433.  HOW TO BECOME MORE OPEN TO RECEIVE GOD’S HEALING. Core 1 Topic 4a. [This follows on from the previous article No.432]. 

In over 50 plus years of ministry, I have seen many people healed of all sorts of ailments and of physical, emotional, spiritual and relationship difficulties.  It seemed that some folk received healing far more easily than others. So below I discuss some of the factors that may influence our openness to God’s healing power.

What we need to keep in mind always, is that God is the Healer and that He heals through whom He wishes to heal, how He heals, when He heals and to what extent He heals. He alone gets the glory when people are wonderfully healed, though He may use the prayers and ministry of human vessels to bring His healing.

Below are some of the factors that may be involved in becoming more open to receive the gifts of God’s grace.


Even though we may have been believers for many years, we may still have some factors in our lives that inhibit healing. It is worthwhile coming in prayer before God and asking Him to search us and to show us the results of His search. That’s what King David did after setting out the character of God in the same Psalm 139. This was his prayer, “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts!  24 And see if there be any grievous way in me and lead me in the way everlasting!“ Psalm 139:23-24.

This allows God [through our openness to Him] to show us things we might need to repent of or to ask Him to heal. God wants His people to be fully equipped to love and serve Him, so He will answer such prayer.  When He reveals things to us we need to act on them.


In Psalm 32 King David describes his own experience when he kept silent for some time about his sin instead of confessing it to God. He tells us the detrimental effect it had on him, “For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. 4  For day and night your and was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer.” Psalm 32:3-4. He went through physical and emotional distress while he kept silent about his sin. Many believers since him could share the same feelings. Harbouring sin in our hearts is counter-productive to the healing process!

However, great release came to David as he got around to confessing his sin to God,   “I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,” and you forgave the iniquity of my sin. Verse 25.

It was because David had received such release that he could write the opening words  to the Psalm, “Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. 2 Blessed is the man against whom the LORD counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit.” Psalm 32:1-2. It had been his personal experience.  Failing to open our sin to God does not fool God [for nothing can be hidden from Him] but it damages us severely.

The apostle John wrote that it was necessary to confess one’s sins to God to be forgiven and cleansed of sin, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10  If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” 1 John 1:9-10.

We must be honest before God for He does know everything about us. He cannot be fooled or deceived in any way.


God’s word has always been recognised by believers as being very powerful. The writer of Psalm 119 put it like this, “How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to your word.” Psalm 119:9. In the same Psalm he wrote of the power of God’s word to give light to one’s steps, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Psalm 119:105. And Psalm 119:130 “The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple.”  God’s word gives light, direction and understanding to those who read it. 

Jesus spoke of the importance of God’s word in Matthew 4:4, ‘“But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Human lives are meant to be lived in accordance with the word of God. That is what St Paul inferred in 2 Timothy 3:16, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” God’s word is always profitable whether bringing us encouragement or showing us what we need to change in our thinking and behaviour. It instructs us in living in the way pleasing to God.

Being exposed to the word of God builds up faith, Romans 10:17. “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” That is why St Paul praised the believers in Thessalonica, because they accepted his  preaching as being the word of God to them, “And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers.” 1 Thessalonians 2:13. Faithful preaching of the word of God produces increasing faith in those who hear it and act upon it.

The writer to the Hebrews saw the great value of the word of God. He expressed it in these words, Hebrews 4:12 “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” The word of God can reveal the thoughts and motivations of the human heart. That is why we should pray a prayer like this before read the word of God, “Open my eyes to see wonderful things in your Word.” Psalm 119:18.

Peter also saw the value of the word of God for spiritual birth and growth, “Since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God.” 1 Peter 1:23. They had been born again but needed to keep longing to read God’s word to grow spiritually, “Desire God’s pure word as newborn babies desire milk. Then you will grow in your salvation. 3 Certainly you have tasted that the Lord is good!” 1 Peter 2:2-3. 

As St Paul neared the end of his life, he encouraged the Thessalonian believers to let God’s word dwell in them richly, “Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” Colossians 3:16. He encouraged his friend Timothy to carefully handle the word of God for his ministry, “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15.

James wrote that people have to take the word of God seriously. It was not enough to have a brief exposure to be helped. They needed to look carefully into the word of God and to act on what it says, “For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. 24 You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. 25 But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.” James 1:23-25. God’s blessing rests on those who know and act on the word of God.


James wrote that sometimes people do not receive an answer to prayer. One reason is that they never ask God in prayer in the first place. That’s why they never receive. Or it may be that they do ask and receive no answer. The reason? Because they asked from wrong motives,  “…  You do not have, because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.” James 4:2-3. Prayers should be based on what we know of the will of God as outlined in His word. They should be based on our need, not on our greed. God promises  to supply our genuine needs or the needs of those for whom we should pray. He is not motivated to give us those things which would be harmful for us.

We can claim God’s promises in His word such as the following, 

Mark 11:24, “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” If we are living in a right relationship with God, we can pray prayers that God wants to answer. If we know what we are asking for is in the will of God, then we can believe the answer will come in His way, in His time and through whom He wishes. Some believers when they have prayed for something they believe is in the will of God will then go on to thank Him for answering their prayer, in words such as these,  “Lord thank You for hearing my prayer and for the answer You are bringing in Your way and in Your time.” It is as though they see that the answer is certain but it has to come in God’s perfect timing.

Matthew 7:7-8. Jesus said,   “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.” These promises are of course conditional on whether the motives behind the prayers are genuine and sincere. 

