Are there certain ways in which Christians ought to pray for the sick? What can we learn from the Bible on how to pray for the sick to be healed?
Table of contents
- 1 Prayer is Commanded
- 2 Pray for the Sick Commanded
- 3 Pray for Healing
- 4 Conclusion
- 5 Article by Jack Wellman
- 6 Prayer for the Sick
- 7 God Promised and Healed Before; He can do it Again
- 8 God is the One who Heals
- 9 Sometimes God Brings us Down to Get our Attention
- 10 Sometimes He Heals the Sick through the Gifts and Prayers of Others
Prayer is Commanded
Matthew 7:7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.”
Jesus doesn’t suggest that we should pray but tells us to ask, seek, and knock. Imagine a child looking for his or her mother in the house. First the child asks his mother for something but doesn’t know where she is. The child then asks but also must seek out where she is. Then the child seeks and finds out that his or her mother is in her bedroom. Then the child must knock on the door and only when the child has asked his or her mother, then seeks to find where she is but it is only when the child knocks that the door will “be opened to” them. We must ask God for our needs but then we must seek God and seek Him first, seeking His perfectly good will. Next, knock on heaven’s door through the Intercessor, Jesus Christ. Only by asking, then seeking and next, knocking can God open the door to you and your requests. We are commanded to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thes 5:17) and to “not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” (Phil 4:6). Jesus asks “will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily” (Luke 18:7-8) and so we “ought always to pray and not lose heart.” (Luke 18:1). When we say that we’ll pray for someone and don’t, this is sin. Samuel said “far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by ceasing to pray for you, and I will instruct you in the good and the right way” (1 Sam 12:23).
Pray for the Sick Commanded
James 5:13a “Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray.”
James asks if anyone among us is suffering, and this is always highly likely in the church, they are told to pray. James also seems to tie in confession of sin to being healed as a condition. He writes that we are to “confess sins to one another and pray for one another that you may be healed” (5:15-16). If we have unconfessed sin, our fellowship with God is negatively affected even though our relationship remains. Imagine that you are a parent and your child has just disobeyed you and they have not made it right with you; that is they have not confessed their disobedience and then they come up to you and ask you for something like some money or to go and buy some ice cream for them. Would you be eager to do this or would you hesitate to do any special favors for the child? Now, if that same child came up to you and apologized and asked for forgiveness, wouldn’t you be more willing to do something special for them? I would think you would. The fellowship was someone cut off with the child but never was their relationship. They would still be and always will be that mother’s child but the mother would be hesitant do anything favorable for the child if they are living in disobedience so God may not answer our prayer for healing if we are not living in obedience and we have unconfessed sin. If we ask for forgiveness, God promises to cleanse us and forgive us (1 John 1:9) so first confess all known sin and then pray to God for healing. Why are our prayers more effective after confession? Because we are cleansed and James says that “the prayer of a righteous person has great power.” We can unleash God’s power for our or someone else’s healing but only if we are “righteous” or in a right relationship with God because Jesus said “whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith” (Matt 21:22) but our prayer requests must always be in alignment with God’s will, not ours (Matt 6:10).
Pray for Healing
James 5:14-18 “Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit.”
James asks the church and he asks us today, “Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church and let them pray over” them. Why does James request the elders to pray for the sick? Perhaps because the elder, meaning the older, more experience Christian has a stronger faith. They are commanded to seek the prayer of the elders in the church but not to the exclusion of other church members. The “elder” is not specifically a church elder but may be a church leader which could be a pastor, deacon or an actual elder but this also might mean someone who knows how to pray and they should be praying for God’s will because God’s will is not that everyone will be healed. Paul prayed three times to be healed and God said that “My grace is sufficient for you” and this is because God’s “power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor 12:9). When we are weak, we are really strong because we are made to be dependent upon God and that is what He wants. Jesus prayed three times to “have this cup pass from Me” yet God the Father’s answer was no because Jesus prayed, “Not my will but Yours be done” (Matt 26:36-39). It’s important to understand that sometimes God says no just as He did to Paul and to Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane.
