Wimber’s 5 Step Healing Prayer Model


Why pray for the sick? Because God wants to heal them! Matt 6:10 ‘He gave the disciples authority to drive out evil spirits and to heal every disease and sickness’ – and he wants us to do the same.

Mark 16:17,18 ‘ And these signs will accompany all who believe…they will place their hands on sick people and they will get well’

The 5 step healing model – and it is only one model, not a preset formula- was developed by John Wimber to teach people to pray and to take away some of the mysteries surrounding praying for people and the misconception that only leaders or really holy people can pray. It parallels the way Jesus taught his disciples to pray and how he prayed himself.

Learning to pray for the sick can be frightening and it’s important to try it out in a place where you feel safe and you know that it’s OK to get it wrong, make mistakes and feel foolish. As long as the person you are praying for feels loved and cared for, they’ll be OK.

Just because someone else has always done it and you’ve sat back and watched doesn’t mean you can’t take risks – remember the more we give away whether it’s gifts, skills, material possessions or time, the more we receive from God!

Luke 6:38 …Give and it will be given to you, a good measure pressed down and running over will be poured into your lap.’

“Our job is to obey, God’s job is to heal, so we can’t fail!!” John Wimber

Step 1 The Interview

Before you start, if you don’t know the person, introduce yourself and find out their name ( and try to remember it!)

The purpose of the interview is to answer the question ‘Where does it hurt’ or ‘What would you like me to pray for?’

When Jesus prayed for Blind Bartimaeus he asked what seemed like an obvious question ‘What do you want me to do for you’ Mk 10:46-52.

While they are replying you need to listen on two levels – the natural and the supernatural. It’s not a medical interview and you don’t need all the gory details, but as they talk it gives you time to listen to what God is saying to you about that person.

Sometimes what God wants to do has nothing to do with the physical healing they were asking for! Wimber quotes ‘it’s more important to know what kind of person has the bug than what kind of bug has the person’ It’s more important to have details about the person and their relationship with God than technical medical details.

The goal is to leave the person feeling more loved by God than before they were prayed for.

Respect the person, if you see someone standing obviously wanting prayer and you can’t pray, attract the attention of someone else, it’s very lonely standing waiting and often people go away disheartened because they weren’t noticed.

Step 2 Diagnosis

This is about identifying the root of the person’s problem.

There is an overlap here with step 1. This is where you are asking God for words of knowledge, visions, bible verses, insights to help you decide the type of prayer that is needed to help answer the question:

Why do they have this condition?

There are a number of reasons why people may need help:

(a) natural causes – disease, accident

(b) sin – committed by them or to them

(c) emotional hurts causing physical or other pain

(d) relationship problems – lack of forgiveness

(e) supernatural – may be demonic

They may be telling you one thing and God telling you something else! Ask questions tactfully e.g. is there a situation in the past where someone has hurt you and it’s hard to forgive them? Rather than sharply– who is it you can’t forgive?

Lack of forgiveness and bitterness and resentment can be the cause of physical illness and until they forgive their physical healing may not be released.

As they are talking to you, keep asking God for help – praying in tongues (inside your head) can help you to open up channels so that you can hear from God John Wimber calls it putting up your spiritual antennae. Keep your eyes open!!

Step 3 Prayer Selection

Deciding what to pray

What kind of prayer shall I pray to help this person?

This follows on from what God has told you in the diagnosis

Start by asking the Holy Spirit to come and to minister to the person – this helps them become receptive, especially if they can tangibly feel His presence.

At this point you may want to share what God has told you – a vision, a word of knowledge, bible verse – or it may be appropriate to hold back and share later.

Two main areas that need prayer regularly:

1. Body

(a) Lay hands on the person appropriately

(b) Ask for God to heal the area of the body

(c) God may lead you to:

(i) make a command of faith as in Acts 3:6 ‘In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk’

(ii) make a pronouncement of faith Jesus said ‘You may go, your son will live’ John 4:50

2. Past hurts

Often these people need to extend forgiveness to others so that God will forgive them and they can receive His forgiveness. They may not always be prepared to do so, if not, just bless them and move on. There may also be a great deal of anger and this needs dealing with and forgiveness sought for.

