Healthful Living


Chapter 35—Prayer for the Sick

1015. It is labor lost to teach people to go to God as a healer of their infirmities, unless they are educated also to lay aside every wrong practise.—Unpublished Testimonies, August 25, 1897. HL 236.1


1016. Many have expected that God would keep them from sickness merely because they have asked him to do so. But God did not regard their prayers, because their faith was not made perfect by works. God will not work a miracle to keep those from sickness who have no care for themselves, but are continually violating the laws of health, and make no effort to prevent disease. When we do all we can on our part to have health, then we may expect that the blessed results will follow, and we can ask God in faith to bless our efforts for the preservation of health. He will then answer our prayer, if his name can be glorified thereby. But let all understand that they have a work to do. God will not work in a miraculous manner to preserve the health of persons who are taking a sure course to make themselves sick, by their careless inattention to the laws of health.—How to Live 4:64. HL 236.2

1017. In such cases of affliction where Satan has control of the mind, before engaging in prayer there should be the closest self-examination to discover if there are not sins which need to be repented of, confessed, and forsaken. Deep humility of soul before God is necessary, and firm, humble reliance upon the blood of Christ alone. Fasting and prayer will accomplish nothing while the heart is estranged from God by a wrong course of action.—Testimonies for the Church 2:146. HL 236.3

1018. If we regard iniquity in our hearts, the Lord will not hear us.... When we come to him, we should pray that we may enter into and accomplish his purpose, and that our desires and interests may be lost in his.—Testimonies for the Church 2:148. HL 237.1

1019. What word has God for those who ignore the light that is shining abroad, and then ask to be prayed for that they may be sanctified and healed?—The same word that he had for Cain: “If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? And if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door.”—Unpublished Testimonies, August 25, 1897. HL 237.2


1020. Some, if they should regain their health, would indulge in some heedless transgression of nature's laws.—Unpublished Testimonies. HL 237.3

1021. We should first find out if the sick one has been withholding tithes or has made trouble in the church.—Unpublished Testimonies. HL 237.4

1022. There are very many more than we imagine that are sick mentally.... A sore, sick heart, a discouraged mind, needs mild treatment, and it is through tender sympathy that this class of minds can be directed to the Burden-Bearer, and if they can have faith that he will have an interest in them, the cure of their diseased bodies and minds will be sure.—Testimonies for the Church 3:184. HL 237.5

1023. After the physicians [of the Health Institute] have done what they can in behalf of the sick, they ask God to work with their efforts, and restore the suffering invalids to health. This he has done in some cases in answer to the prayer of faith. And this he will continue to do, if they are faithful, and put their trust in him.—Testimonies for the Church 2:184. HL 238.1

1024. God does not work miracles where he has provided means by which the work may be accomplished.—The Review and Herald, July 17, 1888. HL 238.2

1025. Faith without intelligent works is dead, being alone. Faith in the healing power of God will not save unless it is combined with good works.—Unpublished Testimonies, August 25, 1897. HL 238.3

1026. God will not work a miracle to change natural causes which you can control.—The Signs of the Times, May 8, 1884. HL 238.4

1027. Many would not endure the time of trial, and will therefore be laid away.—Unpublished Testimonies. HL 238.5

1028. Where the way is clear for the offering up of prayer for the sick, the case should be committed to the Lord in calm faith, not with a storm of excitement. He alone is acquainted with the past life of the individual, and knows what his future will be.... All that we are required to do is to ask God to raise up the sick if in accordance with his will, believing that he hears the reasons which we present, and the fervent prayers offered. If the Lord sees that it will best honor him, he will answer our prayers. But to urge recovery without submission to his will, is not right.... All that can be done in praying for the sick is earnestly to importune God in their behalf, and in perfect confidence rest the matter in his hands.... If the life of the sick can glorify him, we pray that they may live; nevertheless, not as we will, but as he wills. Our faith can be just as firm, and more reliable, by committing the desire to the all-wise God, and without feverish anxiety, in perfect confidence, trusting all to him.... Our petitions must not take the form of a command, but of intercession for him to do the thing we desire of him.—Testimonies for the Church 2:147-149. HL 238.6

1029. The strong desire for recovery leads to earnest prayer; and this is right. God is our refuge in sickness as in health.—Testimonies for the Church 5:315. HL 239.1

