Praying for Healing (Genesis 20:17) - Radical

Praying for Healing (Genesis 20:17)

“Then Abraham prayed to God and God healed Abimelech, and also healed his wife and female slaves, so that they bore children.”
– Genesis 20:17

Now, the context behind Genesis 20 is really, really important because this is when Abraham actually deceived Abimelech concerning his wife, Sarah, saying that she was his sister. Abimelech took Sarah and God said, “Wait a minute. Don’t do anything with Sarah. This is this man’s wife.” Abimelech says, “Why did you lie to me?” So, there’s a whole story here and part of why Genesis 20:17 talks about healing is because, well, Verse 18 says, “The Lord had closed all the wombs of the house of Abimelech because of Sarah, Abraham’s wife.”

But when it comes down to it, just on a base level, so all that context, this is a very unique circumstance, at the same time, don’t miss just the basic truth here that we see all over the Bible. Abraham prayed to God and God healed Abimelech and his wife and those in his household.

We pray to the God is sovereign over the health of everyone. It is entirely right to pray in faith for healing. May God help us to pray in faith trusting that He knows what is best.

Genesis 20:17 Reminds Us God Is Sovereign Over Our Health

When we pray, we are praying to the God who is sovereign over the health of everyone of our lives and everyone we’re praying to, and it’s entirely right to pray for healing. Again, so the context is very different, but we see this all throughout Scripture. We see people who are sick seeking God for healing. We see people interceding for others, praying for God to heal others. See encouragement, even commands, in the church when someone is sick to call the elders of the church to pray over them for healing, knowing that God answers those prayers in different ways at different times. We don’t just mechanically know, okay, if I just pray healing or if I pray this many times, it’s going to automatically happen the way I’m praying.

There’s so much Gospel perversion when it comes to health and wealth teaching. If you trust God enough, if you do certain things, then you are guaranteed to be made healthy, and if you’re not healthy, it means you don’t have enough faith in your praying. No. No, no, no. That is not what the bible teachers. At the same time, the bible does teach pray to the God who is sovereign over our health and ask for healing. That’s good and right to do. We are praying to the God who is able to totally take away sickness, to totally take away disease, pain, whatever it might be.

Genesis 20:17 Teaches Us To Pray For Healing

So, God teach us to pray for healing rightly with total faith in you. God, help us to pray. Sometimes I think about when I pray for healing, in the back of my mind, I’m just wondering if it’s actually going to happen. I’m praying for somebody and, oh, God, I hate to even admit it, but sometimes I’m praying, and I just think, I don’t think this person is going to be healed. God, forgive me. Forgive me for a lack of faith in that way. Lord, help me.

Help us as we pray for healing to trust you, to trust your power. You’re sovereign over health. You can take away cancer in an instant. You can remove a tumor in an instant. Can take away pain in an instant. You have power to do that. You choose to do that in many different times, in many different ways and we praise you for that. So, God, help us to pray with faith that believes you are able to do that, and you may do that.

This Verse Trusts In God For Healing

At the same time, God, help us to pray for healing with trust in your plan, in your purposes, in your wisdom that you may not heal in the way we choose. It’s not because you don’t have power to do it. It’s because, well, in your infinite wisdom, in your sovereign purposes, you are working all things together. We trust for the good of your people and the glory of your name, so we will trust in you as we pray for healing. If you don’t answer in the way we long for, God, we will keep our trust in you.

We will trust you all the more. I just think about 2 Corinthians 12, as Paul was praying for this removal of this thorn in his flesh. You said multiple times, as he kept praying, you said, “My grace is sufficient. My power will be made perfect in your weakness.” So, we pray for that power to be made perfect in weakness when you choose not to heal. So, God, help us to pray for healing in our lives, for other’s lives in right ways according to your word. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

David Platt serves as a pastor in metro Washington, D.C. He is the founder of Radical.

David received his Ph.D. from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and is the author of Don’t Hold Back, Radical, Follow MeCounter CultureSomething Needs to ChangeBefore You Vote, as well as the multiple volumes of the Christ-Centered Exposition Commentary series.

Along with his wife and children, he lives in the Washington, D.C. metro area.


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