The Scripture says that “men ought always to pray, and not to faint” (Luke 18:1); and if ever there is a time when they feel their need of prayer, it is when strength fails and life itself seems slipping from their grasp. Often those who are in health forget the wonderful mercies continued to them day by day, year after year, and they render no tribute of praise to God for His benefits. But when sickness comes, God is remembered. When human strength fails, men feel their need of divine help. And never does our merciful God turn from the soul that in sincerity seeks Him for help. He is our refuge in sickness as in health.
God is Willing and Able! God is just as willing to restore the sick to health now as when the Holy Spirit spoke these words through the psalmist. And Christ is the same compassionate physician now that He was during His earthly ministry. In Him there is healing balm for every disease, restoring power for every infirmity. His disciples in this time are to pray for the sick as verily as the disciples of old prayed. And recoveries will follow; for “the prayer of faith shall save the sick.” We have the Holy Spirit’s power, the calm assurance of faith, that can claim God’s promises. The Lord’s promise, “They shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover” (Mark 16:18), is just as trustworthy now as in the days of the apostles. It presents the privilege of God’s children, and our faith should lay hold of all that it embraces. Christ’s servants are the channel of His working, and through them He desires to exercise His healing power. It is our work to present the sick and suffering to God in the arms of our faith. We should teach them to believe in the Great Healer.
The Saviour would have us encourage the sick, the hopeless, the afflicted, to take hold upon His strength. Through faith and prayer the sickroom may be transformed into a Bethel. In word and deed, physicians and nurses may say, so plainly that it cannot be misunderstood, “God is in this place” to save, and not to destroy. Christ desires to manifest His presence in the sickroom, filling the hearts of physicians and nurses with the sweetness of His love. If the life of the attendants upon the sick is such that Christ can go with them to the bedside of the patient, there will come to him the conviction that the compassionate Saviour is present, and this conviction will itself do much for the healing of both the soul and the body.
And God hears prayer. Christ has said, “If ye shall ask anything in My name, I will do it.” Again He says, “If any man serve Me, him will My Father honor.” John 14:14; 12: 26. If we live according to His word, every precious promise He has given will be fulfilled to us. We are undeserving of His mercy, but as we give ourselves to Him, He receives us. He will work for and through those who follow Him.
Only As We Obey Can We Rightly Pray But only as we live in obedience to His word can we claim the fulfillment of His promises. The psalmist says, “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.” Psalm 66:18. If we render to Him only a partial, halfhearted obedience, His promises will not be fulfilled to us.
In the word of God we have instruction relative to special prayer for the recovery of the sick. But the offering of such prayer is a most solemn act, and should not be entered upon without careful consideration. In many cases of prayer for the healing of the sick, that which is called faith is nothing less than presumption.
Many persons bring disease upon themselves by their self-indulgence. They have not lived in accordance with natural law or the principles of strict purity. Others have disregarded the laws of health in their habits of eating and drinking, dressing, or working. Often some form of vice is the cause of feebleness of mind or body. Should these persons gain the blessing of health, many of them would continue to pursue the same course of heedless transgression of God’s natural and spiritual laws, reasoning that if God heals them in answer to prayer, they are at liberty to continue their unhealthful practices and to indulge perverted appetite without restraint. If God were to work a miracle in restoring these persons to health, He would be encouraging sin.
It is labor lost to teach people to look to God as a healer of their infirmities, unless they are taught also to lay aside unhealthful practices. In order to receive His blessing in answer to prayer, they must cease to do evil and learn to do well. Their surroundings must be sanitary, their habits of life correct. They must live in harmony with the law of God, both natural and spiritual.
Confessing and Forsaking Sin To those who desire prayer for their restoration to health, it should be made plain that the violation of God’s law, either natural or spiritual, is sin, and that in order for them to receive His blessing, sin must be confessed and forsaken.
