How to Pray for Healing without Treating God like a Genie in the Bottle

How to Pray for Healing

God gives guidelines for HOW we are to pray for healing. And if we don’t pray HIS way, it could negatively affect our chances of healing.

Sometimes we try the “genie in a bottle” approach, expecting God to do our bidding.

But that doesn’t work. We can’t manipulate God no matter how hard we try.

I know. I’ve tried. You can read about my vain attempts to control God here.

Yet He does call us to pray with faith. But it is not OUR faith that heals. It is HIS faithfulness on His terms.

The demoniac in Mark 5 understood this all too well. He had no ability to demonstrate faith. All He could do was accept God’s gracious gift of healing, without boasting.

So how should we pray for healing?

James Discusses How We Ought to Pray for Healing

There are three prayer principles we should enlist for healing based on the book of James. Warning: they may not mean what you THINK they mean.

  1. Confess our sins
  2. Ask for wisdom
  3. Pray with faith

Let’s begin with

#1: Confess our sins.

James clearly encourages us that we should pray for healing.

First we’re asked to pray if we are suffering (James 5:13).

Then if our suffering moves to (serious) sickness, we should ask the elders of the church to pray for us (James 5:14).

That prayer offered in faith will “restore” the one who is sick. This could be through physical healing, spiritual healing, or a rescue from judgment. But there is an element here that is easily overlooked, yet fundamentally important.

The above healing is demonstrated in connection with sin, i.e. “sins…will be forgiven” (James 5:15).

The implication is clear that the “elders” will counsel and instruct the one who is sick to examine their heart and confess any sin. Sometimes God brings sickness as a direct result of sin. The elders are to act as healers by addressing this root issue of illness.

James continues the “sin” theme.

He commands that we confess our “sins to one another, and pray for one another so that [we] may be healed” (James 5:16).

Our prayer for healing must include confession of sin. This principles goes back to the sin/sickness connection which is item #2 on the Ultimate Health Checklist.

But not all sickness is caused by specific sin. Learn about 7 basic causes of illness here.

Lack of knowledge can be the root of illness. In these cases God may chose to heal us through natural means.

Which brings us to:

#2 Ask for Wisdom.

Much sickness is caused by a simple misunderstanding of how God has designed us to live in the world He created. “The lips of the righteous feed many, But fools die for lack of understanding” (Proverbs 10:21).

When we pray for healing, we should also pray for wisdom in how to live in this world that God has created. And God will generously supply the answers we seek (James 1:5).

There is much wisdom about health and life throughout the pages of Scripture. Ask God to reveal it to you. But you must ask in faith (James 1:6).

Which brings us to:

#3 Pray with Faith.

We must pray for healing and wisdom with faith, believing God is going to hear and answer.

When God doesn’t heal miraculously, the tendency is to think He doesn’t hear our prayer, or care for us.

This is just not true. God does care for us and He loves us with an everlasting love. His love is so strong that He sent His Son, Jesus, to take the punishment we deserved.

So we must have faith that He loves us even if He chooses not to heal miraculously. But there’s more.

We must also pray in faith regarding the wisdom He gives us.

That means we must ACT upon the knowledge we receive.

Faith without works is useless (James 2:17).

For example, if you KNOW that exercise is necessary to keep the body healthy, but you don’t act on that knowledge — it will do you no good. It is dead knowledge, without faith.

If you are asking God to heal you, but are not applying His good principles to your health, you should not expect Him to answer favorable. For the prayer is not in faith.

The Conclusion of the Matter

So the three principles of prayer are intricately related. We pray for healing, confessing our sins to one another. If we still need healing, then we pray for wisdom. And when God supplies answers, we must act upon that knowledge in faith.

Otherwise our prayers are in vain. Learn more about praying in vain here.

God will heal by the means HE chooses.

And He is not a genie in a bottle.








Reformed Health exists so you can take control of your own health and be all that God has designed you to be. The information shared on Reformed Health is the sole opinion of the author and is not meant to diagnose or treat any illness. None or our claims have been evaluated by the FDA or any other government organization. We are not medical doctors, nor do we have any medical doctors on staff. If you are having a health emergency, please call 911, contact your doctor, or visit a local emergency room. Always consult your doctor before engaging in any new exercise regime.

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Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.


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