In Acts 19:10-12, Luke narrates how God did special or extraordinary healing miracles through Paul,
11God did extraordinary miracles through Paul, 12so that even handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him were taken to the sick, and their illnesses were cured and the evil spirits left them.
Those who are familiar with healing and deliverance ministry understand the significance of touch and how the anointing can be released through touch.
On one hand, we can look at this scripture and say: “well, this was specific to Paul as a healing method and nothing is said about its generalizability to other ministers”. They would recall when a dead body was thrown into a cave in which Elisha had been laid and the dead one came back to life on contact with Elisha’s corpse (2 Kings 13:20, 21). Surely, we would not introduce that as a general form of ministry, would we?
However, there are other precedents that seem to me to permit this form of healing ministry. Elisha (2 Kings 4:29) had his servant, Gehazi, take his staff to lay on the face of a dead boy for healing (although unsuccessful in that instance). Most important though, the woman with the issue of blood was healed by touching the hem of Jesus’ garment.
Clearly it is not the cloth itself that heals, but the Holy Spirit’s anointing from the individual that impregnates the cloth. With these examples, I suggest this is a viable method of ministering and receiving healing today. However, as practiced today, this method is dramatically unsuccessful or at best, “hit-and-miss”. Why?
I believe the major reason is that we have little understanding in our churches about who has what kind of anointing, calling or gifting in any area. We just gather around en masse, lay hands on the cloths and send them out “on a hope and a prayer”. It is almost ritual now.
As an aside, I have been in meetings where twenty believers gather around a sick person and begin to pray. This irritates me, quite honestly. That is dignifying sickness and ascribing importance to the demonic activity behind some sicknesses. Why are twenty Christians needed to pray for healing for one person? Am I the only one to whom this seems ridiculous? The Greater One lives in us, doesn’t He? If one Christian can change a light bulb, one believing Christian should be able to pray successfully for a sick person’s healing.
Anyway, back to anointing cloths. What would it take to have a better success rate? Teaching and recognition of spiritual gifts…much more of it. Are we an army? Yes, but an army of specialists. Pilots fly planes, tank drivers drive tanks, engineers build bridges. This is important. You have this gift, I have another. Those who have this gifting and success in it should be doing it, not everyone. We just don’t operate like an army and so become largely ineffectual in warfare, particularly when contending for healing.
To conclude, I suggest that anointing cloths are a method by which God heals. Trained and anointed ministers in this area can have great results that glorify God and get the sick healed. Please tell us about your own experiences in this area.