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How can I pray for healing?

Question: “How can I pray for healing?  What supports and hurts our prayers for healing?”

Bible Answers

There are only two forms of effective prayer for healing. The first is the prayer of faith in which we approach our Holy Father with a pure heart, praying in His will, standing on His Word, in the name of Jesus, not doubting but believing what we say will come to be. The second form of effective prayer is a prayer of faith directed by the Holy Spirit, as Jesus was directed by the Holy Spirit. When we follow His direction, the person will be healed, often immediately.  

Let us first address two important questions that are often on peoples mind regarding healing. Does God want us sick and does God want to heal us.

Does God’s want His children to be sick

God says, By His Stripes I am healed (Isaiah 53:5). He took our infirmities and carried your sicknesses (Matthew 8:17). I wish above all things that you may prosper and be in health (3 John 2). It is God’s will for His children to be healthy, but if Satan can get you to think that God wants you sick because you are supposed to be sick to learn patience, or empathy, or he has some work for you to do in heaven, then you will not exercise faith nor will you receive the healing God has for you.  

Does God want His children healed

For I am the Lord who heals you (Exodus 15:26b).   And Christ went out and healed the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed (Luke 4:18), who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him (Acts 10:38). I will restore you to health and heal your wounds, declares the Lord (Jeremiah 30:1). God declares that He wants His children to be healthy, but He does not always heal, at least not immediately. For example, Paul told Timothy to take wine for medical purposes (1 Tim. 5:23), and in 2 Tim. 4:20, Paul says he left Trophemus behind because he was sick, and Epaphroditus almost died before the Lord healed him (Phil. 2:26,30). Even while sick, waiting to be healed, we need to trust that God knows what is best.  Don’t assume that something is wrong with you because you have not been quickly healed.

One possible reason God may not instantly heal all Christians is to prevent people from becoming Christians to be healed rather than to share a relationship with God.

Prayer of Faith

The prayer of faith is predicated on being holy (free of sins) before the Lord, standing on the Word of God, believing in the healing, and believing by faith.  The prayer of faith is asking God to move on our behalf in His grace and mercy. There is no commanding God for healing; only humbly asking. The Lord may heal immediately or the healing may be slow over a period of time, or the healing may not occur for many years, or the healing may not occur until the person gets a new heavenly body.  What we need to remember is that the where, when, and how are in God’s divine providence.

For example, an assistant pastor who had worked as a Deputy Sheriff was crippled on the job and was declared disabled.  He could only get around with crutches. Scripturally, he did everything correctly. He was prayed for hundreds of times, mostly by different pastors and church leaders, men of faith, but nothing happened. Then after eight years, the Lord told him to go on a 40 day fast. At the end of the 40th day, he was suddenly healed. Why did God wait eight years?  Only God knows why He waited eight years, and only God knows the mystery of what He wanted to accomplish in this person’s life. We do know that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us (2 Cor. 4:7).

The point is, do not lose your faith, and if you believe that you are approaching God in a holy manner and in faith, do not let the devil beat you up with false accusations.

When praying for healing, we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen (2 Cor. 4:18). We see the unseen by fixing out eyes on Jesus and seeing the solution that we seek. See or picture yourself healthy.

Causes and Cures for Sickness

There are three primary causes of sickness – Natural, demonic, and sin.

Natural causes

Natural causes can include: accidents, genetics, environmental, unhealthy diet, lack of exercise, lack of sleep, and excess stress in our life.

Cure:  To the degree that we have permitted these problems, we need to repent and start living a healthy life style.

Demonic causes

Demonic attacks from evil spirits, such as spirit of cancer, or spirit of arthritic, or spirit of addiction can result from external attacks and internal attacks, called oppression. Healing is difficult until the root of the cause is removed.

Cure:  With external attacks, in the name of Jesus, we need to command the evil spirit to leave.  For internal oppression, deliverance may be needed to drive the evil spirit away. Normally we do not know if an attack is internal or external and need the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Sin causes

The following five groups of sins will include most of the sins that can lead to sickness.

1.  Sin of unbelief and pride

Anything that does not come from faith is sin (Romans 14:23).  One result of unbelief is anxiety and fear that comes from not trusting God with our problems.  It causes stress that attacks our immune system and opens the door to many diseases.  Pride manifests envy and selfish ambition that creates a self-induced stress.

Cure:  If after some soul searching and prayer, you realize that you have unbelief and/or pride in your life, repent of your actions and attitudes, confessing Jesus as your complete Lord and realize that our pride should be founded in God and not ourselves.