James also ties in the fact that if a person “has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore pray for one another, that you may be healed.” James compares the power of prayer to that of Elijah’s prayer. Elijah prayed the prayer of faith and a prayer that was fervent, meaning it was passionate and full of meaning. At his request, God stopped the heavens rains for three and a half years and then he only had to pray again “and heaven gave rain.” Believing in God is to believe that He answers prayer. To believe in Him means that we also trust in Him and this trust in His answer is always better than what we think or might expect and in His timing is frequently different from ours. Never take the silence of God as God ignoring you. Often God waits to answer our prayers for His perfect timing and in many ways His answers are better than what we had originally asked for.
If you are asking, seeking, and knocking, God will answer your prayer but it might not be in the way in which you expect; it will be better. If you have unconfessed sins or we have something against someone that we haven’t forgiven like a friend or a spouse, first go to your brother, sister or even a spouse and make things right so that “your prayers may not be hindered” (1 Pet 3:7c). Pray with faith, knowing it is God’s good pleasure to give to His own children the desires of their heart but only when we delight ourselves in Him (Psalm 37). God has never promised to heal everyone in this life nor has He promised to answer every prayer to what we ask for. God’s will is supremely higher than what we know because God’s will is always better for us than the will we have for our own lives. Trust God, believe in Him, wait patiently on Him and He will answer your prayers.
Another Reading on Patheos to Check Out: What Did Jesus Really Look Like: A Look at the Bible Facts
Article by Jack Wellman
Jack Wellman is Pastor of the Mulvane Brethren church in Mulvane Kansas. Jack is also the Senior Writer at What Christians Want To Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Google Plus or check out his book Blind Chance or Intelligent Design available on Amazon
Are you suffering from a winter cold or possibly chronic pain for years, maybe even a life-threatening illness? Do you find it difficult to pray when you’re not well, or maybe you feel like you’re praying the same words over and over again? When we feel helpless we often cling to control as a life raft, but Christ tells us to cling to him during times of illness and every other time imaginable. We can pray for the sick and rest knowing God can restore health! He has the power to heal us, and he has the power to comfort us and give us new hope. He gives us rest when we are weary and peace when we are uncertain. If you find it hard to pray during difficult times you are not alone; pray along with this prayer for the sick!
Prayer for the Sick
Jesus, you control all the parts of my body, and you know when they’re not working at their best. Sickness leaves me stressed and steals time from all the things I want to be doing. I’m honest, Lord. I don’t like to be sick. But times like this also make me rest in you, so I thank you for this chance simply to wait on you.
I come to you today asking for your touch, Lord. Help me to be patient and allow you to do your work. If doctors are involved, give them wisdom, and thank you for providing the help I need, however you choose to provide. Whether this is a test, or simply a time to trust, I want my response to honor you.
As my Good Shepherd, I know you will lead me beside quiet places and restore my soul and body. I trust you and want to follow your leading. Help me to welcome this time not as an interruption in my carefully planned schedule, but as an opportunity to draw strength and nourishment for the journey ahead. You are my healer and my Great Physician. I look to you and give thanks for the promises in your Word that assure me of your presence and your help.
Teach me what you want me to learn during these unpleasant times, Lord. Help me not to take out my discomfort on those around me, and show me how to be a good patient while I’m recovering. In these days of sickness, Lord, I’m trusting you and asking you to make me well. And when you’ve restored my health, give me wisdom so I can treat my body as the temple of your Spirit. I’m eager to get back on my feet serving you, but I realize that even in sickness, I can still draw near to you.
SEE ALSO: Marriage, Spiritual Warfare & Healing: Crosswalk’s Top 10 Prayers of 2015
Thank you, Jesus!
Crosswalk.com: How should I pray to God for healing? – Max Lucado from crosswalkquestions on GodTube.
Bible Verses for Healing
Proverbs 4:20-22 – “My son, pay attention to what I say; turn your ear to my words. Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and health to one’s whole body.”
