The Key to Praying for Healing

That’s not a trick question… although it can be a tricky question. But it’s not too tricky if you know what’s written in God’s Word.

Let’s ignore the latter part of that question for a moment, and focus on the word pray. The Bible gives us some specific instructions about prayer: to pray about everything, without ceasing, with thanksgiving and faith, in Jesus’ name…

All these things boil down to one major command: we are to pray!

Prayer is our way of communicating with God. But praying to God is not merely speaking words with your lips. It requires the involvement of your entire being. It’s not simply a friendly chat, but a heart expression of total faith in the One who is sovereign over all. 

Prayer is communication on the most intimate level.
Prayer is also communication at its fullest.

The word prayer is actually rather broad in its implications throughout Scripture. It can mean conversing, imploring, beseeching, worshiping earnestly, supplicating, petitioning, desiring greatly, entreating, pleading for mercy, interceding, groaning, or sighing.

We are to enjoy this most intimate, most full, communion with God on a regular basis. He tells us to ask, seek, and knock – implying persistence and passion in our prayers:

Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find;
knock, and it will be opened to you.
For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds,
and to the one who knocks it will be opened.
Matthew 7:7-8

And Paul tells us to offer supplications in every circumstance – implying there is nothing too small or too irrelevant to pray about:

Do not be anxious about anything,
but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving
let your requests be made known to God.
Philippians 4:6

God’s commands leave little room for doubt: we are to pray in every circumstance. {click here to tweet that!}

Now, what about praying for healing?

Once again, God’s Word holds the answers. Psalm 50:15 tells us to call upon God in the “day of trouble.” He wants to commune with us, no matter what our circumstances are. He wants us to humbly surrender our suffering to Him, “casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7). And we can surrender them with confidence to our great High Priest, who understands our suffering and is waiting to offer “mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).

God’s Word also offers examples to encourage us. For instance, the Old Testament prophet Nehemiah. He responded to difficulty after difficulty by praying to God for help. Another is King Hezekiah, who responded to a fatal illness by begging God for healing. He was granted an extra fifteen years of life as a result of his prayer. And throughout the New Testament, we see various apostles praying for those who are suffering  physically – and God answering those prayers either with physical healing or divine strength to endure through their trial (2 Corinthians 12:9).

The Key to Praying for Healing

You see, wherever there is lack or need, there is reason to pray. For instance, in times of war we pray for peace, and in times of drought we pray for rain. Thus, it follows that in times of sickness, we ought to pray for healing.

So, if we pray according to the standards set forth in His Word – with boldness, humility and reverence, thanksgiving, persistence, passion and expectancy, and surrender – will God answer our prayers for healing?

That’s another tricky question…

Although we must believe God will answer our requests in the way we desire, we must also acknowledge His ways and thoughts are far beyond our human comprehension. Even as we pray expecting God to answer, we must remember that He has promised to fulfill everything we truly need, not simply everything we desire.

And what He determines we need may be different from what we think we need. But remember – He has the helicopter view of our lives, we only have the dashboard view.

The key to praying for healing is praying,
and remembering that God’s ways are not our ways.

{click here to tweet that!}

Would you want your own way all the time, with your limited knowledge and faulty wisdom? I know I wouldn’t!

So pray for healing. Pray confidently and boldly – but also pray with humility, understanding that God’s ways are not always what we expect. But they are always perfect!


Have you ever prayed for healing? What happened? 


For more about praying for healing, read my book Touching the Hem: A Biblical Response to Physical Suffering. (Order on Amazon here.)

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11 thoughts on “The Key to Praying for Healing

  1. Of course I pray for healing, but I also am very careful to take my meds at the dose my doctor recommends. I pray more often for faith that He has given me wisdom, and that He has given my doctor wisdom. I pray for wisdom in speaking with people who think true faith would mean throwing out all my meds.

    1. I find your comment interesting that people think true faith means throwing out all meds. How does not taking medication equate to true faith, based on what others think or have said? I haven’t done much studying into this so just curious about that 🙂


      1. I’ve never had anyone advocate throwing my meds out – but it could be an easy trap to fall into. If you’ve prayed with faith, believing that God not only WILL heal you, but actually HAS healed you, then you could easily jump to the conclusion that continuing your meds is a sign of unbelief. This IS wrong, but it is also very common!

