From my own personal experience, I can tell you that on more than one occasion I have prayed for people whose doctors did not expect them to live and have seen them revived and restored to health (including myself). Over the years, I have been involved in praying for countless people with a variety of illnesses and have seen many of them recover and restored to health. I’ve also prayed earnestly for sick people to recover and have held their hands while they died. I believe that God answered all my prayers…there are just times when I would have preferred a different answer.
There is a lot about God and His ways with men that is mysterious to me as a Christian. I do not believe that God created the world, wound it up like a watch and now sits back (uninvolved) just watching what is happening. I believe that all life and existence is sustained and preserved by God’s continuing and active presence. I do believe that, at times, God intervenes to preserve and protect human life. But, I would not attempt to predict when God would do so. There are times when I have prayed and felt certain that God would heal someone (or help them recover from an illness), and He did not choose to so. For some of them, the memory of those prayers and the pain of their loss is still great.
Ultimately, God and His ways are mysterious. I think it is foolish to attempt to predict how God would answer our prayers for healing. I would also hesitate to devise an experiment that even hints at measuring how receptive God is to prayer. No man or woman, not even a scientist, can put God to the test.
With that said…my word for 2013 is “Meditation/Prayer”. This should be an interesting year.