... Healing as God instructs in James 5:14-16 

(By: Norm Rasmussen)

Healthcare costs are soaring in the United States. In poor countries around the world, quality health care can be difficult to find. What are God's people to do about this? God gave us a solution when the Bible was written. It is given in the Book of James, Chapter 5, verses 14 through 16.  It's simply called: Answered prayer

Does God want us to pray prayers He has no intentions of answering? Of course He doesn’t. Jesus never prayed one prayer that He expected the Father not to answer. Why would He want us doing anything differently?

However, experience teaches us that every prayer we pray doesn’t always get answered the way we hope or expect it to get answered, and that is one of the main reasons for this writing. Praying wisely is something we all want to do better at. By the grace of God, I’m hoping He will use this writing to give you some pointers on how to have a more “successful” prayer life - especially if you are in great pain and need a healing, or you have a loved one who does.  

It has been said:

Your Faith (unwavering confidence in God) completes the "circuit" of God's power in your life

Your Doubt can and usually does "break" the circuit of God's power in your life

The more prayers we pray that get answered causes our confidence in God to grow, and it has a way of rubbing off on others if we remain humble about it by continually giving God the glory for it. It is so easy to enter into spiritual pride as God answers more and more of our prayers … especially as God leads us to pray the prayer of faith for others and see the power of God manifest in their situation. 

The prayer of faith can be likened to the power of a nuclear warhead in our arsenal against the devil: A trillion mega-ton nuclear warhead at that! Why against the devil, you might ask?Because as soon as you pray the prayer of faith, the devil’s helpers are going to be right there to try to get you to doubt that God will answer the request you’ve asked Him for, and trusting Him for. Doubt is the nail that punctures your tire. Doubt in God's goodness and faithfulness is a serious insult to Him ... when the prayer of faith is prayed. Doubt is the energy that opens the door for demonically inspired unbelief to cause one's prayer to be of no effect. If you want to know what God graphically has to say about doubt, re-read James 1:6. In case you don't choose to read it, I'll tell you what God is essentially saying: "Don't waste your time asking Me for anything if you're going to wallow around in the demonic pig-pen of doubt!"

However ... please realize that being tempted to doubt is not necessarily the same as actually doubting. Being tempted to commit adultery is not actually giving into the sin of adultery. Being tempted to lie is not a sin; the actual act of lying is. Being tempted to be angry at God is not the same as actually being angry.

What makes doubt and unbelief such slimy sin is that one can actually doubt in their mind and be guilty of the sin of doubting if they are not careful. If one reads James 5:14-16 and silently believes God may not want to heal them ... and holds onto that belief for very long, they can assume they are guilty of committing the sin of doubt. It needs to be confessed so God can forgive them, which He will as 1 John 1:9 promises. Believing God will notheal them through James 5:14-16 is outright committing the sin (guilty) of unbelief. Doubt is no longer even in the equation (though doubt opened the door to unbelief. They are partner sins - married and in one accord, we can safely say).

God tells us in Ephesians 6:16 that "the shield of faith" will quench all the fiery darts such as lies, doubt, fear and unbelief from Satan ... if we apply it wisely on a regular, persistent basis. If someone doesn't understand the value and wisdom of applying "the shield of faith" on a daily, moment by moment basis, (See: The Shield Of Faith) most likely they will have a more challenging time entering into a conducive atmosphere in the Spirit of seeing the James 5:14-16 prayer of faith working in their life regarding serious health issues. 

In case you are a Christian not well versed in the Bible, it is only right to take you to the Bible and show you where God tells us about the prayer of faith. It is recorded in James 5:14-16:

Is anyone among you sick?  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 will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.”  

What the prayer of faith is not in this above portion of scripture: It is not a prayer that includes: if it’s your will to heal this sick person, Lord.”  Anyone who prays a prayer like that is not praying the prayer of faith spoken of in James 5:14-16. They are praying the prayer of doubt. Praying such a prayer might imply signs of humility and reverence for God in one’s own mind, but the devil just chuckles with glee when prayers of that nature get prayed while God grieves and probably grimaces. Those who pray prayers of doubt usually go without. Sadly, most of the time when people pray this type of prayer, they are unaware of this truth.