The Scripture bids us, “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed.” James 5:16. To the one asking for prayer, let thoughts like these be presented: “We cannot read the heart, or know the secrets of your life. These are known only to yourself and to God. If you repent of your sins, it is your duty to make confession of them.” Sin of a private character is to be confessed to Christ, the only mediator between God and man. For “if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” 1 John 2:1. Every sin is an offense against God and is to be confessed to Him through Christ. Every open sin should be as openly confessed. Wrong done to a fellow being should be made right with the one who has been offended. If any who are seeking health have been guilty of evilspeaking, if they have sowed discord in the home, the neighborhood, or the church, and have stirred up alienation and dissension, if by any wrong practice they have led others into sin, these things should be confessed before God and before those who have been offended. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9.
When wrongs have been righted, we may present the needs of the sick to the Lord in calm faith, as His Spirit may indicate. He knows each individual by name, and cares for each as if there were not another upon the earth for whom He gave His beloved Son. Because God’s love is so great and so unfailing, the sick should be encouraged to trust in Him and be cheerful. To be anxious about themselves tends to cause weakness and disease. If they will rise above depression and gloom, their prospect of recovery will be better; for “the eye of the Lord is upon them” “that hope in His mercy.” Psalm 33:18.
Trusting God for the Outcome In prayer for the sick it should be remembered that “we know not what we should pray for as we ought.” Romans 8:26. We do not know whether the blessing we desire will be best or not. Therefore our prayers should include this thought: “Lord, thou knowest every secret of the soul. Thou art acquainted with these persons. Jesus, their Advocate, gave His life for them. His love for them is greater than ours can possibly be. If, therefore, it is for Thy glory and the good of the afflicted ones, we ask, in the name of Jesus, that they may be restored to health. If it be not Thy will that they may be restored, we ask that Thy grace may comfort and Thy presence sustain them in their sufferings.”
God knows the end from the beginning. He is acquainted with the hearts of all men. He reads every secret of the soul. He knows whether those for whom prayer is offered would or would not be able to endure the trials that would come upon them should they live. He knows whether their lives would be a blessing or a curse to themselves and to the world. This is one reason why, while presenting our petitions with earnestness, we should say, “Nevertheless not my will, but Thine, be done.” Luke 22:42. Jesus added these words of submission to the wisdom and will of God when in the Garden of Gethsemane He pleaded, “O My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me.” Matthew 26:39. And if they were appropriate for Him, the Son of God, how much more are they becoming on the lips of finite, erring mortals!
The consistent course is to commit our desires to our all-wise heavenly Father, and then, in perfect confidence, trust all to Him. We know that God hears us if we ask according to His will. But to press our petitions without a submissive spirit is not right; our prayers must take the form, not of command, but of intercession.
There are cases where God works decidedly by His divine power in the restoration of health. But not all the sick are healed. Many are laid away to sleep in Jesus. John on the Isle of Patmos was bidden to write: “Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors; and their works do follow them.” Revelation 14:13. From this we see that if persons are not raised to health, they should not on this account be judged as wanting in faith.
Delayed Answers We all desire immediate and direct answers to our prayers, and are tempted to become discouraged when the answer is delayed or comes in an unlooked-for form. But God is too wise and good to answer our prayers always at just the time and in just the manner we desire. He will do more and better for us than to accomplish all our wishes. And because we can trust His wisdom and love, we should not ask Him to concede to our will, but should seek to enter into and accomplish His purpose. Our desires and interests should be lost in His will. These experiences that test faith are for our benefit. By them it is made manifest whether our faith is true and sincere, resting on the word of God alone, or whether depending on circumstances, it is uncertain and changeable. Faith is strengthened by exercise. We must let patience have its perfect work, remembering that there are precious promises in the Scriptures for those who wait upon the Lord.
Not all understand these principles. Many who seek the Lord’s healing mercy think that they must have a direct and immediate answer to their prayers or their faith is defective. For this reason, those who are weakened by disease need to be counseled wisely, that they may act with discretion. They should not disregard their duty to the friends who may survive them, or neglect to employ nature’s agencies for the restoration of health.
