The Bible teaches that there are several kinds of prayer. However, I will not go into detail on all of them in this chapter. (I do have several books on prayer which discuss them in more detail.) Right now I just want to concentrate on prayer for healing.
Pray to the Father in the Name of Jesus
23 And IN THAT DAY ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father IN MY NAME, he will give it you.
24 Hitherto have ye asked nothing IN MY NAME: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.
What day was Jesus talking about when He said “. . . in that day ye shall ask me nothing . . .” (v. 23)? He was talking about the day that we are living in right now. Praying to the Father in the Name of Jesus belongs to us now—in this day.
Jesus said “. . . in that day ye shall ask me nothing . . .” just before He went to
Calvary. After which a new day dawned, and we came into the New Covenant.
Notice John 16:24 says, “Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name. . . .” The word “hitherto” means until now. Jesus was really saying, “Until this time you have not prayed in My Name.” It wouldn’t have done the disciples or anyone else any good to have prayed to the Father in the Name of Jesus while Jesus was here on earth, because, under the Old Covenant, they prayed to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
You see, when Jesus was here on earth, He had not yet entered His mediatory (high priestly or intercessory) ministry at the right hand of the Father, so it would not have done any good to have prayed in His Name.
But just before He went away, Jesus changed His disciples’ way of praying. During the interim when the Old Covenant was going out and the New Covenant was coming in, Jesus taught the disciples to pray what we call “The Lord’s Prayer” (Matt. 6:9). He did not teach us to pray this way; He taught His disciples to pray this way.
I did not say The Lord’s Prayer isn’t beautiful. I did not say we cannot learn something from it—because we can learn much from it. But where is the Name of Jesus in it? The disciples didn’t pray one thing in the Name of Jesus, did they? They didn’t ask for one thing in the Name of Jesus. This is not the New
Testament Church at prayer! This is not the New Testament norm for prayer.
There’s something we need to see here in John chapter 16: Just before Jesus went away, He changed the disciples’ way of praying. Under the New Covenant between God and the Church, we are to come to God by Jesus Christ. One reason we have missed a great deal is that we have tried to pray as they did back in the days of the Old Covenant.
Notice Jesus said, “. . . ASK, and ye SHALL RECEIVE, that your joy may be full” (v. 24). Of course, this includes all prayer, and it includes praying for healing as well. How could your joy be full if you or your loved ones were home sick? That would be impossible, wouldn’t it?
You see, every believer has a right to ask God the Father for healing or for any other blessing mentioned in God’s Word. And if a believer asks in the Name of Jesus, he has an absolute guarantee that God will grant him the answer to his petition.
If we were getting more answers to prayer, we would have more joy. And if more of our joy were showing, we would get more people saved and healed.
Healing is involved in these verses. We have a right to ask for healing in the
Name of Jesus. God does hear and answer prayer.
Agree in Prayer
19 Again I [Jesus] say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.
20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.
Frequently we take verse 20 out of its setting and apply it only to church services—but that really isn’t what it’s talking about. You see, verses 19 and 20 go together. According to verse 20, wherever two people are, agreeing in prayer, Jesus is there to see that what they agreed on happens. Jesus is not talking about a church meeting here, although He is present in church meetings.
Where two people are united and are demanding healing for themselves or their loved ones in Jesus’ Name, their prayers are bound to be answered, because God watches over His Word to make it good (Jer. 1:12)!
Matthew 18:19 says “two of you on earth,” not “two of you in Heaven.” Just two. And the phrase “anything that they shall ask” could include healing, couldn’t it?
Well, the “two of you” could be husband and wife. My wife and I have had marvelous answers to prayer by agreeing together. Yet people tell me, “Brother
Hagin, we tried that, and it didn’t work.” My wife and I didn’t try it. We did it! Jesus didn’t say that two should try to agree; He said to do it.
Sometimes we get into the natural and think, Now, if I could get enough people—maybe a thousand—agreeing; maybe ten thousand praying, that would really get results! That is human reasoning. God said that two could get the job done. Two is the most that He ever mentions we need! He didn’t say to get the whole church to agree on it. (You couldn’t get a whole church to agree on something to save your life!) But if two of you agree, that’s all it takes.
Jesus said, “. . . if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing . . . IT SHALL BE . . .” (v. 19). Jesus didn’t say it might be or it’s a possibility. He said, “. . . IT SHALL BE DONE for them of my Father which is in heaven.”
Often people ask me to agree with them in prayer for financial, physical, and spiritual needs. I usually join hands with them and pray: “We are joining hands here physically to denote the fact that our spirits are agreeing. We agree that this need is met—not that it is going to be, because that is not faith, that would be future tense. That would be hope, not faith. We agree that the need is met, so we are praising God because we have agreed that it shall be done. By faith it is done right now, and we count it as done.”
After praying like this I ask the person, “Is it done?”
Eight times out of ten the person starts bawling, “Brother Hagin, I hope it is.”