2. Sinful attitudes against others

Many of our struggles and illnesses are caused by our own bitterness, hatred, and unforgiveness.  1 Corinthians 11:27-31 says that these attitudes open the door to sickness. Over and over, God says we are to forgive as He forgave us and to love others as He loves us. These attitudes of unforgiveness can completely block God from hearing our prayers.

Cure:  Many have been healed when they have sincerely forgiven those who they believe wronged them and repented of their sin of unforgiveness.

3.  Sins we have committed

We all have committed sins in our life and continue to sin, but hopefully to a much lesser degree.  These unrepented sins separate us from God and His loving mercy.  God is a Holy sinless God, and does not want to be around those who refuse to repent of their sins.

Cure: Healing can occur when a person sincerely repents and confesses their sins to the Lord.

4.  Sins against ourselves

Jesus commanded, …love your neighbor as yourself (Matt. 22:39). However, many people hate their neighbor and themselves. This results from low self-esteem, guilt, and condemnation. This is an area that Satan thrives in. This type of self-rejection can contribute to arthritis, cancer, and autoimmune disorders.

Sometimes a person will claim their own sickness, with Satan’s prodding.  “I believe that I am coming down with the flu.”  “My hand hurts, I must be getting arthritis.”  

Another sin against self is sexual immorality.  Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body (1 Corinthians 6:18).  No other sin has caused such world wide health devastation as sexual immorality.  Don’t you know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is sacred, and you are that temple (1 Corinthians 3:16-17).

Cure:  A person needs to repent of their sins and see themselves as God sees them.  A child forgiven and cleansed, a child loved by God and a child of such great worth that God died to save him or her.

5.  Sins extending from pasted generations

Many sins of pasted generations are pasted onto the third and fourth generations.  Allergies, asthma, depression, diabetes, and heart disease are often associated with the sins of pasted generations.  

Cure:  Many of the sicknesses that are associated with the sins of pasted generations are healed when the generational links are broken in the name of Jesus.

Casting Out Spirits of Infirmity

In the 35 accounts of miraculous healing in the gospels, we find that sometimes Jesus cast an evil spirit out and the person was instantly well (Matt 17:18), other times Jesus cast an evil spirit out and then healed them (Luke 9:42), and sometimes Jesus only needed to heal the person (John 5:9). If the root cause of illness is an evil spirit, the evil spirit must first be cast out before we can expect healing. How can we know if a person has an evil spirit? We need to ask the Holy Spirit. He will tell you if deliverance is needed before prayer. If the problem is an evil spirit, we are to cast it out in the name of Jesus. Click for more information on deliverance from evil spirits.

Spirit of Sickness is bondage

Jesus clearly shows that the spirit of infirmity is bondage of Satan. Then should not this woman, a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has kept bound for eighteen long years, be set free on the Sabbath day from what bound her?” (Luke 13:16).

Most evil spirits have a name that is the same as the illness, such as the spirit of cancer.  When asking the Holy Spirit if an evil spirit is present, sometimes He will also give us the name of the evil spirit.  If not, use the generic name, spirit of infirmity.   

Ask the Lord if the person has an evil spirit and if it is internal or external.  In most cases, it is external and we may come against it in the authority of Jesus.  If it is internal and you are not experienced with deliverance, see deliverance section for more detail, click.

When you decide to operate in the authority Jesus gave you, the devil may give you a thought, “Oh, come on now. You don’t believe that, do you?”  This is a critical point in healing, salvation, faith, rebuking the devil, and receiving whatever you need from God. As long as Satan can hold you in the arena of reason, he will whip you every time—in every battle, and every conflict.  If you hold him in the arena of faith, you will defeat him every time!

The only things the devil can do to us are what we let him do. Rather than ask why God is letting this happen to me, we should be asking, why am I letting this happen to me.

Does God ever cause or permit sickness

There are examples in the Bible where God has stricken individuals or nations with a sickness.  Most often He has rebuked a nation from turning from God, or to redirect a nation, and to lead individuals into a holy relationship with Himself.

In Acts 5, both Ananias and Sapphirra were killed by the Lord for lying to the Holy Spirit, and in Luke 1:20, Zacharias was struck dumb for a season for not believing one of God’s angels, and in Psalm 119:67, David says he had gone astray, but after being afflicted, “he now keeps his word”.  

God has used sickness to save many of His children from going down the wrong path, the path of destruction.  God does not want us sick, but I believe He is willing to sacrifice our body to save our soul.

We have a choice, to follow God’s kingdom or Satan’s kingdom. When we follow Satan’s kingdom, It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God (Hebrews 10:31).

God’s Word

God declares that He will make His Word good. God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind.  Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill? (Numbers 23:19).