How to Exercise Faith Often there is danger of error here. Believing that they will be healed in answer to prayer, some fear to do anything that might seem to indicate a lack of faith. But they should not neglect to set their affairs in order as they would desire to do if they expected to be removed by death. Nor should they fear to utter words of encouragement or counsel which at the parting hour they wish to speak to their loved ones.
Those who seek healing by prayer should not neglect to make use of the remedial agencies within their reach. It is not a denial of faith to use such remedies as God has provided to alleviate pain and to aid nature in her work of restoration. It is no denial of faith to cooperate with God, and to place themselves in the condition most favorable to recovery. God has put it in our power to obtain a knowledge of the laws of life. This knowledge has been placed within our reach for use. We should employ every facility for the restoration of health, taking every advantage possible, working in harmony with natural laws. When we have prayed for the recovery of the sick, we can work with all the more energy, thanking God that we have the privilege of cooperating with Him, and asking His blessing on the means which He Himself has provided.
The Use of Remedial Agencies We have the sanction of the word of God for the use of remedial agencies. Hezekiah, king of Israel, was sick, and a prophet of God brought him the message that he should die. He cried unto the Lord, and the Lord heard His servant and sent him a message that fifteen years should be added to his life. Now, one word from God would have healed Hezekiah instantly; but special directions were given, “Let them take a lump of figs, and lay it for a plaster upon the boil, and he shall recover.” Isaiah 38:21. On one occasion Christ anointed the eyes of a blind man with clay and bade him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam. . . . He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing.” John 9:7. The cure could be wrought only by the power of the Great Healer, yet Christ made use of the simple agencies of nature. While He did not give countenance to drug medication, He sanctioned the use of simple and natural remedies.
When we have prayed for the recovery of the sick, whatever the outcome of the case, let us not lose faith in God. If we are called upon to meet bereavement, let us accept the bitter cup, remembering that a Father’s hand holds it to our lips. But should health be restored, it should not be forgotten that the recipient of healing mercy is placed under renewed obligation to the Creator. When the ten lepers were cleansed, only one returned to find Jesus and give Him glory. Let none of us be like the unthinking nine, whose hearts were untouched by the mercy of God. “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” James 1:17.
E. White, Ministry of Healing, 1942, pp. 225-233.
Intercessory Prayer – What is it?
Intercessory prayer is prayer for others. An intercessor is one who takes the place of another or pleads another’s case. One study Bible defines intercession as “holy, believing, persevering prayer whereby someone pleads with God on behalf of another or others who desperately need God’s intervention.”
Intercessory Prayer – The Biblical Foundation
The Biblical basis for the New Testament believer’s ministry of intercessory prayer is our calling as priests unto God. The Word of God declares that we are a holy priesthood (1 Peter 2:4), a royal priesthood (1 Peter 2:9), and a kingdom of priests (Revelation 1:5).
The background for understanding this calling to priestly intercession is found in the Old Testament example of the Levitical priesthood. The priest’s responsibility was to stand before and between. He stood before God to minister to Him with sacrifices and offerings. The priests also stood between a righteous God and sinful man bringing them together at the place of the blood sacrifice.
Hebrews 7:11-19 explains the difference between the Old and New Testament ministries of the priest. The Old Testament Levitical priesthood was passed on from generation to generation through the descendants of the tribe of Levi. “The Melchizedek priesthood” spoken of in this passage, is the “new order” of spiritual priests of whom the Lord Jesus is the High Priest. It is passed on to us through His blood and our spiritual birth as new creatures in Christ.
Intercessory Prayer – Our Model Intercessor
Jesus Christ is our model for intercessory prayer. Jesus stands before God and between Him and sinful man, just as the Old Testament priests did: For there is one God, and one mediator (intercessor) between God and men, the man Christ Jesus (1 Timothy 2:5). It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us (Romans 8:34). Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them (Hebrews 7:25).
