Post healing prayer ministry

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ORIENTATION FOR POST PRAYER HEALING

post healing ministryWhen we pray for the sick, we must pray for visible and definitive results. We stop praying when:

  • The person receives complete healing
  • The person wants you to stop praying
  • The person is tired or if you simply feel that you should stop
  • The Holy Spirit tells you that it’s time to stop
  • You received no further directions on how to pray and you feel like you are not gaining ground

After praying, consider the following suggestions:

Encourage the person you have been praying for to develop his or her walk with the Lord. You may share a verse of Scripture since an appropriate Bible passage can be extremely meaningful and encouraging.

If the problem is a result of the person’s experiences with the occult or habitual sin, consider suggesting a change of lifestyle, to avoid the repetition of this problem. If those for whom you pray are not healed or not completely healed, do not accuse them of a lack of faith for their healing, or of sin in their life.

Encourage the person to receive prayer from others if you perceive little or no evidence of healing, or if the healing was not complete. Encourage the person to come back at another time to receive more prayer. Sometimes healing is progressive and it may only occur after praying a number of times.

Warn the person not to be surprised if he or she experiences spiritual attacks after healing. Help the person prepare for resisting these attacks. If any symptoms return, teach them how to command them to go away again in the name of Jesus. If a bad habit is involved, he or she may be tempted to fall into an old habit for a while. If he or she falls into temptation, quick repentance is necessary as well as prayer for God’s help. Above all Love the person! As a minister of healing, do everything in love.

Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up. (1 Corinthians 13:4)

The more people who you pray for, the more healings you will see!

A PRACTICAL EXAMPLE: BACK PAINS

The following is an interview and a prayer between the intercessor (Paul) and a person with severe back pains (Alex). This example illustrates the use of short prayers interspersed with interview questions and approximates the real situation.

The situation

Alex comes to Paul as a friend to receive help for his back problem. His back hurts so much that he needs help when he sits down in a chair and has a hard time getting up again.

Preliminary steps

  • Paul: “where does your back hurt?”
  • Alex: (pointing) “right here at the base of my neck.”
  • Paul: “When did your back start hurting?”
  • Alex: “About three months ago”
  • Paul: “Do you know what caused this problem?”
  • Alex: “I hurt my back while carrying some furniture.”
  • Paul: “Did you go to the doctor?”
  • Alex: “Yes, he is treating me because of a dislocated vertebra.”
  • Paul: “Did he help you?”
  • Alex: “Yes, I feel better each time I go to his office. But the pain comes back and it is getting worse.”
  • Paul: “Did you need help to carry the furniture?”
  • Alex: “Yes, I asked my roommate to help me, but he didn’t. He never helps me with anything at home.”
  • Paul: “Do you need to forgive him?”
  • Alex: “I suppose so.”

Paul leads Alex in a prayer of forgiveness for his roommate for not helping him carry the furniture, releasing him to God, understanding that he cannot change him but must bless him anyway. Note that Paul could have led Alex in a prayer to forgive his roommate for all the times that he disappointed him. He should do this soon, if not immediately. Paul should suggest that Alex do this at some point.

  • Paul: “Now let’s see your back. Try to move it. How is the pain now?”
  • Alex: stretching his back he is surprised. “It feels much better!”
  • Paul: “Is the pain completely gone?”

Note: anger is frequently the cause of back pain. Sometimes a person is completely healed merely by forgiving the person that has caused them pain.

  • Alex: “No but it hurts much less.”
  • Paul: “Okay we will pray about this. Let me check if your legs are lined up first.”
  • Paul checks Alex’s legs, and discovers that one is a little shorter than the other. Paul prays for the short leg to grow, and it does. Paul asks Alex to get up to see if the pain has left his back.
  • Alex: “Well it’s much better, but I still feel a sharp pain here.” (Alex touches his back.)
  • Paul: “Put your hands on the place where it hurts.” Paul prays: “In the name of Jesus, I command that all pain leave Alex’s back. Now stretch your back again.”
  • Alex: “It’s better, much better.”
  • Paul: “Is the pain completely gone?”
  • Alex: “It is almost all gone; it’s still a little tense and sore.”
  • Paul: (puts his hand on Alex’s back and prays): “In the name of Jesus, I command every spirit of pain or soreness or tension, leave Alex’s back. Now let’s check it again.”

