In 1989, I was working selling copiers. We had a big office with many people, and the office manager had just given four ibuprofen to the secretary, who happened to be Jewish. I asked why she was about to take so many pain relievers, and she told me how badly her head hurt. I asked, in front of a few others, if I could pray for her. I did, and she turned to the office manager and returned the ibuprofen! She was healed.
No, it was not cancer, but it did cause this young lady to be open to hearing about Yeshua.
There is much written about our calling to healing evangelism in the New Testament. In Mark 16, Yeshua lists five supernatural things that we are to do as believers. One of them is to lay hands on the sick and, it says, they will be healed.
Why are we to lay hands on people? Because God has used this to symbolize the transferring of spiritual power and authority. A leader who sins is to lay hands on a goat before it is sacrificed (Lev. 4:24). The priest laid hands on the goat during Yom Kippur.
He is to lay both hands on the head of the live goat and confess over it all the wickedness and rebellion of the Israelites—all their sins—and put them on the goat’s head (Lev. 16:21).
The Bible talks about having clean hands, and that this is akin to having a pure heart (Ps. 24:4). If God was for you, His hand was with you. If not, the Lord’s hand was against you.
We see this more clearly through Yeshua’s ministry. We read that when they arrested Yeshua, they tied his hands (Matt. 27:2). Why? Maybe because they, too, understood, both from Jewish history and from Yeshua’s ministry, that the power of God was released from one to another through the hands.
- Through Yeshua’s hands, He healed the sick (Peter’s mother-in-law, the leper in Matt. 8).
- He raised the dead by taking the hand of a young girl who had died and by touching a dead boy’s body.
- He took the fish and loaves in His hands and fed 5,000 people.
- He made mud with His hands and put it on the eyes of the blind man, healing him.
What faith it took to touch the man with leprosy! It was a contagious, horrible flesh-eating disease. I am reminded of the story of John G. Lake and bubonic plague. Lake was a missionary in Africa during a time when scores of people were dying from the plague. People were afraid to bury the bodies for fear of contracting the disease. When doctors asked Lake what he was using to protect himself, he replied:
“Brother, that is the ‘law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.’ I believe that just as long as I keep my soul in contact with the living God so that His Spirit is flowing into my soul and body, that no germ will ever attach itself to me, for the Spirit of God will kill it.”
He asked the doctor to put the foam that was coming out of the mouths of the corpses in his hand. When he did so, and then put Lake’s hand under a microscope, he could see that upon contact with Lake’s hand, the disease died.
That same power is in you! Take a look at your hands. The Spirit of God can be released to the sick through your hands.
A Drunk Man Made Sober
Once I was in Port Jefferson, New York, with a team sharing Yeshua. A young man who was quite drunk was not so interested. I told him, “If you let me pray for you, God will make you sober!” He thought it was a joke and allowed me.
Suddenly, he started going crazy, shouting, “What did you do? What do you do? I am sober!” He seemed quite scared by the encounter.
You Can Do More Than Yeshua
One of my favorite verses is John 14:12. Yeshua says, “He who believes in Me will do the works that I do also. And he will do greater works than these, because I am going to My Father.”
Yeshua doesn’t say we can merely do what He did—but even greater things. Why? Because he has gone to the Father.
What does that mean, “because I am going to My Father?”
- He has risen from the dead and conquered sin and death.
- We are now born from above.
- He has sent the Holy Spirit to us.
- He lives to make intercession for us (Heb. 7:25).
Think about that, when you go out to share the gospel or pray for the sick, the Bible says that Yeshua —that great intercessor —is praying for you. Check out this verse: ” It is Messiah, who died, and moreover was raised, and is now at the right hand of God and who also intercedes for us” (Rom. 8:34, TLV).
What a joy to know that Yeshua is at the right hand of the Father—you can’t get any closer than that—praying for us, right now! We are immersed in the Holy Spirit to be anointed to do the works of Yeshua before unbelievers. Two of the gifts of the Spirit are healing and miracles.
Why Are so Few Being Healed?
So, why don’t we see more sick people healed? One reason is that most people don’t pray for the sick. Like anything else in life, you have to do it a lot to become good at it. Michael Jordan didn’t wake up one day to find out that he was the best basketball player in the world. No, he practiced—day and night, before games and after games.
Malcom Gladwell, in his book Outliers, speaks of a study that says it takes 10,000 hours of practice to become an expert at something. No, I am not suggesting that you pray for people for 10,000 hours, but merely that the more you pray for the sick, the better you will get at moving in the Spirit.
Get Out of the Building
Another reason we might not see so many healings is that we pray for believers only. It is so much more fun to pray for unbelievers! What is the first healing we see in Acts? A crippled beggar (Acts 3) receives new legs. Philip goes to Samaria (Acts 8) and casts out demons and does miracles—and the people believe. Our playing field is not inside the congregation but outside—at work, in the university, at the store and so on. God loves to heal unbelievers. Most of the unbelievers I pray for are healed instantly.
If we have such a great gift as healing, why do we keep it to ourselves? There is a story in 2 Kings where four lepers decide to surrender to the Assyrians. They are dying anyway and wonder what they have to lose. When they arrive, they find the Assyrians gone and all their supplies still there. Food, gold, silver, iPhones!
As they are enjoying the spoils, they come under conviction. “It’s not right, what we’re doing. This day is a day of good news, and we’re keeping silent! If we wait till the morning light, punishment will overtake us. Let’s go now and report to the king’s household” (2 Kings 7:9).
In the same way, we cannot keep this great gift to ourselves, but must share it with the lost. It is time to stop keeping our hands to ourselves!