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5. Laying On Of Hands

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In Your Bible Read This

Deuteronomy 34

Here Is Your Memory Verse

When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied. Acts 19.6

Afterwards Talk About This

Does the laying on of hands happen in your church? Is it something that happens formally such as when a Bishop comes or is it something that everyone does?

Something To Do Before Next Time

With the approval of your leaders, arrange to have a time when hands are laid upon each of you, to receive enabling for service, blessing or healing.

Written Diploma Work

Write two pages to describe when each of the different reasons for laying on of hands took place.

Meditate Word By Word On This Verse

Exodus 31, 1-6

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In Hebrews 6, 1-2 the writer says that there are six basic things that every believer, however young in faith, needs to know about, before going on to maturity.

  1. Repentance,
  2. Faith in God,
  3. Instruction about baptisms,
  4. The laying on of hands,
  5. The resurrection of the dead,
  6. And eternal judgement.

The laying on of hands is one of them, and that explains why it is something you will often see in prayer meetings and church services. You will find explanations of other foundations of our faith elsewhere in the course.

What Is Laying On Of Hands?

You can say that the laying on of hands is an act of service one to another that takes place when one person places his hand or both hands upon the body of another person for a definite spiritual purpose. Normally the person receiving the laying on of hands will be prayed for, or prophesied over at the same time. Sometimes a group of believers will gather around someone in need and they will all lay hands on him or her.

Where Do We Find This In The Bible?

In fact, the laying on of hands is one of the most ancient blessings known to the people of God. There are records of it way back in the earliest of days.

A Separation Unto Death

In the Old Testament the Israelites laid their hands on the heads of animals before they were burned in order to transfer their sin to the animal sacrifice. Exodus 29,10; 29; 15; 19; Leviticus 1,1-5; 4.15; 8.4; 8.18; 22; 16.21; 24.14. Numbers 8,12; 2 Chron. 29.23;

Impartation Of A Prophetic Blessing

Jacob imparted a final prophetic blessing to his grandsons, Ephraim and Manasseh, by prayer and the laying on of hands., Genesis 48.14.

Commissioning Of A Leader

Moses laid hands on his assistant Joshua to impart authority and wisdom to him as the new leader of God’s people. Deuteronomy 34.9; Numbers 27, 15-23; Joshua 1, 16-17; Numbers 8,10; 27,23.

To Impart Healing

Jesus imparted healing by the laying on of hands. Elders would anoint with oil, lay their hands on the person and pray for healing. Believers can also impart healing by the laying on of hands. Mark 5.23; 6.5; 8.23-25; 16.18; Luke 4.40; 13.13; Acts 9.12-17; 28, 8-9, James 5, 14-16.

To Impart Blessing

Jesus especially loved to impart the blessing of God to little children. Matthew 9,13-15; Mark 10,13-16.

To Impart Peace

Jesus put his hand on John and said, “Do not be afraid.” Revelation 1.17.

To Impart The Holy Spirit

Believers in general, as well as leaders, were involved in imparting the baptism of the Holy spirit by the laying on of hands. Acts 8,14-24; 9,10-17; 19.6.

To Impart Spiritual Gifts

The gifts of grace from Jesus were transmitted by the Spirit of God through the laying on of hands. 1 Timothy 4.14; 2 Timothy 1.6; Romans 1.11.

To Set Missionaries Apart

In Acts 13, 1-4 Paul and Barnabas are set apart for missionary work by the laying on of hands, thus receiving a special anointing to carry out that work.

To Commission Church Workers

The commissioning of the seven administrators of the churches practical programmes in Acts 6, 1-6 also involved the laying on of hands by the apostles. The seven were already men of faith.

When Do You Lay Hands On?

Adequate time and great care should be taken before laying hands on new church workers, ministers or missionaries. The laying on of hands is the last and most public stage of a decision making process before the Lord. Obviously you do not want to choose the wrong person, who might easily bring ruin and division to the church. 1 Timothy 5.22.

What Happens When Hands Are Laid?

We are not talking about a ritual or a ceremony that happens in a church. That would just be empty hands being laid upon empty heads. It would have no value and would lack God’s approval. When leaders or believers lay hands on a man or a woman it is because they desire God to flow his Spirit and his grace through those hands in a time of ministry led by the Holy Spirit. Deuteronomy 34.9.

Watch Who Is Laying Hands On You

Because the transmission that takes place during the laying on of hands is so real, and so powerful, and because not only the Holy Spirit can be transmitted, take great care in who you allow to lay on hands on you. You should not allow anyone who might be involved with the occult or wilful sin to minister to you because there might be an impartation of evil spirit, which will disturb your life.

Ask God in a quick and quiet prayer from your heart, like Nehemiah did in Neh. 2.4, and quickly assess the character of the person wishing to lay hands on you. If you are not happy, politely decline the offer.

How Do Lay On Hands?

It could not be simpler because all you have to do is be an instrument of God’s blessing to the person concerned. The Holy Spirit will do everything else in response to your love, your willingness, your prayer and the willingness and openness of the person to receive.

To Close Pray for the World’s Most Unreached Peoples by Name

Taken from the Joshua Project Unreached Peoples List these people have no church and as yet no cell, church or mission has committed themselves to prayer, adoption or church planting among this people.


People Name Language Population
Aimaq, Jamshidi (Char Aimaq) Aimaq, Jamshidi 30,000
Aimaq, Timuri (Teymur, Timuri) Aimaq, Taimuri 181,000
Azerbaijani (Azeri) Azerbaijani, South 22,000,000
Balkan Rom Gypsy Romani, Balkan 24,000
Baluch, Southern Baluchi, Southern 405,000
Baluch, Western Baluchi, Western 29,000
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