When God created heaven and earth there was neither sickness nor death. However, ever since humans disobeyed God for the first time, we have had diseases in the world. This is not how we were initially made and so, because of His love for us, God wants to heal and restore people. For this He had a special plan, which was to send us a savior. About that savior the Bible says: “The punishment that brought us peace would be on Him, and by His wounds we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5).
This savior is Jesus, the Messiah. When He was on the earth, Jesus healed many people (example: Luke 5:17-26). According to God's plan, Jesus died for us as a sacrifice and rose again so that we can have new life. Though He isn't on the earth anymore, He is still the same and still has all power to heal people and to set them free. He calls us to follow Him and obey what He said. This is the most important thing in God's eyes, that we make the decision to accept His offer and receive emotional and spiritual healing.
Jesus calls His followers to pray for sick people and gives the power to do so. “One day Jesus called together his twelve disciples and gave them power and authority to cast out all demons and to heal all diseases. Then He sent them out to tell everyone about the Kingdom of God and to heal the sick.” (Luke 9:1-2)
How to pray (introduction)
- First ask the person: “What exactly is the problem? What can I pray for?”
Ask also “Do you have any pain or impairments at this moment?” (so that after prayer you can find out if anything has changed)
- Explain that you'll pray a short prayer in the name of Jesus and would lay your hands on them. Ask for their permission.
- Lay your hand (or both hands) on them in an appropriate way.
- When praying, directly address the pain or the body part etc.
- Keep your eyes open during prayer so that you can see if something happens.
- Pray short and concise prayers. One sentence like “Pain, go away in the name of Jesus! Amen.” is enough.
- After prayer, ask the person: “Did you feel something? How is the pain now?”
You can use a scale like this: “On a scale of 0 (no pain at all) to 10 (extreme pain), how was it before? How is it now?”
If they had impairments, ask them to try again to see if a change has happened.
- Offer to continue praying. Often healing comes step by step or after several times of prayer.
- When the person receives healing: Say thanks to Jesus together!
- Praying “in the name of Jesus” does not mean using a magic formula. It means giving Jesus the honor for what He is doing and ensuring that everyone involved will know afterwards who caused the healing.
- At least one person involved needs to have faith in Jesus, trusting that He can bring about healing. Faith is like a muscle: The more you use and train it, the stronger it becomes. If you still feel overwhelmed by a particular problem, offer to pray a different time together with others who have more experience in praying for healing.
- Let people be careful when they try to use their body, as they'll know their body best. If a doctor prescribed medication, the doctor should confirm the healing and be the one giving the order to stop taking the medication.
When healing doesn't seem to come...
Healing or change does not always happen immediately after prayer, at least not visibly. This can be for various reasons:
Unforgiveness, sin (James 5:15-16), unhealthy eating, not taking good care of one's body, demonic oppressions or attacks, our lack of faith (Matthew 17:14-21), etc. Or it can simply be because God has a different timing (John 11).
More often than not in such cases, the issue the person told you about isn't actually the main problem. Essentially it's all about finding the real cause behind the symptoms to be able to deal with it. Use the following four prayers for this:
Four helpful prayers
- “God, please do in this situation whatever glorifies You most.”
- “Please show me what You want to teach me this time.”
- “Please reveal the cause and/or purpose of this sickness.”
- “God, what should I do next?”
Ask the sick person whether anything came into their mind. When God reveals something to them or you, deal with that first.
The connection between body and spirit
Our soul notifies our body when something is wrong. Therefore, physical problems can have their cause in our inner life and so are only symptoms of the actual problem.
In that case, there is little use in praying for physical healing. There might be improvement at first, but the symptoms will come back after a while. Here we need to deal with the spiritual problem and when we do this, the physical symptoms will go away step by step. The kind of sickness is often giving a hint about the spiritual problem.
- Example neck / nape pain
- A wrong yoke could be weighing me down and/or I'm carrying others' loads which I'm not actually supposed to carry (see Matthew 11:30).
But never make a hasty judgment – always be careful to listen to the Holy Spirit and interact with the other person out of love and a desire for their good!