In informal conversations with cessationists, I've heard claims to the effect that the gift of healing is fundamentally different from just praying for a sick person to get healed. That someone with the gift of healing should be able to just lay their hands on a sick person and pretty much get them healed instantly, almost at will, like Jesus and the Apostles did in many occasions, whereas praying for someone to get healed follows a different approach and could possibly take hours, days, months of intercessory prayer, and if the person does get healed it doesn't mean that you have the gift of healing per se -- it just means that God answered your prayer, just like He would anyone else's, if it is His will to do so.

Are there any Christian groups or denominations that make a distinction between the gift of healing and just praying for the sick to get healed? What role does their interpretation of Mark 16:17-18 play in this distinction?

  • 1
    +1 You may want to add how they interpret Mark 16:17-18: "And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover." Commented Sep 8, 2021 at 14:15
  • @GratefulDisciple - Good suggestion. Question edited accordingly.
    – user50422
    Commented Sep 8, 2021 at 14:18

1 Answer 1


The church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints make a distinction between the two. There are at least two powers that can be used in healing:


We know that the prayer of faith, uttered alone or in our homes or places of worship, can be effective to heal the sick.1


... healing blessings involving the power of the priesthood. ...

Many scriptures teach that the servants of the Lord “shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover” (Mark 16:18). Miracles happen when the authority of the priesthood is used to bless the sick.1

In regards to both:

... we must always remember that faith and the healing power of the priesthood cannot produce a result contrary to the will of Him whose priesthood it is.1

1 Healing the Sick, Dallin H Oaks

See also Healing, History

A small note, the gift of healing is noted as a gift of the spirit, but those without this gift are not excluded from healing. Askgramps (an unofficial LDS Q&A site) provides some clarification on the distinction:

...if someone has been blessed with the gift to heal, will their blessing have more power than someone who hasn’t? If I may, I would like to change one word and that word in this question is “powerful.” A powerful blessing is a blessing that is given by the Spirit from a worthy priesthood holder, no matter what spiritual gifts this person has. The power of a blessing is based upon the individual worthiness of the priesthood holder, not their gifts. With that said, I would like to change the word from “powerful” to “efficacy.”

If a blessing has more efficacy it will be a blessing that is more likely to produce the intended hope through our faith. Therefore, a blessing that is received by a person who has been blessed with the gift to heal will more likely produce the intended result with the caveat — according to the will and pleasure of the Lord.

Will a blessing then coming from a priesthood holder who has the gift to heal be more powerful then? No.

Will a blessing then coming from a priesthood holder who has the gift to heal have more efficacy? Yes, it is more likely this blessing will produce the intended results of our hope through our faith in Christ, assuming it is the Lord’s will.

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