On Christmas Eve 2020, a friend of mine called me. “My brother’s so very sick,” he said. Sudden multiple, life threatening cancer tumors were described, one resting on a nerve preventing him from being able to walk. The brother had fallen and broken a hip, requiring surgery. He was bedridden and not engaging with life and others. “Please pray for healing,” my friend said. I could hear the tears in his voice.
“Of course,” I answered, and said, “Let me pray right now on the phone.”
I prayed and said I would continue to do that. Within a few days, my friend emailed me back and said his brother was up, walking with a walker, and answering his phone quickly not letting it ring and ring as he had been doing. It was an extraordinary turn around. I prayed for healing, believing God heals. But I know others were praying. We all “pushed open the door,” so to speak, to let God flood the situation with His power. God did the healing.
Prayers for the Sick are Still Powerful and Effective
I have “operated” in the healing ministry for many, many years. I believe that Jesus still heals and heals through us – our prayers and ministry to others. It is appropriate always to pray for others for healing.
Healing does not always happen. Sometimes we are disappointed but it still is important to believe God, trust in what is written in the Bible, and to listen for the testimonies of God’s healing power working in people’s lives. All these things raise our faith.
Sometimes, people don’t pray for others’ healing because no one has taught them. Or, perhaps, they’ve been in environments where healing has been discounted or discredited. “That era is all over,” a respected pastor has perhaps said.
Maybe, there have been disappointments. People may have prayed for a dear loved one only to have that person die. I understand. There are so many experiences that can drag our hope down.
Reasons You Can Hope in Healing for the Sick
But, I want to talk about the reasons for believing in and seeking to practice healing in this post – the biblical basis for the healing ministry and give simple instructions on how to do it. Then, it’s just a matter of working up courage to try and look for opportunities to practice. Jesus said, “And these signs will accompany those who believe…they will place hands on sick people, and they will get well.” Mark 16:17-18
Plenty of Topics on How to Pray for Others’ Healing
There are plenty of healing topics to cover – Is it always God’s will that people be healed? Can anyone do healing ministry? And so on. I won’t speak about everything in this brief article, but I will share in posts in the months ahead lots of basics about healing. This post is simply to 1) establish the (biblical) foundation for healing happening through ordinary people and to 2) give a brief simple approach for praying for healing to get those started who are new to healing.
What Does the Bible Say About Healing?
We could spend so much time answering this question. I could make long lists of healing scriptures. Here is a link to 50 healing scriptures on the Bible Study Tools site. But I don’t want to overwhelm with lists of scripture. I just want to offer a few distinct ones that verify that healing is God’s heart and intention and that we’re meant to participate in it.
The portion from the verses above, Mark 16:17-18, is a very good example of a blanket invitation to believers in Christ, that they may participate in healing. I have a note to myself written in an excellent healing resource called The 40-Day Paid in Full Healing Ministry Activation Manual by Art Thomas, James Loruss, and Johnathan Ammon. What my note (on Mark 16:17-18) says is this: ‘These verses do NOT say, “these signs will follow the chosen few, the glittery or the visible ones, those with big platforms. They say, “these signs will follow those who believe” – little humble, every day Christians, all of us.’
Jesus Released His Followers to Heal the Sick
But what else can we find in the Bible? Jesus gave his followers this instruction: “As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near. Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give.'” Matthew 10:7-8
Now, you could rightly point out that those instructions were for the Twelve (the twelve disciples) and that Jesus sent them out at this point, as described in Matthew’s gospel to “the lost sheep of Israel.” Perhaps healing was just for a chosen few to a select group of people. Yes, you could think that if you remained only with this passage, but remember by the end of Matthew, we hear Jesus say, “…go and make disciples of all nations…teaching them to obey everything I commanded you.” Matthew 28:19-20
And all of this happens because God’s heart is for healing. David described God this way in Psalm 103:2-4:
Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits –
who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases.
We could say much more but let’s just sum it up this way. God desires to heal. Jesus revealed the heart of God as God the Son, healing the crowds of people who came to Him, even those who did not share similar beliefs. And Jesus released His disciples and us to carry on His healing ministry.
He said, “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.” John 14:12
Steps to Praying for the Healing of Others
1. Keep your connection with God strong.
It always helps to be building your own faith and ability to hear and sense God. So be sure to be reading your Bible, praying, worshipping. All of these spiritual regular habits will raise your own faith. You’re more apt to step forward to pray for another person’s healing with confidence if you are strongly and routinely connected to God.
2. Talk to people about what healing they need.
You can ask people questions about their symptoms, what they are experiencing. Sometimes that’s the “heart” of the problem. Sometimes it is not. What do I mean?
A person can be experiencing a pain – let’s say lower back pain and that would be an obvious thing for which to pray. But, what if that pain has been brought on or at least, been made worse by their ongoing bitterness? You either need to be so good at drawing out all that is going on with them from them or you need to have help from God.
God can give us words of knowledge (1 Corinthians 12:8) – ideas about what the fullness of the problem is, physically and emotionally, so we pray for both. We may have thoughts about the situation, mental visions, even see a word in our minds. God can lead us.
We may have “simple intuitions about what to pray for,” as Francis MacNutt has explained in an article about physical healing. We just sense something, whether it is altogether from God or partly just our own instincts from having lived in this world. Often these simple hunches prove right and helpful.
3. Pray (speak) Specifically to the Person’s Needs
If someone has a sore elbow, I will say, “Pain be gone in Jesus’ name. Elbow, be healed.” I might add, “Nerves be calmed. Movement be restored, etc.” – that sort of thing. But I am commanding, not begging.
And I do not say, “If it be your will, God.” I believe healing is God’s will. Why? Because Jesus always healed. If that was not the Father’s will, Jesus was wildly disobedient!
You can pray in more of a petitionary style – “God, please help Joe or Mary to be well. Bless their body completely. Restore this elbow.” There is nothing wrong with a petition.
But, understand in the command style, you are taking the authority that Jesus has given you. You are thinking victoriously. He is the Healer. And you are doing what He wants done.
4. Ask the Person If They are Feeling Better
As you pray simply and with trust for someone’s healing, stop and ask them, “Can you do something now that you couldn’t do before? Ask them if they can move that arm or that leg or bend over – whatever was hard to do, see if it is improved. If not, continue praying for healing with their permission. You may find that you must repeat your prayer a number of times before they begin to experience healing.
The classic story that is foundational for this repeated prayer is Jesus praying twice for the blind man. This is described in Mark 8:24-25. Jesus prayed twice for a man to have complete clarity of vision.
Sometimes, we have to pray multiple times. Confidence in God and in His desire to heal will help us stay put and pray more rather than, in insecurity, “run away” if at first a prayer brings no results.
5. Encourage the Person to Be Thankful
Part of the way to “hold on” to a healing is to be grateful.
Teach those for whom you are praying for healing to thank God, to stay positive, to command any symptom that seems to want to return to be gone in Jesus’ name. Help them develop their own spiritual life with Christ. Explain about the healing of the soul (the mind, will, and emotions) because bitterness, anxiety, negativity can feed physical illness.
Most of all, if no healing occurs, assure them and yourself of God’s love. We don’t always know the whys of sickness or healing. But, it is right to hope and try for God’s best for ourselves and others. He is a God of life.
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