I was at a church service praying for a woman who had cancer. After a few minutes, other people joined me in praying for her. Seemingly nothing happened. She said she felt the same pain. After a few more minutes, she went back to her seat. I wanted to pray for her some more, but as the service was closing she quickly left the building. A few days later I was at Walmart when a woman came up to me. I recognized her immediately; it was the same woman from church. She came up to me and asked if I would pray for her. I spoke just a few words then asked her to grab a drink off the shelf. As she reached for the item the pain left her body. She was healed. Thank you Jesus. What was the difference? The same woman, same person praying for her. The only difference was the location.
We are going to discuss why it is easier to see people healed outside of a church setting, rather than in a church setting. I’ll even take that a step further and state, it’s far easier to see unbelievers healed, than it is to see a christian healed. This might shock you, but it is the truth. Outside the four walls of the church, roughly 80% of those I pray for get healed, and of the 20% that don’t get fully healed, the majority normally walk away with a huge improvement. This doesn’t include those who go home and realize later that they actually were healed. This isn’t based solely on my experience; it is the consensus among those of us who actively pray for the sick outside of a church building. There are reasons for this, which I will now lay out.
One of the biggest reasons why unbelievers get healed easier than believers is that they have no strings attached to their healing. They have not entertained thoughts about healing to the point of having specific beliefs about it. Here’s the comparison. A non-believer will intellectually scoff at the idea of being supernaturally healed, while internally they are neutral about it, because they haven’t formulated any specific beliefs on healing. The believer is the exact opposite. They may intellectually believe in healing and verbally profess that God is their healer, yet inwardly they have drawn specific conclusions about healing. These conclusions are the internal beliefs they have about healing. They are stricter and more confining because they’ve given healing a lot thought, heard sermons about healing and have made precise determinations about it. They’ve decided in their own hearts who God will heal, who God won’t heal, what conditions have to be met for healing to happen, etc. Therefore, they have put limitations and restrictions upon healing. They have attached strings to it. Whereas an unbeliever hasn’t made any determinations about healing which leaves their heart in a neutral and open state.
The vast majority of believers have attached individual sin to sickness. Which is actually the same thing that Jews did; they believed that sickness was the wrath of God placed upon individuals who sinned. In many circles this is not outwardly promoted, but that belief is inherent within the majority of christians to a certain degree. With that belief hidden in the heart, then comes the traditional ways that people are prayed for in churches. A prayer line is formed and people come up to be prayed for with all eyes on them. In many churches you have only the pastor or maybe a few other people praying for each person. Those seeking healing are then in the proverbial hot-seat. This is an accepted practice so consciously they are unaware of the internal struggle that is going on within themselves. However, although it seems fine, this is when doubt is unknowingly bubbling up to the surface with thoughts such as: “What if nothing happens?” or “If I’m not healed people will think I’ve got some unrepented sin.” Let me mention that I’m not against prayer lines. Rather, I am only giving an explanation of why it is easier to see results outside of the church.
As in my example above I’ve actually ministered to the same person inside a church and they weren’t healed. Then I ministered to them in a different setting such as Walmart and they were healed with ease. One reason is that in church they’re in the hot-seat, while in a different setting they are at ease and comfortable. This is also why even outside church, I don’t ask a person if I can pray for them; I pray for them before they even realise it. That completely disarms any uncomfortable moments they may have experienced when they received prayer before. In addition, prayer received during a church service or prayer line is often very wordy, giving time for doubts to rise up inside the person. I keep mine short; a simple phrase such as "Get up, you're healed." get's the job done. Keeping it short also means the person being ministered to does not get the time to find a reason why it might not work, i.e. doubt.
Healing services and prayer at church are wonderful and far outweigh the negatives I’ve exposed. One way to offset these drawbacks is to minister to individuals before and after the services. Whenever I’m involved in any service, I minister to people while greeting them. It’s one-on-one and the person that needs ministry is no longer in the hot-seat. Praying for people casually before the service also has the added advantage of setting the atmosphere. God has already moved, so the pressure is now off of everyone and the atmosphere is now one of gratitude. I encourage everyone not to wait for the “official time” of ministry, but rather make it a lifestyle to minister to others wherever you are.