Back to Prevailing Prayer for Healing
Rosalind Goforth's book How I Know God Answers Prayer is wonderful. Here I have collected a few of the paragraphs having to do with prayer for healing from her book. We can gain much from her experience.
A general statement on healing prayer...
In all the cases of divine healing cited in this record it will be noted that God healed in answer to prayer either when the doctors had done all in their power and hope had been abandoned, or when we were out of reach of medical aid.
The healing of a boy with TB...
I had been holding a class for women at an out-station, staying in the home of the elder, Dr. Fan. The day before I was to return home, Mrs. Fan asked me to go with her to visit a very sick boy whom the mis sionary doctor had sent home from the boys school, Wei Hwei, because of his having tuberculosis of the lungs. Mrs. Fan told me the mother was in great distress, and begged me to come and pray with her. I found the lad in a truly pitiable condition. His mouth was swollen, his face a ghastly hue, and every moment a cough racked his frame. He seemed to me quite beyond hope, and looked as if he could not live long. On our way home to Mrs. Fans, the message of James 5: 14, 15, kept coming persistently to me, as if spoken by a voice : “Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church ; and let them pray over him, . . . and the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up.” I simply could not get away from those words. On reaching Dr. Fan s home, I sent for him, and asked if he and the other elders would be willing to pray with me over the lad. He consented, though at ﬁrst he seemed rather dubious. There were quite a number of Christians gathered around as we placed the boy in our midst. All knelt down, and I read the words from James. I told them plainly that I could not say that it was indeed the Lord s will to heal the boy; all that was clear to me was that we must obey as far as we had light, and leave the rest in God s hands for life or death. Several prayed, and we then dispersed. Early the following morning I left for home. Circumstances prevented my return to that place, and in time we moved to an other ﬁeld. More than two years later, while visiting Wei Hwei, I met Mrs. Fan, who told me that the lad had completely recovered and was then working with his father. Still a year later I met Dr. Fan, and upon inquiring about the lad, the doctor told me he was per fectly well, and was in business in Wei Hwei City.
A time of healing for her son...
In May of 1898 we started down to Tientsin by houseboat, with our children, for a much-needed rest and change. Cold, wet weather soon set in. Twelve days later, as we came in sight of Tientsin, with a bitter north wind blowing, our eldest child went on deck without his overcoat, in disobedience to my orders. Shortly after the child came in with a violent chill. That afternoon, when we arrived in Tientsin, the doctors pronounced the verdict pneumonia. The following day, shortly after noon, a second doctor, who had been called in con sultation, met a friend on his way from our boy s bedside and told her he did not think the child could live till morning. I had taken his temperature, and found it to be 106. He was extremely restless, tossing in the burning fever. Sitting down beside him, with a cry to the Lord to help me, I said distinctly : “P , you disobeyed me, and have thus brought this illness upon yourself. I forgive you; ask Jesus to forgive you, and give yourself to him.” The child looked at me for a moment steadily, then closed his eyes. I saw his lips move for a moment ; then quietly he sank into a sound sleep. When he awoke, about dusk, I took his temperature, and found it 101. By the time the doctor returned it was normal, and did not rise again. Although he had been having hemorrhage from the lungs, this ceased. Is not Jesus Christ the same yesterday, to day, and forever? Why should we wonder, therefore, at his healing touch in this age? “According to your faith be it unto you.”
Regarding the sickness of her daughter Gracie…
Our little Gracie became ill with a terribly fatal disease, so common in malarious districts — enlarged spleen. The doctors pronounced her condition quite hopeless. One day a Chinese Christian woman came in with her little child of about the same age as our Gracie, and very ill with the same disease. The poor mother was in great distress, for the doctor had told her also that there was no hope. She thought that if we would plead with the doctor he could save her child. At last Mr. Goforth pointed to our little Gracie, saying: “Surely, if the doctor cannot save our child, neither can he save yours; your only hope and ours is in the Lord Himself.” The mother was a poor, hard-working, ignorant woman, but she had the simple faith of a little child. Some weeks later she called again, and told me the following story: “When the pastor told me my only hope was in the Lord, I believed him. When I reached home I called my husband, and together we committed our child into the Lord’s hands. I felt perfectly sure the child would get well, so I did not take care of him more than of a well child. In about two weeks he seemed so perfectly well that I took him to the doctor again, and the doctor said that he could discover nothing the matter with him.” That Chinese child is now a grownup, healthy man. And our child died. Yet we had prayed for her as few, perhaps, have prayed for any child. Why, then, was she not spared? I do not know. But I do know that there was in my life, at that time, the sin of bitterness toward another, and an unwillingness to forgive a wrong. This was quite sufﬁcient to hinder any prayer, and did hinder for years, until it was set right. Does this case of unanswered prayer shake my faith in God’s willingness and power to answer prayer? No, no! My own child might just as reasonably decide never again to come to me with a request because I have, in my superior wisdom, denied a petition. Is it not true, in our human relationships with our children, that we see best to grant at one time what we withhold at another? “What I do thou knowest not now, but thou shalt know hereafter.”
Regarding another occasion she wrote:
On one of the early visits to the city of Linchang, a woman came with a little child whose foot was terribly burned. The whole foot was badly swollen, the inﬂammation reaching some distance up the leg. The child was feverish, and seemed in a serious condition. It happened that on that trip I had forgotten to bring the simple remedies which I was accustomed to take out with me, so the woman was told nothing could be done. But she begged so piteously that I could not turn her away; and lifting up my heart in prayer I asked the Lord to guide me, if there was anything I could do. Even while I prayed the thought of a bread poultice came to mind. This remedy seemed almost absurd. I had never heard of such a thing being used before under like circumstances, but I resolved to try it. Twice a day the foot was cleansed and put in the poultice, and it was really wonderful to see how it healed. We were there ten days, and when we left the foot was almost completely well. The mother, father, the child herself, and indeed the whole family, became Christians. On a later visit I examined the foot, and found not even the sign of a scar remaining. I told this incident to a medical doctor, and he said: “Why, there is no miracle in that! It was just up-to-date hygiene — giving nature a chance by cleanliness!” I replied: “Doctor, to me the miracle lay, not in the poultice, but in God’s telling me what to use; and now it is to me all the more a miracle of prayer, since you say it was up-to-date hygienic treatment.”