BEYOND A HEALING SERVICE
I have talked to a number of people, both laity and clergy, about Christian Healing only to face the statement, "Oh, we already have a healing service in our church." That is one step beyond a lot of churches, but it is not necessarily a full expression of the healing ministry. It may be an effort to fulfill the commission to heal without having to put fort the effort.
I suppose God can do anything He chooses through any means He chooses as long as it is in love. He can work through the healing service to do it all; but my experience says that there is more than a service.
Difficult Alternatives at a Service
An altar rail or a prayer line is not the proper place for a Confession, but there are times when Confession is the first ministry needed in someone's healing. We must make a way for them to find and use that ministry.
There are some things that cannot be done in a brief time at an altar rail. There is no opportunity to use soaking prayer at a service where there are people waiting for prayer ministry. Soaking prayer takes time, and it cannot be rushed. It requires that we sit, or stand, or kneel with a person as we hold them in the presence of the risen Christ for His love to do its work within them.
As a result, soaking prayer is a type of prayer that is seldom practiced in the average parish, with or without a healing service. We learn about prayer through practicing prayer, just as we learn to walk by walking, and we learn to talk by talking, and we learn to love by loving. When we are willing to take the time, amazing things happen.
A friend of mine who had a young daughter with scoliosis was asked by another friend if they might try soaking prayer with her. They spent a half hour with the child, holding her in the healing presence of Jesus. On the day they ministered that prayer, she grew a half inch. Later when they asked all of their friends to pray for Sarah on the same day with the same sort of prayer that held her in the presence of Jesus for an extended period of time, she grew three quarters of an inch.
Healing services are good to have, but we must get beyond the healing service to use all of the tools of ministry we have been given to use in the service of the Healing Christ. There must be time to talk and time to pray, if we are going to use them all.
While we can pray for the healing of memories in a brief time, we cannot do justice to the ministry without time to sit and talk and listen and pray about how to pray. Then we need the time to invite Jesus into those places in the past where there are emotional scars that need to be healed by His presence.
It takes time to invite Him to reveal Himself to the little (or big for that matter) people within us, who have perceived that they have been hurt, who failing to know the presence of Jesus, perceived that they were alone with no one to comfort them. It takes time to enable the people to go back to those places where they recorded perceived trauma in their memory record so they might release it, and begin to move on with a freedom, from reacting to the past.
It takes time to enable someone to go back into the past experiences where there is hate and unforgiveness, to allow them to forgive those to whom they are tied with the bondage of resentment In order to be freed from those records of perception, they must be free to return to forgive the others and themselves, to break and release the unforgiveness, and to allow Jesus to bring His healing love into the situation.
In my own experience it was not at one of the many healing services that I attended and even led; where I was prayed over by a variety of people; that I was set free. It was in a chapel where there was an intercessor who had the time to listen and to pray as she was led by the Spirit to allow Jesus to go back in time to heal the little boy whose family was coming apart at the seams, while he cried in helpless frustration. It was in that time of prayer that Jesus was able to come to the little boy to comfort him, and set him free from his insecurity that had plagued him throughout his life up to that point.
Healing services are good, but they are not normally where deliverance is done. I agree with Tommy Tyson. Doing deliverance in public is like doing open heart surgery in the halls of the hospital. There has been a lot of deliverance done inadvertently at healing services when prayer for healing was administered; but when that occurs, we should then make sure that there is a follow-up ministry to the person who experienced the deliverance.
When I am involved in ministering deliverance, I like to be in a place that has been prayed in a great deal, because prayer seems to sanctify space that we use. I like to have one, but no more than two other people with me for discernment and prayer support.
It has been my experience that when there are more people, it is easy for the devil to bring confusion into what we are trying to do. When there are few, it is easier for us to maintain the unity of the Spirit. Our power does not come from numbers and volume. It comes from the Name of Jesus, the power of His Blood, and the power of His Holy Cross.
I have seen any number of people who have been to a healing service only to find out that they were dealing with some oppressive spirit; and then they had to be taken to another place to pursue the deliverance ministry. If we are going to be in the healing ministry, we need to become aware of the full scope of what Jesus is asking us to do as His Body in the world.
Healing services are good, but they can sometimes stand between us and the full expression of Christian healing if we are not prepared to go beyond the healing service. We are to pursue that wholeness God intends for us in Jesus Christ our Lord. We are not in a position to refer everyone with whom we don't feel comfortable. There is no one to whom we can refer them except Jesus; and we are the incarnation of His presence in this world.
Preparing to Grow in Ministry
That is one of the purposes of the Order of St. Luke. We are here to fill in the gaps of the healing ministry. We are here to learn what it is to place ourselves in God's hands that He might work through us His healing presence - not simply at a healing service where people come for a prayer or to be anointed, but in those times and places when He calls for ministry beyond the healing service to set His people free.
There are tracts and study guides in the San Antonio office that will help anyone get acquainted with Confession, the Healing of Memories, and Spiritual Warfare. New material for study is being prepared. Sharing magazine keeps us up to date on the new tracts and books when they become available. It is hoped that the tracts might have enough basic information to enable those who are interested to get started with the ministries. There are books available through the International Library when you find an area of ministry you would like to pursue in depth.
I recall a time that I was asked to bless a cross. We were standing in the Parish house at our church, and the lady asked that it be blessed at the altar. Her friend said, "God can bless it here as well as there. We don't need to go over there."
The answer Abba gave me was, "I can bless it as well there as here, and that is where I want you to go."
It is certain that God can do anything, anywhere, as long as it is in accord with His love; but if we are seeking Him, in love, we need to seek Him, and let Him call the shots. God can heal everyone at a healing service. God can heal everyone without a healing service; but the truth is that He often asks us to seek Him at a healing service. When we have found Him there, He may well ask us to go beyond the healing service to find His touch in a more particular and special way.
We must be prepared to learn to spend the time to seek Him where He wants us to be His healing presence for others - Beyond the Healing Service.
To Fr Al's Main Page