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 (James 5:15).

The same verse that assures us salvation, Isaiah 53:5, also assures us of healing.  But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.  Why are people so willing to accept the first half of this verse, but not the second half? We can boldly say, “By His stripes, I am healed.”  In Christ’s redeeming work, He became our substitute.  He took our place.  He not only bore our sins, He bore our healing. Smith Wigglesworth, a healing evangelist said, “I can get more out of God by believing Him for one minute than by shouting at Him all night.”

Do I believe what I feel or the Word

At this point, we must ask, do I believe the Word of God or what I feel? Faith is not dependent on what we feel.  It must be dependent on the Word of God.  As for God, his way is perfect; the Word of the Lord is flawless (Psalm 18:30).  We receive our healing by believing in God’s promises.  Healing may be immediate or progressive. Sometimes I may not feel healed, but I believe in the power of God’s Word.  Place faith in the Word of God, and then feeling will come.  

Faith for healing

Was Christ’s faith always needed?  No.  A good example is the woman with the issue of blood.  She said to herself, “If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed.” Jesus turned and saw her. “Take heart, daughter,” he said, “your faith has healed you.” And from that hour the woman was healed (Matthew 9:21-22).  She had faith, she had determination, and she pushed through the crowd and claimed her healing by her faith.  Notice the sequence. Jesus first said, “your faith has healed you”, and then she was healed.

Promise of Healing

Kenneth Hagin has said that anointing with oil and the laying on of hands are points of contact.  In themselves, they do not heal. They are avenues through which we can release our faith in God’s Word.  

His experience is that supernatural manifestations of healing are usually seen either among sinners or among those who have not been taught about divine healing.  He seldom saw it with Full Gospel people.  

Why? He believes because the gifts of healing and supernatural manifestations are given primarily to advertise the Gospel and to gain the attention of those outside the Church and less among believers.  Believers should be healed by releasing their own faith in the Word of God.    

Many have failed to receive their healing because they base their faith on prayer instead of on God’s Word. Prayer is successful only when it is based on the promises in God’s Word.  As far as God is concerned, the person is already healed.  The healing has already been bought and paid for by Christ.  Healing belongs to us because it has been provided for us by the Lord Jesus Christ. We receive by faith in the Word of God.

Paul was not among those who heard the promises Jesus made before He ascended, but twenty-nine years after the ascension of Christ, Paul was still healing the sick (Acts 28:8,9).  And through faith in God’s Word, people are still being healed today.

The gifts of healing were not intended to make an old person young again. As a person gets older, his body shows signs of aging.  Rest, proper diet, and exercise are required to help maintain good health. However, this does not mean that seniors must suffer from disease. God’s promises to His people are good to the end of life.

Faith and prayer for healing

Let me be very clear, faith is the primary ingredient in getting healed.  This is established again and again in scripture:  All things, whatsoever you shall ask in prayer, believing, you shall receive (Matthew 21:22).  Many times, Jesus asked people before He prayed for them, “Do you believe I am able to do this”? Then, after they were healed, He said, Your faith has healed you. Think of it: Even though the heart of God is to heal you, your healing is nevertheless predicated on faith.   

How much time have you spent praying for faith for your healing or for someone else's healing?   Logos Publ, a healing evangelist, shares how he would pray all night, or even days on end, until a sick person would be healed. Dutch Sheets tells how his wife had a growth in her body. He prayed one hour a day for her healing for thirty days. The growth disappeared.  Have you prayed 30 hours this month for your healing?  How much time are you willing to pray fervently?   

Many who are seriously ill may get calls from well meaning friends who pore doubt into their life and pull them down because they do not really believe in healing and are not following the Holy Spirit. You may need to stop communication with those who are pulling you down. While you may offend some folks, maintaining faith for healing is more important than their immediate friendship. Rather, fill your heart with faith from the Word.

Do you have enough faith

Many people, who are “confessing” their healing, don’t have the necessary faith because they doubt and the doubt kills their faith.  Do you have faith for your healing? Prove it, by getting on your knees and storming heaven with your faith until your healing manifests! Getting a miracle of healing doesn’t always come quickly or easily.

Romans 12:3 says, God has dealt to every man a measure of faith.  For most, the problem is not insufficient faith, but it is doubt that kills faith.  By studying, we get the Word of God into your heart and fight off the devil’s doubt.

Our pastor tells the story of when he was a young fireman and stayed home with a severe case of the flu.  His five- year-old daughter came in and asked why he was still in bed. He told her he had the flu.  She said, “Jesus, heal my daddy,” and skipped out of the room.  A few minutes later he felt so good that he got up to eat breakfast.  What did she have?  She didn’t beg or plead, she didn’t make a long prayer or even quote scripture.  She just used her pure child faith in God.

