MINISTERING IN HEALING: “WHAT DO I DO IF NOTHING HAPPENS?”

By Rob Cresswell

This article is for those who seek to serve the Lord Jesus through the ministry of healing. To be more specific, we’re talking about what we should do if we’ve stepped out in faith for a healing and nothing happens? Beyond, “Have more faith and just keep praying” (which is actually a pretty good response), is there anything else we can do? For most it’s a very common question and experience. Sometimes in our workshops we’ll ask “Who has ever prayed for healing for someone and nothing happened?” You’ve guessed it – pretty much every hand goes up!

Just to put this in context at the outset:

  • We see in the New Testament that healing ministry is made available to all believers because we are to be equipped by the fivefold ministries to be ministers of the gospel (salvation, healing and deliverance) Ephesians 4:12
  • Healing is an empowerment of the Holy Spirit (modelled and mandated by Jesus) that comes through an acknowledgement of the Lordship of Christ in a person’s life (1 Corinthians 12:4)
  • We also see that the practice of believers in the New Testament was almost exclusively to use the command of healing rather than the request of healing – so that is our template for new covenant healing ministry

Article: Should I Command or Ask for Healing?

So, getting back to our question, in the first instance what many are concerned about is what we actually say to the person we prayed for ‘if nothing happens’. It’s potentially an awkward situation for both of us. They may feel as if they don’t qualify for healing and we can feel as if we’ve let them down. And this, if we’re honest, is why many believers avoid healing ministry altogether.

So here’s 7 simple principles on the theme of healing ministry to remember when you find yourself in this situation and asking the question, “I prayed for healing and they didn’t get better, what do I do next?”


1: SOMETHING ALWAYS HAPPENS!

I can’t state this too strongly. If you find yourself saying, “I released the healing power of Jesus and nothing happened” you’re just wrong! Something always happens when we step out in faith like this. Something happens in the spiritual realm, something happens in the person releasing the power and something is definitely happening in the person receiving ministry – you may just not be aware of it because you are focussed on a very specific (physical) outcome.

Healing ministry is the ministry of the Holy Spirit and an aspect of “his incomparably great power for us who believe”. We may not be seeing the physical manifestation of it (although it’s rare to have no improvement at all), but a great deal of activity may be happening on a spiritual, emotional or soulish level. Often people strongly sense the presence of the Holy Spirit or even feel a sensation of heat as the healing begins.

Furthermore, simply reaching out in love and compassion speaks volumes. It says, “I care that you are suffering”, “I agree with you for healing”. It also speaks to the spiritual powers, “I believe in the power of the cross”, “I live and stand on what Jesus taught and said” And that’s not nothing – that really is something powerful!

“Love never fails” 1 Corinthians 13:8. Or Agape love ‘never fades or ends’ (AMP). 

One lady recently told Aliss that, what had really moved her, even more than the relief from arthritis she experienced for the first time in years, was the physical touch of compassion and love. Ministry is essentially about faith relationships. It’s about heart to heart connection – both between people and with God. There is a great healing power in that alone (often more than we know).


2: BE GUIDED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT

If the simple command of faith for healing is ‘not working’, don’t give up! Ask the Holy Spirit questions, “What is happening with this person – what’s going on?”

Jesus ministered differently on many occasions. In one case Jesus spoke to a fever as if it was a demon and told it to leave:

“He stood very close to her and ordered the sickness to go away.” Luke 4:39

In another case he simply commanded the deaf ears to be opened:

“He looked up to heaven and with a deep sigh said to him, “Ephphatha!” (which means “Be opened!”).” Mark 7:34

And in another he asks a lame man if he actually wants to be healed (because in this case it was important for him to say it):

“When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?”” John 5:6

In the 1 Corinthians 12 passage of the nine gifts of the Holy Spirit healing is listed as ‘gifts of healing’. This is the only gift that is referred to in the plural (gifts) because healing is such a diverse ministry concerning the whole person – body, soul and spirit. The Holy Spirit will guide you in how to minister healing if you continue to ask in faith and expectation.

But beyond this – as I’ve said, spiritual power has been released and often – even a small manifest improvement (whether spiritual, emotional or physical) is to be recognised and encouraged: “Come on! Let’s keep going”!


3: FOCUS ON THE OUTCOME

Sickness is a lack of health and wholeness. As darkness is an absence of light, sickness is not an entity in itself but an absence of health and wholeness. When we are ministering healing in the authority and name of Jesus we are essentially releasing power to restore that person’s body to health and wholeness (it’s healthy, pain-free state).

Yes tell the problem to go – but primarily tell the wholeness to come and manifest in its place. Sometimes our language can inadvertently ‘big up’ or empower the problem if all we do is focus on it (saying its name over and over again) instead of emphasising the goal of radiant health.

