So, some time ago I found a copy of John Wimber’s Power Healing (Harper San Francisco, 1987) for 25 cents. This seemed to me like a good deal, so I picked it up. Below are my thoughts.
God still heals today. Full stop.
The book is divided into three parts. The first part of the book is an apologetic for healing, intermingled with Wimber’s own personal story. If you have never heard or been exposed to Wimber’s story, then I highly recommend these pages. Part two documents Wimber’s understanding of the whys of God’s healing ministry—it is a lengthy record of the kinds of healing that God is in the business of doing today. In the third and final part (for me the most helpful), Wimber describes and recommends his five-step prayer model: interview, diagnosis, choosing how to pray, prayer, and follow-up. At the conclusion is a helpful and informative appendix in which David Lewis conducts a social-anthropological study of one of Wimber’s Signs and Wonders conferences.
If you, like me, have heard Wimber’s story before and are fully convinced of the presence of Divine Healing today, then portions of this book will be tiresome. The stories are still gripping, and their power does not diminish over time, but it’s never pleasurable to read a book only for the stories and skim the content (which is what I did for much of this volume). Another thing that’s worth observing is that this book is over 20 years old, and the climate of the church has changed in the meantime. I think (at least in my context) that people are far more accepting of the Spirit’s power today than they were when Wimber began his ministry. Because of this, some of Wimber’s apologetic has lost its power, and sections of the book where he documents the diversity of divine healing (parts 1 and 2) feel laborious. However, the final section of the book (containing Wimber’s prayer model) was insightful and relevant, and I appreciated his deconstruction of a prayer session.
Who should read this book
If you’re new to the Holy Spirit, then this book is a good introduction. Wimber’s style is easy and paternal, and you will find in him an apt teacher for the matters of the Spirit. Similarly, if you believe in the Spirit’s power but are looking for a little inspiration, then here is a pleasant resource which could ignite a little passion in your ministry. Lastly, if you are a person of prayer and have wondered how to go about praying for the sick, then the final section of this book is a must-read.
Similar books in this genre:
For more on the Holy Spirit and how He works still today, Jack Deere’s Surprised by the Power of the Spirit is a great book. In it he tells the story of his journey out from cessationism and into full belief in the Spirit’s power. Read this book especially if you’ve come from a background that is hostile to the Holy Spirit movements.
If you’re looking to be inspired, Jim Cymbala’s Fresh Wind Fresh Fire has some great stories and teaching about how we, as Christians, have to rely on God’s power.
Some quotes that stood out to me:
xviii – (Richard Foster) “[O]bedience to God’s word is the fundamental reason that I pray for the sick and receive prayer personally, even when I do not see healing as a result of those prayers.”
49 – God to Wimber, “Preach my word, not your experience.”
64 – “Physical problems are the least complex illnesses to pray for.”