I. PRELIMINARY PREPARATIONS
There are some important preparations before you begin to minister healing. These include preparing yourself as the channel of God’s healing power and the person to whom you are to minister healing.
Faith comes by hearing the Word of God about healing. To increase your own faith, study everything in the Bible on healing. Read the New Testament through with a new attitude. Whatever Jesus told His followers to do, you begin to do. Whatever He said He would do, expect Him to do it.
If He said you can heal the sick through His power, then expect to see them healed. If He said to cast out demons, then do it in His name and expect them to obey you. Disregard all the teaching of man and personal experiences you have ever had. Accept that the New Testament means exactly what it says. Accept it as true and act accordingly. You are an ambassador for Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20). An ambassador never doubts that the country he represents will back up its word.
Fast and pray before you minister. Some demonic afflictions will be healed only by prayer and fasting. Isaiah 58 teaches that God honors a fast which focuses on ministering to the needs of others.
Begin to minister to the sick even though you do not understand everything about divine healing, just as you started to witness after being saved although in reality you had a lot to learn about the Christian life. Begin to minister on the basis of what you know about healing. As you walk in the light you have been given, you will receive more light. Adopt the attitude that there are no hopeless situations. There are only people who have become hopeless about them.
PRELIMINARY PREPARATION IN OTHERS:
If you encourage the sick to be prayed for without proper instruction, it is like encouraging the unsaved to accept Jesus as Savior without knowing who He is, recognizing their sin, and their need for salvation.
Sometimes, God heals without such instruction. But remember: In ministering healing, you want to use every channel prescribed by God’s Word to see the work done. Faith is one channel for God’s healing power and it comes by hearing God’s Word, so instruction is important. Jesus combined preaching and teaching with healing and instructed His followers to do so also.
Faith comes by hearing the Word of God about healing. Preach it based on what God says, not on tradition or experience. Faith is not built by giving testimonies alone. Testimonies verify the Word and may encourage faith, but the Bible states faith comes by hearing God’s Word. (Even though a deaf person cannot hear a sermon in the natural, the deaf spirit can hear it.) People need to know what God’s Word says about the source of healing, the source and causes of sickness, promises of healing, and Biblical guidelines for receiving and maintaining health.
In a healing service for believers, fasting and prayer by the sick can be helpful. This is not required for healing, but remember—we want to use every Biblical channel available. God stresses our asking and Isaiah 58:6-8 stresses the importance of fasting and prayer as related to health.
II. THE TIME OF MINISTRY
Here are some suggestions for the time of ministry to the sick. Remember that these are just general guidelines. You must always be open to different directions from the Holy Spirit. Also, some of these suggestions are applicable only to individual ministry, while others may be used for ministering to large groups.
CREATE AN ENVIRONMENT OF FAITH:
Create an environment of faith. You already started to do this when you ministered the Word on healing. But you may also need to take additional steps to create an environment of faith. Surround the sick with people of faith and confidence. Let them hear testimonies of those who have been healed. Remember that unbelief hindered even the ministry of Jesus in Nazareth.
An atmosphere of faith is one of worship and praise. We enter God’s presence (where there is healing) through worship and praise. Healing can come through worship and praise, even without a healing prayer, because God inhabits the praises of His people. When we praise, He is present to heal. Bring people to a point of decision regarding their healing, just as you do regarding salvation. Remember how Jesus asked the lame man, “Wilt thou be made whole?” (John 5:6)
Ask the person to demonstrate their desire for healing. In a crowd you might ask them to stand, come to the front, raise their hand, or place their hand on the affected part of their body. This helps them express their desire to be healed. It is an act of faith for them, while it also helps you identify those who need ministry.
PRAY FOR DISCERNMENT:
Pray for wisdom and discernment before you begin to minister healing. Share any divine wisdom He gives you. God may reveal to you:
A Word Of Knowledge: A word of knowledge provides specific facts about a person or condition so you will know how to pray. A word of knowledge can include a deep sense of knowing or an impression in your spirit, thoughts, words, or feelings. The word of knowledge may reveal what the sickness is or why the person has the condition.
A Scripture Verse: God may give you a “Rhema” (specific) Word of God for that situation, sickness, person, or group.
A Vision: These are pictures in the mind’s eye pertaining to the one to whom you are ministering.
Words Of Faith: These are special words of encouragement and faith specifically for that individual.
A Special Anointing: A sudden infusion of power, perhaps felt as a tingling, heat, or supernatural confidence. Sometimes a special anointing comes, and if it does, flow with it. But do not wait for a special anointing to pray for the sick. Follow the instructions of Jesus whether you feel it or not.
A Special Act Of Faith: Sometimes God will lead you to tell the person to perform a special act of faith which will result in healing.
CONDUCT AN INTERVIEW: (Optional)
If you are dealing individually with a person, you may want to conduct a brief interview. God may give you specific words of wisdom about an illness and you will not need to do this, but if God does not supernaturally reveal the illness to you, do not hesitate to use the interview.
An interview is not required to minister healing, but it helps you gain information so you can pray specifically. It also helps you determine if a person needs further instruction before you pray. Jesus used the interview. He asked people what they wanted, inquired concerning their faith, and dealt with negative forces of unbelief before ministering to them.