  2. I have prayed for healing of many illnesses/ailments. I recently suffered a lower back strain that was excruciating for several days and it felt like it wasn’t improving at all no matter what I did. I prayed to be healed of the pain and slowly I did heal. Because of that injury I tend to be much more careful with my back as not to re-injure it or cause pain again. However, this chronic pain I have that seems to be caused by an internal malfunction is another story. It’s a lot more confusing, less explainable, less understandable. I’ve prayed for healing for this as well and during some of the most intense times of pain have cried out for healing. After more than a year of battling this, though, physical healing has not yet come. I wrestle with this – does God intend to heal all physical illness and pain while on earth? His word says He heals all diseases (Psalm 103:3) but I often wonder – couldn’t this be true of our life in His heavenly kingdom when we will be completely healed of all of sin’s consequences including disease? God promises to heal us and He does of our illness of slavery to sin. He is definitely able to heal physical pain and illnesses but only if it’s His will to do so I suppose. Just typing out loud 🙂


    1. Kim, I love Psalm 103 (my favorite!) but I think we tend to take verse 3 out of context. Those first 5 verses are all about spiritual benefits… talking to the soul, not the body. And while God certainly does have the power to heal all our physical diseases, when we come to Christ He automatically heals all our spiritual diseases. Physical healing will come later, when we receive our glorified bodies – but spiritual healing is ours for the taking, as soon as we surrender to Jesus Christ.

      1. I could see how Psalm 103:3 could be taken out of context but don’t those verses seem to be referring to spiritual and physical blessings together like when David writes that God pardons our iniquities (spiritual) but also crowns us with lovingkindness and satisfies our years/lives with good things (both spiritual and physical)? I guess from what I see with those verses is that it’s hard to separate the soul from the body, at least while upon this earth, and that many spiritual blessings will overflow to benefit our bodies, if that make sense. But I do accept that v. 3 isn’t promising that God will heal our diseases or sicknesses on earth…I see it as that He definitely WILL heal our physical diseases once we arrive upon heaven’s shores 🙂 I’ll have to look more into this…I ended up spending the last 8 months memorizing Psalm 103 and finally got it all so it’s been at the front of my mind daily 🙂

      2. Hmm… you’re making me think 🙂 And I’m thinking an in-depth study of those verses is in order sometime soon! I memorized the chapter last year, and memorizing helped me understand it a little better, but I would love to do a verse-by-verse study of it! It’s a great Psalm!

  3. I think you’re right about God having already healed us from our sin-sickness, and He continues to do it every time our sinful hearts rebel. As far as people saying that true faith manifests itself by trusting your health-without medical intervention-to God. This belief is more common in those who believe a health, wealth and prosperity gospel. This is also true in Christian Science. There is a family in our church who left the Christian Science church when their children were young. Christian Science churches teach that doctors are unnecessary for a Christian with faith. As a result of this wrong teaching, the two children in that family have permanent hearing loss, since their parents were taught that they shouldn’t go see a doctor for their kids’ ear infections.
    The woman who told me that I had less faith than she had when she found out I take medicine for my illness was Pentacostal. Not all Pentacostals believe that. Anyhow, I was so shocked to hear such wrong thinking that I didn’t press her on it. When someone believes your illness is from the devil, they are essentially saying that Satan is more powerful than God. They are living as if Satan is sovereign, but we know that is false. God is the one who made us, and if we are sick, it is because God wanted us (for whatever reason) to be sick.

    1. I talk about this a bit in my book… 🙂

  4. I have RA and Fibro and have had them for years.I pray! I am confident that my needs are met.sometimes with a healing and sometimes with access to the right meds and sometimes with the strength and peace to tolerate the situation.I have grown in my Faith and have grown in my compassion due to my challenges.
    God has given us all talents,that is why there are Doctors and Artists!We can have medicines and beautiful images to gaze upon!
    Some days I cry,some days I laugh!I know that I am never alone!

    1. Trish, I love how you see that God answers “sometimes with a healing and sometimes with access to the right meds (etc)”. So often God does choose to heal, but we must utilize the doctors and medicines He’s made available. And often, He choose to carry us THROUGH the sickness, instead of delivering us out of it – like you said, so we can grow in our faith.

      And when we cling to Him, He will always remind us that we’re never alone! 🙂 Such a blessed encouragment!

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