What Keeps You from Praying for Healing?
I was once talking to a friend who began telling me about this strange rash she had developed over night. She woke up and was alarmed at the hive-looking red patches covering her body. The first question out of my mouth was, “Oh my gosh, did you go to the doctor?”
“Well…” she paused. “It turns out I didn’t need to after all.”
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“I laid my hands over my rash and prayed, ‘Lord, You say in your Word that by Jesus’ stripes I am healed… so please heal this rash, in Jesus’ name, amen.’”
“And…??” I squirmed with anticipation at what she might say.
“And then I went back to sleep and when I woke up…” she said, “the rashes had vanished completely. And I mean completely!”
Part of me was rejoicing on the other end of the line. But I must confess, the other part of me was skeptical and wanted to say, “Are you sure it was God? How do you know?”
My friend was challenging my healing paradigm. She was suggesting we go straight to the Source of Life and ask for healing first–-before anything or anyone else. She prayed with a sort of holy boldness that asks God for healing and expects something will happen when we do. I was a committed Christian, but I wasn’t sure I was totally onboard with this kind of approach.
But then I realized I needed to reflect a little further on this: What is it that holds me back from praying for healing? What is it that holds you back?
For one, maybe we are the ones who hold back. I’ll be the first to admit it. Whenever the thought crosses my mind to pray for healing, I am quick to either: a) ignore it, or b) make up some excuse as to why I shouldn’t do it: They’ll think I am crazy… I don’t want to make them uncomfortable… What if they think I am a nutcase? Bottom line, it is counter-cultural to believe that Jesus can actually heal us in the way he healed people during His time on earth, let alone to actually act on it. But Jesus is quite clear, that doing the things he did is part of our mandate as Christians:
“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. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” (John 14:12-14)
When you really think about it, what do we have to lose? And what are we so afraid of anyway?
I don’t know about you, but as I think on these things, I feel a stirring from deep inside. I want to start praying for and expecting God’s healing touch in my life and the lives around me.
Here are three things that may help us overcome barriers as we begin to pray for healing:
1. Believe it is Possible. From Exodus to Isaiah to the Psalms and Proverbs, the Bible is rich with verses of God healing His people:
He said, “…for I am the Lord who heals you.” (Exodus 15:26)
Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress; he sent out his word and healed them…” (Psalm 107:19-20)
“You shall worship the Lord your God, and I will bless your bread and your water; and I will take sickness away from among you. (Exodus 23:25)
“O Lord my God, I cried to you for help, and you have healed me.” (Psalm 30:2)
“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and do not forget all his benefits–who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases…” (Psalm 103:2-3)
Our God is a God who heals, whether it is physical, emotional, spiritual or relational. This can be a real challenge when our circumstances look hopeless. But whether His ultimate healing will come to us in this life or the next, we can and are encouraged to ask for it now.
2. Step Out in Faith. When we believe it is God’s desire to heal His people, He may want to use us to parter with Him and His Spirit to bring that healing. We see in the Book of Acts (among other places in the Bible) how God performed miraculous signs and wonders through the Apostles. Peter had such a strong healing anointing that “Crowds gathered… bringing their sick and those tormented by evil spirits, and all of them were healed” (Acts 5:16). God also did extraordinary miracles through Paul, so that even handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him were taken to the sick, and their illnesses were cured and the evil spirits left them (Acts 19:12). Wow.
We might think that these were specially anointed individuals born in a completely different time period. While this might be true, God is still looking for people who are willing to be vessels used for His noble purposes, through whom He can share His love through the power of the Holy Spirit. Even if we are unsure of ourselves (which is totally normal), we can ask God for the courage to step out in faith, trusting that His power will be working through us as we lay hands on those around us, asking for healing, wholeness and restoration in Jesus name.
#3 Trust God with the Outcome. There will be times when God heals in an instant (as with my friend’s rash), and times when God takes us through a process of healing (which may involve professional doctors and/or therapists), but there will also be times when the healing we’re asking for doesn’t happen. This is where we are called to surrender our need to understand everything and allow God to work the way He chooses, even if it doesn’t turn out exactly how we want it to. We have to embrace the mystery of it all. I personally found this a very challenging thing to do after my mom wasn’t healed from cancer. We prayed and prayed and asked and asked for God to perform a miracle and heal her. And…well, even though He brought her into the fulness of His healing presence in Heaven, He didn’t heal her here on earth as we wanted. It won’t always be easy, but He will give us the grace to trust Him even when we don’t understand.
Where are you at? Take some time to reflect on the following questions:
What is your healing paradigm? Do you believe it is possible for God to heal people today as Jesus healed people when he was on earth? Review the verses above and ask God to reveal to you His perspective on the matter.
Have you ever experienced healing from God? Was it instantaneous or miraculous? Was it physical, mental, emotional and/or spiritual? Did you ask God for it or did it just come?
Next time you or a loved one feels an ache or pain, lay hands over the infected area and pray, asking God for His healing touch. Who knows, maybe God will bring His miraculous healing touch.
*Here is a sample template (adapted from Christian Healing Ministries) of a prayer for physical healing, to help guide you in your own praying:
Lord Jesus, we come to you with _________, filled with belief in your love and goodness. We know that you love ________and that you came into this world to save us from our sicknesses and infirmities that weigh us down. So now we ask you to send your healing power and your life into this body. [Here specify what you are asking God to heal, such as the heart or a sprained ankle]. Jesus, we ask you to restore _______ body to the way that you created it to function. Take the sickness out of this person’s body and replace it with your life, your love, your health. Restore the motion and flexibility [or whatever is relevant] so that it can once again move with the freedom and strength you meant it to have when you created it.
If there are unhealthy cells (such as cancer), we ask you to remove them: if there is any infection, we ask you take it out of this body and replace it with your health, your love, your life. If there are also any spirits of infirmity causing or attached to this sickness, we command the Infirmity to leave and go to Jesus Christ for him to remove and dispose of in his wisdom and mercy.
We also ask you, Lord, to take away the pain that is weighing down _______. Let him/her experience your presence, comfort and companionship. Fill ________ with the joy of your presence and let him/her experience the power of your Holy Spirit and become fully alive. Glory be to the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.