Mental Picture

Picture God’s healing power flowing from the throne of God to the person being prayed for.  The picture itself will not heal, but it does support our faith and help prevent doubt.


God's promises to answer prayer and bring healing are for His obedient children. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, you shall ask what you will, and it shall be done unto you (John 15:7).

God's promise is to heal those who keep His commandments and walk in His statutes; those who believe that His Words are truth.

Many people have suffered for years while waiting to be treated by some of the famous physicians of our time. If only they would wait on God and be as diligent to heed His directions as they are in carrying out the orders of earthly physicians, they would be healed.

Believe, even though you are in pain. Believe, even though you have tried to walk and could not!  Keep on believing and trying to act on your faith. It is believing that drives out the pain and brings you forth from your bed.  The unbeliever says, "Let me feel and I will believe."  God says, "Believe, and you will feel."

You do not have to lie about your pains. Do not say, "The pain is gone," when the pain is still there. Quote God's Word, for it is truth.  Real faith must be based exclusively on the Word of God.  Say, “God is manifesting His healing in me,” and say, “Thank you Lord for the healing you are doing.”

Faith believes the certainty of God’s Word.  It is not denying circumstances nor does it deny facts. But it overcomes them with the spiritual force of faith.

What Stops Or Delays Us From Receiving Our Healing

Lack of faith is the primary reason for not receiving our healing, followed by not dealing with demonic attacks, unconfessed sin, unforgiveness, and God’s timing.  

You may say, "I hope He will heal me today.”  What you have is hope, not faith.  You hope to be healed. You have knowledge, you know God is able to heal and does heal, but you do not have faith.  Rather, you need both faith and hope.  Hope is the objective of your desire while faith is the conviction you will receive.  Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1).

When we do not receive healing, we need heart-searching and prayer to find the reason from God why healing has not occurred. Then, when the Holy Spirit has revealed the problem, we can move to overcome it.

When experiencing prolonged pain or sickness, consider the possibility that there is a demon behind it.  Ask the Holy Spirit if you have an evil spirit and how to pray.  If it is an evil spirit, then healing will usually follow deliverance.  

Healing is conditional on faith and spiritual health. When God's conditions are known and met, heaven guarantees the answer. For all the promises of God in Him are yes, and in Him Amen, unto the glory of God (2 Corinthians 1:20). For he is faithful that promised (Hebrews 10:23).

Do not cast away your confidence if recovery does not come immediately.  Hold fast to your faith in the Word of God and stand on His promises with patience.

Holy Spirit led prayer

Following the Father through the Holy Spirit is the way Jesus and the disciples prayed.  "Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does” (John 5:19). The prayers were very short, often only a few words, the prayer was a commandment as they were commanding what the Father told them to do through the Holy Spirit, and the healing was normally immediate and never failed.  They had the assurance that what the Father said, would take place.  

This typically is the supernatural transfer of the Holy Spirit’s gift of knowledge and the gift of healing and can operate through any Spirit-filled believer that is open to the Holy Spirit’s gifts. It is a matter of hearing what the Father is saying through the Holy Spirit and then following or commanding the instructions.

Holy Spirit

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you (Acts 1:8). The Greek word for power is dunamis, and is the same word that the word dynamite comes from. This is the same power that Christ and Paul had.  As believers, we have the Holy Spirit in us and can do the same healing if we will let the Holy Spirit operate in us.  

Keeping Your Healing

Faith is Satan's enemy and he constantly strives to destroy it. Whenever you have any pain, which  resembles the pain of your previous disease, Satan will immediately suggest to you that you were never healed, were not completely healed, or that your healing didn't last.

After healing the man with leprosy, then Jesus said to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest” (Matthew 8:4).  Why did Jesus tell him to say nothing to anyone?  I believe Jesus didn’t want him talking with doubters.  Negative statement of doubt can steal healing from a person if they start believing another’s doubting statements.

If you haven't been communicating with God and His Word, His promises will become dim in your mind, and you may find it easier to believe Satan than to believe God. You may start to agree, "I just thought I was healed, but I am no better."  As you start to fear that you are again sick, fear will open the door to the devil.

If you cast Satan’s thoughts away and keep believing God’s Word, you can say as Jesus said when Satan tempted him, It is written… (Matt 4:4,7,10).  This is resisting the devil.

