about healing the sick.
Death is a fact. We are not ever promised in scripture that our bodies will not fail and die. In fact it says, “It’s appointed unto man once to die…..” We are all going to die unless Jesus returns first. When someone is dying, unless we get a “right now” word from the Living God that we are to pray and believe otherwise, many times our prayers are desperate cries to the Father, not a matter of confident faith. But I have known many who have prayed in faith, and the person still died. So what is the answer?
We walk by faith and not by sight. We do what we know to do, realizing the scriptures are true and forever settled in heaven. And when our experiences don’t match what we see in scripture, do we throw out the scripture and say it doesn’t work? The three Hebrew children said, “Whether we live or whether we die….”
Daniel 3 – “If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”
We can never lose our faith in the word of God. Our job is to trust and obey, and leave the results in God’s hands. But we cannot and dare not walk away saying “The Bible doesn’t work because it didn’t work for me.
We must not and cannot lose our trust and faith in Him and His word.
Please comment and share.
Here’s some excellent resources to teach children how to walk in the supernatural power of God. https://buff.ly/2vO8Bis