A Guide To Intercessory Prayer
by Rev. Richard W. LaFountain

Step 9... Pray for the Sick
James 5:13-16/ Matt. 8:16-17

Traditional Prayers

So often the majority of the prayers we pray in any church prayer meeting lamentably are not prayers for the spiritual well-being of others, but for physical healing. These are often perfunctory prayers that exercise not real faith. In fact, rarely do churches every report back on the results of their prayers. It is as if it does not really matter whether God heals or not. We are just throwing our coins into the wishing well of heaven. Real prayer for the sick is heart felt and deep discerning "prayers of faith." (James 5:14) As with all prayers, the prayer for healing and health should be believing prayers. It is not about what you are asking God to do. It is about WHAT YOU ARE BELIEVING GOD TO DO!

Jesus' Example

Jesus instructions to the disciples when he sent them out two by two was very specific. They were to preach the Gospel and heal the sick by praying for them. The disciples continued to do this after the ascension of Jesus, as did the members of the early church. It is the right thing to do! It gives God opportunity to respond showing His great power and confirming the Word of God that is preached.

Purpose of Healing

The purpose of all divine healing is always to glorify Jesus. His touch is a miracle of the resurrected Lord Jesus who has power over ALL the work of the devil. The purpose of God's touch is also to bring us strength and health for continued service. He does not heal us just to make us feel good. He does not intend to heal us so we can go on sinning, and serving self and the devil with renewed vigor.

Ask Discerning Questions

I have learned from men of God to ask probing questions before anointing with oil, laying on hands, and praying for the sick. One question that needs to be asked of every person seeking healing is,

"How will you glorify God with this healing?"

"What will you do with this healing if God grants it?"

If healing is for the purpose of God's glory we must be sure that it is not just a self-satisfying prayer to escape some discomfort, pain or inconvenience. Healing is about Jesus, not about you! Seeing this is true let us dramatically change our prayers for the sick.

  1. Pray for discernment of the illness. (affliction/attack/demonic/disobedience, chastisment?)
  2. Pray for the suffering and pain to cease. Hebrews 4:15-16 / Lamentations 3:32-33
  3. Pray for the disease to be removed from the body! Matthew 14:36
  4. Pray against the bondage to the "spirit of infirmity." Luke 13:11
  5. Pray for the spiritual life of the sick. For faith, patience, and joy. I Peter 1:6-7

Seek to Understand the Sickness!

  1. Some sickness is for the glory of God. (John 9:3)
  2. Some sickness is Godís chastisement. (1 Cor. 11:30)
  3. Some sickness is because of disobedience. (1 Cor. 11:28-29)
  4. Some sicknesses are unto death. (1 Cor. 11:28-30)
  5. Some sicknesses are trials of our faith. (1 Peter 1:7)
  6. Some sicknesses are part of the Fall. (Genesis 3)
  7. Some sicknesses are attacks of the devil. (Job 2:7)
  8. Some sicknesses are for God's grace to shine. (2 Cor. 12:9)
  9. Some sicknesses are family inheritances (Exodus 20)
  10. Some sicknesses are to lead us to God. (Psalm 119:67)


Put feet to your prayers . We are not only to pray FOR the sick in a prayer meeting, and in private prayer times but we are to actively pray for them - person to person. We are to pray WITH the sick and afflicted.

  • Call a sick person and pray together over the phone.
  • Visit a sick person in the hospital.
  • Read a Scriptural promise to the sick and claim it with them.
  • Give a word of encouragement and comfort to the weary and infirm.
  • Lay hands on the sick and pray together with 2-3 persons.
  • Pray specifically together asking what they want God to do.