The last step in the healing procedure is the post-prayer directions. The post-prayer directions answer the questions, “What should this person do to remain healed?” and “What should this person do if he or she was not healed?” When people are not healed I reassure them that God loves them and encourage them to seek more prayer. Usually that means directing them to a prayer team or kinship group in which they may receive longer-term prayer. I instruct those who are healed to sin no more and no longer follow the ways of the flesh (see John 8:11). This involves a variety of practical advice, determined by the problem, that includes advice about the Scripture reading and study, prayer, and works of righteousness. The key to maintaining these spiritual disciplines and living free of sin, though, is living within the context of overall pastoral care. John Wimber
Our Theme: ON HEALING.
Back in the day, when John and Carol Wimber gave us their 5-step healing model, I’m sure that they would never have dreamed that those of us who took their model and ran with it, would forget that the healing of the sick is not a ministry project to pursue, but part-and-parcel with Jesus’ mission of compassion to a broken world.
You see, over the years, I’ve found that it’s really easy to take Wimber’s 5-step healing model and allow it to evolve into yet another systematic approach to “doing ministry” in our Americanized churches, where getting the job done is more important than the actual care of individual souls.
It is still very possible and maybe even likely that you and I will begin to approach this model in some sterile, “git-r-done” way where we are more interested in following the steps than we are the actual care of the person we’re praying for. So, as I see it, that’s why Wimber included this fifth and maybe the most important step, in this model.
For Wimber, healing of the sick was seen as a ministry that Jesus gave to his entire church, not just to individuals. Praying for the sick was something the Wimbers envisioned for everyone in a church to be doing. Not just the pastor, nor the anointed leaders; but everyone and anyone, on any given Sunday morning and throughout the week, could pray for healing for others. And in truth, it is in this context of true Christian community where real healing can occur!
Thus, when someone receives prayer for healing from us, it’s vital that we place that prayer for healing in the full context of the life of the church. If healing is really going to work, it’s vital that the person being prayed for is encouraged to seek out on-going relationship with both the Lord (the originator of the healing itself!) and a community of believers where love and encouragement is available on a continuing basis. Healing, you see, in Jesus’ kingdom economy, is never a project unto itself, but an invitation to relationship. It is a relationship with the Master and with a group of dedicated Christ-followers.
So often, for example, I’ve seen folks we’ve prayed for receive a certain amount of healing as we’ve prayed for them; but after the prayer, those same people go home, making little or no long-term changes in their basic approach to life, and sadly, the healing touch they seemed to receive fades away into the sunset.
Let me use this example.
I recall praying quite regularly with a man in our church for healing of his sexual addictions. Each time we prayed, he would receive a nice touch of healing from the Lord. Yet despite our advice (post-prayer direction) to plug himself into a small group of men where he could become more involved with a community of guys who would love and support him, he continued to be a loner, never taking the necessary steps to involve himself more openly with those who would care for him. As a result, his addictions were never really healed and over time, he gradually pulled away from the church, and to this day, I know he has never really allowed God to touch his deepest wounds where true healing is needed.
Now please, don’t misunderstand. I’m not saying that a person will lose their healing if they fail to make radical changes in their lives. Post-prayer direction must be done in a sensitive and caring manner. There’s nothing worse than being preached at by a bunch of well-meaning, judgmental Christians immediately following a sweet time of prayer with Jesus. But it is vitally important that each prayer session for healing be concluded with a “what’s next” type of discussion. It’s this care of the whole person that sets Wimber’s model head-n-shoulders above others that simply encourage people to pray for the sick and then walk away, hoping the person can make it on their own.
Father, thank you for the completeness I see in John’s 5-step healing model. May I never treat healing as a project to be done, but as an extension of your merciful, long-lasting love and care for your people. May the healing ministry of Jesus be released once again into the context of your community of saints. For your name’s sake. Amen!
QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO PONDER
- What might it look like for the community of believers I’m a part of to step fully into the healing ministry of Jesus?
- What could it look like if everyone in my church were participating with Jesus in healing rather than assigning it to just a few?
- Finally, what variety of support ministries might be needed as follow-up to our healing prayers for others so that our post-prayer direction has practical application?
So what is God speaking to you today as you ponder the Wisdom of Wimber?
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