Let us examine the way the Lord most often heals in the Gospels and Acts. In these the healing miracles usually take place as Jesus commands the sick to be healed or the disciples use the authority given to them and command healing in the name of Jesus. Although in the Gospels the sick certainly did ask Jesus to heal them, the healing did not take place until Jesus ministered healing to them. We note that Jesus generally did not pray to the Father to heal them; He healed them by His command. In Acts, where many miracles were done by the disciples, they followed the pattern Jesus had left. They generally did not pray, but commanded healing in the name of Jesus.
- Acts 3:6 Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.”
- Acts 9:34 “Aeneas,” Peter said to him, “Jesus Christ heals you. Get up and take care of your mat.” Immediately Aeneas got up.
- Acts 14:8 In Lystra there sat a man crippled in his feet, who was lame from birth and had never walked. 9 He listened to Paul as he was speaking. Paul looked directly at him, saw that he had faith to be healed 10 and called out, “Stand up on your feet!” At that, the man jumped up and began to walk.
- Acts 16:18 She kept this up for many days. Finally Paul became so troubled that he turned around and said to the spirit, “In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!” At that moment the spirit left her.
In Acts there are only two recorded instances of prayer involved in healing. In the first, Peter understandably prays before commanding a dead woman to get up. In the second, Paul prays to the Lord before laying hands on an elderly man. In both instances, the prayer is followed by either a command or the laying on of hands. We make the crucial observation that the miracle occurred not during the prayer, but rather as a result of the command
- Acts 9:40 Peter sent them all out of the room; then he got down on his knees and prayed. Turning toward the dead woman, he said, “Tabitha, get up.” She opened her eyes, and seeing Peter she sat up.
- Acts 28:8 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.
Thus a very effective way to minister to the sick is to have a believer—who understands how to use his authority in Christ—to command healing in the name of Jesus. Prayer for healing to the Father in the name of Jesus should be followed by the believer commanding healing in the name of Jesus. This is a scriptural and effective way to minister to the sick.
When it is God’s will to heal a sick believer, the most effective way to accomplish His will may be a command for healing in the name of Jesus with the laying on of hands. The “prayer of faith” in James 5:15 may refer to a command given with great faith, authority, and full assurance that the person will be healed. When we want to minister healing to unbelievers in an evangelistic context, we can command the healing with exactly this same confidence because we know God desires to open their hearts to the gospel.