Why do we pray?  What do we hope to accomplish by doing so?  Well, it would seem to me that we are trying to change a circumstance that we otherwise have no control over.  There are things we can do in the physical realm to change some circumstances, but there are others that are totally out of our control that only God can change, so we pray.  It may concern sickness or disease, or family troubles, or legal troubles, or finances; you name it, somebody is not happy about it and wants it changed. But wanting something to be different, and actually seeing it done is two different things, as we all know.

Many have hope for favorable change, and hope is good, but it takes more than hope.  I saw a sign that said, “Hope-anything is possible”.  But that isn’t in the Bible.  What does the Bible say?  Four different times the Lord Jesus said not “anything is possible”, but ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE. What makes the difference?  BELIEVE, not just hope.
Mat_19:26  But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.
Mar_9:23  Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.
Mar_10:27  And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.
Mar_14:36  And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt.

You’ll notice in this last verse, Jesus acknowledged “all things are possible”, but nevertheless not what He wanted, but what His Father wanted.  So many people use that for an excuse for unbelief.  True, there are times we want something, and have the faith to believe for it, but the answer from the heavenly Father is simply, NO, or NOT NOW.  How can we know the difference between what we CAN have by faith, and what we CAN’T?  Is there a way?  Yes there is.  Study the Word of God and you can always know what the Father’s will is, every time.

Jesus acknowledged He knew He was sent to die on the cross, and told His disciples so several times.  Yet, in the Garden of Gethsemane, He prayed three times asking for that cup to pass from Him.  Why?  Because His flesh didn’t want to go through it.  But regardless, He KNEW He was going to the cross, for that was why He was sent in the first place.  He knew His Father’s will, beyond any shadow of a doubt.  He said He always and only acted and spoke according to His Father’s will.  Did you see that?  He ALWAYS knew His Father’s will, and so can we.  His Word is His will, and we have it available to read, so we cannot say like some people do, “Well, you just never know what God’s will is…..”

We can hope from now till never and not receive what we want from God, because hope isn’t what He is looking for.  Then, when hope never materializes, we rationalize “It wasn’t God’s will to give me ________”.  So we are left with discouragement PLUS unbelief at that point, and maybe even bitterness.  Some even go so far as to say God didn’t keep His Word.  But if you really study your Bible, you’ll see there are conditions on every promise: you do this, God will do that.

When it comes to healing, it gets a bit harder in most people’s eyes, but actually, healing is easier than most anything else, for we know God’s will concerning healing by what the Lord Jesus said and did.  And like I said earlier, Jesus only did and said that which is His Father’s will.  Jesus went about healing the sick and casting out devils, so we can’t say it isn’t always God’s will to heal the sick or cast out devils. He healed ALL who came to Him, not refusing to heal anyone, anyplace He went.  In fact, the Lord Jesus made it a point to give power to His disciples over sickness and disease and to cast out devils.  So that throws out the excuse of some saying it isn’t God’s will.  If you read the Word of God, you know the Will of God.  And if you know the will of God, you will always know what He is or is not going to do.

But getting back to “hope”.  Hebrews 11:1 says, Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. So we see “faith” is the tool that we must use to get the “substance” of the things we “hoped for”.  If you’re building a house, and you hope to finish it, you can buy all the nails and lumber you want, but without a hammer or power nailer, you aren’t going to get those nails into the wood to hold it all together.  And without “faith”, you’ll never get the substance.  All the hope in the world won’t get you anything except eventual discouragement and disappointment until you apply “faith” to your hope.  Then it works IF you are having faith according to the will of God.

Ah, there’s the wrinkle: the will of God, right?  It may not always be God’s will to heal, right?  Well, show me that in the Bible if you can.  I have diligently searched for a “loophole” out of healing, and can’t find one.  And I know I’ve never been sick in these 23 years since God healed me of cancer in 1993, so the Word is still working for me just fine.  Yet, I still am dealing with a hearing loss all these years, and well-meaning people tell me about Paul’s “thorn in the flesh” that God never healed him of.  And some say God has given ME a hearing loss as a thorn in the flesh to keep me humble.  But I don’t think I’m so holy that God had to give me a thorn in the flesh.  I just think there’s something about healing I don’t know yet, but it’s coming, and I’ll hear normally again.  In the meantime, I won’t let it keep me from serving God with the grace He gives me.   Apparently  they didn’t study into that “thorn in the flesh” as carefully as I did, because Paul never missed a day preaching after Ananias laid hands on him.  Even after he was stoned and left for dead, the LORD raised him up and he went right back there again the next day, so don’t tell me God doesn’t heal.  Paul  DID have this to say in 2 Timothy 4:20,  Erastus abode at Corinth: but Trophimus have I left at Miletum sick.

Why was he left sick by Paul?  Possibility Trophimus wasn’t fulfilling the requirement to be healed.  Not everyone will believe, you know.  I’ve learned that in over twenty years of ministry.  You can teach and teach and teach, but you can’t MAKE anyone believe.  I’m sure Paul ministered to Trophimus and laid hands on him and anointed him with oil.  Why wasn’t he healed before Paul left?  The Bible doesn’t tell us.  But,  you must use your faith to receive healing.  Like I said, not everyone will believe.  It’s easier to throw up your hands and say, “I guess it wasn’t God’s will to heal me”. And I’ve heard that one more than a few times.   I know a LOT about healing, but not EVERYTHING.

Could it be I have missed something concerning the healing of my own hearing?  Obviously so, because though I KNOW it’s God’s will to heal, and have faith to lay hands on other deaf or sick people and see them healed, I realize the gifts in healings the LORD gave me is for “others”, and not for myself.  Gifts are for giving to others, not to keep for yourself.  He has healed every other part of me and I’ve stayed healed all these years, but for some reason I cannot explain, my hearing is still almost non-functional. But like I said, I have a LOT of answers, but not ALL.

I said all that to tell you this:  you need faith to be healed, and knowing that, God gave you faith; HIS VERY OWN FAITH that cannot fail.  We must receive His instructions humbly and meekly and obey them. Jesus taught His disciples how to pray, so we should have everything we need to see our faith bring substance.  Faith plus hope, plus knowledge plus obedience equals substance.  After coming to God with your requests, along with providing the above, substance should be forthcoming.  And if not, then go back and see if you’ve missed it in some area: love of God, love of your fellow man, obedience, submission to authority, faith, fervent prayer, study of the Word of God, and I’m sure there are some others, but if you’re not even doing what you KNOW to do, then how can you expect prayers to work?  You can’t.   You can hope from now to never and not see your hope become substance.

There are still mysteries in the spirit realm I don’t fully understand, but I use what the Word tells me IS available and I am blessed every day. And if you’ll use what God has made available to you, YOU will be blessed each day.  Faith must grow daily to meet the increasing trials and troubles we face in this age and time.  Yesterday’s faith is not good enough for today or tomorrow.  But faith is fresh and new each day, available for the asking.  That’s God’s gift to YOU!