Jesus brings sinful man and a righteous God together at the place of the blood sacrifice for sin. No longer is the blood of animals necessary as it was in the Old Testament. We can now approach God on the basis of the blood of Jesus that was shed on the cross of Calvary for the remission of sins. Because of the blood of Jesus, we can approach God boldly without timidity (Hebrews 4:14-16).
Jesus was an intercessor while He was here on earth. He prayed for those who were sick and possessed by demons. He prayed for His disciples. He even prayed for you and me when He interceded for all those who would believe on Him. Jesus continued His ministry of intercession after His death and resurrection when He returned to Heaven. He now serves as our intercessor in Heaven.
Intercessory Prayer – Effective Intercession
In intercessory prayer, we follow the Old Testament priestly function and the New Testament pattern of Jesus – standing before God and between a righteous God and sinful man. In order to be effective standing “between” we must first stand “before” God to develop the intimacy necessary to fulfill this role. Numbers 14 is one of the greatest accounts of intercessory prayer recorded in the Bible. Moses was able to stand between God and sinful man because he had stood “before” Him and had developed intimacy of communication. Numbers 12:8 records that God spoke with Moses as friend to friend and not through visions and dreams as He did with other prophets.
As New Testament believers, we no longer sacrifice animals as in Old Testament times. We stand before the Lord to offer up spiritual sacrifices of praise (Hebrews 13:15) and the sacrifice of our own lives (Romans 12:1). It is on the basis of this intimate relationship with God that we can then stand “between” Him and others, serving as an advocate and intercessor in their behalf.
Peter uses two words to describe this priestly ministry: “Holy” and “royal.” Holiness is required to stand before the Lord (Hebrews 12:14). We are able to do this only on the basis of the righteousness of Christ, not our own righteousness. Royalty is descriptive of the kingly authority that is delegated to us as members of the “royal family,” so to speak, with legitimate access to the throne room of God.
Go Deeper Now!
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
– We have all
and deserve God’s judgment.
, the Father, sent His only Son to satisfy that judgment for those who believe in Him.
, the creator and eternal Son of God, who lived a sinless life, loves us so much that He
for our sins, taking the punishment that we deserve, was
rose from the dead
according to the
. If you truly believe and trust this in your heart, receiving Jesus alone as your
, declaring, “
Jesus is Lord
,” you will be saved from
and spend eternity with God in heaven.
What is your response?
Yes, today I am deciding to follow JesusYes, I am already a follower of JesusI still have questions
Have you ever felt an unexplained burden on your heart to pray for the masses, for unnamed others, for your community or the world at large? The Bible is filled with examples of men and women who lifted up others in prayer, and Ephesians 6:18 tells us to: pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.
What is Intercession and Intercessory Prayer?
The primary principle of intercession is simply to tell God what He tells us to tell Him as the means of releasing His power. He tells us what to pray in His Word. We can pray the Bible. It is profoundly simple. Intercession is God’s brilliant strategy for including the saints in ruling with Him in power. Its mystery is in its weakness, simplicity, humility, and accessibility to all.
God has chosen intercession as the primary means in which He releases His power now and forever. Jesus operated in the principle of intercession when He created the earth by speaking the Word to the Father (Genesis 1). He releases His power now and will rule the nations forever in partnership with His people through intercession.
- Intercession causes us to internalize God’s Word and changes us.
- Intercession unites our heart to people and places we pray for.
- Intercession renews our hope and faith.
- Intercession imparts life (John 6:63).
- Intercession makes a long-term impact beyond this age (Rev. 5:8, 8:1-6).
- Intercession humbles us.
- Intercession changes the spiritual atmosphere of cities and nations.
- Intercession causes multiple blessings to return to the intercessor (Luke 6:38).
Example Intercessory Prayer
Lord Jesus, I come to you today and thank you for the privilege of praying for others. I’ve been the recipient of others’ prayers so often, I understand how powerful intercessory prayer can be. I ask you first to cleanse my heart and show me if there is any unconfessed sin in my own life so that my prayers for others will not be hindered. I thank you that through your name, I can come boldly before you and pray with confidence, according to your will and know that you hear me.
