Why Are There Fewer Signs and Wonders in the Church Now?

A picture of prayer candles with a wooden cross
A picture of prayer candles with a wooden cross (photo: Canva.com)
By Christine Lau April 8th, 2024

More than 30 years ago, Chinese believers often heard about miracles of healing, but they rarely happen nowadays. One pastor believes that God's work progresses gradually rather than remain constant.

Pastor Shen, a pastor with over 20 years of pastoral experience, believes that to solve this puzzle, we need to start with the meaning of miracles.

Pastor Shen states that signs and wonders often refer to things that people can’t accomplish but only God can do. Some patients experience improvement in their condition after coming to church, which Pastor Shen believes is related to their emotional state. However, not all illnesses improve due to joy.

In fact, there are very few great miracles happening in the church now. Pastor Shen said, "There are miracles that people think of as miracles, that is, 'trivial' miracles." For instance, a stomach ache disappearing after prayer is considered God's grace, not necessarily a miracle.

In the Bible, there are 66 miracles performed by Jesus, but if you exclude those that are repeated (such as miracle of five loaves and two fish), there are only 33 miracles performed by Jesus. These miracles all took place in the ministry of the gospel, that is, along with the work of evangelism. As Mark records, "And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs."

Over thirty years ago, the gospel began spreading in China, and at that time, evangelism was often accompanied by many miracles. People with incurable diseases, unable to find relief through medical treatments or traditional practices, turned to the church as a last resort. However, many incurable diseases have been cured in the church. At that time, the gospel greatly flourished, and the number of Christians in the church continued to increase.

Pastor Shen himself was one of them. "Miracles were needed to prove the truth of the gospel," he said. "But once you believe, you no longer need a miracle to prove that there is a God."

Pastor Shen said that after the founding of the early church, many people were sick, such as the apostle Paul and his students Timothy and Epaphroditus, but signs and wonders did not happen to them. "Because they no longer need miracles to prove the truth of the gospel." Just like Paul, no matter how poor his health was, he still believed in God even in the face of death, and he could never deny the power of the gospel.

Some believers who testify to the power of the gospel with the miracles that happened to them are discouraged because the people they preach to no longer see the miracles and deny the existence of God. Pastor Shen pointed out that God's work is gradual. For example, the people of Israel began by offering sacrifices on the altar, and now prayer and praise have become Christians' offerings to God.

As for the cause of illness, Pastor Shen said bluntly, “it is because we violate the natural laws created by God. God created two kinds of laws, one is natural, and the other is spiritual." He also reminded God's workers who are serving Him, "God will not give you a long life just because you are His servant. But if you violate the laws of nature, you will be judged."

Regarding prayer for healing, Pastor Shen explained, "Prayer is asking God to give us wisdom and power to do things well and bring glory to His name. Prayer is not asking God to listen to our plans."

As God said through the prophet Isaiah, "Turn, and I will heal them." Pastor Shen said, “We can naturally be healed when we live according to the natural laws created by God.“

At one point, Pastor Shen experienced eye problems. While many prayed for him, Pastor Shen realized in prayer that he had not used them wisely. So he asked God to have mercy on him for being nothing but a sinner, and he repented of his failure to take good care of his eyes before. He then limited his screen time, stopped using electronic devices, and used eye drops. After some time, his eyes improved.

Pastor Shen said from personal experience, "Prayer is asking God to give me wisdom. What is my problem? How can I fix it? That’s the point, instead of praying and saying, 'God, help me out.'"

It is also important to note that prayer is not just asking. "Prayer is not asking," Pastor Shen continued. "Prayer covers a wide range of things. Prayer includes praise, gratefulness, seeking, and so on. Prayer is a deeper communion with God. Communication with God is prayer."

"The highest level of prayer is gratefulness. In fact, our prayer does not require much supplication because, 'For after all these things, the Gentiles seek. Your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you,'" he added. 

If a person is sick, Pastor Shen would recommend praying. "May my illness not bring shame to God's name."

- Translated by Nicolas Cao

related articles
LATEST FROM Church & Ministries