Besides Curry Blake, Andrew Wommack, Joseph Prince and Bill Johnson, one particular minister I’ve learned and am learning from regarding healing is Roger Sapp. Curry Black and Andrew Wommack focus a lot on authority and dominion. Bill Johnson focuses on the presence of God and intimacy with God. Like Joseph Prince, Roger Sapp focuses on Christ and His finished work. None of them neglect the other areas – it’s just that their emphases seem to be different. I think, broadly speaking, they all complement each other and we can learn from all of them.
Meditation on Christ as a route to better understanding our authority in Him
Recently, I read this interesting Facebook Note by Roger Sapp – which can be found here – where he talks about how he got healed of cancer. I quote a portion where he mentions the importance of meditation on Christ for his own healing:
I broke into full-time healing ministry in the early 90’s largely because of daily meditation on Christ as Healer for two years. Since that time, I have seen the Lord heal more than 25,000 people. In April 2009, I decided to meditate on Christ for my own healing. I had created a deck of healing meditation cards for that purpose. (I still use these cards to meditate and have created another deck as well. We offer these decks in our ministry now). I used these cards to meditate on Christ, seek Him and confess my faith in Christ in my private times with the Lord. Typically this was for an hour each morning but sometimes, I carried the deck around with me and if I was waiting for something or standing in a line, I pulled out the cards and began to meditate. I kept some cards in my car. If I was stuck in traffic, I began to meditate. I had some cards in the bathroom. You get the picture. (My wife and I have used these cards nearly daily since April 2009. We both feel very focused on Christ and what He has done for us.)
I like his sharing because it is very practical. For him, it was all about meditating on Christ and His finished work – getting Scriptures into him. It’s about getting our mind off ourselves and our sicknesses and other things and focusing it on Christ and His finished work. For a good article on meditation on Christ by Roger, see here.
In the comments to the Note, he was asked by someone, “Did using your authority come into play with receiving your healing?” His response was:
Yes and no. I am always aware that I have authority over the devil and over sickness but my emphasis is to keep Christ at the center of my life. In my view, too much emphasis on my authority begins to make it about me rather than… Jesus. Our authority comes because of His completed work at the cross. That’s where I focus. I don’t have any trouble with someone commanding a healing, but I just have them confess “This healing belongs to me because of what Jesus has done” and they often receive their healing without a single “command” given by me. On the other hand, in deliverance ministry which occupies a little of my time, I often use my authority over the devil but seldom without the phrase “in the name of Jesus” and reminding the demons of their defeat at the cross. Just a matter of emphasis and style I suppose.
What Roger wrote about how “too much emphasis on my authority begins to make it about me rather than Jesus” is pretty thought-provoking. Elsewhere in Facebook he wrote that “the more you focus on yourself and your authority, the more you will undermine your faith in Christ.” Interesting thoughts…
There are many cases where we use our authority over the sickness and it doesn’t go. Sometimes we’re told to keep persevering and keep commanding our sickness to go and it will eventually go. To be honest, I’m not too sure if that’s the solution. I think if we truly know our authority, sickness will go when we command it to go. If it doesn’t go, it’s because we don’t truly understand our authority and persevering in commanding a sickness to go may not work if we don’t truly understand our authority. Then, maybe we should go back to meditating on Christ and what He has done to renew our minds so we may understand the authority we have in Christ better. Perhaps sometimes people focus too much on authority because they think that by focusing more on authority, we will understand our authority more. But maybe understanding our authority comes not through focusing on it, but through focusing on Christ. Therefore, the means to better understanding and exercising our authority is to know Christ better – and that can come through meditating on Christ and what He has done.
The above is similar (in some ways) to faith to receive healing. You don’t get (more) faith by focusing on faith. You get (more) faith by focusing on Christ. As Roger wrote elsewhere in Facebook,
When someone starts telling me about their faith or how long they have believed, this is not true faith that they are speaking about as they are subject and object of the statement. True faith doesn’t talk about itself. A person with true faith talks about the object of their faith… Jesus Christ. They do not talk about “their faith” or how long “I have believed”. This reveals a focus on themselves. The object and subject of true faith is Christ. It is never ourselves.
Indeed, faith is never self-referential. It doesn’t refer to, or talk about, itself or the person who possesses it. Its preoccupation is with its object – Christ. The more you focus on Christ, the more you’ll possess faith. And as Joseph Prince would teach, the more you focus on God’s grace and love (in relation to healing this would mean His desire and willingness to heal you) and the more you understand Jesus has taken away all guilt and condemnation in your life and your qualification to receive is because of Christ and what He did , the more you’ll have faith to receive your healing. I think in a similar way, sometimes we need to take our eyes off ourselves and place them on Christ and His finished work in order to better understand the authority we have in Him. This is not to downplay the importance of understanding our authority through understanding the marvelous truth that we are new creations in Him. But an important element of understanding “our authority in Christ” is to first understand “Christ” Himself and what He has achieved that has caused us now to be “in Christ”.
Not the words you speak, but what you believe on the inside
Anyway, the thing that initially attracted me to Roger Sapp’s ministry was that his style was so different from others. Like Joseph Prince, Roger’s focus was more on resting on Christ’s finished work than on aggressiveness and authority that I had initially come to learn from people like Curry Blake. Seeing the relaxing way Roger ministers healing (for example see this YouTube here where he talks to the audience and even jokes with them while laying hands) and the words he uses (he would normally get people to say, “This belongs to me because of what Jesus has done” rather than commanding sickness to go) made me realize that there are different ways of doing healing and different perspectives of looking at healing.
While Curry and Andrew (and The Elijah Challenge) focus on authority and commanding sickness to go, Roger (and I believe Mike Endicott too) focuses on declarations and proclamations of healing being done already through Christ and His finished work. The words used when ministering healing may be different but I think all these people know the authority they have in Christ and the importance of the finished work of Christ. One thing they have in common is that none of them pray to God in the sense that we understand prayer as asking God to heal. Declaratory and proclamatory prayers favored by Roger and Mike are not prayers in the sense of asking God to heal – they are declarations and proclamations that healing has already been accomplished and is available to be received now.
Having said that none of the words used by the above ministers are actual “prayers” in the way we understand prayer (i.e. asking God to do something for us), check out how Kobus van Rensburg (a man mightily used of God to perform miracles) ministers healing. Sometimes when ministering healing, he does address God in a way that seems very similar to normal prayers. That kinda makes you wonder, doesn’t it…
I believe the point is that it’s not so much the words we speak when ministering healing. Words stem from what we believe. It reflects what’s on the inside of us. There’s nothing magical about the words we speak. The important thing is to know Christ and what He did and what He wants to do (in healing people) and to know the authority we have because of Him and His finished work. That’s perhaps more important than what words we speak. In fact, sometimes we don’t even need to say anything but just lay hands – just like what Mark 16:18 says. And many have also been healed through people’s shadows and being in their presence. No words spoken at all – but an understanding that Christ has taken all sickness on the cross and that we have authority over sickness. And so perhaps even if we actually pray to God to heal someone (like Kobus sometimes does, though I’m certainly not suggesting that we do so), as long as we believe on the inside, it will not be a begging prayer but one with an unwavering faith that sees healing come to pass.
P.S.: For those interested to listen to more of Roger Sapp’s teachings on healing, you can get some of his materials free here and also watch hours of recent teaching sessions (9th to 12th November in Ohio) by him here.