Healing Line

Healing Line

We Celebrate: The Arthritis Study is Released

by Francis MacNutt
Spring 2001

You may remember how excited we were back in 1996 when a group of twelve of us from CHM traveled to Clearwater, Florida, to take part in a pioneer medical study. For three days, we prayed for rheumatoid arthritis patients. Dale Matthews, M.D., planned the study, and Sally Marlowe, N.P. and director of the Pain and Arthritis clinic, evaluated the patients. We saw so much healing take place, and we were very encouraged.

One hitch: according to medical protocol, a study is not fully credible until it is published in a medical journal. Well, the good news is that the study was at last published in the December issue of the Southern Medical Journal. We think the results are truly amazing, so let me share with you a summary of what happened.

Rheumatoid arthritis was chosen because it is, at present, an incurable disease. Incidentally, there are more than one hundred forms of arthritis; the most common, osteoarthritis, is not a disease but simply happens with age, when the joints wear down and become inflamed. But rheumatoid arthritis is a disease of the immune system and, affecting more than one million sufferers in the U.S., it is the second most common form of arthritis.

In our study, we prayed for 40 patients, and 10 different factors were checked in each patient. The changes in several categories were extraordinary. To give just three examples:

  • The average number of tender joints at the beginning of the study was 16.8; at the end, the tender joints had decreased to a 5.7 average (with a P value of .0001).
  • The average number of swollen joints at the beginning was 9.8, but by the end was 3.1 (P value .0001).
  • The average grip strength ·improved from 244.3 (mmHg) to 278.8 (P value .039).

Dr. Matthews says that the introduction of prayer into the treatment was equivalent to an effective new drug coming upon the scene. (By the way, all the patients, whose mean age was 62, were already taking anti-inflammatory medications, such as Prednisone or Methotrexate.)

A mysterious finding was that, although the patients responded so well to prayer, two of the markers remained unchanged; these were the blood markers (the ESR and the CRP). This doesn't seem to make sense and is one of the areas about which we hope to learn more in the future.

Another significant positive finding was that the patients' improvement did not diminish in the follow-up examinations during the subsequent year. If we had administered a new drug, the results would have peaked during the three days of prayer and then disappeared over the course of time. Instead, the patients maintained the degree of healing they experienced. This is, in itself, extraordinary.

Many of you have seen the half-hour videotape of the prayer sessions, which is very moving as you see the improvements happen right before your eyes. In fact, it seemed that two of the patients, Bill and Marcia, experienced dramatic, visible improvement. We still do not have the rights to this powerful documentation, but Dr. Matthews is working on getting permission for us to release the video ( entitled "Shall We Pray?") through our bookstore. When it becomes available, we shall surely let you know.

Dr. Matthews is hoping, as we all are, that this study will gain the attention of the medical community, now that it finally has been published. So please let your friends in the medical community know the results of this fascinating study showing how Jesus can cure or make better an apparently incurable physical condition!

Note: P value refers to the statistical probabilities of these results being due to chance. Anything less than P<. 05 is considered significant. In other words, there is only one chance in 10,000 that these results (0001) are due to chance.
ESR = erythrocyte sedimentation rate
CRP = C-reactive protein
You can get an evaluation of the study via the Internet on www.sma.org. Click on "Library of Back Issues," then ''December 2000."


Francis MacNutt Francis MacNutt is a Founding Director and Executive Committee member of CHM. Spring 2001 Issue


A Wedding of Opposites

by Judith MacNutt
Spring 2001

A new interest in the connection between health and spirituality has exploded on the scene everywhere. We see it in magazines, the media and clinical research. As a result, Christian physicians, therapists, nurses and other health care professionals are beginning the struggle to integrate their faith with their professional training.

Many of those professionals are trapped between the health professional's role as understood in a medically-oriented world and their role as Christians who believe in the power of healing prayer. As one Christian physician stated, "The pain lies in being caught between existing role models."

