In the first two articles I made several foundational statements about “sickness and healing”. What else is to be considered by all those who want to serve in a gift of healing? Here are 12 practical hints:
1. Seek God’s presence. Before God works through you he wants to work in you. Therefore, seek his presence. Cultivate your relationship with God and let him mold you and shape you. Grow in the knowledge of his word and let him fill you with his power.
2. Pursue the gift. Say to God specifically that you would like to be given the gifts of healings. Reach out for his blessing. Look for situations and opportunities to serve. Be bold, but not uptight about it. God’s spirit distributes as he wills (1 Corinthians 12:11)
3. Develop awareness for the sick. Because Jesus was deeply moved by the suffering of the people he could meet their need. Those who want to minister to the sick need interest, compassion and insight into their concerns. Sharpen your awareness for the sick and get involved with their situation.
4. Do not concentrate on the sickness, but on the person. God does not simply want to heal sicknesses, he wants to restore people. When I went to a health resort because of back problems I liked the following statement of a doctor: “We do not treat the sickness, but the person.” If you serve a person, do not define her or him by her or his sickness. Look to the heart.
5. Talk about the gospel. Gifts of healings are often revealed in the context of missions. This is evident in the accounts of the Bible and in the past and present history of the church. Where the gospel is being preached, God often confirms his word through signs and wonders (Acts 2:43; 3:3ff, 14:3). Talk about the gospel to those people who do not yet know it. And then be bold to pray also for their sickness.
6. Pray with words and deeds. For a prayer of faith it is not only helpful to use powerful words, but to involve a symbolic act sometimes, e.g. the laying on of hands (Mark 16:18) – if the other person wants it. Pray with clear, precise words. And if it is appropriate use a symbolic act that supports your prayer.
7. Do not depend on feelings. Sometimes I know precisely: “Right now the power is here”. However, sometimes I do not sense anything and still people are being touched. We should pray for the sick independently of our feelings. God’s power is present, it does not matter if we feel it or not.
8. Be led by the Holy Spirit. Listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit. Be sensitive for his promptings. Let him guide you in prayer. It does not depend on you, but on him. It is his power that operates.
9. Encourage to live wisely. After healing the sick at the pool of Bethesda Jesus said: “Do not sin anymore” (John 5:14). Whoever gets healed should thereafter live in such a way that he can stay healthy. Often the sick had a certain part in getting sick. Likewise he should make a contribution to being healthy by living wisely.
10. Point out the different approaches to health. Health can be achieved in many different ways: Forgiveness of sins, the power of God, prayer, and also through medical treatment, medication, a healthy diet, enough exercise, periods of rest, etc. Point out these different means so that the recipient of the prayer does not fixate on one specific way.
11. Motivate to receive support. Since healing can develop gradually, we need people who support us during this process. Therefore, motivate people to be a committed member of a Christian community. There is power in being supported by others (Galatians 6:2).
12. Strengthen trust in the Lord. Even if we cannot see a difference after every prayer, still it should produce encouragement, confidence and trust in the Lord. Help the recipient of the prayer to focus on the possibilities and promises of God. Then fear and anxiety have to yield. Even despite sickness a person can be pervaded and strengthened profoundly by the peace of God.