Notice the passage above from James 5:14-16 -- nowhere does God ask us to seek Him for what His will is when someone is sick and they are seeking God to relieve him or her of that sickness. There is good reason for that -- a very good reason. The Great Physician is no different than your own doctor. You don’t go to your local doctor and ask him or her to make you better … if it’s his or her will. You would get laughed at, wouldn’t you? God doesn’t laugh if we do that to Him, however, if we’re asking Him to make us better. He just shakes his head in sorrow, because he knows His hands are pretty much tied in releasing His supernatural power in the situation to relieve our suffering … unless someone else is praying the prayer of faith for us. Hence, the need for Holy Spirit led believer's in touch with the Holy Spirit to pray for the sick in James 5:14-16. Sick people have a more difficult time praying a prayer of faith than people who are not sick. The reason for the anointing of the oil is that it honors the Holy Spirit, who needs to be intensely consulted and obeyed before the prayer of faith is to be prayed over someone. (I believe the oil represents some other important things as well, but I can’t back it up with ironclad scripture so I’ll just keep it to myself).  

What the "prayer of faith" is:  It is a prayer of total and complete confidence [confident trust] that God wants to heal you, first and foremost.

Furthermore, it is confidence that God will do the very thing asked for, or something better … no matter how long it takes ... no matter what method(s) God chooses to use to manifest the healing. 

Having said all of the above, I believe we must be extremely cautious about applying James 5:14-16 primarily to physical healing only, and/or some "magic formula" to get out of God what we want. Though I don't believe sickness and disease comes from God ever ... but from the devil ... I am fully convinced that God will allow sickness and disease that Satan inflicts people with to sometimes be a means God will use to bring them home to heaven, especially if people have a strong desire to be with the Lord and their loved ones in heaven. 

If we've never been to heaven, what makes us think getting healed and having to live longer here on earth is better than dying and going to heaven? (Yes, I know. Sounds like I'm compromising, right?). God knows what is best for each of us -- we don't.

And there are priorities to consider when dealing with people. Consistent with all the scriptures is this priority: God is more concerned about the wholeness of our spirit and soul than he is our physical bodies, for the most part. Let's be honest with ourselves as well. Many aged Christians will die of one form of disease or another, and James 5:14-16 is not the magical "fountain of youth" to enable us to live forever without dying. That is not going to happen until we are given our glorified bodies.

Allow me to ruffle a few more feathers, before moving on. Is salvation a right, or a privilege? I would hope you say "privilege." Is healing in any form from God a right, or a privilege? Anyone who starts claiming healing is a "right" may be very guilty without realizing that they are trying to tell God how He is suppose to run the universe, if you catch my drift. 

God is never motivated by us telling Him He is "obligated" to save us. When we receive His free gift of salvation with humility and appreciation ... things go a whole lot better between us and God. 

Likewise, when a person takes the position that God is "obligated" to heal them because of what they believe 1 Peter 2:24 means in it's entirety ... you most likely will have the chance to see that person die of a sickness or disease if you live long enough, if they do not first get raptured. 

Moving back to James 5:14-16 -- a physically sick person asking for prayer from the elders needs to allow the elders to address spiritual hindrances if they perceive by the Holy Spirit that there are one or more spiritual issues that the sick person needs to first deal with, before God will release physical healing. 

Another great hindrance in seeing God heal once the "prayer of faith" has been prayed is the lack of patience on the part of the sick person for God to heal them, and/or their lack of persistence in ongoing prayer in inquiring of God want He might have them do to help the healing manifest. To expect God to always do a "miraculous zap healing" the moment the "prayer of faith" is prayed (though He can of course) can be very shortsighted, and in fact the one seeking the healing may never see the healing manifest completely, or at all, sadly. 

