I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. (John 14:12)
This is the last in a three-post installment about how to go about praying for someone who is sick:
As you pray for physical healing, keep in mind the details about the illness the person gave you before you began to pray. Keep your eyes open and on the person for whom you are praying so that you can see if there are any subtle changes to their physical appearance or bearing as they are being prayed for. Listen intently (once again, with your eyes open and directed on the person) for how the Holy Spirit is directing you and pray accordingly. Don’t be concerned if, while you are listening, there is silence for a period of time. Better to wait silently on the Holy Spirit than to be praying blindly aloud. If the person appears tense, invite him or her to relax. It’s perfectly fine if they fall asleep. Their job is to receive God’s healing, not bring it about. Likewise, those who are praying are conduits of God’s healing. Healing is a gift, like grace, and not a work accomplished by either those who are praying or the one receiving prayer.
After you have been praying awhile, stop and speak with the person about whether they have felt any change in their condition. If they notice improvement, focus on this and give thanks to the Lord, for even the slightest change for the better. Furthermore, if you are praying for something such as the healing of a back or knee, ask them to stand up and move around. If there is improvement, ask the person to estimate how much it has improved – for example: 5%, 10%, 50%, etc. If they have been experiencing pain along with their ailment, ask if the pain has decreased. (Before you begin praying for someone experiencing pain, ask them to identify their level of pain on a scale of one to ten, with ten being the highest level.) Offer praise to the Lord for any improvement. Expressing gratitude also has the benefit of increasing faith. When we notice something the Lord has done and we praise him for it, we get excited about what else he will do and we receive the faith to ask for more.
Resume praying, incorporating any information you gleaned when you stopped and asked the person how they were feeling. The longer you can hold them through prayer and praise in the Lord’s healing Presence, the better. The direction of prayer can move from petition for the specific need to declaring aloud God’s promises and blessings found in Scripture given to all who believe in him. You can pray using verses from the Psalms or other favorite Bible passages. Ask the Lord to bless the person, cell by cell. Use the gift of holy imagination and “see” the Lord’s healing light move within the person’s body, and ask the Lord to bless organs, tissues, joints, even cells of their body. Be creative! Also, feel free to pray silently at times or in the Spirit. And don’t forget to ask the Lord for more healing. He is incredibly generous with his gifts and loves to give abundantly. So ask for an abundance of healing.
“Thank you, Lord. We ask for more!”
However, there is no need to plead with God, so be mindful of both the tone and the words you use. As I’ve noted in previous posts on this topic, God has the will and the power to heal anyone of anything, so there is no need to beg. You are simply asking that God’s will be done (on earth as it is in heaven). When you sense the Holy Spirit telling you it is time to draw prayer to a close, pray God’s blessing over the person and end with praise and thanksgiving. It may be that the person notices significant healing or may be completely healed. However, do not be discouraged if it appears nothing has changed. Sometimes more prayer is needed and you can return again sometime soon. I have seen people healed the day after they were prayed for or even several weeks later. Healing sometimes is like yeast in that it grows, steadily, but quietly, until one day the person suddenly realizes they’ve been healed.
Before you leave, share with the person for whom you’ve prayed testimonies of other healings God has done. This is a great way to increase everyone’s faith in the Lord and in his will and power to heal. Finally, if it seems appropriate to come back and pray again, offer to do so. And after you’ve left, take a moment to offer a prayer for cleansing. In my first post I wrote about the importance of praying for protection and covering before beginning to pray. A similar kind of prayer should be offered after prayer for healing, asking the Lord to cleanse you of anything that may cause you to doubt or despair — or tempt you to think or act in such a way that would lead to sin. Conclude this pray by asking for the Lord’s blessing upon you and your family, for safe travel home, and finally with an offering of praise and thanksgiving.
There is also something to keep in mind, especially when healing occurs during the time of prayer. It is awfully tempting to get caught up in excitement over the mighty work God has done for another person through you. However, Jesus offers caution to his disciples after they’ve returned, with great success, from being sent out to preach and heal. This caution is wise for us to follow, too. He tells them: I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” (Luke 10:19-20) So by all means, praise the Lord when a mighty deed is done in his name, and tell others about it, so that their faith may be increased. But do not spend time ruminating on how the healing occurred through you. Instead, give thanks that you were of use to the Lord – and rejoice that your name is written in heaven.
Next time: Some observations based upon my own experience receiving healing prayer.