Several years ago, I was caught in this same struggle while working as a staff psychologist at a New England psychiatric hos- pita!. My role as a therapist was defined as a "clinician," not as a spiritual healer. A separation of personal faith and clinical practice was expected, and any deviation from that role was openly discouraged. I had to consider my professional standing among my colleagues, as well as my subordinate position as a paid employee of the hospital. The conflict for me became intense, because God was asking me to intimately include Jesus in the therapeutic healing process.

A realization slowly dawned upon me that I did not fully belong to either the professional medical community or to the Christian community of ministers and priests. Praying with or for my patients left me in a no-man's land, not understood by either community. I felt isolated within both communities. The ministers I consulted about healing prayer did not believe in it and did not practice it. I was told that "the age of miracles" was past. My professional colleagues were adamant that faith and therapy should never be linked. Yet, God was directing me to pray for my patients. God led me to read Isaiah 61, which states the mission of Jesus: "I have come to heal the brokenhearted, and to set the captive free."

This conflict is troubling the hearts of many Christians in health care professions. How can they respond to the severe pain they see around them without addressing the spiritual needs of their patients?

CHM is in contact daily with health caregivers seeking to integrate their faith with their professional expertise. We want to do our best to offer encouragement, training and support to these gifted men and women of God.

Our most recent venture has been to create three medical videos (advertised in this newsletter) which provide an introduction to current medical research, together with encouragement and practical ways for beginning to incorporate healing prayer in medical practice. CHM also offers a medical internship program for medical personnel. During our first medical internship program, the doctors attending said one of the great benefits, aside from the training, was being able to meet with other doctors. This networking for support is essential for physicians and nurses to learn how to integrate prayer into their medical practices.

I'd like to share several responses we received from therapists following their CHM training:

"I had always considered myself a good Christian therapist and had tried to be one. However, after the training I wept bitterly for an hour in repentance for not being the healer I might have been for the last 20 years. If I had only known then what I learned at your training."

"Since training. I have spent more time in prayer with my clients. I've seen wonderful healings happen in difficult cases!"

"Thank you for your encouragement and direction - just knowing what to say and do with patients is what God is directing me to learn."

"It was helpful to feel a part of a larger healing team. I received the affirmation I needed, so I won't have to depend only on myself in the healing process."

How can we begin to incorporate prayer in our healthcare professions? How can we encourage healthcare professionals to incorporate their faith in their practices? Sometimes a simple question will be enough to re-direct the session. If you are a physician, maybe you could ask a patient: "Would you be interested in prayer as part of your treatment?" My personal experience as a wounded patient is that I am very receptive to receiving healing prayer.

If you are the patient and you desire healing prayer, perhaps you could simply ask if there is someone in the office who might pray with you. A gentle revolution might take place if Christian patients began to request prayer as part of their treatment program.

We read in Sirach 38:9-15 (The book of Sirach is in the Apocrypha of the Protestant Bible and in the main body of the Catholic Bible. It is also called the Book of Ecclesiasticus): "My child, when you are ill, delay not but pray to God, who will heal you; Flee wickedness; let your hands be just, cleanse your heart of every sin; Offer your sweet smelling oblation and petition, a rich offering according to your means. Then give the doctor his place lest he leave you; for you need him too. There are times that give him an advantage, and he too beseeches God, that his diagnosis may be correct and his treatment bring about a cure. He who is a sinner toward his Maker will be defiant toward the doctor."

This quote from Sirach about the doctor/ patient relationship offers guidelines for healing that have been overlooked by patients and doctors for centuries. Here are the points that Sirach makes:

  • When you are sick, pray for healing.
  • Cleanse your soul from sin (unforgiveness is a major block to healing).
  • Then consult the doctors, for you may need them, too.
  • The doctor will also pray and ask God for a diagnosis and the choice of an effective treatment.
  • A cure should result.
  • Notice that prayer comes first, but it is assumed that some cures only come through the doctor's care.