In this case, the pain completely went away and Paul concluded the prayer time. Paul asked Alex to thank Jesus for his healing. If the pain had not gone away, Paul could have given one or more commands, until the pain left completely or until there was no more progress:

  • “I command all the vertebrate of Alex’s back to line up appropriately one above the other.”
  • “I command all of the discs in Alex’s spinal column to be restored in their size, form and proper place.”
  • “I command that every pinched nerve be freed and every damaged nerve be healed.”
  • “I command that every calcium deposit or abscess on Alex’s back dissolve and disappear.”

Note: if Alex also felt pain extending to his legs, it could be because of damage to the sciatic nerve. If this type of pain develops while Paul is praying for Alex’s back, it could be caused by a sciatic spirit. If he feels that it is appropriate Paul could pray as follows:

  • “Jesus, I command that Alex’s sciatic nerve be healed.”
  • “Jesus, I command that the sciatic spirit come out of Alex’s body.”

If there is any improvement, Paul offers a prayer of thanksgiving and asks the Holy Spirit to help Alex live in continuous forgiveness with his roommate so that he can experience complete restoration.

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Practical suggestions for healing ministry

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PRACTICAL SUGGESTIONS FOR MINISTERING TO THE SICK

Healing ministryWhile ministering healing in a team effort for maximum effectiveness keep your prayers brief or give direct orders or instructions. If changes in the conditions of the person that you are ministering to can be rapidly determined, it is appropriate to keep your prayers short alternating them with questions from time to time, to see if there is any progress.

  • “How is the pain now?”
  • “See if you can read the sign now.”
  • “Do you still feel heat in your stomach?”
  • “Try to move your knee now.”

It is possible for someone to receive partial or complete healing without feeling anything. The person may not perceive the healing until he tries to use the affected part of the body. If the person is able to do something that they could not do before, or could not do without pain, you can perceive the difference that prayer has made.

When a prayer or command results in partial healing, continue praying until you make sure that no further healing is taking place. Many prayers and commands directed at physical healing in the Bible are very short.

  • “I am willing, be cleansed.” (Mark 1:41)
  • “Little girl, I say to you, arise.” (Mark 5:41)
  • “God, be merciful to me a sinner!” (Luke 18:13)
  • “Please heal her, oh God, I pray!” (Numbers 12:13)
  • “In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.” (Acts 3:6)
  • “Jesus the Christ heals you. Arise and make your bed.” (Acts 9:34)

If a partial healing comes after a long prayer, it is difficult to know what part of the prayer or command was effective. Therefore, it may be necessary to repeat the whole prayer. However, short prayers are not always the best. When it is not possible to rapidly determine any progress, for example in the case of diabetes, frequent interviews do not help, unless there are some type of manifestations that can help understand what is happening. For example if the person feels an increase of heat with certain prayers, then these quick prayers and interview questions may be appropriate. Even if the quick prayers are appropriate, healing may not occur immediately after them, but only after a long period of prayer.

Be persistent. If you try a type of prayer or command and you have results but not complete healing, continue. Explain to the person why you repeat the same process so that they do not grow impatient when they hear the same prayer repeated.

Sometimes a person expects you to stop praying after the first time. If you perceive no results immediately after the first prayer, the person may grow impatient thinking that you should stop. Encourage the person to allow you to continue and explain that sometimes healing comes after repeated prayer. Continue praying until you perceive that God has ceased His activity, or when you feel you have prayed sufficiently.

