A Ministry of Healing and Wholeness
by Pastor Lee Cunningham, Order of Saint Luke
Have you ever heard this one?
“The doctors have done everything they can. All we can do now is pray.”
This statement reflects an unfortunate attitude (shared by more Christians than we’d probably want to admit) that prayer is a last resort rather than a primary resource in dealing with disorders of the body, mind, spirit, or relationships.
We of St. Paul’s Healing Ministry see things differently: prayer for healing is an important component of wellness.
In a society that often defines health only by the state of one's physical condition, the noted Christian author, Albert E. Day, reminds us that health is "the combination of harmonious relationships, spiritual vitality, psychological maturity, and physical wellness."
We are well aware that "poor health" can be experienced not only physically, but also in our emotional state, in our relationships with others and our relationship with God. Because of the healing ministry of Christ we know it is God's desire to touch and heal brokenness in every area of our lives.
What is the purpose of the Healing Ministry?
When Jesus sent his disciples out two by two (Luke 9:1-2), he commanded them to "teach, preach, and heal" in his Name.. We believe that Jesus' command was meant not only for the early church but also for the church today. (John 14:12-14) It is our desire to provide intentional prayer for healing as a regular part of our church life. We do this out of obedience to Christ and out of compassion for others.
When we use the phrase "prayers for healing", we are referring to using the spiritual therapy called "prayer" in the process of healing the whole person (body, mind, spirit, and relationships). God also uses medicine and psychiatry in healing, but these alone often overlook the spiritual dimension in healing. We are spiritual beings having human experiences. We need all types of healing from time to time.
Who are the people who make up the prayer teams?
The people who serve on the prayer teams are lay and clergy members of the Church community who believe that the Spirit of Christ is alive and able to touch people today just as Christ did in New Testament times. They have been trained and will be commissioned to this ministry by Fr. Jonathan to whom they are accountable.
The prayer teams have no special power or gift, but they do bring a dedicated commitment to Christ and a compassion for people. Any healing that occurs comes only by way and means of the grace of God in Christ.
What should I expect if I come forward for healing prayer?
There is a prayer minister (there are two ministers at the 10:30 service) at the Mary Altar during the distribution of the bread and wine at each of our Sunday Eucharists as well as other major services such as Ash Wednesday, etc. You may come for a personal need or on behalf of another person. Confidentiality is maintained at all times. Anointing with oil and laying on of hands (after asking your permission) are biblical practices normative to prayer for healing.
After receiving prayers for healing, what should I do?
Just relax and give God time to work. When we plant a garden, we don't pull our seedlings up every day to see how they are doing. It is the same with prayer. Give God time to work. Sometimes prayers for healing are answered very quickly; sometimes healing comes gradually. We believe God is faithful. God's timing is often not the same as ours. Our role is to remain faithful, patient, and fully trusting in God's good will for health.
We hope you will take advantage of this healing ministry of Christ. Whether it’s a sniffle, an upcoming major surgery, a hurting relationship, or struggling with a major decision, your prayer ministry wants to be of service.
Thank you in advance for enabling us to live out our baptism through this ministry.