Stay in an atmosphere of faith

While waiting for healing, or after being healed, it can be a mistake to go back into a church where the pastor and teachers do not believe in the miracle-working power of God. God describes these people and gives us a warning in 2 Timothy 3:5, Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof; from such turn away. Identify yourself with a believing church and those who believe and will support you.

Your testimony is important

When Jesus healed the man at Gadara, He said to him, Go home to your friends, and tell them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He has had compassion on you (Mark 5:19). When God heals you, be willing to testify of God’s mercy and love.

Should we go to a doctor

It is amazing how many people try to “believe God” for their healing and feel they would be a traitor to the Word to take medicine.  They read books by men of faith, like Kenneth Hagin, and try to duplicate their faith, by refusing to see a doctor.  Many get the idea that taking medicine or using doctors is contrary to the laws of faith, but they didn’t get this idea from the word. Many of these men of faith, when God had not healed them, visited a doctor for relief or physical help. The Word of God is not against doctors.  They have their place.  Some who refuse to see a doctor do so more from a position of pride than faith.

It is not an either or situation, but can often consist of both medical treatment and faith in the healing power of God to heal. When medical treatment is needed, keep believe by faith. Sometimes God will miraculously heal and other times He may let a doctor heal.

God told the prophet Isaiah that king Hezekiah should put a fig poultice on his boil, saying and he shall recover (Isa. 38:22). Does God need the medicine of a fig poultice to heal? No, but Hezekiah needed to obey to be healed.

Seek God’s instructions. When we hear God’s instructions and follow them, healing will occur. Sometimes we are to stand only on faith, and other times we are to seek medical help and stand on faith, but always seek the Lord for His guidance.

Laying of Hands

…they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover. Mark 16:18. As you pray for yourself or others, believe that God’s healing power is flowing into their body or your body to restore, rebuild, and repair all the damage until you are completely healed. Be it a minute, an hour, a month, or much longer.  Keep the faith switch turned on. You can say, “It is done, healing is being manifested in my body.”

Don’t go it alone, don’t be an island unto yourself, but surround yourself with a body of believers that can stand with you in faith believing that God’s healing power is working in you.

How to pray for the sick

  1. Ask what the problem is.
  2. Ask the Lord if the cause is sin, demonic, or natural.  If the problem is long term and the doctors don’t know why, this is an indication to ask if the problem is demonic.
  3. If the Lord tells you it is because of sin, ask the person about it so they can repent.
  4. Depending on what the Lord says, you may need to pray an intercessory prayer, a commanding prayer based on what the Holy Spirit told you, a demanding pray that the evil spirit must leave, or the person may first have to deal with unforgiveness.
  5. After praying, ask the person if they feel any better.  If they say no, ask the Lord what you should do next.  If they say they feel worse or that the pain has moved, this is a good indication of an evil spirit.
  6. While some will get immediate healing, most will get a partial healing that will progress over a period of time, and the person needs to continue in faith to claim the rest of their healing. Tell the person to keep thanking God for the healing, keep believing God is manifesting healing in their body.

And Jesus answered them, “Have faith in God. Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain [problem], ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you are receiving it, and it will be yours (Mark 11:22-24).  

Say to self, I believe I am receiving

whatever I have ask for

Moving Toward Your Miracle

You may have been praying and seeking God for weeks or months and yet nothing has happened.  Be patient. Keep moving toward your miraculous healing.  Eccl. 3:3 says, There is a time to heal. Wait patiently in faith (Heb. 6:12) for His special time to give you your miracle.

Sometimes God has a better plan than healing. The Bible mentions godly men and women who didn’t get healed. The prophet, Elisha, wasn’t healed (I Kings 13:14), Trophimus wasn’t healed (II Tim. 4:20), and Timothy’s stomach wasn’t healed (1 Tim. 5:23), by the time of writing. Why, we do not know, but we have faith to trust God to do what is best.  

Your continuous prayer should not be,  "Lord why haven't you healed me?" But rather, "Lord, thank you that you are healing me."

Continue Jesus’ ministry

John 20:21 says, So Jesus said to them again, "Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you." And John 14:12 says, “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.” In both of these verses, we are called to continue Jesus’ ministry, because we are ambassadors for Christ (2 Cor. 5:20).  God calls us to represent Jesus and to continue the work Jesus started here on earth.


It is God’s will to heal the sick and those oppressed by the devil. After Pentecost, the early church carried on Jesus’ healing ministry as part of preaching the gospel.

Healing for others and ourselves is ours if we meet God’s conditions for healing.  God’s Word is true and flawless (Psalms 18:30). As we get God’s Word into our heart, our faith will grow and we will receive healing, in God’s perfect timing, as Ecclesiastes 3:1 tells us, There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.

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