If the healing comes partially and appears to have been blocked, wait a little while. Then continue praying for some time to see if the wave of healing will come again.

Observe the person’s behavior

  • You do not necessarily need to pray aloud all the time.
  • Explain that you may not always pray aloud.
  • Listen to the Holy Spirit – He may give some directions that you would not receive in any other way.
  • Pray with your eyes open – observe the person for whom you are praying.
  • Be careful to look for the signs that God is operating in the person for whom you are praying – for example the movement of the eyelids, any trembling throughout the body, or perspiration.
  • If you notice something is happening, or if the person mentions a change in the amount of pain or relief or any other type of progress, thank God and bless what He is doing and continue to pray in the way that brought on the progress.
  • If you are not accustomed to praying with your eyes open, this will require practice!
  • Use your normal tone of voice – yelling or praying in a loud voice does not make prayer more effective.
  • Do not preach, do not give counsel, and do not prophesy, just pray for the person.

See if there are obstacles to healing

A new interview may reveal obstacles to healing – if after some time, you do not see any more progress, continue the interview process.

  • “Can you try to remember again if any significant event happened around the time that your problem first appeared?” (Something may have happened that was forgotten in the first interview process)
  • “Does any other member of your family have the same problem?” (If this is the case perhaps, you are dealing with someone who is being affected by a hereditary spirit or curse.)
  • “Do you have excessive fear of anything?” (Fear can be the cause of various physical and spiritual problems)
  • “Is anyone in your family a member of Freemasonry?” (Involvement in Freemasonry or other occult organizations can interfere with healing.)
  • “Are you aware of anyone who has declared a curse over you or your family?”
  • “Have you ever had any other accidents?” (If the person has a predisposition for accidents evaluate whether he or she is under a curse)
  • “Have you ever participated in a game or practice of the occult?)

Consider other possible ways that an evil spirit may be present – If the problem has persisted for a long time, or if it is a sickness resistant to medical treatment, like cancer, diabetes, Parkinson’s or AIDS, consider the possibility that there may be an evil spirit that is causing the condition or resisting the healing. If so, command it to be gone: “in the name of Jesus, I command any spirit of arthritis to leave this woman!”

Healing of the soul

Many times a person that request prayer for a physical problem also needs emotional healing – the healing of wounds that result from trauma, physical or emotional abuse, real or imagined rejection, frustrations or fear. These hurts can accumulate over a period of many years.

Pray for the healing of each emotional wound, just as you would with each physical problem. It is appropriate to ask if the Holy Spirit has placed other specific necessities on the mind of the person for whom you pray. Allow those who are receiving prayer the freedom to cry, you can even encourage them if they begin to cry. Allow God to use you to love them, comfort and console them.

The person is under medical treatment

You will have the opportunity to minister to people who are seeing psychologists or psychiatrists. This will probably not be a problem if you are ministering physical healing such as broken bones or back pains. However if there was healing of emotional problems, you should suggest that the person get approval from the doctor or psychiatrist concerning their prayer requests. This is especially important if they are on medication.

Sometimes a person that is using medicine for diabetes, asthma, arthritis, heart problems etc., believes that they received their healing when you prayed for them and they conclude that they can stop taking their medicine. You should never counsel someone to stop taking their medicine after ministering to them. The person’s medical doctor should make this decision if he thinks that it is appropriate.

People with multiple problems

Pray for one thing at a time. As a rule, it is better to finish praying for one problem before beginning prayer for another problem, unless the Holy Spirit guides you otherwise. Passing from one problem to another is a distraction and the faith of the person will grow if there is complete healing before moving to a different problem.

The sick person may request that you pray for a second problem as soon as you have finished praying for the first problem even though the first problem has not been resolved. Gently explained that it is best to pray for one thing at a time and persevere until healing comes.

