Concerning healing, there seem to be two general “modes” recorded in the New Covenant: one more “evangelistic,” the other more “pastoral.” The first kind is a confrontation of the powers of light and darkness when the gospel is shared publicly for all to see.
Mark 16:15, 18
Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation… They will lay hands on the sick and they will be healed.
To a certain degree, when an unbeliever sincerely listens to the gospel, he is beginning to repent, in the sense that he is turning toward the Lord and away from whatever else he was doing at the time. There is an immediate opening for the power of God to be released. When the gospel is spread into new countries in a wave of evangelistic revival, supernatural healings are regularly experienced.
When ministering healing to members of the congregation who are already believers, the Scriptures mention a second “mode” of healing, one with several more requirements.
If there is any sick among you, call for the elders of the congregation and pray for him with the anointing of oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the sick… And if he has sinned, he will be forgiven. Confess your sins to one another and pray one for another in order that you will be healed.
In this brief passage we see several factors which may hinder healing.
- Broken relationships with others
- Unconfessed sin
- Lack of faith
- Lack of submission to authority.
There are other factors as well: some having to do with the person receiving prayer, and some with those doing the prayer. In many cases it is not the fault of anyone involved, and often the reasons are just unknown (John 9:1-3). Most of the time, the causes are indirect and circumstantial. Let’s not allow for cases in which people are not healed to discourage us. Doctors continue to work in the medical field even though not all are healed.