I have to tell them, “It isn’t. I’m believing and you’re hoping. There is no agreement here. It didn’t work.”
There is no use in our going around blaming God and casting bad reflections on the Bible if it didn’t work. Friends, if it didn’t work, we didn’t work it, because Jesus Christ cannot lie! We must admit that we didn’t do it and then correct ourselves.
Add Praise to Your Prayers and Get Results!
When I tell people they don’t have to pray to be healed, they look at me in amazement. Many have failed to receive healing because they have based their faith on prayer instead of on God’s Word. They expected prayer to do for them what God’s Word will do for them. But prayer is successful only when it is based on the promises in God’s Word!
It seems that most of our prayers are prayers of petition—asking God to do something for us. And, of course, it’s scriptural for us to pray that way, but we also need to add praise to our prayers, because it’s in an atmosphere of praise
that God can move more readily in our midst.
A young Pentecostal evangelist found that out when he was dying of tuberculosis back in the early 1930s. He told me his story firsthand.
He had become bedfast and was hemorrhaging from both lungs. He had had to take his family to live on his father-in-law’s farm.
One day his father-in-law was out in the fields plowing, and his wife and mother-in-law were behind the house doing the wash. So this young evangelist begged God for enough strength to get out of bed and make it to a clump of trees and bushes a quarter of a mile down the road. He purposed in his heart, I’m going to pray until I pray through and God heals me, or until they find me dead
—one of the two.
He reached the thicket and fell down exhausted. He couldn’t have cried for help if he had wanted to. No one knew where he was.
“They won’t find you until the buzzards lead them to you,” the devil assured him.
“Well,” the evangelist said, “that’s all right, devil. That’s why I came out here. Just as soon as I can regain a little strength, I’m going to pray until I’m healed or die at this spot.”
The young man said, “As I was lying there, trying to muster enough strength to start praying, I got to thinking about it: Everywhere I had been, I had turned in prayer requests for my healing. Hundreds of people had prayed. Thousands of people had prayed. Every healing evangelist in America had laid hands on me. Everybody had prayed.
“If you put all those prayers together, it would add up to hundreds of hours of prayer. Many great men of faith had laid hands on me—and God uses healing evangelists. I finally decided, ‘I’m not going to pray at all. There is no use in my praying. I see where I’ve missed it. I shouldn’t even have turned in all those prayer requests. I’ve been trying to get a bunch of people to pray for me. I’ve been trying to get God to give me what He said is already mine!’
“‘The Bible says I’m healed. So, Lord, I’m going to lie here flat on my back and praise You. I’m going to praise You until my healing is manifested.’”
That young evangelist told me, “I just started whispering, ‘Praise the Lord. Glory to God. Hallelujah. Thank You, Jesus.’ After about ten minutes of whispering, I got enough strength to lift my arms up by propping my elbows on the ground. And I praised God for another ten minutes or so. Then I got enough strength to lift my hands, and my voice got louder. At the end of two hours, I
was on my feet hollering, ‘Praise God,’ so loudly that someone heard me several miles away!”
You see, when he began to agree with what the Word of God says and acted on God’s Word, he got results!
The Prayer of Faith
First-century believers did not have a complete New Testament. They had some letters that could be passed around from church to church, but they did not have an entire Bible to study as we do.
They did not know that Peter had written by the Spirit of God “. . . by whose stripes ye WERE HEALED” (1 Peter 2:24). But we know that. If they could walk in divine health, how much more should we in this generation, with all the knowledge we have, walk in divine health?
The following passage of Scripture reveals that there are many elements to the prayer of faith.
14 Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:
15 And THE PRAYER OF FAITH SHALL SAVE THE SICK, AND THE LORD SHALL RAISE HIM UP; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.
There really ought not be any sick among us—but James asked, “Is there anyone sick among you?” James was clearly talking to the Church here, because he said “. . . let him call for the elders of the church . . .” (v. 14). If you can’t pray for your own healing, God has made provision for you where you can find help. And, thank God, even if people have missed it and have sinned, there is help for them. Notice in verse 15, James says, “If he has committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.”
James 5:16 clearly shows us that healing can be obtained through prayer.
16 Confess your faults one to another, and PRAY ONE FOR ANOTHER, THAT YE MAY BE HEALED. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
James 5:16 is talking about believers praying for one another that they might be healed. The thought I want to impress upon you is the last part of this verse: “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” This is just another way of saying that prayer works!
Who Is Righteous?
But here is where many people run into difficulty with this verse. They say, “Well, if I were righteous, I could get my prayers heard and answered.” That’s the lie the devil used on me.
As I’ve stately previously, I was sickly until I was seventeen years old. I didn’t grow up normally because for the first sixteen years of my life, I couldn’t run and play like other children. I played very limitedly because I had a deformed heart and an incurable blood disease. I never had a normal childhood, and about four months before my sixteenth birthday, I became totally bedfast. Several doctors had been called in on my case. And one of the best surgeons in the world said that no one in my condition in the history of medical science had ever lived past the age of sixteen.