In any case, it is important to prioritize the leading of the Holy Spirit! If the Holy Spirit clearly leads contrary to human instruction, we must recognize that He is Lord. If you are praying for someone with respiratory problems and their injured foot begins to throb inexplicably, stop praying for the respiratory problems and pray for the foot. Bless what God is doing and pray cooperating with what He is doing. Go back to the respiratory problems after the foot problem is resolved, or until the respiratory problem begins to manifest differently.

Remove any guilty feelings if there is no healing

Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you and expect to receive direction. Never allow the person for whom you are praying to assume guilt with respect to lack of results in prayer. Don’t make the person feel guilty if no healing comes. If you suspect that you have committed a mistake, do not worry, the Holy Spirit is bigger than your mistakes!

A Five-Step healing model

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DIVINE HEALING –  A FIVE-STEP MODEL

five-step healing modelObviously, there are several different ways of praying for the sick. The following five-step model is not the only method. If you have discovered another way that works effectively for you than you should be already using it in your own ministry. In previous posts I have stressed the importance of prayer for the sick since healing through prayer was an integral part of Christ’s ministry as well as that of his disciples. Healing is part of the “doing good” that Christ did as he walked among us as a man. It is the duty of the church to carry on this ministry thus the need for a practical model for prayer.

1. Initial interview: creating a proper atmosphere

Briefly interview the person that is requesting prayer. Be kind and attentive. Your attitude of love will make a great difference in assuring the person that he is in good hands. Ask the person what the physical problem is without going into excessive detail. For example:

  • “What is your name?”
  • “What would you like me to pray for?”
  • “How long have you been in this condition?”
  • “Do you know what the cause of your problem is?”
  • “Have you seen a doctor about this problem?”
  • “What did he say about your condition?”
  • “Did anything remarkable happen in your life when this condition first appeared?”
  • “Did something dramatic happen at the same time?”

Perhaps you will have to explain to the person why you are asking the last two questions. Generally, these questions will yield enough information for the initial interview. Perhaps you already know the nature and cause of the condition. In some cases, you might not know the cause of the problem and will have to ask additional questions, or simply ask the Holy Spirit for more guidance. If the direction that you receive is not clear, you should evaluate the nature and cause as best as you can.

2. Diagnosis: identifying the root problem

If you know the cause of the condition, go ahead and choose the form of prayer. For example, if the cause was due to an accident; the cause was natural. However, the person that you are praying for may have to forgive the person that caused the accident, even if they were the ones that caused it, if such is the case. Perhaps, he was born with this condition, and it is due to natural causes or possibly a hereditary curse.

The condition may be caused partially or totally by emotional stress. Perhaps the person may have been having headaches since they lost their job. Perhaps the person has been having back aches after being betrayed by someone. Who knows, maybe someone developed cancer several months after a divorce, or after the death of a parent or a child.

Another possibility is that the cause may be spiritual. Maybe the person has been having nightmares after an experience with the occult. Perhaps the condition is the result of habitual sin, or the effect of some type of curse.

If you are unable to determine the cause, ask the Holy Spirit for guidance concerning the nature and possible cause of the condition during your prayer for healing. Perhaps you will need to consider other causes for the condition than were considered at the beginning; or perhaps you may want to go back and ask more detailed questions (see the comments on the fourth step about a second interview with the person).

3. The choice of prayer: deciding how to pray

There are two types of prayer used when ministering healing: commands such as: “in the name of Jesus, I command that this tumor shrink and dissolve”; “in the name of Jesus, I command the spinal cord to straighten itself and be healed!” or you can make requests: “Father, in the name of Jesus, I ask that you restore the vision of this eye;” “Father, I ask in the name of Jesus, that you come and strengthen this spinal column”.

