Power of Intercession
Three Steps in Praying for the
By Frank A. DeCenso Jr.
Over the years, evangelism models have been popular and
used with great success, including “The Four Spiritual Laws”
and “Evangelism Explosion.” Today, the “Alpha”
model of attracting new converts to the faith is extremely successful
in many denominations. When we approach the subject of healing,
however, a groan can almost be heard in some Christian circles
if the topic of a healing model is mentioned.
Someone may ask, "How can we have a model for healing? Isn't
it God Who heals?" The answer to the second question is an
unequivocal "yes." The purpose of a healing model is
not to dogmatize the ministry of praying for the sick and demonized.
Neither does it assume that following all the steps in the model
guarantees healing for the person prayed for (the prayee). Rather,
it is to provide a guide for those involved in such a ministry,
and as such, it can be strictly adhered to, providing some order
for the pray-er, or it can be deviated from if the prayer ministry
Jesus ministered to the sick and demonized in a great variety
of ways: He spat on the ground and made mud, then rubbed it on
blind eyes; He rebuked a fever; He commanded deaf and dumb spirits
to leave; He even asked the prayee questions before and during
ministry. In short, Jesus rarely ministered healing in the same
way all the time. John 5:19 tells us Jesus only did what He saw
the Father doing, so we can assume Jesus was "in tune"
with the Father and proceeded to heal as led. Likewise, since
each person we pray for is unique, we need to approach each prayer
ministry opportunity with both a general "plan of action"
(a model) as well as a hearing spirit as to what God may want
to do at that time and place—perhaps through us.
Some may say, "Well, Jesus didn't give us a prayer model!"
Good point. However, He never gave us an evangelism model either;
He simply said to "preach the gospel to every creature,"1
and "make disciples of all nations."2 As I mentioned
at the onset, we know that in the 2,000 years since then, the
church has created some models of reaching unbelievers. Jesus
did not give us a denominational model either, but we have done
an extraordinary job of creating some ourselves. In fact, we have
created models for most of the things we do as Christians and
Christian institutions, many times without even realizing we have.
Since a study of the gospels reveals that ministry to the sick
and demonized accompanied Jesus’ preaching of the kingdom
of God, I believe it makes sense to create some guidelines to
know how to be as effective in that as we are in evangelism and
What I am providing in this article is a simplified three-step
model that anyone can engage in when praying for the sick. Before
each step, ask the Holy Spirit to come and counsel you on what
to do. He knows you and He knows the prayee. He also knows the
Father’s will in each case. The three steps follow:
1. Pray for the obvious
If someone is suffering from depression, for example, an obvious
and simple prayer might consist of one or more of the following:
- “Lord, please heal and/or deliver <name> from
depression, in Jesus’ name.”
- “In Jesus’ name, I take authority over depression
and all underlying causative conditions in <name’s>
life and body.”
- “I command depression to leave <name> in the
name of Jesus.”
- “In Jesus’ name I bless <name> with peace
and joy and hope.”
Allow the Holy Spirit to guide you even when praying for the
obvious. The words we use, the commands we give, and the authoritarian
actions we take are infused with much greater power if the Holy
Spirit directs them.
2. Pray for more insight
If prayer for the obvious works (the prayee is healed), this
step may not be needed. However, you can still engage in this
step to ask the Holy Spirit if there is any follow-up you (the
pray-er) or the prayee needs to do. Of course, if the prayee is
not healed or if the person’s condition is merely improved,
this step may prove helpful in determining the cause(s) and possible
prayer ministry strategies.
In this step, we seek specific insight from the Holy Spirit on
what and how to pray. We may sense the need to pray for the obvious
more persistently. Perhaps there are ‘hidden’ causes
to the person’s condition, and without the Holy Spirit’s
insight, those ‘hidden’ causes may never be addressed.
Be aware – this step takes time, persistence, and spiritual
receptivity cultivated through intimacy with God.
Whether or not steps one or two help the sick or demonized person,
the third step is a necessary one for the ministry itself.
3. Pray to be available
Ask God for assistance in improving your time management and
your reordering of life's priorities so you can be available for
ministry opportunities. Scripture is clear that we are the body
of Christ, and each of us has different functions and varying
gifts. However, when one is sick, we all suffer (1 Corinthians
12:26, “And if one member suffers, all the members suffer
with it.”3) This should encourage us to be prepared if God
desires to use us in ministering healing or improvement to someone.
If the sick person is an unbeliever, healing can provide us with
an evangelistic entry point into their lives -- it did for Jesus
and the early church.
God just wants us to be available – He will do the works!
Copyright © 2005 by Frank A. DeCenso Jr.
1New King James Version
Frank has been teaching the Bible in churches
and other venues for more than 20 years. He is currently the Ministry
Resources Director at Vineyard Christian Fellowship of Virginia
Beach, Va. He is an employee at Regent University in the Information
Technology Department. He is also the founder of Presence-Powered
Ministries. Frank is married and lives in Virginia Beach.
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