SEE ALSO: A Prayer for a Thankful Heart
Psalm 103:2-4 – “Praise the LORD, my soul, and forget not all his benefits— who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion,”
Psalm 41:2-3 – “The LORD protects and preserves them— they are counted among the blessed in the land— he does not give them over to the desire of their foes. The LORD sustains them on their sickbed and restores them from their bed of illness.”
James 6:16 – “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”
More Healing Bible Verses at BibleStudyTools.com
SEE ALSO: Is it Ok for Christians to Pray ‘Pre-made’ Prayers?
What sickness or weakness are you praying for healing for today? Join our large praying community in the comments below and experience God’s love, power, and healing!
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: January 13, 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.
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Since the time in the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve disobeyed God there has been sickness on earth. Sometimes we suffer from a common cold virus or maybe we are sick with a more serious disease. Regardless of the type of sickness; there are many Bible verses for the sick. Here are just 20 comforting scriptures that I hope brighten your day or the day of a loved one who is sick.
God Promised and Healed Before; He can do it Again
Deuteronomy 7:15 And the Lord will take away from you all sickness, and none of the evil diseases of Egypt, which you knew, will he inflict on you, but he will lay them on all who hate you.
Exodus 23:25 You shall serve the Lord your God, and he will bless your bread and your water, and I will take sickness away from among you.
Psalms 34:19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.
Psalms 105:37 (KJV) He brought them forth also with silver and gold: and there was not one feeble person among their tribes.
Psalms 107:20 He sent out his word and healed them, and delivered them from their destruction.
Jeremiah 30:17 For I will restore health to you, and your wounds I will heal, declares the Lord, because they have called you an outcast:‘It is Zion, for whom no one cares!’
Matthew 12:15 Jesus, aware of this, withdrew from there. And many followed him, and he healed them all
Matthew 14:14 When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick.
Acts 10:37-38 That word, I say, ye know, which was published throughout all Judaea, and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached; 38How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.
God is the One who Heals
We must remember that when we pray for the sick we are offering intercessory prayer to God. However, God is still the Master Healer and the Great Physician and He will or will not heal those whom He will or will not heal. Listen the the song below as you continue to read the rest of the verses here, you will be blessed by Don Moen as he sings “Heal me O Lord”.
Sometimes God Brings us Down to Get our Attention
Jonah 1:17; 2:1; 2:10 17Now the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights… 2:1Then Jonah prayed unto the LORD his God out of the fish’s belly… 2:10And the LORD spake unto the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land.
John 11:41-45 So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42 I knew that you always hear me, but I said this on account of the people standing around, that they may believe that you sent me.” 43 When he had said these things, he cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out.” 44 The man who had died came out, his hands and feet bound with linen strips, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.” 45 Many of the Jews therefore, who had come with Mary and had seen what he did, believed in him,
Acts 9:1-9 But Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest 2 and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. 3 Now as he went on his way, he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven shone around him. 4 And falling to the ground he heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” 5 And he said, “Who are you, Lord?” And he said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. 6 But rise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.” 7 The men who were traveling with him stood speechless, hearing the voice but seeing no one. 8 Saul rose from the ground, and although his eyes were opened, he saw nothing. So they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. 9 And for three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank.
2 Corinthians 1:8-11 For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. 9 Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. 10 He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again. 11 You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many.
Sometimes He Heals the Sick through the Gifts and Prayers of Others
Matthew 10:1 And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease.
Mark 16:15 And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease.
Luke 9:1 Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases.
Acts 14:3 Long time therefore abode they speaking boldly in the Lord, which gave testimony unto the word of his grace, and granted signs and wonders to be done by their hands.
Acts 28:8 And it came to pass, that the father of Publius lay sick of a fever and of a bloody flux: to whom Paul entered in, and prayed, and laid his hands on him, and healed him.
Hebrews 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
James 5:15-16 And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. 16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.
The Holy Bible, King James Version
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version
“Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”
YouTube video: “Heal me O Lord” by Don Moen
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