When we see people suffering due to sickness or other reasons, it’s good to remember how Jesus was moved with compassion. But as much as we think on those positive examples in Jesus’ life, we tend to struggle with fear. Although we’ve seen God’s work of healing in us and through us, fear is a great hindrance for us to pray for others.
There are several fears that people most commonly struggle with. Here some ways to handle those fears.
Fear of Failure
One of the greatest fears is that of failure. What if the person is not healed as a result of my prayer? What if, after all my efforts and focus, the person remains the same? Am I simply setting myself up for failure?
It seems this fear is present every time I’ve prayed for a sick person. If the person is not healed, I remember the words of Jesus in John 5, that the Father is always doing His work, and that Jesus is also working. I clearly understand that God the Father is working in this person’s life at this very moment.
If the healing is not done, I believe that God has begun His work on this person’s mind, heart, and body. The work needs to continue and requires more time. I don’t have a clear idea of the time, but that is in God’s hands. Some are healed immediately, others take time, even days or months to heal. Even others may need to wait till the resurrection when they are given a new, glorified body.
Fear of Disappointing the Sick Person
Sometimes I worry about the emotional and mental condition of the sick person. The person is already distressed due to their agony. Maybe for years they have experienced the physical and emotional struggle of their illness. If my prayer does not result in their healing, will that become an additional disappointment for them?
The concern is genuine, and certainly for the benefit of the person who is sick. The common tendency for me is to not promise them much, so that if they are not healed, they won’t feel so bad. But I’ve noticed that by doing that, I reduce the level of their faith. Instead, I want to encourage them to focus on Jesus and what He can and wants to do in their bodies. This increases expectation and faith in Jesus’ healing power.
If they are not healed, I give them encouragement to continue to seek healing through prayer. I don’t ask them to stop taking the medications. That decision should be in consultation with their doctor.
Fear of the Opinion of Onlookers
When praying for the sick, others in the room can be a great asset, or they can become the greatest hinderance as well. We need to know the difference and know the people in the room.
Jesus felt the need to put some people out of the room before he healed some people. But during other times, he healed people while many onlookers were present. Their opinions or their level of faith may be quite different, but that did not deter Jesus and the work he was doing.
Doubters in the room can influence the person receiving healing and can certainly have a negative effect. I was in a hospital ward where a patient’s family and friends were present when I asked the person if they would like prayer. The person answered with a resounding “yes” with a desire to be healed. But the others were hostile and said that sufficient medication is being given under the doctor’s care. They objected to my offer for prayer. I walked away from that bed without praying. I felt at that moment that even if I was allowed to pray, the healing may not have occurred.
When the room is full of people who believe that healing can occur, and the person being prayed for has faith, the chances are greater. But I have experienced such a variety of situations, and each has been different. One thing that has been most common is that when the person being prayed for is urgently in need of healing with a great desire to be healed, I am almost certain that the person will receive healing.
Fear of Satan/Demons
When praying for healing, am I stepping into the territory of the demonic? Some are clearly afraid of praying for healing for fear of a demonic backlash. In our country, this type of fear is common. Here, the demonic/spiritual realm is quite overt, and commonly accepted by the general public.
Even in Christian communities, this fear is common and can have a detrimental effect on the healing process. Many will not pray or will pray with fear and not faith. Either way, fear wins.
As children of the Kingdom, we can be bold in praying for healing. Will there be trouble for us? There certainly can be an attempted “backlash” from the opposing forces in the spiritual realm, but I believe we don’t need to dwell in fear. There is victory for us in Jesus’ name.
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** For a list of books that I’ve recently read, here is my Reading List.