A command is appropriate in the following circumstances:

  • When you have already gone through the initial step
  • When there was a word of knowledge for healing
  • When God indicates that he wants to heal the person immediately
  • When requests were made in prayer but the progress stopped
  • When you cast out the spirit of affliction, or any other evil spirit
  • When a curse or pact was broken and the Holy Spirit leads you to do so

Before you pray for any healing, explain that all parties in the wrong must be forgiven – if it appears that someone was responsible for causing the condition because of some sin or injustice, find out if the sick person has forgiven those involved. If there was no forgiveness, explain that they must forgive all sin against them before you pray for healing. Lack of forgiveness can be a great obstacle to healing.

If you feel that someone must forgive, asked the sick person to forgive whoever is involved – even if the person is not conscious of any resentment toward those involved. For example:

  • A woman suffers from arthritis in her spinal column for five years. Her sickness began right at the time when her husband left home with another woman. Did she successfully forgive her ex-husband and that woman? Jesus said that we should forgive, and not that we should probably forgive. Emotional stress can cause sickness and make healing difficult. Sometimes a person is angry with God and must repent.
  • A pastor has been feeling back pains for the last 10 years, ever since there was division in his church and some of his closest friends turned against him. Ask him if he already has forgiven the leaders of the division, his old friends and all of those involved.

It is possible for someone to receive healing even before praying simply because the person effectively forgave the people who caused the stress that eventually caused the sickness. Healing can also result by merely repenting and asking forgiveness of God for sin, resentment or anger.

  1. Repentance for one’s own improper conduct and sin – if it appears that the current condition came about because of sin, gently ask the person if they agree that this is the cause. If there is agreement, encourage the person to repent and ask God for forgiveness. This should occur before the prayer for healing. Not all sicknesses are consequences of demonic action:
  • Un-confessed sin can impede healing
  • Anger can cause back pain and certain kinds of depression
  • AIDS can be a result of a wrong lifestyle
  • Lung cancer may be caused by smoking

In any case, we should always be sensitive. Ask the person if his condition is a result of his lifestyle. However, never accuse a person of having caused their own sickness because of their sinful actions. This attitude does not help and you may be wrong.

If the Holy Spirit is leading the person, they will generally indicate the specific sin, that is causing the problem and not sin in general. Generalized accusations of errors and transgressions do not help and are probably from the enemy.

4. A receptive attitude: it is time to receive

Ask the person not to pray while you are praying for him or her. Again, be gentle and loving. Say something like, “I know that this means a lot to you and you have probably prayed a lot about the situation. However, right now I need you to concentrate on your body. Just relax and tell me if any symptoms appear in your body like heat, numbness, electrical impulses, and a change in the intensity or location of the pain etc. If you are praying at the same time, or even agreeing in prayer as I pray, it may be more difficult to concentrate on what is happening in your body and may get in the way of your healing.” Sometimes, certain people think it is very difficult not to pray. Do not be discouraged by this. Pray for them anyway.

5. Ministering in prayer

Ask the Holy Spirit to come – you can simply say, “Come, Holy Spirit!”, or, “come Holy Spirit with your power to heal.” You can also offer a more extensive prayer.

Wait for the Holy Spirit for one or two minutes – tell the person that is receiving prayer that you will be quiet for a couple minutes, so they do not wonder what is going on. If the presence of the Holy Spirit becomes evident, as in the case of when the person feels heat, numbness or some other manifestation, continue waiting until God finishes what he wants to manifest at that moment. When the manifestation subsides, check to see if the healing is complete. Otherwise, continue praying.

Remember: always pray or give a command in the name of Jesus!

And these signs will follow those who believe: in my name […] They will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover. (Mark 16:18)

And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. (Colossians 3:17)

Don’t forget to use the name of Jesus! – There is power in his name. Some who possess the anointing for the ministry of healing simply repeat: “in the name of Jesus” several times while they pray for the healing.

Thank God for what he does – You can never thank God too much!