So instead of – “Tendonitis I command you to go in the name of Jesus” Try rather: “Tendons I command you in the name of Jesus to do the job you were created to do, come into alignment, be the right tension and length, be flexible and powerful, pain free and a wonderful blessing!!”

The difference is subtle but significant.


4: HEALING IS A JOURNEY

Let’s face it, we’re complicated! A human being is a unique combination of physical body, spirit and soul. Every second of every day we are developing and growing and changing. The human body itself is a complex collection of 36 Trillion Cells, about 330 billion of which are replaced every day. You’re not the same person today as you were yesterday!

Though supernatural healing can be instantaneous and miraculous it can also be part of a bigger picture – or one link in a chain of events/encounters – involving spiritual revelation and knowledge of God. After all, healing (the path to wholeness) according to the Bible is ultimately a process of transformation – knowing and being known by God (2 Corinthians 3:18).

Add to this: lifestyle choices, mental health, medicinal treatments (many of which have side effects), diet, exercise, sleep etc. It’s no wonder Jesus ministered to the whole person for salvation, healing and deliverance. All ministries in one sense are healing ministries whether for salvation, healing or deliverance. For this reason, it’s good to remember as we minister in healing, that healing (both spiritual and physical) is often a process (or a developing relationship with God, who is life, John 14:6) –  not a single one off event that just happens in isolation and is done.

This is in no way to downplay the importance of the supernatural miracle-working power of Jesus to do what no doctor can do in an instant! It’s just good to remember this holistic context of the big picture when ministering to others.


5: BE KIND, CONFIDENT AND CALM

It may not seem very spiritual but try to develop good people skills. Don’t panic. Be calm and confident. Be alert with your eyes open and communicate clearly. You don’t need to be an expert but work together with the person you are ministering to. Ask questions like, “What’s happening, can you feel any change”? “OK, let’s pray again”, or “Don’t worry, I think there’s something else going on here, let’s wait on the Holy Spirit and see how he wants to guide us.”

Many times when Aliss and I have been ministering together – even to complete strangers that know nothing of the gospel – they are more than willing to engage in the process. After all, as I said, they are already impacted that somebody actually cares and they are working with you.

So if it helps, you can say things like, “Let’s expect things to improve and see what God wants to do next – this might take time” Keep your eyes and heart open and treat the person with love and respect.


6: BE OPEN AND TEACHABLE

We can learn from our mistakes, but only if we approach what we’re doing with humility and a teachable spirit. When reflecting on times of healing ministry that don’t seem to be bearing fruit, keep thanking God for what he is doing (both in you and through you) but also talk to the Holy Spirit about what you are NOT seeing. “What’s the blockage?” “What is stopping this healing from coming?”

Aliss does a whole workshop session on ‘blockages to healing’ and we have also produced a video episode on this training portal on the same subject, plus there is a very helpful chapter on this in her book ‘How to be Healed and Stay Healed’. So always ask the Holy Spirit for discernment or direction if the supernatural healing flow seems to have stalled.

Ask the Holy Spirit if there is anything that you need to say or do differently next time.

How to Be Healed and Stay Healed by Aliss Cresswell


7: GET MENTORED!

And finally. you may benefit greatly from others who are more experienced and flowing in healing ministry than you are at the moment.

Spend time, if possible, with someone who is more mature than you in the ministry of healing and be mentored and discipled. Don’t pester them but be a blessing to them – hold their coat and learn! Keep practicing, read scripture and books on the subject and keep stepping out in faith – if your heart is right and you are a willing vessel your gift will grow and breakthrough will come!


…AND KEEP GOING!

So I hope that has encouraged all of you who are brave enough to step out in faith for healing for others. Don’t give up – but keep expecting miracles. Healing is an exciting but challenging area and we need all the encouragement and support we can get! That’s why here on Spirit Lifestyle we have lots of great resources that will encourage your faith for healing. Plus – you are not alone! We have many like-minded members who are on the journey with you. Why not come and check us out with a 7 day free trial? It might be just what you are looking for…

Other resources related to this article…

Here at Spirit Lifestyle we have some great spiritual resources.

About the Author: Rob Cresswell

Rob Cresswell avatar
Rob Cresswell along with his wife Aliss pioneer ministries which seek to engage all who are hungry for the things of the Spirit and demonstrate the love and power of God. After graduating from ministry school in 2006 they established a local church in their home town of Chester and several exciting outreach initiatives (known for salvations, healings and miracles) including a café, shop and B&B. Rob is the author of 'The Threefold Miracle Mandate', 'The Believer's Guide to Survival' and 'The Believer's Guide to Thriving'. Together they founded Spirit Lifestyle and continue to write, present, train and travel, spreading the gospel and pioneering Kingdom initiatives internationally.

