Have you ever noticed how many Bible verses there are about praying for healing? I sure have and there’s a lot about people being healed, but not specifically how to pray for healing. Sometimes it’s nice to have a “recipe” that tells you how to do something, and healing is no different. If you’re like me, you want to know “how to pray for healing” and that your prayers for healing, just like your other prayers, will be answered.
So open the best instruction manual of all, God’s Word, and let’s begin learning how to pray for healing.
…and I pray this post will help you understand how to do just that.
We’re going to start in James.
Praying for Healing Involves Asking
You don’t have because you don’t ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. James 4:2b-3
It’s human nature to want things and in most cases, we want things for all the wrong reasons, healing included. But…
We can’t let the fear of wrong motives stop us from praying for healing.
No, no, no.
Read more about God’s answer to our prayers for healing here.
Earlier in the New Testament, Jesus tells us to ask, seek, and knock until we get an answer. He finished by saying “…how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!” Matthew 7:7-11
A huge part of how you pray for healing involves asking until God answers, even if you’re unsure about what God wants.
If you’re asking, seeking, and knocking, God will answer and you’ll learn what He wants.
Are you praying for your healing, that of a family member or friend, or for our world’s healing?
- What healing are you praying for?
- Why are you praying for it?
Friend, you pray for healing by asking, seeking, and knocking.
Now, let’s return to James and look at James 5:13-16.
Seek God in Prayer
The meaning of this passage is that in everything, we should pray.
This is also the only place in the Bible that provides instructions for how to pray for healing.
Don’t worry if your church doesn’t have elders, God’s not concerned with titles. If you’re sick and feel like you should ask someone at the church to pray for you, go to whoever within your church’s leadership the Holy Spirit’s leading you to.
Now, let’s see what we can learn about “how to pray for healing” from these verses.
There are four key things in this passage:
I want to start with anointing.
If you go to your church leadership for prayer, they may anoint you with oil. I’ve also seen regular ‘ol Christians pray for people’s healing, and anoint them with oil because it’s something we see Jesus and His disciples do (Mark 6:13).
- If you’re sick, have you ever gone to church leadership and asked them to pray for your healing?
- Why or why not and if so, what did you learn?
If you’d like to read more Bible verses where sick people are anointed with oil, you can find them here.
Now let’s talk about the other three: confession, faith, and the prayer for healing.
How to Pray for Healing
Praying for healing isn’t about a specific method or technique, it’s about dependence on God. You can pray sitting, standing, laying down, or kneeling – whatever you’re comfortable with.
This guide on “how to pray for healing” is based on the Lord’s Prayer and the above passages from James (Matthew 6:6-13, James 4:2, James 5:13-16).
Whether praying for healing is new to you or you’ve been doing it for years and years, I pray it helps and refreshes you as it did me.
Confession and Healing
For many years I thought sinning less would somehow heal me. Ugh (imagine me facepalming here). Why our brains (is it just me or do you struggle with this too?) think we can do anything to fix our “sin” is beyond me but…we often try.
The beauty of the Gospel is that the moment we chose Jesus, our sins had a magic eraser taken to them. The eraser of Jesus’ blood.
This should bring us such comfort and reassurance.
Yet even though Jesus erased our sins, we still sin, and need to make confessing sin a regular part of our prayers, not just prayers for healing. Jesus models this in the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:12-13) and forgiveness is also foundational to Jesus’ words in John 14:14,
“if you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.”
Forgiveness also happened when Jesus healed people.
I pray the beauty of this becomes a healing balm to you.
- How does Jesus’ work at Calvary (where He died for our sins) make you feel?
- Click here for a great video from Bible Project about what Jesus did.
- In what ways has Jesus already healed you?
- How have you seen salvation heal other people?
Confession of sins doesn’t guarantee physical healing, it guarantees something better – eternal life with our Lord and Savior.
Healing and Faith
Praying in faith (James 5:15) involves praying for healing and being confident in God, even if His answer is different than expected (you can read more about this here).
Even when God’s answer is different than we expected, we can trust His answer will always be what’s best. I think this is the beauty of what James said about the “prayer of faith saving the one who is sick.”
What confidence we have when we place our faith in God and God alone.
Think about the healing you’re praying for (whether this is yours or someone else’s)…
- Do you trust God’s answer will be what’s best?
- Why or why not?
- Have you ever had God answer a prayer for healing differently than expected?
- If so, what happened and what did it teach you?
Now that we’ve unpacked those two a bit, let’s move to the last part, praying for healing.
Praying for Healing
The church I attend teaches a prayer model called TACOS, and I love how simple it is. It’s also an easy model for teaching other’s how to pray (learn more about it here). We’re going to use it, combined with what we’ve just covered, to shape our prayer for healing.
It’s based on the Lord’s Prayer and stands for thanksgiving, adoraction, confession, others, and self.
How you pray for healing can be quite varied and often depends on the emotional connection you have to the person you’re praying for.
So, I’ve written a prayer for healing that’s customizable to who or what you’re praying for. The reason I wrote this is because not everyone knows how to pray for healing and sometimes even those who know how to pray, want guidance.
When our heart’s overcome with grief, it can be nice to have a written prayer to guide us. You can download a copy of this prayer here.
Make this prayer for healing your own and consider using any of God’s names or characteristics in your prayer.
Including Scripture in your prayer is a great way to pray because it grows your understanding of the verse and aligns your prayer with God’s will. You can find Bible verses about healing here and the names of God and their meaning, here.
Friend, Jesus wants us to trust Him for everything and this includes trusting that He’ll heal us, our loved ones, and our country or world. You matter to God, all people matter to God and He wants His children to be healthy. God knows that physical sickness and disease make it harder for us to effectively serve Him.
I know from personal experience how hard it is to leave my house, go to church, and serve God’s people because of my health. And because God’s answer to my prayer for healing was that He wanted my sickness used to bring Him glory, I have the privilege of depending on the Holy Spirit for strength to serve God’s people.
Remember, God answers each of our prayers differently and based on what He knows we need. You can read more about how God answers our prayers for healing here.
No matter who’s healing you’re praying for, God WILL answer.
Trust Him my friend, and trust that no matter how God answers, it’ll be the perfect answer.
I want to leave you with the NLT translation of Philippians 4:6 and encourage you to meditate on it and ask the Holy Spirit to help you live out these words from Paul.
This is my prayer for you…
”Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul.” 3 John 1:2