Prayer Ministry

These are some notes from a seminar I led recently on prayer ministry.

 

God’s view of “dis-ease”

We are placed between two conditions of man.

There was no dis-ease in the Garden.  Although the verdict is open as to whether there was an ecosystem in the same way as we know it, for example the food chain.

 

Nor with there be pain and sufering in heaven (Revelation 21:4).

 

But the Fall brought pain (Genesis 3:16-19) and death (Genesis 3:22).

 

Healing in Old Testament

God’s nature is to bring shalom for his people(Exodus 15:26; 23:25, Jeremiah 17:14).  And there are numerous examples of healing (2 Chronicles 30:20; 2 Kings 5:14; 20:5) as the Spirit moved.

 

Isaiah (53:4-6) prophesies see that Jesus will deal with our sicknesses: ‘by his wounds we are healed’.

 

Healing in New Testament

The atonement foretold in Isaiah 53 is now realised. 

 

Jesus’ three-fold ministry was to preach, teach, heal (Matthew 4:23, Matthew 8:16-17; 1 Peter 2:24).

 

And that now applies to us (Matthew 28:20 ‘all I have commanded you’). Sozo appears 100 times in the New Testament = salvation = made whole. Sozo translated as ‘heal’ 18 times, e.g.’ Your faith has healed you’ (Matthew 9:22). Salvation includes eternal life, forgiveness, deliverance from evil, healing.

 

Prayer ministry is integral part of:

  • Kingdom coming (Matthew 10:7) Jesus and his disciples healed all diseases and cast out demons.
  • Gospel is attested by healing, both for Jesus and in the early church.
  • Preaching the cross releases power (Matthew 4:23; 10:1; Acts 5:16)
  • Being church. The disciples were commissioned and commanded to heal (1 Corinthians 1:17-18; 2:1-5; Matthew 10:8; Luke 10:1)

Healing in church history

There has always been healing in the churches.  The church carries on Jesus’ mission, including healing. No cessation after New Testament times. See my separate blog.

 

Pivotal role of faith

Healings in the Bible are accompanied by faith of the person with the problem, or a friend/ parent, or the one praying – or all of these.

 

Key word – expectancy. We need to settle in our heart that God wants us to change, and respond in faith in God.

 

Faith needs to rest in the power and the will of God, not the wisdom of man. Simple faith in Jesus as healer is necessary, and then we can seek the healing.  We cannot measure faith. It is the object of our faith that is important. We have faith in Jesus, not our faith.

 

Role of medicine

God given.  Work with it, not against it. Too much reliance.

 

How should we pray

  1. Technique is not that important.
  2. Pray for right approach  in each set of circumstances. Will vary in different situations.
  3. Praying in twos is best, but frequently have to be on one’s own. More than three is not helpful.
  4. Always best to have one person of the same sex as the person being prayed for.
  5. There is a place for formal prayer (e.g. healing service, communion) and informal (e.g. after service, in homes, at work?).
  6. Laying on of hands is not essential, but touch is helpful (in the right circumstances).
  7. Anointing with oil is not essential – it is symbolic. Perhaps should be restricted to ‘the elders’. There is a special role for elders (see James 5:14) but this does not preclude others praying.
  8. Prayer at communion can be powerfully used.
  9. We should not necessarily expect manifestations. They are not essential, but sometimes happen.
  10. Choose location for prayer according to needs expressed. Ask God to give words of knowledge, but he doesn’t always. Check how the person is feeling whilst praying; don’t be in a hurry.
  11. Pray with eyes open may be best, unless people find it difficult.
  12. Claim healing in faith. ‘Jesus heals you’. May need to rebuke illness/Satan.
  13. What about evil spirits? Is it an evil spirit? Ask for discernment in the name of Jesus. Jesus is all-powerful. May need specialist help. Not too common yet in UK? May become more common with the influx of different nations and people open to other religions.

Prayer ministry at GBC

John Wimber commented ‘When we didn’t pray no-one got healed, when we prayed some did’.  So let’s do it.

  1. Someone should take overall responsibility.
  2. Ideally pray in mixed couples, and vary who prays with whom. Pray for each other. Always pray together before ministering.
  3. People involved must be generally acceptable to the congregation (though some will prefer to go to certain people).
  4. Need to have a strategy re manipulative people (they deserve prayer too). Err on side of love.
  5. Don’t expect glory. That’s God’s. It can be hard, draining work, without necessarily knowing results. Majority probably don’t report outcome.
  6. Can take time to build up the confidence of the church.
  7. Don’t elevate ministry. Anyone can pray with anyone when necessary – but some are called to minister.
  8. Vary what we do e.g. formal/ informal; elders/ others. We need to seek to have prayer seen as a normal everyday occurrence
  9. Expect God to act in little things too. Cell members should pray for one another. LT too. Expect response.
  10. Allow people to come on behalf of others.
  11. Persevere – we never give up praying for people’s salvation from sin, therefore never give up praying for their healing.
  12. If regularly involved in prayer ministry expect to be shocked.

Who can pray and what for

All disciples. Some are used more than others and some are more experienced.

 

Are there times when we should not pray for healing? Yes, if God reveals it is time for death (‘the ultimate healing’), but always pray for pain relief.

 

An attitude of love and compassion is very important.

 

Jesus promised greater things than he did (John 14:12) Offer prayer to non-believers – this is seen as loving and caring. A loving community is healing in itself. Seek it.

 

Problems

Some people are not changed – fact. But we also have strong presuppositions that some things will not be touched and that needs challenging.

 

The Kingdom has not yet fully come. Jesus healed perfectly. We are imperfect. Faith varies from time to time. We may have faith in Jesus, but not for healing. We can pretend. Fear blocks healing. No illnesses are beyond healing but more serious ones test our ability to trust in Jesus more than less serious ones do.

 

Sometimes the wrong thing is being prayed for, or there is unconfessed sin, or unbelief. Here discernment and words of knowledge are helpful. It is wrong to blame anyone.

 

New Testament often mentions suffering. True, but usually in connection with persecution. If God’s will is to heal all, and he is sovereign, why is his purpose not fulfilled? See 2 Peter 3:9.

 

Encouraged by Satan, we can give up too soon. It is easy to assume it is not God’s will to heal when there is a delay. God’s timing or order of doing things is not necessarily the same as ours.

1 comment to Prayer Ministry

  • Nicholas Nganga

    Please pray to our heavenly Father that i will experience His blessings and a transformation for the better in my spiritual,physical,financial,social and ministry life.

    God bless you!

    Nicholas Nganga
    P.O Box 3305
    Nakuru
    Kenya
    Email: edsupintl@yahoo.com

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