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.
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.”
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
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.
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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Prayers for the Sick For a Sick Person
O Father of mercies and God of all comfort, our only help in time of need: We humbly beseech thee to behold, visit and relieve thy sick servant N. for whom our prayers are desired. Look upon him with the eyes of thy mercy; comfort him with a sense of thy goodness; preserve him from the temptations of the enemy; and give him patience under his affliction. In thy good time, restore him to health, and enable him to lead the residue of his life in thy fear, and to thy glory; and grant that finally he may dwell with thee in life everlasting; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Almighty and Eternal God,
You are the everlasting health of those who believe in You.
Hear us for Your sick servant (N…)
for whom we implore the aid of Your tender mercy,
that being restored to bodily health,
he may give thanks to You in Your Church.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Dear Jesus, Divine Physician and Healer of the Sick, we turn to You in this time of illness. O dearest Comforter of the Troubled, alleviate our worry and sorrow with Your gentle love, and grant us the grace and strength to accept this burden. Dear God, we place our worries in Your hands. We ask that You restore Your servant to health again. Above all, grant us the grace to acknowledge Your holy will and know that whatsoever You do, You do for the love of us. Amen.
Prayer for the Sick
Father of goodness and love, hear our prayers for the sick members of our community and for all who are in need. Amid mental and physical suffering may they find consolation in your healing presence. Show your mercy as you close wounds, cure illness, make broken bodies whole and free downcast spirits. May these special people find lasting health and deliverance, and so join us in thanking you for all your gifts. We ask this through the Lord Jesus who healed those who believed. Amen.
Tend your sick ones, O Lord Christ.
Rest your weary ones.
Bless your dying ones.
Soothe your suffering ones.
Pity your afflicted ones.
Shield your joyous ones.
And for all your love’s sake. Amen.
Psalm for the Sick
O Lord, in your anger punish me not; in your wrath chastise me not. For your arrows have sunk deep in me; your hand has come down upon me. There is no health in my flesh because of your indignation; there is no wholeness in my bones because of my sin. For my iniquities have overwhelmed me; they are like a heavy burden, beyond my strength. Noisome and festering are my sores, because of my folly. I am stooped and bowed down profoundly; all the day I go in mourning. For my loins are filled with burning pains; there is no health in my flesh. I am numbed and severely crushed; I roar with anguish of heart. O Lord, all my desire is before you; from you my groaning is not hid. My heart throbs, my strength forsakes me; the very light of my eyes has failed me. For I am very near to falling; and my grief is with me always. Indeed, I acknowledge my guilt; I grieve over my sins. Forsake me not, O Lord; my God be not far from me! Make haste to help me, O Lord, my salvation. Let me know, O Lord, my end and what is the number of my days, that I may learn how frail I am. A short span you have made my days, and my life is as nought before you; only a breath is any human existence. Hear my prayer, O Lord, to my cry give ear; to my weeping be not deaf! For I am but a wayfarer before you, a pilgrim like all my fathers. Turn you gaze from me that I may find respite, ere I depart and be no more.
Taken from Psalms 37 and 38
Prayer for a Sick Friend
Dear Lord, You know my friend/family member so much better than I do. You know his/her sickness and the burden he carries. You also know his heart. Lord, I ask you to be with my friend now as you work in his life. Lord, let your will be done in my friend’s life. If there is a sin that needs to be confessed and forgiven, please help him to see his need and confess. Lord, I pray for my friend just as your Word tells me to pray, for healing, and for your will to be done. I believe you hear this earnest prayer from my heart and that you will do according to what you find best. I have faith in you, Lord, to heal my friend, but I also trust in the plan you have for his life and his sufferings. I ask that you look with mercy and grace toward my friend. Nourish his spirit and soul in this time of suffering and comfort him with your presence. Let my friend know you are there with him through this difficulty. Give him strength. And may you, through this difficulty, be glorified in his life and also in mine. Amen.