More healings would be manifest if people had the proper knowledge, and applied that knowledge with wisdom -- such as stress awareness and stress reduction, proper exercise, proper liquid intake with healthy liquids, short and long term side of affect of medications and drugs, proper periodic detoxification cleansing fasts for both prevention of sickness and disease and increased energy, (and for getting rid of sicknesses and disease), changes in diet as might be necessary, and nutritional supplements as might be needed.

Note on the above: More and more people are experiencing improved health by giving themselves periodic detoxification cleanses. "The Master Cleanser" may be one you might want to make yourself aware of. There are many other good ones as well. Click on the following link to learn more about this incredibly effective healing cleanse: The Master Cleanse

I would strongly encourage you to obtain a copy of the booklet that tells you everything you need to know. You can obtain a copy by clicking here: 

The Master Cleanser: With Special Needs and Problems Mass Market Paperback–1993

The motive behind praying this type of prayer is that God might be glorified and Satan would gain no victory, and the sick person has some joy restored. In fact, these are the three primary reasons for praying the prayer of faith.

Let’s expound on this before moving forward. If the reader never receives enlightenment from the Holy Spirit on the necessity that the end result of the prayer of faith to be answered is that God might be glorified  … not many prayers of faith are going to get answered, I can assure you of that. God will not tolerate for long His glory to be stolen. Even if God works through the medical profession to manifest the healing, which He might well do for those who can afford it  -- God still desires the glory. If He doesn't get it, He might not be so quick to answer one's prayer for healing next time around if one is needed.

“Elders” who know positionally who they are in Christ yet will show a constant - outwardly, vocal display that they are “nothing: absolutely nothing in and of themselves” - are the type of elders God is speaking of in this portion of scripture as well. “Elders” who know that they are weak in themselves, having no power of their own, become the most qualified to be conduits of God’s power to be strong through Him: 

“ … My strength (power) is made perfect in weakness. Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong." 

-- 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

Persistence And Patience Is Vitally Important  In Seeing God Answer Most Every Prayer

Though already mentioned, I feel to reinforce this point: Persistence is vital to seeing positive results when the prayer of faith is prayed. Immediate healing doesn't always happen right away. God makes that very clear in the last portion of James 5:16 (NKJV). "The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much."  Verse 17 makes it clear for anyone reading this who feels their faith for healing is 0 on a scale of 1 to 100: "Elijah was a man with a nature like ours."  Elijah evidently went through many cycles of doubt, in other words, before the rain actually stopped. Once it stopped, it stayed that way until God moved him to pray for rain again (The rain stopped for 3 1/2 years). When he began to pray for it to rain again, he had to persist in his praying and trusting ... before raindrops began to fall. Aren't you glad God took the time to tell us that Elijah - the mighty man of faith - evidently battled doubt at times as well before his prayer(s) got answered?

Faith is not a "feeling." Faith is a decision. The prayer of "trust" may work better for some people, because it is easier to comprehend that trust is not a feeling either. Trust too is a decision. Keeping it simple -- the "prayer of faith" and "the prayer of trust" can be considered the same thing. However, when the Holy Spirit comes upon people at times and gives them the gift of faith as is mentioned in 1 Cor. 12:9, strong feelings of confidence can accompany the gift. It's nice to have "feelings" of faith, but for most, the devil can steal those "feelings" very easy, which then can fool people to move quickly into doubt.

“Atmosphere” can be so crucial to seeing the prayer of faith accomplish that which is desired. Here is an real eye-opener on the matter: Scripture reveals to us just how powerful unbelief is from stopping the flow of God's power: Now He (Jesus) could do no mighty work there, except that he laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them. And He marveled at their unbelief.  (Mark 6:5-6)  

Just preceding this portion of scripture in Mark 6:5-6 is another crucially insightful scripture that can be easily overlooked as unimportant to seeing the prayer of faith manifest what one is believing for.  Nothing God has given us in scripture is "unimportant." In Mark 5:40 the Holy Spirit directed Jesus to "clear the room" of disbelievers, or unbelievers, before Jesus could perform the miracle on the dead girl. This is WHY it is so crucial to hear from the Holy Spirit in each instance as prayer goes forth, especially in the more difficult cases. 

