HEALING OF THE BODY
The most common idea of Christian Healing is seen as the healing of the body. While it is the focus of most healing, it is only a part of the scheme of wholeness that God intends for His people. We must hold physical healing as one part of the total ministry of healing to which He has called us. While it is an important part of healing, it is just a part.
Agnes Sanford saw four different approaches to the ministry of physical healing.
Evangelical - The reading of healing Scriptures to the sick person so that they might hear and receive the healing power of the Bible.
Sacramental - The use of the Laying on of Hands or the Anointing with Oil. The use of both come through Biblical as well as Historical practice, and are used interchangeably in some traditions. In other traditions, anointing might be reserved for clergy only. (See tract on LOH and Anointing)
Metaphysical - Metaphysical practice uses visualization of the answered prayer. Jesus said, "..believe that you have received it, and it will be yours." Mk 11:24 Metaphysical refers to reality that is beyond the physical senses. It is neither Christian nor non Christian. It is the unseen realm in which there are spiritual powers affecting the physical world.
Intercessory - Intercession is that practice that we see illustrated by the four who bring the paralytic to Jesus on a stretcher, who even tore a hole in the roof of the house in order to bring him completely into the presence of Jesus.
The intent of each of the methods is to bring those who are sick into contact with the Healing Christ. He comes to us through the Scriptures, incarnate in human hands, or oil for anointing, through dream and vision, and through the prayers of His people. The method of His coming to us is not near so important as our will to receive Him and share His healing presence with others who are in need.
WHAT DO WE SEEK IN HEALING
The practice of Christian Healing stems from our intent to obey Jesus Christ as He sends us to Proclaim the Kingdom of God, to Heal the Sick, and to Cast Out Demons. It rests on the reality of Jesus' will for us to know Him and know His will for us is wholeness. (See tract on What is Christian Healing)
Wholeness is more than physical healing, but it includes physical healing. It includes all that is needed to bring us into His plan for our life, and to enable us to live out that life with Him. That requires physical as well as other forms of healing.
When we minister healing to others, we seek to act in obedience to what He tells us to do; and trust Him to manifest His love to and through His people. All people may not be healed to our satisfaction when we pray for them, but many are. It is our task to obey. It is God's love that heals.
BLOCKS TO HEALING
There are many blocks to healing. It may be that we are praying for the wrong thing. It may mean that one for whom we pray does not will wholeness on God's terms. There may be other conditions we do not know, and we are to deal with those first. (See tract on Blocks to Healing)
It may be that our group is not of one accord in our effort to bring the person to Jesus. It may be that we are seeking to get God to do it our way rather than His. It may be that we have an agenda of our own rather than being able to pray as we have been taught, "Thy will be done on earth as in heaven - nothing more, nothing less, nothing else." (See tracts on Intercession and Soaking Prayer)
The two greatest blocks to healing are unforgiveness or that we do not remember to pray at all. The practice of the healing ministry is to learn to habitually forgive others and offer to God those whom He has laid on our hearts. He loves them more than we, and He seeks their wholeness as His children to live out their lives in His love. (See tracts on Forgiveness and Rule of Life)
A lot of the ministry of healing today is through a healing service, or by hospital visitation, but healing ministry must also be available for people who are not in hospitals, and need more time for prayer than the few minutes at a healing service. We must move beyond the healing service to meet the needs of the people to whom we are sent by Christ.
The Commission is clearly given to the Apostolic Church. If we are to be a part of that Church, we must see and accept the Commission that we have been given. We are to ask the questions of what obedience means, and answer them in terms of our own obedience to Jesus Christ.
1. Are we prepared to go to those to whom Jesus sends us with His message of healing love?
2. Are we prepared to extend the ministry of laying on hands and/or anointing as we seek to bring the healing power of Jesus to bear on their dis ease?
3. Are we prepared to simply BE with them as the presence of the Risen Lord who comes to them in our flesh?
Are we prepared to love them and listen to them unload their fears and guilts and pray with them through those things that enhance the dis ease?
5. Are we prepared to intercede for them on our prayer chains, in our prayer groups, and in our prayer closets, to hold them in the presence of God's healing love?
6. Are we prepared to find others who will form prayer teams with us to increase the effectiveness of our healing ministry in Christ Jesus? (See tract on Healing Teams and Prayer Groups)
1. Role play going into a hospital room to call on one
who has been told they are terminally ill. Let one person be the patient, and the other two the callers. Discuss some of the feelings that you had as the patient and as the callers. Can you learn to do calling without actually calling on someone who is sick?
2. If there is anyone in the group who is in need of prayer for serious illness, practice soaking prayer. Let the group simply lay hands on that person and hold them in the presence of God, as they visualize God's love surrounding them. Discuss the experience. What did God reveal to you while you visualized the person in His presence?
3. Select some of the healing Scriptures, and read them to someone who is need of healing. (Be sure to ask the person if they mind your reading the Bible to them. God does not impose His Word of love.) What was the response that you received from the person?
4. As a group, ask God for whom you are to pray, and how to pray for them. Intercede for the persons as you believe God has led you to pray. How comfortable were you as an intercessory group seeking to BE the Body of Christ, Who is the Intercessor for the world?
5. Practice laying hands on anyone present who has some need for healing. Practice anointing those who need healing. How comfortable were you ministering to them? Continue to practice the above so you might be at ease as the flesh that Jesus has elected to use to reach out and touch and heal those for whom He has died.To Fr Al's Main Page