In Matthew 28: 18-20, the great commission passage, Jesus told the disciples to “go and make disciples of all nations…teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” They were to carry out his ministry, which included praying for the sick. My job (is) to obey, pray, and rely on his sovereign mercy; his part (is) to heal. John Wimber
Our Theme: ON HEALING.
As I see it, church historians may one day look back at the life and ministry of Wimber and find that one of the greatest gifts he gave the church-at-large was both the permission and the encouragement for the common man or woman sitting in the pew to get up out of their seat and follow Jesus into his healing ministry.
In all honesty, before Wimber began equipping the saints to pray for the sick back in the early 1980s, the healing ministry of Jesus was pretty much either 1) ignored completely by most churches; or 2) reserved for those “special people” who believed themselves to be uniquely anointed by the Holy Spirit to pray for the sick.
Indeed, when it came to joining Jesus in his healing ministry, for Wimber, not only could everybody play, but everybody is commissioned by Jesus to pray! So back in the day, when our church in Evanston, Illinois, first came across Wimber, it was mighty scary to know that he expected all of us to begin praying for the sick. In fact, the first time I attended a Wimber conference in 1985, I was shocked to see him inviting a bunch of young kids to the front of the auditorium so they could learn to pray for people who had come up for healing! In fact, before that first conference was over, I was equally shocked to find myself praying for others, asking God to heal them of diseases I couldn’t even pronounce!
You see, for Wimber, praying for the sick was part-and-parcel with following Jesus. Thus, healing wasn’t a special power given to anointed people, but a kingdom ministry accomplished by Jesus as we simply do our part. We obey Jesus by praying with those who are sick. He does what only he can do: heal and impart his presence as we pray.
In the process, literally thousands of pew-sitters were given both permission and the encouragement to become pro-active in the healing ministry of Jesus. And while healing can never be subjugated into a formula, John also gave us two handy tools that helped all of us as we took these brave new steps into an arena most of us thought needed to be left to the professionals. The first tool was a set of biblically-based principles that set the stage for us as we began praying for the sick. John called this tool a set of six healing concepts. Here’s the list:
SIX HEALING CONCEPTS
- God wants to heal the sick today.
- God is looking for a corporate ministry of healing.
- Our trust in God is demonstrated by our actions.
- We must be empowered by and led by the Holy Spirit.
- Importance of loving relationships with our brothers & sisters.
- God wants to heal the whole person, not just the specific condition.
Quite honestly, these six concepts, when acted upon, took our straight-laced, evangelical church body and turned it into a community of every-day Christians who truly believed that Jesus would heal the sick in our midst if all of us would simply do our part and pray.
Second, he gave us a valuable five-step prayer model that became, not a formula for healing, but an easily followed set of reminders for those who truly believed that Jesus was looking for his followers to pray faithfully for healing. In our next few blogs, we’ll unpack John’s five-step healing model and review each step, one by one.
WIMBER’S 5-STEP HEALING MODEL
- The Interview: Where does it hurt?
- The Diagnostic Decision: What is the Father saying?
- The Prayer Selection: What kind of prayer is needed to help this person?
- The Prayer Engagement: How effective are our prayers?
- The Post-Prayer Direction: What’s next?
Father, I thank you for the amazing impact Wimber had in my life; opening the door for me into Jesus’ healing ministry, encouraging me that I could participate if I simply did my part to pray for the sick. Now Lord, all these years later, I’m so glad John taught me these biblical truths and indeed, Father, I’ve seen you work amazing healing into so many lives. For your name’s sake. Amen!
QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO PONDER
- What reservations keep me from acting on the six biblically-based principles of healing that John Wimber taught about?
- Am I leaving the ministry of healing to others? And if so, why am I doing that?
- What needs to change in my life so that I’m fully par ticipating with Jesus as he continues his healing ministry across the world today?
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!
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