Growing up an Adventist, I had the opportunity to witness some pastors who were gifted with healing abilities. I first witnessed faith healing when a renowned Ghanaian pastor, in the person of Andrews L. Ewoo, organized anointing service at Valley View University for some students. In the course of the prayer, I witnessed demon-possessed persons screaming loudly with usual gestures. Though I was then a student of theology preparing to become a pastor, I was clueless about what was happening because I had never seen such a thing before. Moreover, persons like this pastor, who could heal and cast out demons, were criticized for using magical powers.
When I became a pastor, I was daily faced with requests from suffering members of diverse problems. They trusted Christ’s healing grace, and had confidence in the pastor’s prayer. United in prayer, in corporation with the church elders, many sick persons and demon-possessed received their healing.
Today in the church, our skeptic attitude towards faith healing has been overstretched beyond bounds. Of course, there could be false healing, but these do not invalidate the promises of Christ that “Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give” (Mathew 10: 8). Jesus Himself was a victim of skeptic attitude in doing the right thing (Mark 3:22-30, John 8:48). Have we received the gift of healing? If yes, why are we not giving?
Ellen White shared her experience of a united prayer and faith healing in the Spiritual Gifts, vol. 2, p.109:
“Having received a request to visit Sister Hastings, of New Ipswich, New Hampshire, who was greatly afflicted, we made the matter a subject of prayer, and obtained evidence that the Lord would go with us. On our way we stopped at Dorchester, with Brother Otis Nichols’s family, and they told us of the affliction of Sister Temple of Boston. On her arm she had a sore, which caused her much anxiety. It had extended over the bend of the elbow. She had suffered great agony, and had in vain resorted to human means for relief. The last effort had driven the disease to her lungs, and she felt that unless she obtained immediate help, the disease would end in consumption.
Sister Temple had left word for us to come and pray for her. We went with trembling, having sought in vain for the assurance that God would work in her behalf. We went into the sickroom, relying upon the naked promises of God. Sister Temple’s arm was in such a condition that we could not touch it, and were obliged to pour the oil upon it. Then we united in prayer, and claimed the promises of God. The pain and soreness left the arm while we were praying, and we left Sister Temple rejoicing in the Lord. On our return, eight days later, we found her in good health, and hard at work at the washtub” (Christian Experience and Teachings of Ellen G. White, pp. 122, 123).
By following Christ’s example, Church members who are suffering should first take the initiative to call upon the church; a united prayer and trust in God will raise them up. The presence of the Holy Spirit can defy all biological disorders in the body, even including our spiritual weaknesses. The same God of yesterday, is still the same God of all-time.