When prayer for healing is not what is needed

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In the book My Body Is Not A Prayer Request: Disability Justice In The Church, author Dr Amy Kenny writes, “Disability acts as a method for revealing the living God to the community, not something that always needs to be prayed away to showcase God’s power.

The differently abled do not exist only as broken bodies to be prayed over. There is nothing more disempowering than being told that your condition is a sign of insufficient faith. While the Bible contains many instances of miraculous healings, the narrative of healing is not the only narrative that exists.

What happens to those of us that live in bodies considered less than society’s ideal? To those who may have prayed for healing and yet not experienced it?

How should we pray for the differently abled among us in a more sensitive way? There are figures in the Bible who dealt with what we would categorise as disabilities or mental illnesses, and though they were not cured of their conditions, they still went on to do God’s work.

Let us pray for a spirit of patience and compassion, so we can better empathise with people who live differently from us. Let us pray for an open mind, that we can see how others do things differently from us. Let us pray for the right opportunities, that those with special needs can be directed to the right places where they can thrive.

In this world, we are all grappling with our own challenges, and it is very unlikely that all our problems and ailments will be healed in our lifetimes. It is only when we enter God’s kingdom that we will all receive perfect bodies. Till then, we should all strive to embody the same love and compassion towards others that God demonstrates towards us.

Kathryn Cheng is an Assistant Programme Executive at the Methodist School of Music, Worship and Music Department. She is a member of Foochow Methodist Church.