Should You Keep Praying For Healing?


I can think of few things that are more personal than how a person prays about their struggles.  While I would not want to tell anyone how to pray, I do want to share from my own personal experience with prayer, in the midst of chronic illness and pain.

One of the early struggles I faced after my diagnosis is how fervently to pray for healing, and then as the months and years rolled by, how long to keep praying for healing.  If I gave up that prayer, then what?  What do I pray now for concerning my illness?  I’m interested in your own approach to these questions because, truthfully, I’ve never really talked about this in detail with anyone.

When the pain starts and the medical journey for answers begins, you usually pray and ask for prayers that the solution will be identified and the problem only temporary.  The first time I heard a doctor mention ankylosing spondylitis I prayed that he was wrong.  When the diagnosis was confirmed by a rheumatologist, I was shocked.  How could I get my mind around dealing with a lifetime illness?

My prayers focused on how to deal with that new reality but soon turned to asking God to heal me completely.  Already my problems had resulted in my first hip surgery and having to give up Taekwondo and running.  I didn’t want to give up even more.  The uncertainty of my future was bewildering and a reality check in human frailty.

I also understood there was no cure for ankylosing spondylitis and that asking God to take it away was literally asking for a miracle.  True miracles, I believe, are rare by definition.  I admit I struggled with asking God for something that I knew that others needed more.  I asked him but I’m not sure my heart was always in it.

As time went by, I settled on praying for less pain and being able to deal with my illness.  I entertained the idea of remission instead of full healing, but instead, my pain increased and completely new symptoms emerged.  I began to ask God to help get me through whatever task I had that day and to just help me cope.  Not only was the physical pain worsening but I became concerned about my mental health.

I want you to know that I do believe that God hears and responds to our prayers.  I believe he does miracles when it suits him.  However, my prayer life has changed a lot from those early days.  I still ask God to lessen my symptoms and to help me cope but I now also pray for God to use my pain.  I accepted, along the way, that full healing, at this point in my life, was not in God’s plans.  I might one day return to a season of fervent prayer for healing, but for now, I hear God’s answer to Paul echoed in my own life, “My grace is sufficient for you.”  

I don’t want my chronic illness to go to waste just because I didn’t get I what I most instinctively wanted.  I can’t tell you how to pray about this very personal journey with God and your suffering.  Your prayers have and will probably change over the course of your journey.  Perhaps, the most important thing is that you just don’t stop praying.  


About David Heflin

I blog about topics related to the Christian faith and the struggle of chronic pain. I have ankylosing spondylitis and have dealt with chronic pain since 2011. I hope to provide support and community for those going along that same journey with me.
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5 Responses to Should You Keep Praying For Healing?

  1. Brother David, keep praying for Full healing. The devil does that all the time. When we are praying, he would increase the problem, so that we would get discouraged and stop praying. That is the same thing that he does when we are praying regular prayers, he would lie to us that God does not care about us and that God is not listening. This is nothing but a tactic from the devil, he is trying to get you to reduce the strength of your prayers, by giving you the illusion that God’s plan is not to heal you fully and that there is no path on that road. No! No! and No! Do not settle for less. Keep praying for a full healing, have faith that it would be possible, supplement your prayers with fasting and let God know that you mean business on this case.

    • David Heflin says:

      I appreciate the comment and the sentiment behind it. The post advocates that we keep praying. However, that does not mean that all prayers have to be centered on full healing in this life. When you struggle with chronic pain/illness, you have seasons where you may pray for healing. You have other seasons where you are just holding on. I pray for relief pretty constantly, but more than healing, I ask God to use my pain to help others and to draw me closer to him. Again, thanks for the comment.

  2. Pingback: Chronic Pain Hot-Links 11/7 | Broken and Mended

  3. These 2 blog posts about our prayers in our suffering hit home very close to me. I haven’t found peace in the many perspectives through the years. That pain has been present, horribly for over 10 years, I often fall in to “it must be a punishment,” which the Scriptures clearly state is not true. I find as the years go on, I am trusting due to exhaustion and weakness. I don’t have the fighting spirit that has helped me survive so much. I don’t know the answers. My prayers have become much more childlike in trust. That if I can keep trusting, some day God will take the pain away or take me away from the pain. Either will satisfy my sorrow over the physical pain I’ve been permitted to endure. The thought of not having God, who gave me so much beauty and miracles in my life, is inconceivable. So, I pray in a simpler, plainer manner now. Just see me through, Lord. If I can help folks any more, so be it. Just help me hold on to You faithfully and bring me Home when You will.♡

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