The story in Luke 7:1-10 is the perfect example of how to pray for the sick. If you have a sick friend or relative, you can follow the principles outlined in the Bible to pray for healing.
But what exactly does the Bible tell us about praying for the sick in Luke 7:1-10?
Well, the story told in Luke 7:1-10 is the famous story of Jesus healing the Centurion’s servant. The Centurion’s servant didn’t ask for healing, it was his master that asked Jesus to heal him.
The Centurion made a prayer to Jesus to heal his servant which equates to us praying to God to heal our friends and relatives.
There are specific principles that the Centurion applied in asking for Jesus to heal his servant that made Jesus grant him his wishes. On top of that, Jesus approved those principles by stating that He had not come across such kind of faith in Israel.
Principles for Praying for the Sick according to the Bible
1. Love the Sick Person you are Praying for
It may sound obvious but many times we forget that God requires us to love one another. If you have a sick friend or family member, the first thing you need to ask yourself before you pray for them is how much you love them.
The degree of love you have for the sick person determines a lot about your prayer for him and how God responds to it.
In Luke 7:2, the Bible tells us that there was a Centurion who had a servant and that he dearly loved that servant. We are also told that the servant was sick and about to die.
The introduction to the story already paints a picture of desperation which is always a good thing whenever we seek God.
The Centurion was not a Jew but out of desperation and the love he had for his servant decided to seek help from Jews. Remember at that time the Romans were ruling over the Jews.
The Jewish leaders he sent to look for Jesus understood his predicament; they explained to Jesus the state of the Centurion and even tried to justify why Jesus should heal the Centurion’s servant.
I have written in a previous article about witnesses in a prayer of agreement. The Jewish elders that went to Jesus were witnesses to the trouble of the Centurion and Jesus accepted their witness.
When praying for a sick person, God requires proof that we love the person we are praying for and usually that proof comes in the form of the desperate measures we take to get healing for the person.
Do you remember the men who cut through the roof and lowered a paralyzed man for Jesus to heal him? That was pure desperation and it showed how much those people wanted healing for their paralyzed friend.
God cares about our level of desperation. Making a casual healing prayer won’t convince God to act.
2. Plead with God for the Healing of the Sick Person
I’ve already mentioned about desperation being a factor when praying for the sick. As part of the desperation, you need to plead with God to heal the sick person.
The Bible in Luke 7:4 tells us that the elders who were sent to Jesus begged Him earnestly. Some may argue that we are sons in the Kingdom and that we do not need to plead for God to answer us but I tell you, we are adopted sons and sometimes pleading is the only way to prove that we really need God to act.
In the case of the Centurion, he was a gentile and begging was a necessity. Jesus made it clear that salvation was for the Jews and the few gentiles who got His services had to beg for them.
Usually, the reluctance of God to heal a sick person you pray for is a test to see how much love you have for the sick person. In other words, God wants to know how much trouble you are willing to put yourself into for the healing of the sick person. If it doesn’t move God, you don’t get healing.
Jesus taught us in Luke 18 about persistence in prayer using the parable of the persistent widow. God is not like the unjust judge in the parable but it shows how powerful persistent pleading can be.
The Bible tells us in Proverbs 25:15 that a gentle tongue can break a bone. When praying for the sick, sometimes God tests our persistence because our persistence is a direct reflection of our love for the sick person.
And something else we often overlook is the type of sickness. Minor illnesses won’t require the same persistence in prayer as serious sicknesses. Minor illnesses also won’t push us to extreme levels of desperation.
But for serious sicknesses, desperation will come automatically which is a good thing.
Therefore, if you have any hopes of praying for a sick person, be prepared to plead for their case. If you don’t love them much, you will struggle to plead for them. And this is why I never bother to pray for a sick person if I struggle to love them.
I was once told my dad was sick but I never prayed for him for the simple reason that I felt he deserved that sickness. Whether he deserved it or not, that belief alone was enough to quench all my faith.
On the other hand, one day my mom was sick and I was still a little boy and I prayed to God to heal her. I loved her so much and didn’t want to see her in pain.
You may not understand my relationship with my dad and my mom but the point here is that if you can’t cultivate love for someone, you can’t plead for their healing.
3. Humble yourself
The Centurion in Luke 17 humbled himself before Jesus by positioning himself as a servant of Christ. The Centurion had already managed to convince Jesus to come and heal his servant but he refused the privilege of Jesus coming to him.
Usually, it is the master who summons the servant to come to him. In this case, Jesus was coming to the Centurion’s call and the Centurion was scared. He sent some of his servants to explain to Jesus why He should not bother Himself but just give some instruction and the Centurion would do.
That instruction the Centurion asked for from Jesus is what the Bible calls “the word”.
The insistence of the Centurion about his own unworthiness was a great sign of humility that greatly pleased Jesus. On top of that humility, he portrayed great faith by believing that Jesus was powerful enough to heal his servant without having to set foot in his house.
In return, Jesus granted the wishes of the Centurion and his servant was healed.
The last step in your prayer for the sick has to bring out the fact that God is free to choose whether to heal the person you prayed for or not.
Whether you acknowledge this point or not, the truth is that God has a choice whether to answer your prayer or not but when you make it known to Him that you accept that fact, He will be pleased to answer your prayer.
Remember that we are sinners and healing is a luxury that we only got courtesy of God’s good nature not our good nature. This means that being sick is what we deserve based on our sins but because of God’s goodness, we can get healing.
This takes humility to accept and it is usually the last thing the God verifies before healing someone. Don’t neglect it.
Until next time…Peace!