The first step in healing prayer is the interview. The interview answers the question, “Where does it hurt?” I ask, “What do you want me to pray for?” Then I listen to the answer on two levels: the natural and the supernatural. On a natural level I evaluate the answer in light of my biblical knowledge, what I know about the person, and my past experience in praying for similar problems in other people. This is not a medical interview in which we probe for a technical, medical history. A medical history is important for medical treatments, but not for praying for people’s healing. The Holy Spirit is the doctor and the cure; he does not need our technical knowledge to heal. Besides, detailed medical discussions usually only delay healing prayer. John Wimber
Our Theme: ON HEALING.
When John Wimber taught us his five-step healing model (see previous blog), some criticized him for attempting to formularize something that can only be categorized as one of the mysteries of God. Supernatural healing from above, you see, is never systematic; nor is it ever predictable. Wimber would always be quick to remind us that praying successfully for the sick was never something we humans could completely understand, nor could we ever hope to contain or manipulate healing in such a way that it would make this amazing ministry within the kingdom manageable.
But while John never expected the ministry of healing to become manageable or predictable, he did do us all a favor by giving us his set of guidelines, which Wimber believed, could be readily substantiated with examples taken directly from Jesus’ healing ministry itself.
We begin with the first step, the interview. This step sets the stage for everything else that happens when praying for the sick. As you can see from Wimber’s quote above, he believed that there were several components to the interview. I believe that within those components, when done with great care, an environment where healing can occur can truly be encouraged.
Sadly, in many churches where the healing ministry of Jesus is practiced, the whole process of praying for the sick takes on a highly religious tone. Often, the leader who is praying for the sick, stands on the stage, and with microphone in hand, tells a person in the crowd what’s wrong with them. Next, the leader invokes a short, stern prayer for healing and, then, most often, commands the person to sit down and believe that he or she is healed.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve seen God work powerfully with such a process, but quite honestly, I believe the Master never healed people with this model. As I see it, Jesus’ powerful ministry of healing for people was always birthed out of his great love and compassion for those who needed a touch from God. So often, we in leadership forget what the ancient church called “the cure (or care) of souls.” You see, each person Jesus healed was treated, not like a project, but as a person. So when Wimber taught us to always begin our healing prayer with an interview, he was reminding us that there is a great need for the people we pray for to be treated compassionately and with tender hands and a warm heart.
Too often, I’ve found myself, and others, treating healing as a powerful tool of ministry that I do in Jesus’ name instead of an act of mercy and compassion that Jesus wants it to be. So when Wimber suggested we begin with an interview, we are taking the extra time we so often forget to do, in treating the person with great respect and love. Making sure a person is relaxed and comfortable is so important to the healing process. And while we’re asking questions of the one who is looking for healing, we’re also slowing ourselves down, listening to the Lord for what he sees rather than quickly acting out of our presuppositions of what we might believe the person’s problem is.
I am thankful that Wimber reminded us to take the extra time to treat people as Jesus always did. Never do I see Jesus commanding loud, boisterous prayers for healing over a crowd of people. Never do I see Jesus ram-rodding his way through a prayer so he can move on to the next person in line. And never do I see Jesus insisting that the person he’s praying for name-it-or-claim-it to be healed. But what I do see is Jesus treating people with great compassion and loving care, like a caring shepherd, leading his wounded flock to pools of living water.
Jesus, thank you for reminding me through Wimber’s model that it’s vitally important for me to always treat those I’m praying for as people and not projects. I readily confess that it’s easy to take your ministry of healing and make it into a power trip where others look to me as the “healer.” I choose to lay that ugly stuff down, Lord, and ask that you always remind me to start any time of healing prayer with a simple, relaxing interview where the person I’m praying for feels relaxed and comfortable in your presence. For your name’s sake. Amen!
QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO PONDER
- What might it look like in my church setting to slow down the fast-paced ministries we do, so that people in our midst are treated as people and not projects?
- Where am I overlooking the ancient art of the “cure (or care) of souls,” where taking extra time with an individual person trumps my drive to get big projects completed?
So, what is God speaking to you today as you ponder the Wisdom of Wimber?
Between Easter 2016 and the end of August, we are sharing with you a blog series we call The Wisdom of Wimber: As I See It. In order to keep all 64 blog sessions organized, we suggest you bookmark our Wisdom of Wimber page for ease of use. Might we also suggest that you order a copy or two of our book by the same title! It’s available in both paperback and e-book formats…and will soon be available in Spanish! Click here for more info. ENJOY!
If you like what you’re reading, might we suggest you share this page with others!