Deal with the causes and not with the consequences – for example:

  • “Father, in the name of Jesus, I ask that you heal the problems in the retina of this eye.”
  • “Father in the name of Jesus, make this scar disappear from this eye.”
  • “Oh God, restore the vision of this eye, in the name of Jesus.”
  • “In the name of Jesus, I command that this fractured disk be healed and filled with fluid, and that every pinched nerve be freed.”
  • “In the name of Jesus, I command that this pain leave John’s back.”
  • “In the name of Jesus, dear God, I ask that you heal this pancreas. Father, in the name of Jesus I ask that you touch this pancreas with your power and healing and make it work normally. Restore its ability to produce insulin, and that all diabetes be healed, and that complete health be restored.”

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, this model is merely a suggestion. Experience shows however, that lack of prayer for the sick is not generally due to lack of model but lack of faithfulness in applying the model at hand. Here is a model, if you already have one them use it, if you don’t, then use this one. In any case, I believe that the Holy Spirit is counting on you and your ministry to pray for the sick.

 

Christ’s commission to heal the sick

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The ministry of Jesus as a commission to heal the sick

commission to heal the sickHealing the sick was an integral part of Jesus’ ministry. In most places where the Gospels speak of his ministry, they also mention healing that accompanied it. Christ’s earthly ministry can never be justly accused of mere religiosity. We can safely say that the ministry of Jesus consisted much more of action and power than preaching. The amount of time that Jesus invested in training his disciples in practical services far outweighs that of public discourse and sermonizing. If Christ is the model for Christian ministry then Christians must imitate the example that Christ left for them. The ministry of healing should never be peripheral in the Church since it was  central in Christ’s own ministry.

And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people. (Matthew 4:23)

Jesus commissioned his 12 disciples to heal the sick

And when He had called his twelve disciples to Him, He gave them power over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease. These twelve Jesus sent out and commanded them, saying: “Do not go into the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter a city of the Samaritans. And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give. (Matthew 10:1, 5, 7-8)

Jesus commissioned the 70 to heal the sick:

After these things the Lord appointed seventy others also, and sent them two by two before his face into every city and place where He Himself was about to go. Then He said to them, “The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. And heal the sick there, and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’ (Luke 10:1-2, 9)

The commission to heal the sick is for all Christians

And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” (Mark 16:15-18)

For this reason, we minister to the sick and “those that believe” in Jesus’ name with the laying on of hands. This certainly includes each member of the body of Christ!

The preparation for ministering healing to others is very important as well as delicate. Each person that ministers must be a clean vessel for God’s use! God accepts anyone, but He does not use just anyone. Pray at all times whenever possible!

Pray in the spirit before and during ministry

You must fervently pray in the spirit as Paul encouraged and specifically ask God to be with you and to help you. God is the one who heals. If He does not answer your prayer, then the person for whom you are praying will not receive healing.

Reserve a time for extending forgiveness

Reserve time to ask the Holy Spirit if there are any offenses or sins committed against you that you have not yet forgiven. If there are, forgive once and for all, with all your heart.

Now King Herod heard of Him, for his name had become well-known. And he said, “John the Baptist is risen from the dead, and therefore these powers are at work in him.” Others said, “It is Elijah.” And others said, “It is the Prophet, or like one of the prophets.” (Mark 6:14-15)

Eliminate un-confessed sin

Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal any un-confessed sin that may exist in your life. If He reveals anything, sincerely repent and ask for God’s forgiveness.

Pray for the sick in love and compassion

Ask God to pour out his love to those for whom you pray. A ministry time operated in love will positively affect the sick person, even if their body is not healed. If the person for whom you are praying has doubts about God’s love for them this ministry time could be their first experience with the love of God.

Understand the sovereignty of God in healing

Be aware that physical healing can take different paths; it can come instantaneously, gradually and in stages, while you are praying. Healing can come after repeated ministry times; or it may not come at all. God is sovereign! In his own wisdom, he heals when he wants, how he wants, and whomever he wants. Do not be discouraged if God does not heal someone to whom you have been ministering. Our job is to pray. God is responsible for what happens when we pray.