A word on the demonic – if it’s really a demon you’ll know. Just remember that we have been given the authority of Jesus and they cannot harm us. We can break their power and command them to leave just as Jesus did. Often what people think are demons manifesting is just peoples hurt coming out. Read up on the subject, but if you meet and you’re unsure either dial down and tell them to come back at another time or seek help.

Step 4 Prayer Engagement

When you invite the Holy Spirit to come, it’s likely that there will be physical signs of his presence. These signs do not need to be present for God to work and to heal, and even if they are present it doesn’t mean that God will heal, but it does mean that the person is very aware of and often reassured by God’s presence.


– Shaking – sometimes violent, may be just one part of the body

– Drunkenness/euphoria often following new appreciation of God’s grace/love/wonder at his pardon

– Jumping up and down

– Laughter – new sense of God’s grace, healing of the spirit after some traumatic experience

– Sobbing – new depths of appreciation of God’s holiness, or healing of terrible hurts

– Slight trembling

– Fluttering of eyelids

– Deep breathing

– Faint perspiring

– Weight on chest

– Heaviness in the air

– Peaceful calm look on their face

– Having said all that, the Holy Spirit is more interested in the internal that the external. Often nothing happens and people get healed.

Do ask people what is happening – you won’t disturb what God is doing and it may lead to further prayer. Or, you may be really encouraged by what they say.

If you are being prayed for, do tell the person praying for you if anything that they have said or done has helped – we all need encouragement.

When do you stop?

When they indicate that it’s over

When you believe that God has told you to

When you run out of things to pray

when nothing is happening

If you are stopping, you can indicate this to the person by removing your hand, speaking to them. It’s not always wise to move away if they’re engaged with God, check with them.

Step 5 Post prayer direction

What should they do to keep their healing?

John 5:14 To a man that he had just healed Jesus said ‘ stop sinning or something worse may happen to you’ or ‘Go and sin no more’

Encourage them to spend time with God, stay involved with their church, or get involved with small groups etc

If physical healing to check with their doctor and certainly not to discontinue medication no matter how well they feel – it needs to be confirmed

What if they’re not healed?

Just reassure them that God loves them and encourage them to keep on asking and assure them that God doesn’t react with ‘Oh no, not you again!’ He encourages us to ask and keep on asking Matt. 7:7

And finally:

Treat people as you would like to be treated. Protect their dignity.

We can’t heal, only God can. We are only his instruments, if He doesn’t do, it’s his responsibility and he’s big enough to carry it.


‘After all, God can give you everything that you need so that you may always have sufficient both for yourselves and for giving away to other people’. II Cor 9:8 JBP


Remember this is a model, not a formula. Use it as a guide when you’re not sure what to do!

Step 1 The Interview

Where does it hurt or what would you like me to pray for?

Introduce yourself

Natural level – what can you see?

Supernatural – ask God for Words of Knowledge, discernment, visions, words

It’s not a medical interview- get the facts

Move to the next stage when ready – you know the cause, God tells you do

Step 2 The Diagnosis

Why do they have this condition?

Natural causes – disease, accident

Sin – committed by them or against them

Emotional hurts causing physical or other pain

Relationship problems – lack of forgiveness

Supernatural – may be demonic

Keep asking for God’s help – useful to pray in tongues

Ask them questions if appropriate.

Step 3 Prayer Selection

What kind of prayer shall I pray to help this person?

Ask the Holy Spirit to come and minister to the person

Body – lay on hands and ask for God to heal

Keep praying in the Spirit

Command of faith Acts 3:6

Pronouncement – of faith John 4:50

Demonic – rebuke(break their power) bind them(contain) expel (get rid)

Step 4 Prayer engagement

How are you doing?

Watch for the effects – keep your eyes open! Phenomenological signs (warmth,

tingling, shaking etc)

Ask questions – find out what God is doing

Stop when – they think it’s all over, the Spirit tells you it’s over, you’ve

run out of things to pray, when it’s going nowhere

Remove your hands, talk to them to indicate you are stopping

Step 5 Post prayer direction

What should they do to keep their healing? ‘Stop sinning’ John 5:14

Read their Bibles, spend time with God

Get involved or keep involved in the local church

Check with their doctor

And if they’re not healed…

Reassure them that God loves them and encourage them to keep on asking and get more prayer!