I will make a deal with the Lord. Yes, this is the sort of thing usually reserved for that other deity (he who is called the God of this world ), and yet a common enough tactic on the lips of men. We say if and then, forever in command of our own destiny, even as we ask someone else to be.
If you will keep me from further bodily damage from MS, then I will be content to live without complaint with damage I have already suffered. Heal me therefore from this time forward. It is a fair proposition.
Is this not the way we think? Is it not the natural way of the natural man to negotiate and bargain? But there is no bargaining in faith. Rather we come before the throne naked and powerless in order that even the simplest things may be bestowed upon us, at what is either the whim or the will of God. We cannot receive from His richness until we truly know our own poverty.
And yet these are still ideas--mental reckonings that ultimately succeed only in obscuring the face of authentic faith, for faith, as the scripture says, is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Heb 11:1). Our request therefore, rightly expressed, is to experience the will of God in the sureness of knowledge, to cross the boundary between flesh and spirit, earth and heaven, and enter into the life that is hid in Christ. This is the ultimate answer to prayer and the healing of all illness, and the resulting transformation is itself the substance of faith.