21 Nov Praying for Healing
This past weekend, part of our sermon focused on the practice of healing prayer. As there were many topics that were covered in the sermon, we only dealt with this aspect of prayer briefly. In addressing it, I stated that it’s through something like God healing someone that we clearly see God move and that in our denomination or movement of churches in the Christian and Missionary Alliance in Canada, we are seeing more and more pray these types of bold prayers for others. There is a great desire to see God move in this way once again.
As we had little time to cover everything, I said that I would write this week about a helpful method or way in which we can engage in healing prayer for others. The outline I will give you here is borrowed mostly from Richard Foster’s book “Prayer”.
Step One: Listen
If we desire to pray for healing for another person or if another person comes to us seeking prayer for healing, our first step is to listen.
We listen to the person. What is their area in life that they are looking for healing in? Whether this be a physical sickness, a mental struggle or a spiritual blockage, we should give time to understanding what the person is experiencing. We should also be listening to see if there are other things that we should be asking about in their lives that could be root causes or something that contributes to their condition. For example, bitterness in our hearts can often act as a block in our spirit and if someone is feeling stuck in their spiritual life and are also deeply holding onto resentment towards another person, those things could be connected.
We also need to be listening to God who can reveal to us more than what is being said as well as how it is we can pray or any questions that we may need to ask. Any information that God may reveal to us about the situation we need to deal with wisely and sensitively. If God reveals to you that someone’s physical sickness comes from a habit of overeating and that is something that needs to be acknowledged by the individual before healing can come, bringing that up with hesitant language and care would be wise. God can also assist you in knowing how to do that.
Step Two: Ask
With faith that is fuelled by our listening to the person and listening for the heart of God in this situation, we boldly come before God and “invite God’s healing to come”. As specific as we can be, we should pray for the condition. Don’t just ask for the person to be healed, focus in with your prayers on the condition itself and the parts of the individual that it affects. If we have knowledge of the disease, we can pray accurately and effectively against it, its components, and for proper health. If we know brain chemistry, that can help us if we are praying for someone who is under a cloud of depression.
Foster invites those praying to “speak a definite, straightforward declaration of what is to be. We do not weaken our request with ifs, ands or buts.” For many, this boldness in prayer, declaring a person to be healed or confidently inviting God’s healing without some type of caveat (if it be Your will…) can feel brash and even dangerous. This is why the first step of listening and discernment is so important for healing prayer. In that step, we can get a sense from God what it is that He wants to do so we can have the confidence to pray within His will and for what He desires.
Step Three: Believe
I will quote Richard Foster here in full. “We believe with the whole person: body, mind, spirit. At times we must confess with the father of the demonized child, ‘I believe; help my unbelief!’ (Mark 9:24). But regardless of whether we feel strong or weak, we remember that our assurance is not based upon our ability to conjure up some special feeling. Rather, it is built upon a confident assurance in the faithfulness of God.”
As was stated in the sermon this past Sunday, faith is not about how much I can have, it’s about who that faith is placed in. Jesus said, “…if you had faith as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.” (Matthew 17:20 NLT) It’s not about the amount or size of our faith, it’s about God who our faith is rightly placed in. And our faith in Him can be a confident faith that believes He will do what He says He will do.
Step Four: Thanks
Lastly, we express gratitude to God. We express gratitude that He has heard our prayers, that He loves us, cares for us, and is acting and working on our behalf in our lives and the lives of others. We express our thanks to God. Not just for what He has done though but also what He will still do.
Foster writes, “What I…say is something like this: ‘Thank you, Jesus, that what we have seen and what we have said is the way it is going to be. Amen.’ What am I doing? With the eyes of faith I am looking ahead a little bit – a few weeks or months or years, it does not matter – and giving thanks for what can be…what will be, by the mercy of God.”
I hope this brief look at a method or outline for how to engage in healing prayer with and for others can be helpful to you. I’m sure there are a lot of questions that you may still have. So do I! As we practice this together and look to the Spirit of power and mercy to take part (or as we take part with Him!), I hope we can find some of these answers.
With regards to one likely question, this next Sunday as part of our sermon we will be dedicating some time to talking through what we do if nothing happens when we pray. I hope to see you there.