John 15:7. Jesus promised,  “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” This suggests that we have to be guided by God’s word as we pray and that we know His will because we are abiding in fellowship with Him. When we personally know Him and keep on abiding in His word, our prayers can be answered because they are most likely to be in the will of God.

1 John 5:14-15. “And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. 15  And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.”

This promise for an answer to prayer is that the prayer is prayed in accordance with God’s will which is found in His word. There is a double confidence in these words. One is that God hears our prayers. The second is that we have the things we asked of Him. [To be delivered in God’s way and timing!]

The Prayer Of Faith, James 5:15. 

James gives instruction for those who are suffering or sick as to how they can receive help. For the suffering, the answer is  “Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise.” James 5:13. Praying to God with thanksgiving and praise is the answer to bring relief.

For those who are sick, the answer is “Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.”15  And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.” James 5:14-15. 

This passage is the basis for many Healing Ministries. People come before the elders of the church who then pray over them and often anoint them with oil in the name of Christ. So both the sick person and those praying and laying on of hands, are looking to God to bring healing. James then says that  the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick.” We need to see that this prayer of faith is not some magical incantation that automatically brings healing. Rather it is God working through  prayer offered in faith, who brings the healing, as the following words indicate, “and the Lord will raise him up.” It is God who raises the sick person from sickness, not those praying. He does though work through their prayers to impart His blessings.


Every believer is commanded by God to keep on being filled with the Holy Spirit. This we read in Ephesians 5:18,  “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, 19  addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, 20  giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” The term ”be filled” is a present continuous tense verb in the Greek Bible and is the privilege and responsibility of every believer. It means “keep on being filled.” We have been sealed with the Spirit [Ephesians 1:13] but we need to keep on being filled by Him. That is God’s will for every believer, not just for an elite few! It is when we are filled with the Spirit of God that we are most open to God’s blessing on our lives!

We are commanded to love God and one another, even to love our enemies! 

It is possible to love in this way. It is part of the fruit of the Spirit [Galatians 5:22, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness.” The Holy Spirit exhibits His love through us when we are totally committed to Him. Paul expressed it in another way in Romans 5:5 where he wrote 

“…  God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” Human hearts filled with the love of God by the Holy Spirit. We can love with a love so much deeper than our own. God’s love!

Paul expressed what God’s love is like in 1 Corinthians 13 which begins, “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. “Later it says, “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.” 1Corinthians 13:7-8.   

When we are filled with God’s love and allowing that love to flow through us to all those around us, we are in a fit state to receive God’s blessings and to become a blessing in the lives of those around us. 


Humans were made in the image of God but that image was marred through the fall of humankind in Genesis 3. But the great thing is that believers are being transformed more and more into that image as they live for the Lord. Paul put it like this, “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18  And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” 2 Corinthians 3:17-18. “Beholding” here can also be translated as “reflecting” so that we begin to reflect the person [Jesus] upon whom we are gazing in love and adoration.

What a wonderful thought, that we can become more like Christ our Saviour and Lord. It is the work of the Holy Spirit within us. He produces the life of Christ within us, “always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. 11 For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.“ 2 Corinthians 4:10-11. It means dying to self so that the life of Jesus might be seen in us. Living in the will of God as Jesus did, allows God to give us His blessings.


I learnt a new lesson when I taught in Florida many years ago. I had been thinking of how we might be able to pray more unselfish prayers. So one of the things I shared was this. Perhaps the Lord might be more willing to hear a prayer such as “Lord, heal me for YOUR sake that I might do YOUR will to YOUR glory for the rest of my life” rather than a more selfish prayer such as “Lord heal me for my sake so that I can live more free of pain and have more mobility as I enjoy myself in the world.”

One of the women who heard me share this was an older but wonderful prayer warrior who had seemed to age a great deal since my previous visit. However, she was struck with the concept when she heard me say it, and decided to make it a daily prayer in her prayer time. 

Imagine my surprise when I returned to Florida a year later to discover she was bright and alert as she had been several years earlier.  She told me that praying that prayer every day had brought about a great change in her physical, emotional and spiritual health. Praying to be healed to live for God’s glory certainly seems a less selfish prayer to pray than many of the requests we make to God!


It is true that we pray a lot of prayers that don’t seem to get the answers we had hoped for. Instead of blaming God for not answering those prayers, we should look at all the barriers to healing I mentioned in the previous blog No.432 and see if we have some undetected barriers in our hearts that God shows us as we ask Him to search us. Then we need to look above at all the ways of becoming more open to God. God wants to bless us in every way and we can cooperate with Him by letting Him reveal and remove any barriers He sees in our hearts, and by becoming more open to His blessing, guidance and healing! 

Blog No.433 posted on Friday 30 September 2022.

About Jim Holbeck

Once an Industrial Chemist working for the Queensland Government but later an Anglican minister in Brisbane, Armidale and Sydney. Last position for eighteen years before retirement in 2006 was as the Leader of the Healing Ministry at St Andrew's Cathedral Sydney.
This entry was posted in BIBLE PASSAGE OUTLINES, Bible verses. Comments, Creation, Evangelism, Faithfulness, Forgiveness, Glorification, Healing, HEALING MINISTRY Core Teaching, Holy Spirit, Justification, Mental Health, New Covenant, Prayer, Real Life Stories, Salvation, Sanctification, Second coming of Jesus, spiritual warfare, Temptations and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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