Faith to heal the sick

Do not worry if the person receiving prayer appears to have no faith for healing. Faith helps, but God sometimes heals sick people who do not believe that he can or will heal them. (Sometimes not even the person praying for the sick person has faith and God still heals them.) Although God promises very little without faith, the power of God is not limited by the fragile faith of men!

There are no rules for healing the sick

Be flexible. There is no universal rule of how to pray for the sick that applies in all cases. There is nothing special about using certain words. The Holy Spirit is the only safe guide; He can guide you in different ways, from time to time. Practice hearing his voice and following his direction. The Holy Spirit can ask you to pray for something that the person has not even mentioned. In this case, include this in your prayer; however be careful and sensitive!

Get clear and objective feedback as you pray

Do not be afraid to ask if the person feels better or not. You must learn to overcome concern for your own reputation so that you can be a clean channel for God’s use. You are a minister and God is the agent of healing. He is the Lord and you are the servant.

Healing Ministry Precautions

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Precautions to address in healing ministry

Never minister without the Holy Spirit’s direction

Healing Ministry PrecautionsNot everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness! (Matthew 7:21-23)

The Lord seems to say that exercising great spiritual power, even in His own name, does not necessarily line up with God’s will. In this case, He considered the power of these excuse makers as illegal. Obedience to the direction of the Holy Spirit is essential for the execution of the ministry.

Never take credit for healing

Peter should be our example. After he and John healed the lame man at the Temple, many people who saw him and heard him speak with respect to the miracle, gathered around them.

So when Peter saw it, he responded to the people: “Men of Israel, why do you marvel at this? Or why look so intently at us, as though by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk? And His name, through faith in His name, has made this man strong, whom you see and know. Yes, the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all. (Acts 3:12, 16)

Later Peter repeated this information to the high priest, authorities, religious leaders and teachers of the law that questioned upon what authority or in whose name had Peter and John healed the lame man.

If we this day are judged for a good deed done to a helpless man, by what means he has been made well, let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole. (Acts 4:9-10)

Don’t be discouraged if not everyone receives healing

The apostle Paul wrote to Timothy: “but Trophimus I have left in Miletus sick.” (2 Timothy 4:20). Certainly, Paul and others had prayed for Trophimus however, he was not healed. Probably, not all of those for whom you pray will receive healing. We must not take credit when God heals, and we should not blame ourselves when He chooses not to use us at any moment.

Always minister with love and compassion

The most important thing to remember is first Corinthians 13, when Paul made it clear that even though we exercise spiritual gifts, having all faith to remove mountains, or making great sacrifices, nothing is worthwhile unless it is motivated by love. This passage makes it clear that the most important element in any ministry, including the ministry of healing, is love.

Healing can appear to be an activity of compassion in its essence; however, if we are not careful, we can end up ministering healing through wrong motivations. The believer that involves himself in any ministry must pray to receive the ability to love as God loves and become a channel of His love to those whom we minister.

Christ’s commission to heal the sick

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Christ commissions all believers to heal the sick

heal the sickJesus commanded His disciples to do the same thing that He did: preach that the kingdom of heaven is near and prove the truth of His preaching by healing the sick. He described this commission in Matthew, as follows:

And when He had called His twelve disciples to Him, He gave them power over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease. […] These twelve Jesus sent out and commanded them, saying: “Do not go into the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter a city of the Samaritans. […] And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give. (Matthew 10:1, 5, 7-8)

He said something similar in the gospel of Luke:

Then He called His twelve disciples together and gave them power and authority over all demons, and to cure diseases. He sent them to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick. So they departed and went through the towns, preaching the gospel and healing everywhere. (Luke 9:1-2, 6)

Similarly, He sent the 70 to preach in the cities where He himself intended to go, with the same message, saying to them:

Whatever city you enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you. And heal the sick there, and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’ (Luke 10:8, 9)