I had gotten born again, and I knew that the Holy Spirit lived inside me. But I didn’t know at first that I was supposed to listen to Him or that He would guide me to act on God’s Word. I just knew in my spirit that I didn’t have to die at such an early age.
During the time I was bedfast, the Holy Spirit kept trying to tell me I could be healed. Finally one day, I heard something on the inside of me—that still, small voice—say, “You don’t have to die at this early age. You can be healed.” Then that same inward voice told me that there was help for me in the Word of God.
So I began to diligently study the Bible day and night. I had read the Bible as a young Baptist boy, but I didn’t know much about acting on the Word. The doctors had said that I might not live very long so I ran the references on faith, prayer, and healing. Finally, I got over to the Book of James. When I read “Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up . . .” (vv. 14,15), I was heartbroken.
I began to cry. I told the Lord, “If I have to do that, I can never be healed; because I don’t know anyone—no preacher, minister, deacon, Sunday school superintendent or teacher—who believes in or practices anointing with oil and praying for healing.” Then the Spirit of God spoke to my spirit these words: “Did you notice that verse says the prayer of faith will save the sick?” I said, “No. I didn’t notice that.” I read it again, and sure enough that’s what it said. That still, small voice said, “You can pray the prayer of faith as well as anyone can.” At that moment, I started to believe I could pray the prayer of faith for
myself and be healed.
Then I heard another voice say, “Did you notice what the next verse says?” So I read James 5:16: “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” The voice continued, “You could pray the prayer of faith, if you were righteous. But you’re not righteous.”
I didn’t realize that was the voice of the devil, so I more or less accepted what he said. I sided right in with him and said, “You’re right. I sure am not righteous.” The devil brought to my remembrance an incident when I was irritable and knocked my tray off the bed. There was food everywhere. He said, “That wasn’t any way for a righteous person to act, was it?”
I thought being righteous meant you had attained some great degree of spiritual growth, that you always had right conduct. I said to myself, If I can keep from dying, maybe I can eventually grow to become righteous.
So there I was. I was sure that because I wasn’t righteous, I couldn’t get my prayers answered. I laid there bedfast for another three months. I continued to read and study the Word. One day I was reading those same verses in James chapter 5 again, and the Holy Ghost led me to read further. I read verse 17, which says, “Elias [Elijah] was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months.”
I began to analyze that verse for a moment. Verse 16 tells us to confess our faults to one another and pray that we might be healed, because the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. Verse 17 points out that Elijah was human and that he was subject to like passions as we are to show us that he had faults and shortcomings just as we do. And James listed Elijah as an example of a righteous man whose prayers were answered! Then I realized that a person who has faults can still be a righteous person. I hadn’t seen that three months earlier, and the devil knew it.
Elijah’s prayers were answered because he prayed effectually and fervently. That’s why many people’s prayers go unanswered—people are not effectual or fervent when they pray. The Greek word translated “fervent” really means white- hot. When a blacksmith is working with a piece of metal in the fire, the metal gets hot and turns red. After a while, the metal becomes so hot that it turns white. So it’s the white-hot prayer of a righteous man that avails much!
We Are Righteous in Christ!
My definition of righteousness was all wrong. So I found out what the Bible had to say on the subject.
2 CORINTHIANS 5:17,21
17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. . . .
21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
When I read those verses this time, I realized that the blood of Jesus had washed my sins away, cleansed me, and made me a new creature. It didn’t make me an unrighteous new creature. I became the righteousness of God in Christ! You see, we can’t make ourselves right with God. Only the blood of Jesus can make us right with God. We simply accept His righteousness.
But the devil didn’t give up so easy. He knew that I didn’t know as much about righteousness as I should. The devil told me, “You’re right about that. Jesus made you a new creature; and He didn’t make you an unrighteous new creature. But after you were made a new man in Christ, you lost your temper and knocked the tray off the bed. Is that any way for a righteous man to act?”
Well, the devil had me under condemnation again. I thought my prayer wouldn’t work, so I didn’t even try to pray. But, thank God for the Holy Ghost! He will always lead you back to the Word, because that’s where the answer is. The Holy Ghost led me to First John 1:9, which says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” John wrote this to Christians, not sinners.
When I read that verse, I started hollering, “Mr. Devil, I’ve got you now! You already admitted that when I was born again, I became a new creature in Christ; and He didn’t make me an unrighteous new creature. But you told me that when I did wrong and missed it, I lost my righteousness. But the Bible says that if I confess my sins to God, He is faithful and just to forgive my sins and cleanse me from all unrighteousness.
“If God only forgave my sins, I’d still be in a dilemma, because I would still be in a state of unrighteousness. My prayers wouldn’t work, because I’d be under condemnation. But God forgives me and cleanses me from all unrighteousness! And if I’m cleansed from all unrighteousness, that means I’m righteous again!” And since the prayer of a righteous man avails much, I prayed the prayer of faith for myself, and I was healed!