I lift up those in my neighborhood, in my city, and in my church. Begin with those who follow you, and help them influence others for good. Let them be salt and light, pointing others to you. Deepen their love for you and for the people around them. Guard them from hypocrisy or from giving in to temptations that could harm the cause of Christ. Raise up leaders who will serve you faithfully at all costs. Turn the hearts of fathers toward their children, and families toward you. Help them to exemplify your values, and make them bold in their faith. Strengthen my own family, and those closest to me, Lord. May our love for you help us to love and forgive others and make a difference in our world.
SEE ALSO: A Prayer For the Sick
I pray for teachers, for students, and for all those in authority and leadership, both locally and throughout the world. Give them your mind, and surround them with godly counselors who will exercise integrity and work for justice, morality, and freedom. Help them to esteem you, not dismiss you. Send revival, Lord.
I pray for the lost, the hurting, the lonely, the sick, the bereaved, and those who are imprisoned—behind both visible and invisible walls. Send your comfort, your peace, and your calming presence to those who are without hope. Protect the defenseless, and hold them close to your heart. I pray for laborers to tell the good news of Jesus to people around our world. Jesus, my heart cries out for persecuted believers, too. Make them brave, and give them your powerful protection. I pray you will bring swift justice to those who want to destroy the innocent and those who carry your name. Bind the power of Satan, and strengthen believers everywhere.
So many needs, Jesus, but you are adequate for every need. Your name is powerful, and your power is great. So it’s in your name that I pray—and believe.
Who are you seeking intercession for today? Join our amazing praying community in the comments below and see God move in wonderous ways!
SEE ALSO: A Prayer for Peace Within
Rebecca Barlow Jordan is an inspirational author, speaker, and passionate follower of Jesus who loves to encourage others heart to heart. She has written 11 books and over 1700 other articles, greeting cards, and other inspirational pieces. Her daily devotional Daily in Your Presence is available for delivery through Crosswalk.com. You can find out more about Rebecca at www.rebeccabarlowjordan.com.
Publication date: September 7, 2016
This article is part of our larger Prayers resource meant to inspire and encourage your prayer life when you face uncertain times. Visit our most popular prayers if you are wondering how to pray or what to pray. Remember, the Holy Spirit intercedes for us and God knows your heart even if you can’t find the words to pray.
Prayer for Healing
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God will Heal the Sick. Pain and suffering are, unfortunately, a reality of life. At some point in our lives we will hurt, or someone around us will hurt. There will be a life changing accident or soul crushing diagnosis that will shake us to our souls. It can be worse to see a loved one (family member or friend) in pain. Many a mother has said, “I would take on my child’s pain if I could!” Seeing a loved one in pain can leave us feeling helpless, hopeless, and angry. We ask God, “Why did You let this happen, Lord?” and feel that “There’s nothing I can do!” There is something we can do – we can always pray! But does really everybody know how to pray for healing for someone else?
Here’s how to pray for healing for someone else
Few tips for how to pray for healing for someone else:
- Listen! You need to understand the requirement.
- Bring your loved one’s prayer requests to God. God hears our prayers!
- Ask others to stand in prayer with you. Corporate prayer is powerful!
- Ask church leaders to come and lay hands on her and pray.
- Be an encourager!
1. Listen with compassion
When someone is going through a hard time it can make a world of difference when loving friends asks, “How can I pray for you?” without judgement. Understanding what another person is saying requires paying close attention to what they are expressing. This is an important key in discerning how to pray for healing for someone else.
Here are a few examples:
A friend who is not feeling well has a lot of things on her mind. If she is nervous about an appointment, tell her, “I will pray that you will have peace during your appointment and that your doctor(s) will have insight into how to treat your illness. I am praying for your healing!”
