3 Ways to Pray for Healing from the Bible

Examples of when Jesus answered desperate prayers for help with miracles.

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Posted in , Mar 31, 2021

Healing

We pray for healing. For ourselves. For those we love. For people we barely know, and even for strangers whose needs come to our attention. 

Sometimes we cry out in desperation. At other times we simply present the need for healing before God and wait in hope and expectation. In every case, though, the prayer itself is a confession, an admission of need and a statement of faith—and God hears every one. 

Still, it can be helpful to know that some prayers for healing not only won the attention of the Great Physician but also resulted in miraculous answers. Here are three such prayers that can shape how we pray:

1)  “Just say the word.”
A Roman centurion once sent messengers to Jesus on behalf of a servant who had fallen ill. Jesus responded by heading for the centurion’s home. As Jesus approached, the man sent more messengers, who conveyed his message: “Lord, don’t trouble yourself, for I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. That is why I did not even consider myself worthy to come to you. But say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it” (Luke 7:6-8 NIV).

Jesus commended the man for his faith in believing that He could heal without a bedside visit or physical touch but with just a word, from a distance. The servant was healed.

It’s a frequent prayer of mine: “Just say the word.” Sometimes I’ll specify, “Just say the word, and I will be healed” or “Just say the word, and [name] will be healed.”

2)  “Crumbs from your table”
On another occasion, a non-Jewish woman begged Jesus to heal her daughter, who was “suffering terribly” from demon-possession (Matthew 15:22 NIV). He didn’t respond immediately to her cries, so she came and knelt before Him, saying, “Lord, help me.” He rebuffed her, though we might infer a gentle tone as He said, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.”

She countered, “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table,” at which he said, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted” (Matthew 15:26-28 NIV). The woman may have hoped for Jesus to go with her, to visit her home and touch her daughter, but instead she made the return trip alone and found that her daughter was healed.

The incident was an early indication that the healing and salvation Jesus brought extended beyond “the lost sheep of Israel” (Matthew 15:24 NIV), and it reminds me that His power is available even to me and mine. So, I sometimes pray for healing, asking Him for “crumbs from your table,” as a way of reminding myself that He can use even my humble prayer and my little faith to work a miracle.

3)  “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief.”
Once, upon coming down from the Mount of Transfiguration where Jesus had conferred with Moses and Elijah, with Peter, James and John as witnesses, He was confronted with a desperate father. The man explained to Jesus, “I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech. Whenever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground. He foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they could not” (Mark 9:17-18 NIV).

Jesus engaged the man in conversation and said, “Everything is possible for one who believes,” to which the man answered, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24 NIV). Moments later, the boy was healed, and even Jesus’ closest followers were amazed.

As often as I’ve seen God work, even miraculously at times, to heal me and those I love, I still need that prayer: “I believe; help my unbelief.” It’s an honest prayer, reminding me that I believe, but still need a lot of help to overcome whatever doubts may remain or return.

These three prayers aren’t the only prayers for healing we find in scripture, but they’ve sure made a difference for me. I hope they help you to pray for yourself, for those you love and even those you barely—or don’t—know.

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