I do not consider healing to be my spiritual gift, but healing does occur frequently when I pray. It seems that God honors my little faith as I hold on the belief that we are healed because Jesus suffered (1 Peter 2:24) and pray.
I feel very tired after I pray for healing. This might be because healing is not my primary spiritual gift. But there may be something about healing prayer itself that drains energy. Mark records an incident where a woman who had suffered a hemorrhage for years was instantly cured when she touched the hem of Jesus’ clothes. He writes, “At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, ‘Who touched my clothes?'” (Mark 5:30) At the moment of healing, energy came out of Jesus to a degree that he was able to feel it. I wonder if even Jesus felt tired after performing his healing ministry because it drained his energy.
When I pray for healing I need to prepare myself. I need to build my faith so that I can anticipate healing. Without this kind of anticipation, I have found that healing usually does not occur. So when people grab me in the hallway and ask me to pray for healing, I usually refuse and ask them to make an appointment for a later time. I could pray for them on the spot to please them. But I take healing prayer seriously. I feel like I would be playing a game with them and mocking God if I prayed for them out of courtesy without a true anticipation of healing. And this type of anticipation does not come for me without preparation.
I do not hesitate to pray for people who come forward for healing prayer after my Sunday sermons because I am prepared at that time. Early every Sunday morning, I come to church and pray for the worship service. During that prayer time I also prepare myself. One drawback of praying for people after the service is that sometimes more prayer is necessary but can’t be done because of time constraints. I ask people who need more prayer to come to my office at a later time. I also ask them to prepare themselves before they come. One necessary preparation is that they confess all the sins they are aware of: “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” (James 5:16)
When people receive healing from God through prayer, they must take care of themselves so that their illnesses do not recur. Some people who are healed of their back problems have recurrences when they overwork their back muscles. If you are cured of lung cancer, you must stop smoking. If your blood pressure comes down as a result of prayer, you need to change your diet and exercise. It is only right to make efforts to ensure that your illness does not recur after it is cured through healing prayer.
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