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Mark 11:24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.

Based upon this verse, it has been taught in some circles that when praying for the sick we should pray just once and after that believe that the person has been healed, whether or not the healing has occurred. Moreover, the person receiving the healing prayer should likewise henceforth believe that he or she has been healed regardless of whether or not the healing has taken place. This is known in some churches as “claiming one’s healing by faith.” The practice of “declaring” the healing is similar.

While there appears to be some scriptural basis for the practice of “claiming” and undoubtedly some have received their healing in this way, there may be another way which also has scriptural backing. Often the practice of simply “claiming by faith” does not result in actual healing.

In the gospels and Acts, Jesus and His disciples most often ministered to the sick by commanding them to be healed using the authority God had given them over disease and demons in the context of proclaiming the gospel of His kingdom. The healing was not necessarily always instant, but may at times have been a process in which the sick person’s condition improved by stages as they continued to minister. Mark 8:22-25 records an incident in which Jesus healed a blind man. After His first attempt He asked if the man could see anything. Instead of claiming his healing by faith the man simply told Jesus that he had begun to see but not very clearly. Jesus did not rebuke the man for his “negative confession” based on a possible lack of faith but simply laid hands on the man a second time. After that the man’s vision was completely restored.

If we combine these two elements—commanding in the name of Jesus with perseverance until the healing is complete—we see an alternative or additional way to receive healing from the Lord. Instead of merely praying and asking the Lord to heal our disease, we can after prayer command the pain or disease in our own body to leave in the name of Jesus. While this authority is generally to be exercised over disease when ministering to the sick in the context of proclaiming the Kingdom of God, it can also apply to disease or pain in our own bodies as well.

We have seen believers apply this to infirmities in their own bodies. After prayer, they might lay their own hand on the location of the infirmity and command it to go or be healed in the name of Jesus. A brother in Christ whose chronic lower back pain and developing arthritis in his hips were totally healed by the Lord in one of our meetings decided to minister to himself the next day regarding an ear infection. While driving on the road he inserted his finger into the infected ear and commanded it to be healed in Jesus’ name. He felt his ear popping, and his hearing was completely restored. The infected ear dried up and was healed by the Lord as he ministered to himself. Through this gracious touch of the Lord this brother has returned to his original calling as a preacher of the gospel.

If you are a believer with a physical infirmity, don’t just claim your healing by faith. Command it to be healed and rebuke the condition as well in the name of Jesus with the laying on of your hands. Claiming and commanding need not conflict with one another, just as there is no conflict between the fact that we are already perfect in Christ while yet continuing to be perfected in Him. Persevere in exercising this authority, and you may see God’s grace of healing in your body. As you experience this, remember the primary purpose for which the Lord has given you this authority: to witness for Christ and to confirm His saving power to the lost.