At the last Communion, Jesus said several things to His disciples that are every bit as applicable to us today, as they were to His disciples at the time that He said them. Among other things, Jesus told them:

Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves. “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it. (John 14:11-14)

The Great Commission, as described in Matthew 28:19-20, and originally spoken to the eleven disciples, and accepted in all places as being a commission to all those who believe, was articulated by Jesus when He said:

Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; (Matthew 28:19-20)

Jesus sent His disciples to heal the sick, cast out demons and preach repentance, saying, “The kingdom of God is at hand”. We recognize that His words in Matthew 28 are a commission for all those who believe. The fact that this commission is for all believers is also clear in Mark 16, where Jesus said:

And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” (Mark 16:15, 17, 18)

Observe that the signs will accompany “those who believe”. This not only includes those who believed in the days of the first apostles because, if the commission to preach the gospel is still valid, the sign of laying hands on the sick for their healing will also continue to be valid to all those who believe today.

Healing and evangelism

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HEALING & EVANGELISM IN THE NEW TESTAMENT

healing and evangelismIn the ministry of Jesus, many came to Him to hear Him preach and teach because of the healings that He performed along with His preaching ministry. Among many other examples, John wrote about the occasion a little before the feeding of the 5000:

After these things Jesus went over the Sea of Galilee, which is the Sea of Tiberias. Then a great multitude followed Him, because they saw His signs which He performed on those who were diseased. (John 6:1-2)

The reality is that the multitudes gathered because of the miracles of healing and while this did not overly impress the Lord since he knew what was in man, many believed because of the Word. Therefore he not only achieved the temporal benefit of healing in these people, through the attracting effect of the healings, he was able to gain their attention in order to minister the Word and bring them to salvation.

And many of the Samaritans of that city believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, “He told me all that I ever did.” And many more believed because of His own word. Then they said to the woman, “Now we believe, not because of what you said, for we ourselves have heard Him and we know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world.” (John 4:39, 41-42)

Jesus said that the people should believe in Him because of the signs and wonders that accompanied His ministry. While signs and wonders do not promote spiritual maturity, they certainly provide a platform for the preaching of the gospel.

If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me; but if I do, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, that you may know and believe that the Father is in Me, and I in Him.” (John 10:37, 38)

We also find how healing affects an evangelistic ministry in Acts, after the ascension of Jesus. In Acts 3, we read about the lame man who Peter healed at the Temple gate.

Now as the lame man who was healed held on to Peter and John, all the people ran together to them in the porch which is called Solomon’s, greatly amazed. (Acts 3:11)

Peter preached about repentance and forsaking sins. In Acts 9:35, we read about the results of the healing of Aeneas, in Lydda, who was a bedridden paralytic for eight years. All of those who lived in the region saw him and converted to the Lord. In Joppa, Peter resurrected Dorcas from the dead.

And it became known throughout all Joppa, and many believed on the Lord. (Acts 9:42)

After preaching without success to the intellectuals in Athens, Paul went to Corinth where he planted a church of vital importance. Later he wrote the following words to the Corinthians:

And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. (1 Corinthians 2:1-5)

HEALING AND EVANGELISM TODAY

C. Peter Wagner, professor at Fuller theological seminary, has studied church growth history in recent years, has discussed the subject of his book entitled: How to have a healing ministry without making your church sick. Wagner comments on the relationship between church growth and divine healing. He states that, generally the greatest church growth in the United States is found in those churches were divine healing plays a regular part in the ministry. He still affirms that the extraordinary and long revivals in China and Argentina are supported in large part by churches where healing is part of the normal ministry!

In 2001, visitors to a province in China, where in a few years there was an increase in the number of believers from several thousand to 500,000, were informed by the local pastor that between 80% and 90% of the new converts came to Christ as a result of receiving healing or by seeing someone who was healed.

We can conclude that not only did Jesus see healing as a central part of His earthly ministry, but also an essential part of what He is doing through the Holy Spirit today.