1030. Prayer will give the sick an abiding confidence.—Testimonies for the Church 5:443. HL 239.2

1031. Jesus can limit the power of Satan. He is the physician in whom the sin-sick soul may trust to heal the maladies of the body as well as of the soul.—Testimonies for the Church 5:448. HL 239.3

1032. I would come before the Lord with this petition: “Lord, we cannot read the heart of this sick one, but thou knowest whether it is for the good of his soul and for the glory of thy name to raise him to health. In thy great goodness, compassionate this case, and let healthy action take place in the system. The work must be entirely thine own. We have done all that human skill can do; now, Lord, we lay this case at thy feet, work as only God can work, and if it be for thy good and for thy glory, arrest the progress of disease and heal this sufferer.” ... But after I have prayed earnestly for the sick, what then? Do I cease to do all I can for their recovery?—No, I work all the more earnestly, with much prayer that the Lord may bless the means which his own hand has provided; that he may give sanctified wisdom to co-operate with him in the recovery of the sick.—Unpublished Testimonies, March 11, 1892. HL 239.4

1033. In praying for the sick, it is essential to have faith; for it is in accordance with the word of God.... Sometimes answers to our prayers come immediately, sometimes we have to wait patiently and continue earnestly to plead for the things we need. Our faith is illustrated by the case of the importunate solicitor for bread.... If our petitions are indited by the Lord, they will be answered.—Ibid. HL 240.1

1034. We all desire an immediate answer to our prayers, and we are tempted to become discouraged if it does not come. Now my experience has taught me that this is a great mistake. The delay is for our special benefit.... Faith strengthens through continual exercise. This waiting does not mean that because we ask the Lord to heal, there is nothing for us to do. We are to make the very best use of the means which the Lord in his gracious goodness has provided for us in our very necessities.... I have looked to God in faith, and have used every benefit that hygienic methods have provided, of which we could avail ourselves. This was my duty.... In treatment we have used water in a variety of ways, always asking the Lord to give wisdom in all our efforts, and to put his blessing upon every laudable means employed for the recovery of health.... As a reasonable being, through the grace of God I shall take advantage of the blessings of the Lord which he has placed within my reach.—Unpublished Testimonies, March 11, 1892. HL 240.2

1035. I have seen so much of carrying matters to extremes, even in praying for the sick, that I have felt that this part of our experience requires much earnest, sanctified thinking, else we shall make movements that we may call faith, but that are nothing less than presumption. Persons worn down with affliction need to be counseled wisely that they may move discreetly; and while they place themselves before God to be prayed for that they may be healed, they are not to neglect methods of restoration to health that are in accordance with nature's laws. If, in praying for healing, they refuse to use the simple remedies provided by God to alleviate pain and to aid nature in her work, lest it be a denial of faith, they are talking an unwise position. It is not a denial of faith, it is in strict harmony with the plans of God.... One word from God, one touch of the divine finger, would have cured Hezekiah instantly, but special directions were given to take a fig and lay it on the affected part, and Hezekiah was raised to life. In everything we need to move along the line of God's providence. The human agent should have faith, and should co-operate with divine power, using every facility, taking advantage of everything that to his intelligence is beneficial, and working in harmony with natural laws; in doing this he neither denies nor hinders faith.—Ibid. HL 241.1

1036. Should the Lord work a miracle to restore the wonderful machinery which human beings have impaired through their own carelessness and inattention and their indulgence of appetite and passions, by doing the very things that the Lord has told them they should not do, he would be ministering to sin, which is the transgression of his own law.—Unpublished Testimonies, May 19, 1897. HL 242.1

1037. The relations between God and each soul are as distinct and full as though there were not another soul for whom he gave his beloved Son.... Keep your wants, your joys, your sorrows, your cares, and your fears before God.... The Lord is very pitiful and of tender mercy. His heart of love is touched by our sorrows, and even by our utterance of them.... Nothing that in any way concerns our peace is too small for him to notice. There is no chapter in our experience too dark for him to read; there is no perplexity too difficult for him to unravel. No calamity can befall the least of his children, no anxiety harass the soul, no joy cheer, no sincere prayer escape the lips, of which our Heavenly Father is unobservant, or in which he takes no immediate interest. “He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.”—Steps to Christ, 117. HL 242.2