woman laying down while ill with tea on a table

How to Pray for Healing

When I was diagnosed with a chronic illness the first thing I started to do was pray for healing. I asked other people to pray for me. And then I even went to the elders and had them pray over me and anoint me with oil like it says to do in James. (5:13-15) 

But nothing changed.  

In fact, for a while, things got harder.  

I started to wonder if I was doing something wrong. Perhaps I didn’t have enough faith. Or maybe I was saying something wrong when I prayed.

I went to God’s Word to see what the Bible had to say about how to pray for healing. And while I wasn’t happy about everything I discovered . . . in the end it turned out to be exactly what I needed.  

What the Bible says about praying for healing.

The Bible gives us some instruction on praying for healing in the book of James. 

“Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up.”

-James 5:13-15 ESV

This verse calls the elders of the church to exercise their faith in praying over the one who is sick. (Which clearly shows that it is not up to the sick person to just “have more faith” in order to get well.)

However, having faith in God’s healing power isn’t a guarantee of healing.

Because God answers prayers that are in accordance with His will. And the truth is there are many examples in Scripture where it was NOT God’s will to heal someone. 

  • King David battled anguish, loneliness, fear, and depression. (Just read through the many Psalms he wrote to see examples of this.) 
  • Job suffered because God had a bigger purpose for his life. (Book of Job) 
  • Paul had a thorn God chose not to remove. (2 Cor. 12:7-8) 
  • Trophimus was left by Paul in Miletus when he was sick. Even though on many other occasions Paul exercised the gift of healing through the Holy Spirit for other people. (2 Timothy 4:20) 
  • Timothy, another one of Paul’s companions seemed to suffer from frequent ailments. (1 Timothy 5:23) 

It would appear that the Bible calls us to pray for healing. To go to the elders of our church for prayer. But then after that, we are called to defer to God.  

To trust that even when we don’t understand what He is doing . . . God has a plan for our life. And He knows what is best for us.  

Beach view of sunset with birds flying and clouds.

What is the most powerful prayer for healing?

The problem is many people want to know how to pray for healing and get results. After all, no one likes to feel unwell. We don’t enjoy being in pain. And we really don’t like to wait.  

We want to feel comfortable and happy all the time.  

However, while we see prayer for healing in the Bible, there is no magic formula to guarantee that God will heal us. The most powerful prayer for healing is the one offered up in faith.  

A faith that knows God is who He says He is. He can do what He says He can do. And He loves us and is for us . . . even if His answer is, “No.” 

One of the most powerful prayers of faith simply states:

“Lord, if you heal me, I will praise you. And if you don’t heal me . . . I will praise you.” 

 “Heal me, Lord, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for you are the one I praise.”    

-Jeremiah 17:14 ESV

How do you pray for healing in Jesus’s name?

We already saw that God answers prayers in accordance with His will. And this is the exact same thing that happens when we pray for healing in Jesus’s name. 

While God promises to give us whatever we ask for in His son’s name, what this actually means is He will answer prayers that honor and glorify His son’s name.  

(Which if I am honest, does NOT always describe my prayers.) 

Sometimes praying for healing in Jesus’s name means we are going to have to pray a seemingly contradictory prayer. Just like Jesus did in Gethsemane when He prayed: 

“Take this cup from me, Lord.  

Yet not my will but Yours be done.” 

(Matthew 26:39)

Sometimes praying for healing in Jesus’s name looks like saying: 

“Lord, please heal me. 

Yet may my life bring you glory.”

And then accepting His answer if He chooses to glorify His name in our lack of healing.  

But if God chooses not to heal us, we can be encouraged by a few things.  

Sunset view of the beach and horizon.

Physical Healing Isn’t Everything

We can offer up prayers for healing and strength but at the end of the day, we have to remember our physical healing isn’t everything.  

If you look at Jesus’s prayer for His disciples in John 17 right before He was taken away to be crucified, you can see He prayed for many things over them. And yet none of them were physical.  

Instead, Jesus prayed for their: 

  • Spirituality – To know God more. (Verse 3) 
  • Relationships – To live in unity with one another. (Verse 11) 
  • Protection – To keep them safe from the evil one. (Verse 15) 
  • Character – To be sanctified, which means to become more like Christ. (Verse 17) 

When God chooses not to heal us physically. He may very well be healing us emotionally, mentally, or spiritually.  

And we can always remember that even if He chooses not to heal us physically in this lifetime. . . when we enter Heaven, He will heal us in every way . . . fully and completely.  

For all of eternity.  

Beach view of the horizon with clouds in the sky.

For Our Good & His Glory

God works all things out for the good of those who love Him. (Romans 8:28) If He chooses to heal us . . . it will be for our good and His glory. If He chooses not to heal us . . . it will be for our good and His glory.  

One of the things which helped me in my own journey of suffering from a lifelong health condition is choosing to move from, “Why me?” to “I can’t wait!” 

When I was first diagnosed, I constantly wondered, “Why me?”  

  • Why would God allow this to happen to me?
  • Why won’t He heal me?
  • Why is He allowing me to suffer and miss out on so many things? 

But then I read an amazing book where someone stated, “I can’t wait . . . to see how God is going to use this.” 

And it was like a light bulb moment for me.  

I could either continue to throw a pity party OR I could choose to look for the ways God was going to use this for my good and His glory.  

The truth is while suffering from health issues we have amazing opportunities to: 

  • To be the kindest patient every nurse and doctor we encounter has cared for.  
  • To praise God and show gratitude for what we have because we know our children are watching.  
  • To remain positive and upbeat so that those around us start to wonder what makes us so joyful and happy. Giving us an opportunity to talk with them about our amazing Savior.  
  • To encourage others around us who are also suffering and share with them what (or rather Who) has helped us.  
Woman laying down ill. How to pray for healing.
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Short Prayer for Healing and Recovery

No matter what happens, whether God chooses to heal us or not, we can still continue to offer up prayers to God for healing. Because while He asks us to accept His will and trust Him, He also tells us to pray without ceasing. (1 Thessalonians 5:17)   

You can use the following short prayer for healing and recovery to get started in your prayer time with God.  

Dear Lord,  

I come to you now with open hands and an open heart. You are the God who sees me, so you know how I have been suffering.

Lord, please heal me. Help me to get well soon. Allow Your Holy Spirit to work in me so that my body functions as it should.

Yet, I also ask that You would use me to glorify Your name. I choose to trust You and Your plan for my life. Work it all out, Lord, for my good and Your glory. I love you.

In Jesus name, Amen.  

My dear friends, I know a life with health issues is hard. I know waiting for healing is hard. But as we lean on God in our moments of pain, He can take them and use them for something great.

Keep leaning on God in your times of suffering.  

He is for you. He loves you. And He will heal you.

In His perfect way and His perfect timing.  

If this has encouraged you, then please share!

And don’t forget to download the “A Short Prayer for Healing” printable!

Be sure to check out these articles as well!

A short printable prayer for healing.
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