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The past few lessons looked at ways you can intercede on behalf of others from your prayer closet. We looked at petition, standing in the gap, identificational repentance and prophetic prayer. But there are going to be times when God wants you to pray directly with the person you are interceding for, and actually ministering to them under His power. I used to think of intercession and ministry prayer as separate things until God taught me how we can minister to others through our intercessory anointing.
Agreement prayer is where you sit down to pray with the person for their area of concern. It may be for a friend's salvation, for their child who is making serious wrong decisions and turning away from God, about important relationships that have gone wrong, or for some desperate situation the person is in, etc. Sometimes the person will come to you for prayer, where you do all the praying out loud and they do all the silent agreeing. Other times, they will want to join together in prayer, (e.g., both of you pray out loud and agreeing together about this situation). Both are totally valid and there is a scriptural precedence for this type of agreeing. Matt. 18:19 says, "Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by My Father in heaven."
Let me share a real-life example of this. One time I was in a class at Fuller Seminary. One of my classmates came up to me to ask me to pray for him regarding his job situation. He needed to have a part-time job to pay his family's expenses as he went to seminary. He had been praying about it and praying about it, but to no avail. He had been on several job interviews and none of them resulted in a job. He had no more leads to follow and was at his wit's end. He had no idea what else he could do and was losing faith to keep praying on this request.
So he decided to ask someone to agree with him in prayer on this. Since I had a reputation in the class for being one whose prayers were answered, he wanted me to pray for him. I could sense the Lord's anointing as he asked, so I took his hands, we bowed our heads and prayed. I must have prayed for him and agreed with his request for about 10 minutes. I asked God to provide the job before the week was out. The next day, he came back to class glowing. It seems that when he got home that day, there was a phone call for him. He ended up with a part-time job that paid more than any of the ones he'd been applying for. God had come through for him.
Prayer for physical healing is just what it seems. It's praying for a person who has a physiological condition that needs God's touch and asking God to fix that problem. There are many excellent books written on praying for the sick, so I'm not going to try to cover this subject exhaustively. However, let me touch briefly on a few of the basics.
There are different ways to pray for the sick. One way is to simply petition God on the person's behalf. An example prayer would be, "Lord, please come and heal Joan's back. Cause the pain to go away, cause all the vertebrae to line up properly and not pinch any nerves, cause all the swelling to go down and cause all the strained muscles to relax. We ask in Jesus' name that You come and glorify Your name in Joan's back and bring complete healing to it."
Don't be surprised if you get specific details as you pray. You may start just asking God to heal the back and suddenly you get the impression the vertebrae may not be lined up and that some nerve may be getting pinched. Then as you deal with that, you get the impression that some muscles are strained because of the vertebrae being out of alignment, etc. These could very well be words of knowledge from the Holy Spirit as you are praying.
We don't have a biblical example of a petition prayer for healing, but we do have examples that people did pray for healing this way. For instance, in Gen. 20, we have the story of Abimelech, who had taken Abraham's wife Sarah for his harem. God struck Abimelech with some sort of fatal disease and told him he had to return Sarah to Abraham and have Abraham pray for him or he would die (Gen. 20:7). And God also caused every woman in Abimelech's household to become barren (Gen. 20:18). Then Abraham did some sort of petition prayer to God for Abimelech, but the Bible doesn't record the words of that prayer. However, it does record the effects of that prayer: The king and his entire family were healed. Gen. 20:17 says, "Then Abraham prayed to God, and God healed Abimelech, his wife and his slave girls so they could have children again."
Another form of praying for the sick is authority prayer, where you either command the body part to function properly, or you command the sickness to leave or you command the person to do the impossible. The Bible gives us many examples of this type of authority prayer. In fact, if you study the prayer life and ministry of Jesus, you'll find that all of His prayers for the sick fell into authority prayers or deliverance prayers. I don't believe there's a single example of Jesus doing a petition prayer to heal the sick.
Mark 7:32-35 gives an example where Jesus commanded a person's deaf ears to open and his mute tongue to work correctly. In this prayer, Jesus addressed the body parts and commanded them to function properly, and those body parts did what Jesus told them to do. Matt. 12:9-13 gives an example of where Jesus told the man with the withered hand to stretch forth his hand, and as he tried this impossible thing, he was healed. Another example of Jesus healing by commanding the sick person to do the impossible is found in John 5:8 where Jesus commanded the crippled man to arise, take up his bed and walk.
