Does Prayerful Healing Actually Happen?

To say that it had been a long day would be an understatement.

I was going through some training where they fire hosed us with information all weekend long.

By Saturday night, my brain was overloaded.

Let’s add some seasonal allergies and a throbbing headache to the mix.

I was fried.



The responsible adult decision would have been to politely bow out of the final four-hour session of the night and get notes from someone else in the morning when I was coherent enough to receive them.

But fear and people-pleasing tendencies kept me present—physically at least.

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Right before the session started, I counted hours since I last took an Advil and decided it was close enough I could take a little more. Not that it’d do much—the afternoon dose had just barely taken the edge off.

I swallowed one more Advil and choked out a desperate prayer:

Jesus, You’re going to have to do something.”

Mere minutes later the speaker started his session with a simple question, “Who here has a headache?”

I’m pretty sure my hand has never gone in the air that fast.

Where I’m from, it’s not uncommon for speakers to ask such questions at the beginning of a talk to figure out how their audience is doing.

Then the speaker moves on and says something relieving like “Then I’ll make this quick” (and rarely does).

Yeah, that’s not what happened.

Instead he said,

If your hand’s in the air, come up to the front.”

Well, crap.

My hand was in the air as high as I could hold it.

My team knew I felt like junk.

So up to the front I went.

Under the bright stage lights that only made my head worse I stood while the speaker invited non-aching members of the audience to pray over those of us in pain.

That’s when reality hit of where I was and what could be about to go down.

I was at Adventures in Missions.

For the first time.

I’d just come on staff. I sat in an office re-writing stories from World Racers on the field praying over people and seeing limbs grow, pain vanish, and dead live.

I told the stories. I didn’t live them. The World Race wasn’t even in my future yet.

I knew what I could be about to experience.

And my head hurt too badly to want to learn anything new.

Fear took over.

So I made it look like I was deep into my worship, hands in the air and everything—who’s going to bother the girl with a headache still worshipping her heart out, right?

On the inside, I was arguing with Jesus.

I was giving Him a list of things I didn’t want to experience.

My worship decoy worked for a few minutes.

Until a woman grabbed my outstretched hands.

I jumped out of my skin, startled and terrified.

She asked permission to do the one thing I’d forgotten to mention in the desperate no-no list I gave Jesus: anoint me with oil.

I didn’t know what that meant nor did I know how to say no so my face must have told her it was ok.

She touched my forehead, held my hands, prayed, and left.

I breathed a sign of relief. That was over.

Except for the whole new set of questions that rolled around in my head:

Now what?
I’ve been prayed over, so should I sit down?
But my head still hurts, so should I stay?
The lights hurt too, so should I sit down?
What if I get called out for doing it wrong?
What are the rules? I don’t even know how this works!

Before I made a decision, I was being touched again.

This time it was sweaty arms around my neck and a prayer being whispered in my ear.

I took comfort in it.

It was soothing to my torn up soul.

And all too soon it was over.

He walked away.

But then he turned back, mere inches from my face, and asked me a question,

“How’s your headache?”

“Better,” I said. It was the truth.

But is it gone?”

“Yes,” I said—knowing that was the answer he wanted to hear.

“Go sit down.”

I breathed a sigh of relief and ran to my seat.

It was over.

I’d survived.

With only one little three-letter lie to get me back to the safety of my seat.

Or at least I thought it was a lie.

The truth is: I don’t know if my headache was gone or not in that moment.

It was definitely better.

But gone?

Tough to say.

Until a few hours later when the session ended and we were released for the night.

Was that last hour not painful?” someone vented.

“I left halfway through,” someone else said. “I just couldn’t take it anymore.”

I looked back and forth between them bewildered.

No, the last couple hours had actually been my best all day.

I could take it.

I wanted more.

I was actually disappointed it was over.

For the first time all weekend, I wanted to keep listening, keep learning.

For the first time all day, my headache was gone.

More gone than one Advil could have done.

Jesus had answered my desperate prayer: He did something.

Not just something for that night.

But something that changed my entire life.

God heals.

Sometimes by Advil. Sometimes by prayer. Sometimes by both.

Does it really matter how He does it?

He came through.

Always has. Always will.

Have you ever experienced prayerful healing? I’d love to hear your story in the comments.