Prayer for the Sick and Seniors
All praise and glory are yours, Lord our God. For you have called us to serve you and one another in love. Bless our sick today so that they may bear their illness in union with Jesus’ sufferings and restore them quickly to health. Bless those who have grown old in your service and give them courage and strength in their faith. Lead us all to eternal glory. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.
For Recovery from Sickness
O God, the strength of the weak and the comfort of sufferers: Mercifully accept our prayers, and grant to your servant N. the help of your power, that his sickness may be turned into health, and our sorrow into joy; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
O God of heavenly powers, by the might of your command you drive away from our bodies all sickness and all infirmity if this be according to your will. Be present in your goodness with your servant N., that his weakness may be banished and his strength restored; and that, his health being renewed, he may bless your holy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
For a Sick Child
Heavenly Father, watch with us over your child N., and grant that he may be restored to that perfect health which it is yours alone to give; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Lord Jesus Christ, Good Shepherd of the sheep, you gather the lambs in your arms and carry them in your bosom: We commend to your loving care this child N. Relieve his pain, guard him from all danger, restore to him your gifts of gladness and strength, and raise him up to a life of service to you. Hear us, we pray, for your dear Name’s sake. Amen.
Before an Operation
Almighty God our heavenly Father, graciously comfort your servant N. in his suffering, and bless the means made use of for his cure. Fill his heart with confidence that, though at times he may be afraid, he yet may put his trust in you; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Strengthen your servant N., O God, to do what he has to do and bear what he has to bear; that, accepting your healing gifts through the skill of surgeons and nurses, he may be restored to usefulness in your world with a thankful heart; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
For Strength and Confidence
Heavenly Father, giver of life and health: Comfort and relieve your sick servant N., and give your power of healing to those who minister to his needs, that he may be strengthened in his weakness and have confidence in your loving care; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
For the Sanctification of Illness
Sanctify, O Lord, the sickness of your servant N., that the sense of his weakness may add strength to his faith and seriousness to his repentance; and grant that he may live with you in everlasting life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
For Health of Body and Soul
May God the Father bless you, God the Son heal you, God the Holy Spirit give you strength. May God the holy and undivided Trinity guard your body, save your soul, and bring you safely to his heavenly country; where he lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen.
For Doctors and Nurses
Sanctify, O Lord, those whom you have called to the study and practice of the arts of healing, and to the prevention of disease and pain. Strengthen them by your life-giving Spirit, that by their ministries the health of the community may be promoted and your creation glorified; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Thanksgiving for a Beginning of Recovery
O Lord, your compassions never fail and your mercies are new every morning: We give you thanks for giving our brother N. both relief from pain and hope of health renewed. Continue in him, we pray, the good work you have begun; that he, daily increasing in bodily strength, and rejoicing in your goodness, may so order his life and conduct that he may always think and do those things that please you; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Prayers for use by a Sick Person For Trust in God
O God, the source of all health: So fill my heart with faith in your love, that with calm expectancy I may make room for your power to possess me, and gracefully accept your healing; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Lord Jesus Christ, by your patience in suffering you hallowed earthly pain and gave us the example of obedience to your Father’s will: Be near me in my time of weakness and pain; sustain me by your grace, that my strength and courage may not fail; heal me according to your will; and help me always to believe that what happens to me here is of little account if you hold me in eternal life, my Lord and my God. Amen.
O heavenly Father, you give your children sleep for the refreshing of soul and body: Grant me this gift, I pray; keep me in that perfect peace which you have promised to those whose minds are fixed on you; and give me such a sense of your presence, that in the hours of silence I may enjoy the blessed assurance of your love; through Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen.
In the Morning
This is another day, O Lord. I know not what it will bring forth, but make me ready, Lord, for whatever it may be. If I am to stand up, help me to stand bravely. If I am to sit still, help me to sit quietly. If I am to lie low, help me to do it patiently. And if I am to do nothing, let me do it gallantly. Make these words more than words, and give me the Spirit of Jesus. Amen.