Mark 8:23 gives us another key insight. For Jesus to heal a man's eyes, the Holy Spirit directed Jesus to get the man out of town for the miracle to manifest. What is inferred here for those who are able to see it is that there was so much doubt and unbelief in town that Jesus would not have been successful attempting to heal the man's eyes under that heavy cloud of demonic spirits over the community. Then notice in Mark 8:26: once the miracle had manifest, Jesus firmly instructs the man to completely avoid going back into town -- going back under that cesspool of demonic activity of doubt and unbelief hovering over the community. To do so may well have caused the man to lose his miracle, I choose to believe.

The prayer of faith (please observe the emphasis on faith) is a potent weapon for God’s people to fight against the devil … to be used by competent warriors of God who appreciate a powerful, dangerous weapon when they have one at their disposal. This weapon should never be placed in the hands of incompetent soldiers who don’t know which end is the barrel.

When was the last time your doctor asked you if you first had your elders anoint you with oil and prayed the prayer of faith over you when you went for help from him or her? I already know the answer in most cases.  If God had intentions of the medical profession to take care of our every sickness and disease, shouldn't He have included something in scriptures about the issue?  Seems "strange" that God remains silent on the issue regarding the Medical Profession and only gives us James 5:14-16.

Please don't misunderstand: I am not speaking against the established Medical Profession. Thank God for them! They are vessels God uses day in and day out to help people get better. But ... the question remains: Do we rob God of potential glory by hardly ever going the route of James 5:14-16? Probably more serious yet ... are we teaching younger disciples of Christ that the prayer of faith is a big waste of time to even consider? Seems to me things are quickly moving in that direction, at least in the United States. Jesus asked this question: "When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?" -- (Luke 18:8). Stealing the glory from God is Satan's true delight. Stealing the faith of God's people steals the glory that rightly belongs to God. 

God has given every born again believer the opportunity to be instruments of our heavenly Father to manifest his love and compassion for sick people in Mark 16:18, for those who are able to receive it. Just because you don't see yourself as an "elder" does not mean God can't or won't use you to help another get healed. 

Confession of sin spoken of in James 5:16 can play a vital part in seeing James 5:14-16 accomplish its desired result. The sick person being prayed for should always seek their own heart and do all to ask God to reveal to them if they are holding onto unrecognized and/or unconfessed sin. Doubt and unbelief in the sick person can be unconfessed sin. Doubt and unbelief can also reside inside an “elder” doing the praying, and needs to be confessed as well, or that Elder needs to remove himself until secret sin is dealt with.

God is very serious: The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous person can accomplish all kinds of miracles. "Righteousness" here means not walking in sin, and walking in obedience to God.

Holding unforgiveness against someone can be one of the biggest core reasons people become sick and diseased. Partaking of communion in an unworthy manner without judging oneself first can also be a sin that needs to be confessed. (1 Cor. 11:26-31) Some people simply are sick or diseased because they have abused their body over time with bad nutrition and/or lack of exercise, and they need to inquire of the Lord and trust Him to reveal to them what substance/s they have abused and ask for God's help to quit that abuse as quickly as they can. Why should God necessarily heal someone who will only get sick again because of their refusal to realize what brought on the sickness in the first place? In America and other parts of the world, abuse of refined sugar, caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, chemical drugs, prescription pain killers, lack of key vitamins and/or minerals, (the list goes on and on) is pandemic. [As long as our youth continue to gulp down soda pop and munch chips day in and day out, doctors will never lack for patients]. 

Having caused hurt to others without caring can be another sin that God wants acknowledged and dealt with, especially if the one needing the healing has engaged in it.

Confession cleans the soul and spirit. Staying silent about known sin can place a roadblock between God and the person being prayed for … or the person doing the praying. Roadblocks of this nature are usually assured victory for the devil.