When our daughter was a patient in a local hospital a few years ago, she was treated by a gentle Dr. Smith (not his real name). Rachel was in tremendous pain of unknown origin, and Dr. Smith came into the room to inform us about the diagnostic tests he had ordered. As a parent, when my child is suffering, I appreciate any support I can get. I sensed his distress and concern for her suffering. However, at no time did he offer to pray for her. What a tremendous help and encouragement prayer would have been to the three of us - patient, mother and doctor! Paradoxically, a few weeks later I saw Dr. Smith kneeling in prayer at a church service. (Perhaps he was praying for his patients.)

How neatly we have compartmentalized our lives. God is trying to melt these artificial barriers we have erected since the age of the so-called Enlightenment. God desires "a wedding of opposites," as our good friend, Tommy Tyson, puts it. Only they are not really opposites. Prayer and medicine both come from God's loving hands as healing gifts for His suffering children!


Francis MacNutt Judith MacNutt is author, teacher, conference speaker and co–founder of CHM. Spring 2001 Issue


Getting Ready for God's Plans

by Dale S. Recinella
Spring 2001

In January 2000, Francis MacNutt shared with CHM's Executive Committee the following Scripture that he had received in prayer:

 

Enlarge the place of your tent and stretch your tent curtains wide; do not hold back; lengthen your cords and strengthen your stakes.
- Isaiah 54:2

 


Fourteen months later, those words describe both where we have been and what still lies before us. All of us at CHM have been strengthening the stakes and lengthening the cords in preparation for God's plans to enlarge.

After almost 21 years of sustained growth and service, the last 13 of which have been here in Jacksonville, CHM has 16 employees and 350 volunteers. The internships, Days of Healing Prayer, IPMs and Schools of Healing Prayer are outstripping the capacity of our current facilities. Churches, schools and medical professionals from all over the country- even outside the US - are approaching CHM with requests for teaching materials, and some desire to establish an ongoing relationship. Now that Dr. Matthews' medical study has been published, we expect these requests to increase.

In the Spring 2000 issue of The Healing Line, Francis announced that new things were underway at CHM, namely, that the staff and leadership were evaluating how best to concentrate the ministry's efforts to bring Christ's healing presence into the world. That effort, which actually began with a strategic planning process about three years ago, has moved forward significantly. During 2000, we tried to flesh out that plan by translating broad goals into specific action steps that will best position CHM to serve God and his people in the future. Not surprisingly, many of the initial steps have involved an organizational tune-up, like the way one prepares a car for a long and exciting trip.

Step number one was the creation of an active Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees. This Executive Committee meets monthly and enables the Board to be directly involved in every step of the process and to share their valuable professional expertise.

The next step was to compile the history of CHM and to translate our history and our plan into clearly defined policies and procedures. As a result of this process, office hours, sick/personal days, holidays and benefits were standardized. New and specific job descriptions were created, and all of our programs were reevaluated.

One might say, 'Wow! That's a lot to digest." In reality, however, it merely brought us to a new beginning.

For example, in June of 2000, the Board of Trustees approved the creation of an Acquisition and Development Committee to plan CHM's finances, define the facility needs of the ministry, and oversee the acquiring of such facilities. In addition, the Board authorized seeking funding to acquire a full-time Development Director. This person will be responsible for planning and managing the revenue side of the ministry. If new facilities are to be acquired, a Development Director will manage the capital campaign.

The Board also approved another critical aspect of CHM's preparation. Thanks to a large donation, CHM acquired a state-of-the-art networked computer system. This new system came on-line August 14, and a new CHM web page followed a few weeks later.

In another first, CHM stepped into the role of publisher. The first work bearing a CHM ISBN number is Francis' new book Homosexuality: Can It Be Healed?

And the best is yet to come. Francis, Judith and the staff have been prayerfully involved in the next phase of the planning cycle which has allowed all of them to share ideas of how God is calling CHM to best concentrate the ministry's efforts. About the time this newsletter goes to press, the National Advisory Board will be in Jacksonville to join our local Board of Trustees in a joint workshop to give their input into this phase of planning.

