If you were for real, you would go and pray for people in hospitals rather than inviting people to a meeting!
These were the words of a man who acted angrily to a video I sent out inviting people to our next healing workshop and public healing meetings. It would have been easy to ignore him: a complete stranger, who pops up on the internet to post hateful comments about me and others whose ministry I love and respect. But I believe that every time I do my best to answer a critic, I also grow as a teacher, preacher and counsellor. So here’s what I came up with.
Firstly the question assumes that none of us ever go and pray for people in hospitals. That is simply not true. For example, our friend Lucy, the Samburu woman from the documentary Called+Empowered, went to the hospital in Maralal, Kenya, to pray for the sick. She did this only when she felt the Spirit of God urging her to do so, and the result was that many people were healed. Once even her sister died, but when Lucy went to the hospital and prayed for her, she came back from the dead. When a hospital declares someone dead and then they start breathing again or get up and leave the hospital, of course you have to assume that someone is not doing their job properly, and that is when the problems start.
Lucy was accused of being a witch by the church leaders and the hospital asked her to stop coming.
Lucy from Maralal, Kenya, experienced great rejection when she used her gift of healing to pray for people in the hospital and at church.
I hope one day to meet Lucy’s sister or visit the hospital and document her side of the story, but I am a preacher, not an investigative journalist. As for the credibility of the report, all I can say is that Lucy gained no advantage from telling us about her experiences. When tourists take photos of Kenyans in traditional dress, they usually charge money. But Lucy never once asked us for money or mentioned any financial needs. Nor has she gained any position in the community through her claims. Because of her little education and knowledge of the Bible, Lucy did not know how to answer the Christians who accused her of having a false spirit.
But during our conference in Maralal, we showed Lucy some Bible passages that show that followers of Christ should expect to do the works that Jesus did. In addition, she experienced physical and spiritual healing herself.
Lucy’s example illustrates a point that is consistent with other accounts I have heard. When people with the gift of healing go to hospitals to pray for the sick, it is not always welcome whether they are successful or not.
And this brings me to the second point. Healing is not an end in itself. Healing is a gift of God that goes hand in hand with the proclamation of the Kingdom of God. Jesus called people to repentance, explained to them what that meant, and then he healed people. His deeds confirmed his words.
It is also important to know that even during Jesus’ ministry, people were only healed when they approached Jesus in faith. He went to places, but rarely directly to people. As a rule, he let them come to him. An act of faith is often a necessary element for a healing miracle. Accepting an invitation and going to a meeting is a step of faith. In a meeting, a preacher can preach the gospel and try to awaken faith in a number of people at the same time. Only a certain percentage of people will hear the message, respond with faith and be healed. So a meeting is in some ways more effective than one-on-one. And that is a valid consideration.