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.