Ask the person, “What is the problem?” Jesus asked a similar question to many who came to him for healing. Verbalizing the request for prayer is important for the sick. The sick are told to call for the elders to come minister healing. When the Bible gives a directive, it is for a reason. Asking is an act of faith that sets in motion the healing processes (James 5:14-15). (The exception to this, of course, is when a person cannot make a request. For example, the dead child Jesus raised. But even then, her parents requested Him to minister healing.)
Ask for a specific statement. If a request is too general, you will not know what to pray for and the affected person may not recognize healing when it comes. You need only brief facts: “I have cancer of the stomach.” You do not need a complete medical history. Do not try to analyze the information you are given. Your function is to pray, not provide advice. Some unique cases may require privacy and more time for counseling with a trained counselor. Have counselors available for this purpose.
Ask the person who is to be prayed for, “Do you believe Jesus can heal?” If they answer positively, then ask, “Do you believe Jesus will do it now?” If the answer is “no” to either of these questions, further instruction from God’s Word is needed.
When you are ministering to a large crowd, you will not be able to talk to each person individually. God may reveal specific illnesses of people in the audience or may lead you to pray mass prayers for certain illnesses, such as deafness, blindness, etc. Sometimes you may feel led to pray a general healing prayer or to have believers in the audience minister individually to those who are sick.
It is best to teach other believers how to minister rather than doing all the ministering yourself. The commission of Jesus was that these signs would follow them that believe. The work of the ministry was to be done by the whole Body, not just one or two lone believers.
DETERMINE THE PROBLEM:
Use the information from the interview and the wisdom God gives you to determine if the problem is in the:
Spiritual Realm: These are problems related to sin and they require a ministry of spiritual healing (salvation, repentance and forgiveness of sin). If there is a relationship between sin and sickness (and we have seen there is), then there is a relationship between forgiveness and healing. Many are healed physically when they ask forgiveness for sin. Do not be too quick to attribute sickness to sin. Remember that all sickness is not the result of individual sin. If there is sin, it is the responsibility of the Holy Spirit to make it known since one of His purposes is to convict and correct.
Physical Realm: This is bodily sickness, injury, or disease. Pray for physical healing.
Emotional Realm: These include problems like anxiety, fear, anger, bitterness, resentment, guilt, doubt, failure, jealousy, selfishness, confusion, frustration, unforgiveness, and emotional effects of past problems. These people need healing in the emotional realm. This is often called “inner healing,” but the term has been abused by some people. It is not necessary to go back to rehearse all the facts and experience the original emotions. It is not necessary to spend weeks, months, or years to recover from such traumas. If you do this, you are trying to heal the old person instead of helping them become a new creation in Christ.
Mental Realm: These are problems stemming from negative thinking, attacks of Satan on the mind, mental retardation, etc.
Demonic Realm: These are conditions resulting from direct demonic activity such as demon possession. Always remember that problems in one realm affect the whole person. As you minister, deal with the whole man as Jesus did, not just the sickness. Man is body, soul and spirit. Wholeness implies dealing with all of these.
PRAY THE HEALING PRAYER:
After you determine the condition, you will normally pray the healing prayer. But sometimes, do not be surprised if the Lord directs you not to pray or to delay prayer. For example, through an interview you may discover the person does not want healing because they will lose a disability pension. (This actually happened in one healing service!)
The Lord may also direct you to delay the prayer for physical healing until further instruction is given or the person deals with a sin problem. When you do pray, pray a prayer of faith which focuses on the specific problem. Remember that you do not have to persuade God to heal by the length or loudness of your prayer. Just as salvation is already available, the same is true of healing. Just as salvation is based on the condition of faith, so is healing. God wants to heal, just as He wants to save.
Although the power of God is sometimes present in a special way for healing (Luke 5:17), you can still pray for healing without a special anointing because Jesus commanded you to do it just as He told you to spread the Gospel.
The key to answered prayer is praying according to God’s will. Do not pray “If it is God’s will.” Jesus never prayed “heal if it is your will.” Pray a positive prayer for “God’s will to be done as it is in Heaven” or “according to Thy will.” This still acknowledges the sovereignty of God.
When possible, use other believers to minister with you. There is multiplication of spiritual power when more people are praying (see Matthew 18:19). This also discourages individuals who experience success in healing gifts and those who receive healing from giving glory to self or man. Each member of the Body of Christ has at least one spiritual gift. The most effective ministry is when…
Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in it’s various forms. (1 Peter 4:10, New International Version)
Your healing prayer may be one of:
• Petition: Mark 7:32-35
• Command: Luke 4:38-39; Mark 7:32-35; John 5:8; Acts 3:6; 9:40
• Intercession: Exodus 32
• Rebuke And Casting Out: Mark 9:25
Your prayer may also involve instructions to do specific acts, as the Lord directs (see John 9:1-7). (Note: Never tell people to stop taking medication. Let God lead them in this area.) Always pray in the name of Jesus. Also, remember that it is not lack of faith to pray more than once.
PRAISE GOD FOR THE ANSWER:
Follow prayer with praise to God for healing. Remember that in the case of the ten lepers whom Jesus ministered to, all were healed but only the one who returned to praise was made whole. Praise God by faith and not by sight. You have done what God’s Word said to do. Believe He has done what He said He would do. Thank Him for it. Jesus thanked God for hearing His prayer before Lazarus ever came out from the tomb.