Prayers to the Saints for the Sick Consecration of the Sick to Mary
O kind and good Mother,
whose own soul was pierced by the sword of sorrow,
look upon us while,
in our sickness,
we arraign ourselves beside you
on the Calvary where your Jesus hangs.
Dowered with the high grace of suffering,
and hopeful of fulfilling in our own flesh
what is wanting in our sharing of Christ’s passion,
on behalf of his Mystical Body, the Church,
we consecrate to you ourselves and our pain.
We pray that you will place them
on that Altar of the Cross to which Jesus is affixed.
May they be little victims of propitiation for our salvation,
for the salvation of all peoples.
O Mother of Sorrows,
accept this consecration.
Strengthen our hopeful hearts,
that as partakers of Christ’s sufferings
we may also share in his comfort now and for evermore.
Prayer to St. Gerard for a Sick Child
St. Gerard, who, like the Savior, loved children so tenderly and by your prayers freed many from disease and even death, listen to us who are pleading for our sick child. We thank God for the great gift of our son or daughter and ask him to restore our child to health if such be his holy will. This favor, we beg of you through your love for all children and mothers. Amen.
Prayer to St. Camillus
O glorious Saint Camillus, special patron of the sick and poor, thou who for forty years, with truly heroic charity, didst devote thyself to the relief of their temporal and spiritual necessities, be pleased to assist them now even more generously, since thou art blessed in heaven and they have been committed by the Holy Church to thy powerful protection.
Obtain for them from Almighty God the healing of all their maladies, or, at least, the spirit of Christian patience and resignation that may sanctify them and comfort them in the hour of their passing to eternity; at the same time obtain for us the precious grace of living and dying after thine example in the practice of divine love. Amen.
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be to the Father.
Prayer to St. Peregrine for Sick Relatives and Friends
O great St. Peregrine, thou who hast been called “The Mighty,” “The Wonder-Worker” because of the numerous miracles which thou hast obtained from God for those who have had recourse to thee, thou who for so many years didst bear in thine own flesh this cancerous disease that destroys the very fiber of our being, and who had recourse to the source of all grace when the power of man could do no more; thou who wast favored with the vision of Jesus coming down from His Cross to heal thy affliction, ask of God and Our Lady, the cure of these sick persons whom we entrust to thee. (Pause here and silently recall the names of the sick persons for whom you are praying.)
Aided in this way by thy powerful intercession, we shall sing to God, now and for all eternity, a song of gratitude for His great goodness and mercy. Amen.
Prayers to St. Jude for Special Intentions
St. Jude, glorious apostle, faithful servant and friend of Jesus, the name of the person (who betrayed our Lord) has caused you to be forgotten by many, but the true Church invokes you universally as the Patron of things despaired of. Pray for me, who is so miserable; pray for me, that I may finally receive the consolations and the succour of Heaven in all my necessities, tribulations, and sufferings, particularly (ADD YOUR PERSONAL REQUEST HERE), and that I may bless God with the Elect Throughout Eternity.
May the Sacred Heart of Jesus be Adored, Glorified, Loved and Preserved throughout the world, now and forever. Sacred Heart of Jesus, please pray for me. Saint Jude, Worker of Miracles, please pray for me. Saint Jude, Helper of the Hopeless, please pray for me. Amen.
O most holy apostle, St. Jude, faithful servant and friend of Jesus, people honor and invoke you universally, as the patron of hopeless cases, of things almost despaired of. Pray for me, for I am so helpless and alone. Please help to bring me visible and speedy assistance. Come to my assistance in this great need that I may receive the consolation and help of heaven in all my necessities, tribulations, and sufferings, particularly (state your request) and that I may praise God with you always.
I promise, O blessed St. Jude, to be ever mindful of this great favor, to always honor you as my special and powerful patron, and to gratefully encourage devotion to you by publishing this request. Amen.