Another form of healing prayer is to discern when demonic activity is causing the physical infirmity and then command the demon to leave. Jesus prayed this way many times. For instance, in Matt. 17:15-18, Jesus healed the epileptic boy by commanding a spirit of infirmity to leave him. Also, Matt. 8:16 and Matt. 12:22 refer to Jesus healing the sick by casting out demons.
Inner healing is when God touches a person in such a way that a pain or trauma from the past stop having power over them. There are many types of inner healing ministry and many exhaustive books written on this subject. All I'm going to do here is give a very high-level description of some of the more common forms of inner healing. I recommend that you read and study some of the inner-healing books if you want to get involved in this type of ministry.
I must admit that there is very little scriptural precedence for most inner-healing ministry, but it does seem to work and God really does seem to be in it. I don't know why the Bible is strangely silent in this area, but God often moves this way in day-to-day ministry. Maybe society in general was not as deteriorated or dysfunctional back when God wrote the Scriptures, so He didn't deal with that area much in the Bible?
There are some indications that Jesus dealt with guilt-type emotional issues from the healing of the crippled man with palsy. His friends took him to Jesus and when they couldn't get into the house where Jesus was because of the crowds, they poked a hole in the roof and lowered the man to where Jesus was. They came to Jesus seeking a physical healing, but Jesus dealt with guilt and shame issues instead.
Mark 2:5-12 records: "When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, 'Son, your sins are forgiven you.' And some of the scribes were sitting there and reasoning in their hearts, 'Why does this Man speak blasphemies like this? Who can forgive sins but God alone?' But immediately, when Jesus perceived in His spirit that they reasoned thus within themselves, He said to them, 'Why do you reason about these things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, "Your sins are forgiven you," or to say, "Arise, take up your bed and walk'? But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins' -- He said to the paralytic, 'I say to you, arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.' Immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went out in the presence of them all, so that all were amazed and glorified God, saying, 'We never saw anything like this!' "
It appears the root cause of the man's problem may have been emotional, (e.g., guilt and shame from past sins). So Jesus dealt with the root by breaking the power of guilt and shame over the man.
Some of the more common forms of inner-healing ministry include:
There are also many other forms of inner-healing ministry involving going back to "relive" memories, guided imagery, receiving prophetic revelation as to why God allowed something to happen (along with God's promises for the future), feeling the pain and then giving it to Jesus, theophostic ministry, etc.
It's not uncommon for deliverance ministry to accompany inner-healing ministry. We'll look at deliverance ministry in a separate lesson.
Ministering God's Presence
John 17:20-26 paints a picture of the type of intimacy Jesus wants to have with all of His followers. He prays for them to enter into intimacy with Him and the Father and for them to be one with Him. The words of His prayer were:
"I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. And the glory that You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me. Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father! The world has not known You, but I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me. And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them."
When we minister God's presence to someone, we merely come into agreement with Jesus' prayer for all of His followers. We invite His presence and ask that He would meet the person in a deep and personal way, drawing them closer to Jesus, that they may be one with Him. We invite Him to "come" and to "meet the person" and ask Him to "touch the person" or "reveal Himself" to them, or to "coat them in His love" or any number of similar prayers. In short, we ask God to give the person we are praying for a direct encounter with God, where He would meet them and reveal Himself to them and draw them closer to Him.
It has been my experience that God likes to show up when He's invited and to meet the person we are praying for in wonderful ways. Sometimes they report a peace coming over them. Sometimes they feel intently loved. Sometimes they become flooded with joy. Sometimes tears or repentance begin. Some people report tangible sensations, like smelling frankincense and myrrh or feeling like God is wrapping His arms around them in a loving embrace, or feeling something like "honey" dripping on their head or they feel tingling or warmth. Sometimes God speaks to the person about issues in their life or about His plan for them. Some people have visions or see angels. Others don't report any tangible sensations, but suddenly there's a clarity and understanding about some issue they've been seeking God on. Some begin shaking, others are slain in the Spirit, others become incredibly relaxed (with an accompanying peace) and others simply stand there quietly, being strengthened in the Lord. The way God shows up to meet His children can vary widely. But the key is that we invite God to come to meet the person and He will usually take us up on that offer.
This can be done in a church setting, with worship music playing in the background. Or it can be done in the privacy of your living room, when a friend comes over for prayer. It can be done over the telephone. God isn't limited by geography or by the setting. God is a loving God who loves to interact with His children and loves to meet them personally and reveal Himself to them.
This type of prayer, ministering His presence, is one of my favorite types of ministry prayer. I just love it when God "shows up!" Wonderful things always happen.