Very often believers will request others to “agree with them in prayer” for someone’s physical healing. Let us examine the Scriptures to see if such an approach is strongly supported in cases of physical healing in the New Testament. If it is not, then what approach does the New Testament support emphatically?
The “prayer of agreement” is based on one verse in Matthew.
“Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.” (Matthew 18:19)
Based on this, two or more believers agreeing about asking the Lord for someone’s healing is perfectly in order. But let’s now look at this from another line of reasoning.
Was anyone ever healed in this way?
Is it recorded in the New Testament that any infirm person was ever healed using this approach alone? The answer, unfortunately, is no. We do not find any specific instance where the Lord healed someone solely through the “prayer of agreement” of two or more believers. If this is the case, then exactly how were infirm people normally healed in New Testament Scripture?
In the gospels and in Acts we see many cases of miraculous healing when Jesus or his disciples laid their hands on the sick and exercised authority over the infirmity. They did not always lay hands on the infirm, but generally they did exercise authority by the issuing of a command to the infirmity, the demon, or to the infirm person. Below are a number of instances of miraculous healing found in the gospels and in Acts.
Miraculous healings found in Scripture
In the synagogue there was a man possessed by a demon, an impure spirit. He cried out at the top of his voice, “Go away! What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are–the Holy One of God!” “Be quiet!” Jesus said sternly. “Come out of him!” Then the demon threw the man down before them all and came out without injuring him. All the people were amazed and said to each other, “What words these are! With authority and power he gives orders to impure spirits and they come out!” And the news about him spread throughout the surrounding area. Jesus left the synagogue and went to the home of Simon. Now Simon’s mother-in-law was suffering from a high fever, and they asked Jesus to help her. So he bent over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her. She got up at once and began to wait on them. At sunset, the people brought to Jesus all who had various kinds of sickness, and laying his hands on each one, he healed them. (Luke 4:33-40)
…and the people all tried to touch him, because power was coming from him and healing them all. (Luke 6:19)
While Jesus was in one of the towns, a man came along who was covered with leprosy. When he saw Jesus, he fell with his face to the ground and begged him, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.” Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” And immediately the leprosy left him.
Now a man who was lame from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts. When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money. Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, “Look at us!” So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them. Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong. He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God. (Acts 3:2-8)
As Peter traveled about the country, he went to visit the Lord’s people who lived in Lydda. There he found a man named Aeneas, who was paralyzed and had been bedridden for eight years. “Aeneas,” Peter said to him, “Jesus Christ heals you. Get up and roll up your mat.” Immediately Aeneas got up. (Acts 9:32-34)
His father was sick in bed, suffering from fever and dysentery. Paul went in to see him and, after prayer, placed his hands on him and healed him. (Acts 28:8)
Jesus and his disciples exercised authority
In none of these instances of miraculous healing found in the New Testament is there any mention of a “prayer of agreement.” However, we see consistent instances of the laying on of hands and especially the exercise of authority by the issuing of a command.
Even James 5 does not mention the “prayer of agreement” but rather focuses on the church elder praying “over” the infirm person with the prayer of faith after the infirm person confesses his sin. We believe that praying “over” the infirm is exactly what Jesus taught his disciples: exercising authority.
Unfortunately therefore the current emphasis on the “prayer of agreement” is not supported by the New Testament. While it is certainly fine to have agreement in prayer with other believers based on Matthew 18:19, there are other actions resulting in miraculous healing which carry far greater weight and therefore effectiveness. Sadly, however, these actions especially involving the exercise of authority are rarely taught in the Church.
This is why miraculous healings are relatively rare in the Church today, and nowhere near the frequency which we see in the gospels and Acts. We have given the “prayer of agreement” far more emphasis in our teaching than is warranted, and failed to emphasize and teach the role of authority and the laying on of hands as Jesus did.
We must examine Scripture more closely and follow it. Then we will see many more people healed miraculously than we do now.