Holy Saint Jude, Apostle and Martyr, Great in virtue and rich in miracles, Near kinsman of Jesus Christ, Faithful intercessor of all Who invoke your special patronage in time of need. To you I have recourse from the depths of my heart And humbly beg to whom God has given such great power To come to my assistance. Help me in my present and urgent petition, In return I promise to make your name known And cause you to be invoked. Saint Jude pray for me and all those who invoke your aid. Amen.
Prayers to St. Jude for Physical Healing
St. Jude, you witnessed the healing power of our Lord Jesus. You saw his compassion for the sick and dying. You yourself touched the sick, shared the sorrows of the mournful, and encouraged the despairing. You received this authority and healing power to work wonders, to cure the incurable, to make people whole. We ask you to intercede with our brother, Jesus, to send his saving grace to heal the sickness and suffering of N. to uplift his/her despondent spirits, and to instill hope in his/her hearts. Amen.
St. Jude, through prayer you praised God for the wonderful works of Jesus. You asked God for the strength to meet the challenges of your apostolate. You put your trust in God’s mercy, believing firmly that God loved you and understood your joys and sorrows, your hopes and fears, and your triumphs and failures. You understood that nothing is impossible for God. I ask you to pray for me now before the Most High so that I too might be filled with God’s saving power, understand God’s will for me and faithfully place myself in God’s loving hands.
St. Jude, you remained faithful to our Lord, even unto death. You gave your life so that others might live. You endured physical pain and emotional abandonment. But you gladly joined your sufferings to those of our Savior, Jesus, and thus shared in the redemption of the world. I ask you now to intercede with our brother, Jesus Christ on my behalf, so that I too can find strength in the face of my suffering. Help me to trust in God and put my life in his hands.
Litany of St. John of God
Lord, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us. Christ, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us. Lord, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us. Christ, hear us.
Christ, hear us. Christ, graciously hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.
God the Father of Heaven,
Have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world,
Have mercy on us.
God the Holy Ghost,
Have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, one God,
Have mercy on us.
Pray for us.*
Saint John of God, who art our Father,*
St. John, who from thine infancy manifested such tenderness for the unhappy,*
St. John, faithful worker from thy youth,*
St. John, who didst understand the state of the poor and needy,*
St. John of God, who didst receive this name from the mouth of Our Lord,*
St. John, Man of Mercy, vowed to all kinds of good works,*
St. John, to whom God has confided the poor and little,*
St. John, who didst give liberally and with joy,*
St. John, who didst deliver the poor and save the destitute,*
St. John, feet of the lame,*
St. John, eyes of the blind,*
St. John, father of the needy,*
St. John, help of orphans,*
St. John, protector of virgins and widows,*
St. John, consoler of the afflicted,*
St. John, champion of the oppressed,*
St. John, physician for all complaints,*
St. John, joy of the sick,*
St. John, consolation of the dying,*
St. John, refuge of the miserable,*
St. John, furnace of charity,*
St. John, lover of chastity,*
St. John, meek and humble of heart,*
St. John, martyr by desire,*
St. John, model of patience,*
St. John, victim of penance,*
St. John, triumpher over demons,*
St. John, who didst merit the special assistance of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and of St. John the Evangelist,
Intercede for us.**
St. John, whom the Archangel Raphael often visited and helped,**
St. John, who didst expire on thy knees holding the crucifix,**
St. John, on the day of Judgment,**
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world:
Spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world:
Graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world:
Have mercy on us, O Lord.
Pray for us, O our Father, Saint John of God.
That we may become your faithful imitators.
Let us pray:
Lord Jesus Christ, Who didst grant to Blessed John of God, our Patriarch and Thy faithful servant, so abundant a charity toward the poor, that he devoted himself to their service in becoming their Father: grant that we may serve Thy suffering members with a charity which may merit for us the reward of being united for ever in Heaven with Thee, our Divine Head, Who livest and reignest with the Father in the unity of the Holy Ghost for ever and ever. Amen.