A coworker is struggling with a new medication. He is frustrated because he just wants to pain to stop! You can tell him: “I understand that you are frustrated about your different medications. I will pray that your body will respond to medication and that you will heal. I’ll also pray that your doctor(s) will help you find the right combinations to deal with your pain”.
A gentle reminder – do not use prayer requests as an excuse to share your friend’s personal business. Respect her privacy! Don’t share anything unless she has given you permission to do so! Prayer requests are not to be treated as gossip!
2. Bring your prayer requests to God
When I think about how God allows us to enter into His throne room and bring our requests to Him. This is not something we should take lightly especially in learning how to pray for healing for someone else. God hears our prayers!
The Bible is full of promises about God’s faithfulness. Bring your loved one’s prayer requests to God during your quiet time. Include Bible verses about healing in your prayers like Jeremiah 17:14, Isaiah 40:29, and Psalms 30:2.
Using the same example as your friend who is nervous about an appointment, here is how you can pray for her:
“Dear Lord, I want to bring my friend to you right now. I know that she is not feeling well and worry is taking a lot of her emotional energy. I pray that You will give her special peace in the midst of her crisis; draw close to her. Give her confidence that healing will come. I pray that that You will give her doctor special insight and wisdom during this upcoming appointment. Show them how to treat her to relieve the pain and bring healing. I remember the portion of Isaiah 53:3 that says, ‘…by his wounds we are healed’. I believe you, God will heal the sick! Thank-you in advance for what You will do! Amen”.
Take a minute to send a text message to your friend and say, “I just said a prayer for you!”
3. Ask others to stand in prayer with you
The Christian Church is a community that we rely on for support and community. When it comes to praying, corporate (or prayer within a group of Christians) is powerful. Remember Matthew 18:20: “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them”.
Here’s how you can implement corporate prayer:
- If your loved ones gives you permission, share her prayer request with a trusted group of Christians from your church of Bible study.
- Ask your Bible study to agree with you in prayer for healing.
- Ask your friends if they have any words of knowledge to share or if they have similar stories of healing.
- When you loved one experiences an answer to prayer, share it with your Bible study.
- Give praise to God.
4. Laying on of hands and Anointing of the Sick Sacrament
In the book of James (5:14-15), Christians from the early church were instructed to call the elders to pray for and anoint the sick. They would come together in agreement for healing.
If your loved one feels comfortable with it, ask church leaders to come and lay hands on her and pray. You can gather at a church or in a home. Many Christians use anointing oil when they pray. A special reminder – anointing oil is symbolic of dedication to and trust in God; the oil does not have any power in and of itself. Talk with your pastor about the process of laying on of hands.
Catholic Church has Anointing of the Sick Sacrament, which is intended to strengthen those who are being tried by illness. This sacrament is administered by a priest, who lays hands on the sick and pray over him, then anoints patient’s forehead and hands with blessed oil. The first grace of this Sacrament is one of strengthening, peace, and courage to overcome the difficulties that go with the condition of serious illness. By Anointing of the sick Sacrament, all Church is invited to pray for their brother in Christ, not leaving him alone to fight with illness and pain. Intercession of God and Church would be a great help for him.
5. Be an encourager
Imagine what you need when you’re not feeling well. Someone to sit quietly with you and keep you company? Someone who is cheerful and reassuring? Thinking through this can help develop empathy for others who are suffering.
Spending time with a friend who is suffering because of health can be very discouraging. It is easy to fall into the trap of focusing on all the negatives. While it’s important to be realistic about any situation, you can support your friend by focusing on being an encourager. Be prepared with some Scriptures to share, some positive news, or a song that touched you.
Even if your loved one isn’t feeling well, your words will be heard and your thought will be appreciated.
Pain is an unavoidable part of life, but it is an opportunity for us to experience God’s presence and faithfulness in a real way. He is there to listen to our prayers and heal us. We learn how to pray for healing for someone else through the Scriptures, asking other Christians to pray with us, and by being encouragers. God will heal the sick!
Also read: INTERCESSORY PRAYER – we pray for others