6th October 2017

Praying for Healing


And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham
whom Satan bound for eighteen long years, be set free
from this bondage on the sabbath day?
~ Luke 13:16 ~
Praying for healing is not straightforward. People of
Jesus’ time understood and explained illness in a way
that can appear foreign to us. Many of our scientific
ideas, and history of poor practice in healing ministry,
can prevent our engagement with this kind of prayer.
In addition, most of us have been taught to notice the
physical healing that Jesus offers, and yet within most of
these stories there are multiple layers of healing. The
short text from Luke above indicates that, for Jesus, this
healing involved several components:
l affirmation, calling her a daughter of Abraham,
granting her equality with men
l reassurance that neither she nor her family were
personally responsible for her ill health, by
explaining in the terms of the culture of the time
that Satan had bound her
l freedom from restrictive social and religious legalism
that said that such healing could not be done on the
Sabbath
... and so health is brought by challenging the lawmakers.
Her status in the community is restored, and
through her physical healing she has purpose again and
is enabled to play a useful role.
These features accord well with some recognised current
healthcare policies here in Scotland. First, that poverty is
a major block to health. Second, that finding purpose and
a role in a community is a significant component for
health. The work of many churches to provide social
care that offers companionship, meaning and focus for many isolated
people is part of the continuing healing
tradition of the gospel, as much as integrating the kind of
prayer practices described below.
Connecting
There is a great comfort in knowing someone else is
praying for you. Offer to pray for someone daily, at the
same time, for a period like a week or a month. You can
invite them to join in, tuning in with you and with God.
Healing Light
Imagine God’s healing light in whatever part of the body
is injured, and picture the body well and full of life.
And/or light a candle and concentrate on the flame. Let
its light speak to you of the healing light of God that
surrounds and is within us all.
Sharing closeness of God
Sometimes when we pray, all the possible negative
outcomes of the situation come tumbling through our
minds. In order to keep your mind focused on the beauty
and wonder of God, try remembering a moment when
you experienced God close to you – a particular moment
in a church, a favourite place, a sunrise or sunset.
Remember – and then imagine the person you are
praying for and bring them into this remembrance of the
wonder of God’s love.
Using our hands
We all know that a gentle touch of a hand at the right
moment can bring the reality of love close. You can do
this for yourself.
Place your hands over the parts of your body that are
suffering and concentrate on God’s love, or repeat a
Bible verse to yourself. If it seems appropriate to do this
for another person, check with them that they are happy
for you to put a hand on them and make sure by keeping your eyes open
initially, to see if they are truly relaxed
with your hands on them.
Music
Music can bring healing; prayer can be singing. Sing a
song for the person for whom you are praying, either
with them or as you remember them. For yourself, work
out what music you experience as prayerful and set aside
time to let the music speak to you of the ever-present
reality of God’s healing love.
Praying with others
There may be occasions when one or two of you from
your church are invited to visit someone who is ill. You
can use any of the above suggestions. A vital ingredient
in most healing is relaxation and calm for all involved,
while keeping your heart and mind focused on God.
Prepare by asking yourselves what will help you to
create a ‘healing space’ where the love of God can
surround you all with peace.
Another way of praying in twos or threes is for two of
you to pray silently for the third person – listening,
waiting upon God for a few minutes without words. Any
of you may find coming into your mind a text, a word, a
picture, like a message from God. Offer the ‘message’
without any interpretation. Through this, God can open
doors, sometimes even to old hurts and painful
memories. As you speak and pray about them, commit
the situation into God’s hands. There can be much
release, forgiveness and healing. Take turns to pray for
one another and be prepared to be surprised by God.
Written by JENNY WILLIAMS
Author of Why Health Matters for Ministry
(available online; type these terms into a search engine
‘Church of Scotland Why Health Matters’)


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