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Praying For the Sick

2. Do not use formulas or techniques for healing. I realized that some more liturgical groups have written out healing liturgies and healing prayers, and they can be very effective. But let’s not fall into the trap of thinking that what makes the healing take place is saying the right words, creating the right emotional environment, naming and claiming it correctly, using the right oil or holding our hands in the right way when we pray. All of the above might be helpful at times, but none produces healing. Even the name of Jesus itself is not an effective formula per se, as the seven sons of Sceva quickly found out in Acts 19:13-16:“Some Jews who went around driving out evil spirits tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were demon-possessed. They would say, ‘In the name of Jesus, whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out.’ Seven sons of Sceva, A Jewish chief priest, were doing this. One day the evil spirit answered them, ‘Jesus I know, and I know Paul, but who are you?’ Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped on them and overpowered them all. He gave them such a beating that they ran out of the house naked and bleeding.”

3. Always seek God’s will for the healing. John says that God will hear our prayers “if we ask anything according to His will” (1 John 5:14).

4. Follow Jesus’ example in being an open channel for the Father to do what He wants to do through you.

5. Do not attribute the results of prayer for the sick, whether positive or negative, to the faith level or attitude of the sick person.

My own addition to these guidelines and conclusion to this topic is that we ought to add the “so that” clause to our prayers for healing. Again and again in Scripture we see the people of God included in their prayers the phrase, “so that” (John 9:3, 11:4, 14:13). Perhaps we need to pray for the sick, adding, “so that You, Father, may be glorified.” We may pray for healing, “so that the family and friends might see Your power, and come to know You as Savior and Lord.”

Let’s take these acts of compassion and love for others and turn them into opportunities for God to receive honor and glory as He responds to our prayers for healing.


From Used with permission of the author.

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Category: Living the Faith

About the Author: David Butts, M.A. (Indiana State University), Ph.D. (Atlantic Coast Theological Seminary), is president of Harvest Prayer Ministries and has nearly twenty years of experience in pastoral ministry. Besides authoring numerous magazine articles on prayer and missions for various publications, Dave is the author of ​When God Shows Up: Essay in Revival (2013), Desperate for Change: 40 Days of Prayer for America (2013), The Devil Goes to Church: Combating the Everyday Attacks of Satan (2003, 2016), Prayer and the End of Days: Praying God's Purposes in Troubled Times (2009), <em>​Asleep in the Land of Nod: Thirty Days of Prayer Toward Awakening the Church (2008), Revolution on Our Knees, Forgotten Power: A Simple Theology for a Praying Church (2015), and With One Cry: A Renewed Challenge to Pray for America (2016). He wrote Pray Like the King: Lessons from the Prayers of Israel's Kings (2007) and ​Vertical with Jesus​: A 30-Day Journey to Impact Kingdom Living (2014) jointly with his wife, Kim. He has also completed DVD presentations on leadership and prayer. See his page for current itinerary. Twitter: @hpmdave

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