Does It Make Any Difference Who Prays For My Healing?

by Francis MacNutt
May/Jun 2005

You probably have heard speakers say, “It really shouldn’t make any difference who you go to for prayer. After all, it’s Christ who heals, not the human person.”

In a way the speakers are right, and we certainly agree with what they are trying to say, that “it’s Jesus who heals” and anyone can ask him. We are trying to escape those withering times when very few — or no one at all — were taught to pray for healing. “Everyone gets to play” was the way John Wimber put it. And many of our talks are emphatic in encouraging everyone to learn to pray for healing with expectant faith — especially in our families and churches. Over and over, when we ask people in churches (and I have asked thousands) whether they can remember their parents ever praying with them for healing when they were sick as children, only about  3 percent can remember their fathers praying for them, and only about 20 percent can remember their mothers ever doing this. Clearly, most Christians in mainline churches never learned that they could pray with the sick and that prayer would really work.

o the first thing we have tried to do is to encourage everyone to learn to pray for the sick with expectant faith. Hopefully, within a generation all this will change and every Christian will know about their happy privilege of healing the sick. Truly everyone can do this, not just holy people, not just priests and ministers, and not just the stars.

Having said this, though, it does make a difference who prays. Otherwise, Paul (in 1 Corinthians 12:29-30) would not have mentioned among such special ministries as preachers and prophets, those who were healers. “Are all of them apostles? Are all teachers? … Do all have the gifts of healing?” Clearly the answer to Paul’s rhetorical question is, “No, not all have the gifts of healing.”

These are not contradictory teachings, and it’s easy to put them together. All of us need to learn to pray for healing, especially with our families and our friends; and yet, there is a special gift that some have of praying for the sick. We see this happening in several ways:

1.    When some people pray, more people than ordinary seem to get healed;

2.    When certain individuals pray, more serious sicknesses (such as cancer) than ordinary are healed;

3.    Some people are more patient in praying and do not give up praying over a long period of time. Read the parable in Luke (18:1-8) about “the need to pray continually and never lose heart.”

4.    Some individuals are more approachable and compassionate and are naturally gifted in praying for spiritual and emotional sickness (“grace builds on nature”).

5.    Other individuals have learned more about healing and, at the very least, this knowledge helps them avoid hurting people. For example, if someone has wrongly learned that all depression is caused by evil spirits, they will confuse or harm depressed people who are not oppressed by evil spirits. A noteworthy example of this is when we encounter victims of satanic ritual abuse who ordinarily need the ministry of someone who understands SRA. (This is why we conduct our Schools of Healing Prayer.)

6.    Some individuals have special charismatic gifts, such as “discernment of spirits” and “the word of knowledge,” which greatly help in ministering to the sick.

For all these reasons (and more) some Christians become ministers of healing either in large groups or in a quieter, individual setting.

An excellent analogy for this is sports: all of us (unless we are crippled) can walk or jog, but only some are gifted enough to be chosen for the track team, or, beyond that, to run in the Olympics. Just as all of us can be encouraged to walk every day, we should also be encouraged to pray daily for our sick friends to be healed. Then, if enough people are healed through your prayers, and people notice it, you may some day discover that Jesus has shared with you a special ministry of healing.

It’s not "all or nothing," as if some pray for healing and others don’t. It’s a "more or less." All of us get to play. But there are many fields in the Father’s park (cf. John 14:2), and some are called to spend most of their time in the field of healing.

Francis MacNutt Francis MacNutt is a Founding Director and Executive Committee member of CHM. May/Jun 2005 Issue