O glorious Saint John of God! Full of compassion and tenderness for the afflicted! Thou, who as a reward for thy charity, didst merit to minister to Jesus Christ under the appearance of a pilgrim: obtain for us the grace ever to see Jesus Christ in the person of our neighbor, so that we may be found worthy to receive the eternal bliss promised to those who serve the Divine Master in the person of the sick. Amen.
Prayer for a Sick Person Near Death
Almighty and Everlasting God, Preserver of souls, who dost correct those whom Thou dost love, and for their amendment dost tenderly chastise those whom Thou dost receive, we call upon Thee, O Lord, to bestow Thy healing. that the soul of Thy servant, at the hour of its departure from the body, may by the hands of Thy holy Angels be presented without spot unto Thee. Amen.
A Short Recommendation to God
Into the hands of Thy unspeakable mercy, O Lord, I commend my soul and body; my senses, my words, my thoughts, and all my actions, with all the necessities of my body and soul; my going forth and my coming in; my faith and conversation; the course and end of my life; the day and hour of my death; my rest and resurrection with the Saints and Elect. Amen.
Of all the kinds of healing, physical healing is perhaps the hardest for us to really believe in; it is far easier to believe that prayer can lead to repentance or can change a person psychologically.
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Yet real physical healings take place regularly in the prayer groups I know. Often, a dozen or more occur at conferences when we take the time to pray for the sick.
So if you have the faith that the Lord still heals people as he did two thousand years ago, launch out and learn to pray for the sick. For, although physical healing may stretch your faith (have you ever prayed for a blind person?), it is also the simplest kind of prayer.
The Confidence to Launch Out. To pray for the first time requires courage. I used to feel very foolish, as if I were pretending to be someone special when I knew I was just an ordinary person. Who was I to pretend to be a great healer, to act like Christ? All this was, of course, merely false humility since, as we know, Christ himself instructed his followers to pray for the sick. Sometimes healing requires more courage than faith.
What a joy when we find that God really answers our prayers and heals the people we love! The praise of God spontaneously rises from our hearts. If you have confidence that Jesus might use your prayers to heal the sick, then there are just a few simple steps to learn. They are easy enough to remember; we do not need a graduate degree to learn to pray for physical healing.
I have missionary friends who are teaching the poor people of the barrios of Latin America to pray for the sick, and they report that about eighty percent of these unlettered people are healed or notably improved. There is no one method or technique that always produces results; God wants us to depend on him—not upon a technique. But there are some simple steps that flow out of the very nature of prayer for healing, and these I want to share with you.
Listening. The first step is always to listen in order to find out what to pray for. Just as the first step for a doctor when he meets a patient is to find out what to treat, so we need to find out what we are meant to pray for. A doctor is looking for a right diagnosis. In prayer for healing, we are looking for the right discernment.
We are really listening to two things: to the person who asks for prayer and tells us what seems to be wrong; and to God, who from time to time shares with us the true diagnosis whenever the person isn’t sure what is wrong.
When we listen in this way, the Spirit comes to enlighten us when we are in the dark about what to pray for. To some people this special knowledge seems to come in a very special way in the form of definite mental images or verbal impressions. To many of us, however, the knowledge of what to pray for comes in a very natural way, more like a simple intuition.
We may not be sure whether we are inspired by God or not; we learn by experience to sift out our intuitions and to find what works out in practice. Often, after I have followed what seemed to me a simple intuition about what to pray for, the person I was praying for has told me that I touched on those very things he had not directly mentioned but had hoped that I would pray for. When these intuitions work out time after time, you learn to trust that God is working through them.
In addition to listening to the person, we should also be alert to the promptings of the Spirit who may enlighten us, especially when we don’t know what to pray for. It is not healthy for us to be unduly problem-oriented and symptom-centered. In the abundance of Christ’s health and life, sickness will be overcome, in the brilliance of that light, darkness and ignorance will be dispersed.