It is a very exciting time. We invite your continued prayers and support in preparing for God's plans for the future of CHM.


Francis MacNutt Dale S. Recinella, formerly a lawyer specializing in domestic and international project finance, works two days per week on staff at CHM handling our strategic planning and special projects. Spring 2001 Issue


Praise Reports

Spring 2001

Cancer Disappears summarized by Francis MacNutt

Seventeen years ago our dear friend, the Rev. Tommy Tyson, had his prostate removed when the doctors discovered cancer there. After the prostate is removed, the PSA count (this is the blood marker that indicates the danger of cancer) is supposed to go down to near zero. And for Tommy it did.

But then when we saw Tommy at last July's Fishnet Conference in Vermont, he told us the bad news that his PSA count had shot up to 1100 (anything over 10 indicates danger). Clearly the cancer had spread, and they discovered it in the lymph system in Tommy's pelvis. Too late for chemotherapy, they simply gave him an injection of hormones to boost his immune system and slow up the cancer's growth.

Well, we desire that Tommy stay with us for a few more years (he is now 78). so we gathered to pray. The first time we prayed, Tommy felt intense heat in the pelvic area. The second day he felt a refreshing coolness in the same area. He preached during the conference with as much life and enthusiasm as ever. (If you have ever heard Tommy, you know this is saying something!) And he felt healed.

Says Tommy, "On Thursday, October 5, 2000, I went back to Duke University for the second injection. Of course, they did the lab tests, including another PSA. There was such a sweet sense of the The Presence of the Lord through all of this. I knew and know that He is in charge of it all and does all things well. I excitedly awaited the lab report. Can you imagine the joyous gratitude when the nurse announced that the PSA count was 4.4? All Praise and Honor and Glory be unto Our Lord Jesus Christ. Thank Him for working through the natural and spiritual realms and for the faithful response of His servants on my behalf. I am trusting that the next PSA count will be a Big O."

And guess what it was? A one! So, with Tommy's family and friends, we rejoice and thank the Lord!


Dear CHM Intercessors:

Two years ago, my mother broke her back and could not walk. She went from doctor to doctor, and all told her she would never walk. But God can do what mere men cannot. Today she walks short distances with the use of a walker. She gets in and out of a car with little trouble. She goes out to eat and goes to the movies. The goodness of God overwhelms me. I am very thankful for all of the prayers and encouragement we received from your prayer team.

Thank you,
Jan in Nashville


The Following is a most unusual testimony received from the Toronto Airport Church where Francis and Judith spoke in November of 2000, along with Rev. Mike Evans and Dr. Grant Mullen. This story is so comforting and encourages us to believe ever more deeply in the all-encompassing love of God, embracing our lives, both past and present.

"A few months ago, my sister and I attended the healing conference at the Toronto Airport Church. After one of his talks, Francis MacNutt said he felt as if the Holy Spirit was encouraging him to sing a prayer for healing in tongues.

It was really beautiful. While he was singing it, I did not realize that my sister was singing it along with him, word for word (my daughter was watching her). After he finished, my sister was just beside herself, crying, and obviously God was doing something.

To give you a little background, my dad sexually abused us four girls when we were young; three of us don't remember too much, but the eldest does. Anyway, this prayer he sang brought my eldest sister back to the memory of when she was sitting in the bathtub (she was about 10) after our daddy had abused her. This recollection also brought back all the emotions she felt. She says that she remembers how she used to sing that same song that Francis was singing. When she heard Bro. MacNutt explain it was a prayer from the Holy Spirit, she was totally in awe because she thought she had made it up when she was a kid, just to make herself feel better. Now she knows it was a prayer straight from the Lord.

Isn't that awesome? That was 43 years ago when she sang the same prayer in tongues (but she didn't even know she was singing in tongues). This is especially amazing since we were not raised, needless to say, in a godly home. God is so awesome isn't He?"


Spring 2001 Issue