This article is for those who seek to serve the Lord Jesus through the ministry of healing. To be more specific, we’re talking about what we should do if we’ve stepped out in faith for a healing and nothing happens? Beyond, “Have more faith and just keep praying” (which is actually a pretty good response), is there anything else we can do? For most it’s a very common question and experience. Sometimes in our workshops we’ll ask “Who has ever prayed for healing for someone and nothing happened?” You’ve guessed it – pretty much every hand goes up!

Just to put this in context at the outset:

  • We see in the New Testament that healing ministry is made available to all believers because we are to be equipped by the fivefold ministries to be ministers of the gospel (salvation, healing and deliverance) Ephesians 4:12
  • Healing is an empowerment of the Holy Spirit (modelled and mandated by Jesus) that comes through an acknowledgement of the Lordship of Christ in a person’s life (1 Corinthians 12:4)
  • We also see that the practice of believers in the New Testament was almost exclusively to use the command of healing rather than the request of healing – so that is our template for new covenant healing ministry

Article: Should I Command or Ask for Healing?

So, getting back to our question, in the first instance what many are concerned about is what we actually say to the person we prayed for ‘if nothing happens’. It’s potentially an awkward situation for both of us. They may feel as if they don’t qualify for healing and we can feel as if we’ve let them down. And this, if we’re honest, is why many believers avoid healing ministry altogether.

So here’s 7 simple principles on the theme of healing ministry to remember when you find yourself in this situation and asking the question, “I prayed for healing and they didn’t get better, what do I do next?”


1: SOMETHING ALWAYS HAPPENS!

I can’t state this too strongly. If you find yourself saying, “I released the healing power of Jesus and nothing happened” you’re just wrong! Something always happens when we step out in faith like this. Something happens in the spiritual realm, something happens in the person releasing the power and something is definitely happening in the person receiving ministry – you may just not be aware of it because you are focussed on a very specific (physical) outcome.

Healing ministry is the ministry of the Holy Spirit and an aspect of “his incomparably great power for us who believe”. We may not be seeing the physical manifestation of it (although it’s rare to have no improvement at all), but a great deal of activity may be happening on a spiritual, emotional or soulish level. Often people strongly sense the presence of the Holy Spirit or even feel a sensation of heat as the healing begins.

Furthermore, simply reaching out in love and compassion speaks volumes. It says, “I care that you are suffering”, “I agree with you for healing”. It also speaks to the spiritual powers, “I believe in the power of the cross”, “I live and stand on what Jesus taught and said” And that’s not nothing – that really is something powerful!

“Love never fails” 1 Corinthians 13:8. Or Agape love ‘never fades or ends’ (AMP). 

One lady recently told Aliss that, what had really moved her, even more than the relief from arthritis she experienced for the first time in years, was the physical touch of compassion and love. Ministry is essentially about faith relationships. It’s about heart to heart connection – both between people and with God. There is a great healing power in that alone (often more than we know).


2: BE GUIDED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT

If the simple command of faith for healing is ‘not working’, don’t give up! Ask the Holy Spirit questions, “What is happening with this person – what’s going on?”

Jesus ministered differently on many occasions. In one case Jesus spoke to a fever as if it was a demon and told it to leave:

“He stood very close to her and ordered the sickness to go away.” Luke 4:39

In another case he simply commanded the deaf ears to be opened:

“He looked up to heaven and with a deep sigh said to him, “Ephphatha!” (which means “Be opened!”).” Mark 7:34

And in another he asks a lame man if he actually wants to be healed (because in this case it was important for him to say it):

“When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?”” John 5:6

In the 1 Corinthians 12 passage of the nine gifts of the Holy Spirit healing is listed as ‘gifts of healing’. This is the only gift that is referred to in the plural (gifts) because healing is such a diverse ministry concerning the whole person – body, soul and spirit. The Holy Spirit will guide you in how to minister healing if you continue to ask in faith and expectation.

But beyond this – as I’ve said, spiritual power has been released and often – even a small manifest improvement (whether spiritual, emotional or physical) is to be recognised and encouraged: “Come on! Let’s keep going”!


3: FOCUS ON THE OUTCOME

Sickness is a lack of health and wholeness. As darkness is an absence of light, sickness is not an entity in itself but an absence of health and wholeness. When we are ministering healing in the authority and name of Jesus we are essentially releasing power to restore that person’s body to health and wholeness (it’s healthy, pain-free state).

Yes tell the problem to go – but primarily tell the wholeness to come and manifest in its place. Sometimes our language can inadvertently ‘big up’ or empower the problem if all we do is focus on it (saying its name over and over again) instead of emphasising the goal of radiant health.

