"A friend of mine told me of a faith healing that didn't work in their church. She said they obviously didn't have enough faith. Who's faith does it take to get someone miraculously healed?"
Faith healing is a controversial topic in the Christian world. There are those who swear they work (Evander Holyfield, for instance) and those who claim it's mind over matter at best. The official view of the Roman Catholic church is that miraculous healings do take place regularly. But whose faith has to be "strong enough" for healings to happen?
In scripture, we find the Bible has multiple accounts of people being healed based on one person's faith or another.
Matthew 9.27-31 recounts the healing of two blind men who got Jesus' attention as he passed: "When he entered the house, the blind men came to him; and Jesus said, 'Do you believe I am able to do this?' They said, 'Yes, Lord.' Then he touched their eyes and said, 'According to your faith let it be done to you.'"(Matthew 9:28-29). In this miracle the faith of the recipients is what counts.
But what of those who either didn't have faith or were unable to have faith? There are examples here as well. In Luke 8 we read of Jairus and his daughter. The child dies as Jesus makes his way to the home and the family is bereaved. But Jesus tells her father, "'Do not fear. Only believe, and she will be saved.' When he came to the house, he did not allow anyone to enter with him, except Peter, John, and James, and the child's father and mother. . . . he took her by the hand and called out, 'Child, get up!' Her spirit returned, and she got up at once" (Luke 8:50-55). Here it is the father's faith that enables the healing.
In another instance it's the faith of some friends that enables the healing. "Some people were carrying a paralyzed man lying on a bed. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, 'Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.' . . .Then he said to the paralytic, 'Stand up, take your bed and go to your home'" (Matthew 9:2-6). Notice here it is the faith of the friends Jesus comments on, not of the one who was paralyzed.
Finally, we read it may be the spiritual preparation of the healer him/herself that might make the difference. "'Teacher, I brought my son; he has a spirit that makes him unable to speak; and whenever it seizes him, it dashes him down; and he foams and grinds his teeth and becomes rigid; and I asked your disciples to cast it out, but they could not do so.' . . . Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, 'You spirit that keeps this boy from speaking and hearing, I command you, come out of him, and never enter him again!' . . . When he had entered the house, his disciples asked him privately, 'Why could we not cast it out?' And he said, 'This kind can come out only through prayer'" (Mark 9:17-29).
In all these cases it seems it is a matter of someone's faith that enables the miracles. Indeed, when Jesus was in Nazareth we read he could perform very few miracles because of the lack of faith in that town (Mark 6:5-6). But today sometimes we have whole churches, perhaps hundreds of people praying in faith for healing, but many stay sick, remain diseased, and even die. Whose faith is lacking in these cases?
What's lacking here most of all is an understanding of who/what God is. In the minds of many God has been reduced to the Santa Claus and Tooth Fairy God. You want it, you got it -- if you pray hard enough, long enough and with enough faith. But obviously that's not the way God works. Some people apparently do find divine healing when they've prayed or been prayed for. But others do not.
Is God selective with who gets the miracles? Who's to say? I know of many cases where there was no faith, indeed, no belief, but a miracle happened anyway. Perhaps the best explanation is God does things in God's own way and that's it. We don't have the mind of God and we can't understand God. Instead, we can choose to simply trust God or not. And for those who do, they can rest in the confidence God is always with them, even when life is difficult and unsavory.