To help us understand the importance of “confessing our sins one to another,” we can compare it to going to our doctor when we have serious ailments. Depending on the ailment or problem, a good doctor will interrogate us of what we eat, what we drink, how much we smoke, how much exercise we may not be getting, how much stress we might be under, etc. If we are abusing our bodies (oftentimes unknowingly), and we don’t come clean with our doctor or nutritional health professional, we usually only end up hurting ourselves. The “elders” God gives us to see God perform our cure need to be informed just as our medical attendant needs to be informed, otherwise we just might not see healing come. 

Satanic opposition in executing successfully the prayer of faith is so intense that I'm going to mention Elijah. God says: “Elijah was a man with a nature like ours …” I choose to believe what God is saying to us here is that Elijah wasn’t always the “man of faith” we like to assume he always was. Elijah sinned on occasion just like you and I. Elijah had fears just like you and I at times. He battled with doubt and unbelief on occasion. Elijah went through dry times when there seemed to be zero faith inside him. Certainly Elijah walked in some very supernatural dimensions that many of us may never walk in, yet there were also times when he was so unspiritual it seemed almost unimaginable. Don’t ever refuse to let God use you just because your faith is as small as a molecule (never mind a mustard seed). Faith comes from God. He’ll provide it when He puts you on an assignment.           

I believe the most important thing that every Christian believer must strive to constantly do is seek to know what our heavenly Father wants us to do in every unknown, uncertain or challenging situation. Jesus did only what the Father instructed Him to do. Jesus spent a great amount of time earnestly praying and fasting to walk very closely with the Father so that He only did that which He was instructed to do by the Father: Nothing more … nothing less. If Jesus had to do that to have the success in God He had … can you and I be expected to do any less if we expect to see God do “impossible feats” through our prayers and trust?

There are times when the Holy Spirit will need the intense prayers of many Christian believers praying through until the prayer of faith begins to manifest the healing sought. There are times when the Holy Spirit will impart the need for fasting (detoxification cleansing, and giving our organs a break - vacation) to take place as well. There are times when prayer alone will not tear down the assignment Satan has on someone’s life and fasting needs to be included. Jesus gave us hints of this necessity in Mark 9:29, in the King James translation. Hearing clearly from the Holy Spirit in each individual situation is not optional for success: it is absolutely critical. 

If the sick person believes sickness and disease originates from God, rather than Satan, praying the prayer of faith for them will probably be in vain. I don’t see the wisdom of “casting your pearls (faith) before swine.” Save your faith for those who won’t glorify the devil with it in their ignorance, unless they are willing to realize how they have been deceived by what they have believed, and tell God they are sorry. Attributing the works of Satan to God does not make the Holy Spirit very happy.

In summary, God heals essentially in one of four ways (and/or a combination thereof):

1) Answering prayer sovereignly (without anyone having faith [confident trust], which is usually the exception). 

2) Answering prayer because someone had faith [confident trust] (hence, James 5:14-16, which scripture supports more than #1).

3) By praying and seeking God and trusting Him for direction and wisdom to be healed through change of diet, proper nutrition, proper exercise ... and/or a combination of all three.

4) By God using the established medical profession.  

If a sick or diseased person doesn't see God respond to their prayer through method Number 1, it would seem only reasonable and God honoring that method Number 2 should be implemented, out of obedience, and one's willingness to listen and pray about what the "elders" might believe God is saying to them about your specific situation. If method Number 2 is not bringing promising health in a reasonable amount of time (as God leads, of course), God might be pointing you to seek Him about method Number 3. (At the time the scriptures were written, unwholesome foods and other substances that we now put into our bodies over time were not as serious issues as they are today to have God heal someone). Regarding method Number 4, obviously people who are sick and/or diseased should work with the established medical profession to receive proper diagnosis and possible healing options, as the Lord leads them. [However, it might be noted that not all of the established medical profession recognizes method Number 3 as a viable healing option, for good reasons in some situations, but not all. Again ... I believe the wise child of God seeks the Lord for wisdom and direction in each situation before making possible life and death decisions about their health issues]. 