So instead of – “Tendonitis I command you to go in the name of Jesus” Try rather: “Tendons I command you in the name of Jesus to do the job you were created to do, come into alignment, be the right tension and length, be flexible and powerful, pain free and a wonderful blessing!!”

The difference is subtle but significant.


4: HEALING IS A JOURNEY

Let’s face it, we’re complicated! A human being is a unique combination of physical body, spirit and soul. Every second of every day we are developing and growing and changing. The human body itself is a complex collection of 36 Trillion Cells, about 330 billion of which are replaced every day. You’re not the same person today as you were yesterday!

Though supernatural healing can be instantaneous and miraculous it can also be part of a bigger picture – or one link in a chain of events/encounters – involving spiritual revelation and knowledge of God. After all, healing (the path to wholeness) according to the Bible is ultimately a process of transformation – knowing and being known by God (2 Corinthians 3:18).

Add to this: lifestyle choices, mental health, medicinal treatments (many of which have side effects), diet, exercise, sleep etc. It’s no wonder Jesus ministered to the whole person for salvation, healing and deliverance. All ministries in one sense are healing ministries whether for salvation, healing or deliverance. For this reason, it’s good to remember as we minister in healing, that healing (both spiritual and physical) is often a process (or a developing relationship with God, who is life, John 14:6) –  not a single one off event that just happens in isolation and is done.

This is in no way to downplay the importance of the supernatural miracle-working power of Jesus to do what no doctor can do in an instant! It’s just good to remember this holistic context of the big picture when ministering to others.


5: BE KIND, CONFIDENT AND CALM

It may not seem very spiritual but try to develop good people skills. Don’t panic. Be calm and confident. Be alert with your eyes open and communicate clearly. You don’t need to be an expert but work together with the person you are ministering to. Ask questions like, “What’s happening, can you feel any change”? “OK, let’s pray again”, or “Don’t worry, I think there’s something else going on here, let’s wait on the Holy Spirit and see how he wants to guide us.”

Many times when Aliss and I have been ministering together – even to complete strangers that know nothing of the gospel – they are more than willing to engage in the process. After all, as I said, they are already impacted that somebody actually cares and they are working with you.

So if it helps, you can say things like, “Let’s expect things to improve and see what God wants to do next – this might take time” Keep your eyes and heart open and treat the person with love and respect.


6: BE OPEN AND TEACHABLE

We can learn from our mistakes, but only if we approach what we’re doing with humility and a teachable spirit. When reflecting on times of healing ministry that don’t seem to be bearing fruit, keep thanking God for what he is doing (both in you and through you) but also talk to the Holy Spirit about what you are NOT seeing. “What’s the blockage?” “What is stopping this healing from coming?”

Aliss does a whole workshop session on ‘blockages to healing’ and we have also produced a video episode on this training portal on the same subject, plus there is a very helpful chapter on this in her book ‘How to be Healed and Stay Healed’. So always ask the Holy Spirit for discernment or direction if the supernatural healing flow seems to have stalled.

Ask the Holy Spirit if there is anything that you need to say or do differently next time.

How to Be Healed and Stay Healed by Aliss Cresswell


7: GET MENTORED!

And finally. you may benefit greatly from others who are more experienced and flowing in healing ministry than you are at the moment.

Spend time, if possible, with someone who is more mature than you in the ministry of healing and be mentored and discipled. Don’t pester them but be a blessing to them – hold their coat and learn! Keep practicing, read scripture and books on the subject and keep stepping out in faith – if your heart is right and you are a willing vessel your gift will grow and breakthrough will come!


…AND KEEP GOING!

So I hope that has encouraged all of you who are brave enough to step out in faith for healing for others. Don’t give up – but keep expecting miracles. Healing is an exciting but challenging area and we need all the encouragement and support we can get! That’s why here on Spirit Lifestyle we have lots of great resources that will encourage your faith for healing. Plus – you are not alone! We have many like-minded members who are on the journey with you. Why not come and check us out with a 7 day free trial? It might be just what you are looking for…

Other resources related to this article…

Here at Spirit Lifestyle we have some great spiritual resources.

About the Author: Rob Cresswell

Rob Cresswell avatar
Rob Cresswell along with his wife Aliss pioneer ministries which seek to engage all who are hungry for the things of the Spirit and demonstrate the love and power of God. After graduating from ministry school in 2006 they established a local church in their home town of Chester and several exciting outreach initiatives (known for salvations, healings and miracles) including a café, shop and B&B. Rob is the author of 'The Threefold Miracle Mandate', 'The Believer's Guide to Survival' and 'The Believer's Guide to Thriving'. Together they founded Spirit Lifestyle and continue to write, present, train and travel, spreading the gospel and pioneering Kingdom initiatives internationally.

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