Jesus uses people to heal people. He even uses me.
Last week I wrote a post called “Three big things you probably haven’t considered about supernatural healing.” You may want to read that first, because it shapes what I’m going to share today and addresses some of the most common supernatural healing trip-ups people experience.
here are a few lessons I’m learning about being used by God as an agent of healing. They’re making a huge difference in my ministry, and I hope they will be in yours, too.
Identity in Christ
In the past I’ve found it really hard to grasp how Jesus could flow through a sinful person like me to heal others. Don’t underestimate this hangup, because it undermines your faith and your ability to step into big kingdom possibilities.
Now I realize my old self may be totally sinful, but my new self is “created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:24) and is “being renewed in knowledge in the image of it’s creator” (Colossians 3:10). My new self is designed by God to function as a holy vessel for his power. I am a sacred branch on the endless vine, a worthy channel for Christ’s life and healing to flow through. All because of Jesus’ righteousness, not my own.
I’m going to say it flat out: healing and miracles are just plain awesome, so the cool factor can be deadly. Healing is not about thrill-seeking. It’s about Jesus. We have to guard against miracles becoming the end instead of the means.
Means to what? Love, baby. And as beautiful as a physical healing is, the love of God is never more profoundly experienced than when people find eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ.
I don’t want to get into the debate right now, but I don’t think the scriptures teach physical healing as a spiritual blessing flowing from the cross. God was healing people long before the cross—exhibit A, the entire, miracle-laden life of Christ—which means healing is rooted in the same soil the cross is rooted in: The unfathomable love of father God.
Practically speaking, when I pray for people, I try and check my heart to pray out of love, vs. the cool factor. I often imagine the love of God flowing through me to them. Because it is. When I pray for my son Joel, and his stomach ache, it’s not really about the stomach ache. It’s about the love of God, and Joel receiving that love.
I prayed over my dad this past Christmas. His heart was beating irregularly (it’s been doing that off and on since a mild heart attack last year). Obviously, love was flowing; he’s my dad. As I prayed for that particular flare up, his heart returned to normal cadence almost immediately.
Does that mean love is our highest motive? Nope. The glory of God is. Bringing God glory is the highest ideal in life. Manifesting his glory is what healing is all about. Even Jesus’ miracles were about the glory of his father. When he turned water into wine in Cana, John explains that this miracle “was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory” (John 2:11).
If I want glory for myself (people will think I’m awesome) God tends to hold back his power. As he should. But if my goal is his glory, he loves to grace us with his miraculous work.
Authority and power
Generally speaking, healing isn’t a prayer issue—it’s an authority issue. Most healing in the New Testament flowed through commands like “Rise and walk.” Prayer is an integral part of healing, but often not how we think.
When Peter was brought to a dead girl, 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 9:40). The prayer was for guidance; the healing came at the command.
Honestly, this is the scariest part of becoming an agent of healing. I prayerfully walk with God and gain his perspective, asking him to move and love and flow and whatever else… but a moment comes when I start acting on the authority God is giving.
I prayed for a kid the other day with a hip flexor injury. He could hardly lift his leg. I prayed, of course, asking God to intervene—but then I shifted gears. I commanded healing in the name of Jesus: Muscles, heal. Tendons, heal. Swelling, dissipate. Pain, go. In Jesus’ name. More on that story later on.
To be clear, I don’t have the power to heal within myself, but God makes that power available and seems to have no problem granting authority to use it through the name of Jesus Christ (Acts 3:12).
Faith & faith building
Faith is critically important… usually. I’ve seen people healed through me when I didn’t really believe anything would happen. In that case it may have been their faith that God honoured… or maybe he was just being a loving Father.
In my experience, when it comes to healing the sick, it’s usually the faith of the one ministering that’s most important. I get upset when people pray for the sick one and nothing happens, and they say, “Well, if you had more faith… or maybe there’s sin in your life.” Bah! Most the people Jesus healed during his ministry were unbelieving sinners.
Jesus said that when we pray, we should believe we have received what we’ve asked for. So when I lay hands on a sick one and pray, then exercise authority, I imagine God’s work being done. I imagine the heartbeat steadying. The muscles relaxing. The pain leaving. I ‘see’ them well. And I thank God for doing it. Many times during prayer for the sick, especially after nothing happens, I realize I’ve forgotten to exercise my faith this way. I then refocus on Jesus, visualize his will being done, praise him, and often see healing flow.
Remember the time Jesus prayed for the blind guy and he was only half healed? Jesus prayed again, and the healing was complete (Mark 8:22-25). Sometimes the healing comes in stages. For me, more often than not.
Practically speaking, it’s rare in my life for healing to happen after one go. So I pray, exercise authority, thank God, then ask the person how they’re doing. Often they say nothing has changed. Just as often, they say it’s a little better.
So I shrug my shoulders, and give up.
No. I get over myself, then pray and exercise and praise again. Remember the kid with the hip flexor injury? The first time I prayed, nothing happened. He could still barely lift his leg because of the pain. The Holy Spirit prompted me to go back and “try” again. So I did. After which he could lift it 45 degrees. So I exercised authority again, and he could lift it so high that he almost fell backwards. He was so shocked all he could think to do was shake my hand.
I pointed to Jesus. And praised him all the more. But what if I’d stopped at the first go like I used to? The miracle wouldn’t have happened.