What is the Gift of Healing?

Donn Saylor

In certain Christian circles, the gift of healing is defined as the healing powers given to an individual by God. Among the various methods of healing, this gift is widely considered supernatural in origin and relies heavily on the faith of both the practitioner and the recipient. Sometimes referred to as faith healing, the gift of healing is thought to cure physical, emotional, and spiritual ailments.

The power of prayer may help in the healing process.
The power of prayer may help in the healing process.

On a basic level, healing refers to the restoration of the body, mind, or spirit to its natural state of health. According to some Christians, the gift of healing can be transmitted by God to select believers. The healing, then, comes about through various mystical means, divined by the hand of God and delivered through the conduit of the practitioner.

Reading passages in the Bible may help in the healing process.
Reading passages in the Bible may help in the healing process.

Several Bible verses are often cited as providing the basis and theory for the gift of healing. There are passages in 1 Corinthians, for example, that state that God may manifest himself in one person for the benefit of all people. A chapter in the book of James refers to the power of prayer and faith to bring about miraculous healing. The books of Mark, Luke, and Acts contain stories of spiritual healing in action.

Individuals imbued with the gift of healing can undertake any number of actions to facilitate the healing process. Prayer is the most common. They might also heal through speech, relaying the messages of God to remedy a condition, or perform an act traditionally referred to as a laying-on of hands. This is considered a divine form of healing touch, in which the recipient of the gift of healing lays his or her hands on the afflicted individual and thereby initiates the healing process.

This method of healing works differently on everyone. Believers stress that it is not the gifted individual choosing whether to heal the sick person; it is God. Just as Jesus did not heal all those in pain or suffering while he was alive, afflicted individuals are commonly reminded that the choice of healing is ultimately left up to God. The practitioner is only the vessel through which the divine works.

Those empowered with the gift of healing employ the practice in a number of settings. They predominantly work in churches and other religious organizations and routinely visit sick patients in the hospital or in long-term care facilities. Some operate healing ministries, meeting with individuals in need of divine intervention.

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