Laying on of Hands. In actual praying for the sick, the laying on of hands is a traditional Christian practice: “They will lay their hands on the sick, who will recover” (Mark 16:18). Certainly it is not essential; if you feel that the person you are praying for would be embarrassed or would feel more comfortable if you stay at a distance, then by all means be sensitive to his feelings. But if it does seem right, there are several advantages that explain the New Testament practice of the laying on of hands.
In the first place, there does seem to be a warm current of healing power that often flows from the minister of healing to the sick person. Precisely what happens when we feel this current we are not sure, but it seems like a transfer of life-giving power. Jesus himself experienced this flow of power in such a way that he could sense it:
Now there was a woman suffering from a hemorrhage for twelve years, whom no one had been able to cure. She came up behind him and touched the fringe of his cloak; and the hemorrhage stopped at that instant. Jesus said, “Who touched me?” when they all denied that they had, Peter and his companions said, “Master, it is the crowds round you, pushing.” But Jesus said, “Somebody touched me. I felt that power had gone out from me.” (Luke 8:43-46)
Often we experience this same transfer of power, occasionally like a gentle electric current, but more often like a flow of warmth. Whatever it is, it is often connected with healing. It almost seems like a transfer of life.
Some with the gift of healing talk about “soaking prayer” in which you just soak the person in a prayer of God’s love. In thirty years of praying for the sick, we have discovered that this soaking prayer where we spend time with a person and pray with the laying on of hands helps immeasurably. It’s like God’s radiation treatment: The longer the sickness is held in the force-field of God’s love, the more it shrinks, until it finally disappears.
The Actual Prayer. In praying for the sick person, we can be spontaneous and improvise prayer for healing. We can assume any posture that is most comfortable for us—sitting, kneeling, or standing—where we can best forget ourselves and relax and concentrate on the presence of God. We turn our hearts and minds to the Father, or to Jesus; we know that it is only through their love that anything will happen. After welcoming their presence and praising God, we then turn to the petition itself.
Most ministers of healing suggest that we be specific in our prayer, that we visualize as clearly as possible what we are asking God to heal. For instance, if we are praying for the healing of a broken bone we can ask the Father (or Jesus) to take away every infection, to stimulate the growth of the cells needed to restore the bone, and to fill in any breaks. Such a specific request seems to enliven our own faith, as we see in our imagination what we are praying for. It also stimulates the faith of the sick person as he listens and pictures in his own mind what we are asking God to accomplish in reality. This helps him become more actively involved in the prayer, even if he says nothing.
On the other hand, some of us—that includes me—are by temperament not very good at imagining things; it is much easier to leave the imagination out and just ask God—but in a very specific way—to heal the person.
With Confidence and Thanksgiving. For a long time, there has been a kind of tradition which led most of us to end all our prayers with the phrase, “if it be your will.” The idea behind it, of course, is that we don’t know God’s will, so we don’t have the confidence that everything we ask for will be given us. This is true. Yet, this addition—”if it be your will”—can weaken our prayer if it really means “I don’t believe anything is going to happen.” This is a far cry from the words of Jesus, “Everything you ask and pray for, believe that you have it already, and it will be yours” (Mark 11:24).
If we believe that God answers our prayers always (not always as we think he will, but nevertheless always), we naturally will have a heartfelt desire to thank him. We can thank him even during the prayer: “I thank you, Lord, that even now you are sending you healing love and power into Bill and are answering our prayer.” Our attitude should be that of St. Paul: “There is no need to worry but if there is anything you need, pray for it, asking God for it with prayer and thanksgiving” (Philippians 4:6).
Francis MacNutt is cofounder of Christian Healing Ministries in Jacksonville, Florida. To read an excerpt from his latest book, The Practice of Healing Prayer (The Word Among Us Press), or for more information, visit our bookstore at wau.org.