Q. There’s a man in my church (Southern Baptist) who knows when someone is hurting in a particular area of their body. He can announce to the group that someone has a pain in some area of the body and when someone acknowledges that pain and wants prayer for healing he prays for them and the pain goes away right then. He claims to get pain in the same part of his body and that’s how he knows that someone else is hurting too. How do you explain this to the church and where is the scripture to back up what is going on? This man says sometimes God reveals who is hurting to him but not very often. Is this biblical?
A. First, we must remember that the Bible encourages believers to come forward for healing prayer, and promises that we can be healed (James 5:14-15). And it also says that some believers are invested with the gift of healing (1 Cor. 12:9). But the power of suggestion and the desire for attention are very strong influences and can make people unwitting accomplices to a sham.
There are several things you can look for as evidence to either support or challenge the person’s claims. 1. Is the prayer offered in the name of Jesus? 2. Does Jesus get all the credit for the healing? 3. Are you able to confirm people really had the pain before the prayer and that they were actually healed because of it? 4. Is the person successful in healing people when he doesn’t know in advance what their problem is? 5. Does this only involve “aches and pains” or are people also healed from more serious diseases? 6. Are there people with the gift of discernment in the congregation who are troubled by this?
These are just examples of things to look for, and any one of them may or may not be conclusive. You’re looking for the weight of evidence as much as a specific proof. You’re not putting this person on trial, but being the leader of the congregation it’s important for you to verify his claims for the good of the body (1 Thes. 5:21, 1 John 4:1).