Any person who has been told by their doctor (or medical professionals) that nothing else can be done for them, so essentially prepare to die -- may well be one of the likeliest candidates for God to heal through James 5:14-16. Desperation can trigger faith (trust) like little else can! Let me rephrase that last statement: Desperation can move God to impart faith in a situation like little else can!

I want to go on record as saying that I am not of the school that once one is prayed for, and someone leads them to believe that the are "already healed" ... therefore they are just to claim their healing and wait until it manifests without working with the Medical Profession is asking for potential serious consequences. Though many healings have manifested that way, too many people have gone to the grave "waiting for their healing to manifest" while shunning any advice from Medical Professionals. To me, working with Medical Professionals as one has access to them and can afford them is displaying great wisdom, but not to the exclusion of omitting James 5:14-16 when it is feasible. The two need to be balanced with wisdom -- great wisdom. 

In closing ... if God has revealed wisdom and insights into executing the prayer of faith to you, I would greatly appreciate it if you would forward it to me, so I can pass it along to others. Satan’s constant desire is to strip the power and the glory of God from the Body of Christ, and make and keep God's people as sick and diseased as he can. We must not let him have his way.

Another article on healing that you may benefit from:  


If you are in need of healing, and you need your faith increased, reading testimonies of how God has healed others can help greatly. As God wills, we are trusting the Lord for believers to send us more testimonies of healing for this very purpose. A place you can go to right away is: Once there, click on testimonies to the left, then click on Healing Testimonies.

Another website I would recommend people visit is:  

Stories & Testimonies of God's Amazing Power. As you will discover as you read the testimonies on this site, pleading the blood of Jesus against sickness and disease can be crucially vital in seeing healing manifest!

As a "P.S." ... there is another side to suffering that I believe needs to be closely prayed about regarding "deliverance/healing issues," which only makes things a bit more difficult to sort out for some. I am not able to receive "revelation" from the Holy Spirit that God wants us lumping sickness and disease into "joys of suffering," as the following link below addresses, though I believe there is room for possible "bleed-over" at times. As much as I could easily refrain from providing this link, I'm going to trust the Lord that it will be something the Lord honors, rather than let it play into the hands of the devil. I realize a lot of people are looking for an "out" when it comes to moving boldly forward in the prayer of faith being prayed on their behalf (or that of a loved one) as given to them in James 5:14-16, but that's between them and God. Here's the link: In The Desert of Feeling Forsaken?

If you would like to read Norm's born again testimony, you can click on this link:  

God Revealed Himself To Me  When I Least Expected It!

Dear Reader - are you at peace with God?  If not, you can be. Do you know what awaits you when you die? You can have the assurance from God that heaven will be your home, if you would like to be certain. You can even have that assurance RIGHT NOW!  Either Jesus Christ died for your sins, or He didn't (He did!). Are you prepared to stand before God on the Judgment Day and tell Him that you didn't need the shed blood of Jesus Christ on the Cross to have your sins forgiven and get in right-standing with God? We plead with you...please don't make such a tragic mistake. 

To get to know God, to be at peace with God, to have your sins forgiven, to make certain heaven will be your home for eternity, to make certain that you are in right-standing with God right now ... please click here to help you understand the importance of being reconciled to God. What you do about being reconciled to God will determine where you will spend eternity, precious one. Your decision to be reconciled to God is the most important decision you'll ever make in this life, because in Christ, it is impossible to put a value on the worth of your soul in light of eternity.



Remember:  All that we do in this life comes back to our God-given purpose which is to serve and glorify God. The money and assets we accumulate, the fame and power we've attained or seek to attain - all of the things of this nature will one day pass away, but those lives of others we impact for Jesus Christ will last for eternity, and we will be rewarded for the part we helped play by impacting those lives ... for eternity. (Matthew 6:19-20 is our assurance)