Appreciating Our Spiritual Differences

by Francis MacNutt
Nov/Dec 2002

And there was silence in heaven for about
half an hour (Rev. 8: 1 b).

I hope this little article sets some of you free from needless guilt. It all begins with the fact that, by temperament, we are all either expansive and talkative by nature - or reflective and quiet. Psychologists use the terms' "extraverted" ("turned outward") or "introverted" ("turned inward"). Most people in the U.S. ( one fourth is the estimate) are introverted, making introverts feel as if they don't belong, as if something is wrong with them. But each of the temperaments has a wonderful gift element connected to it. Extraverts are the kind of people who love parties, conversations and phone calls. They usually have many friends. When a party is over at 11 p.m., they feel disappointed at having to leave. Introverts, on the other hand, usually do well to have a few close friends and are looking for a way to leave the party early, so they can go home and read a book before going to bed. Extraverts have their batteries charged by being surrounded with people, while introverts feel their energy drain away when they are with people too long.

But what does this have to do with healing?

A lot.

One of our teachings is that we are not to slavishly imitate others in their style of praying. Find out how God uses you. An ancient principle of Christian spirituality is that, "Grace builds on nature." For instance, if God has given you a compassionate personality and you are the kind of person who makes a good counselor, God is also likely to give you a gift of praying for inner healing. Because of these God-given differences, we also have different gifts of prayer and develop different styles of prayer.

People who are outgoing tend to pray in expressive ways. For many reasons charismatic-Pentecostal churches and prayer groups tend to be outgoing, characterized by loud expressions of joy and praise. These praises are often shouts of "Glory," and their prayers are directed to God. They thank God for what he has done, they picture themselves in heaven as in those scenes in the Book of Revelation where the saints are praising God for hours on end. And they chanted night and day, never taking a break ... " (Rev. 4:8 in The Message translation). By its very nature, the experience of being filled with the Spirit and praying in tongues lifts us on the wings of joy and thanksgiving.

But an introvert's preferred attitude of prayer is not so much concentrated on what is said to God but is directed to listening to what God might be saying to us. For this we need to be quiet and tum inward, the very opposite of speaking and shouting our praises to God. In the midst of loud praise the quiet person, instead of being inspired, might very well be silently thinking, "Be quiet. I can't pray." You can see this in church after communion. Extraverts want to sing; introverts want to kneel down, shut their eyes arid find God within themselves.

In an ideal world, each one of us would have a balance in our prayer lives, sometimes being outgoing and, at other times, turning inward to listen to God. But since we tend to prefer to one side or the other, the best thing we can do is to find a church or prayer group that is attuned to the Spirit, but whose style of prayer also suits us.

The sad thing -and the reason I write this little article-is that because introverts in the U.S. are the minority (as distinct, say, from England), they may feel that they don't belong in the great movement we see today where so many people are experiencing the Baptism of the Spirit and the wonderful charisms that God is so generously pouring out. Outgoing Christians talk about the "Chosen Frozen," and, truly, some may be frozen and barely alive (spiritually), but I think some are simply quiet and put off by what seems to be shallow and noisy. Often these are the very ones who have been praying the most over the years and are really the deepest of us all.

All I am suggesting is that we need to be sensitive to the differences in how Christians pray best and that we do not cut off those in the minority who are perhaps best able to listen to God. If only we were less judgmental, and included them somehow in our groups, and then be blessed by what they hear God saying to them.

As a remarkable example of the quiet gift of prayer, I remember visiting Agnes Sanford in her home towards the end of her life, and she quietly told me how she prayed by herself every morning. She then told me how that very morning Jesus had appeared and taken her to visit heaven. She described what the streets were like -how the walls were made of something like a brilliant, solid, colored light. Not a trace of pride, just a very quiet sharing. It was a truly awesome, unforgettable moment in my life.

Heaven fell quiet - complete silence ...
(Rev. 8:lb, in The Message)

In regard to how our temperaments affect our spiritual lives, I recommend Why Can't I Be Me? by Canon Mark Pearson (Grand Rapids, MI, Chosen Books, 1992). (See page fifteen for more information and ordering.)

Francis MacNutt Francis MacNutt is a Founding Director and Executive Committee member of CHM. Nov/Dec 2002 Issue

The Physician's View

by Dr. Grant Mullen
Nov/Dec 2002

Part 6 of a Series on Emotional Disorders

What is Depression?

I have been allotted months of futility and nights of misery have been assigned to me. When I lie down I think, 'How long before I get up?' The night drags on, and I toss till dawn. My days are swifter than a weaver's shuttle, and they come to an end without hope. Remember, O God, that my life is but a breath; my eyes will never see happiness again.
Job 7:3-7

The general public does not correctly differentiate between normal and abnormal "depression.'' If we are going to help those who need it most, we must be able to tell who is suffering from the illness of depression.

Depression is by far the most common form of mental suffering. It is however, a poorly defined condition which means different things to different people. We must be able to distinguish between the transient discouragement of someone unhappy about a recent disappointment and the severe crushing despair of one who has for many years lost all interest in life. I choose to use the term "discouragement" for temporary mood fluctuations which would be commonly referred to as the "blues" and would never be considered an "illness." "Depression" is reserved for prolonged disorders of mood which require professional help.

It is not always easy to distinguish between these two conditions and it requires considerable training and experience. There is presently no blood test or X ray that will diagnose mental illness. Understanding what a person is thinking and feeling is the only way to separate these conditions. This difficulty in making the diagnosis has caused enormous difficulty in getting _the right people into treatment.

At this time we have no screening tool to use on the population to find all those that are depressed needing help. It is much easier to find people with vision impairment since the vision screening chart is widely available and well accepted by the public. Our ability to diagnose depression depends on a person's ability to describe what they are thinking to someone who understands illnesses of mood. This requires a significant level of insight, motivation and verbal skill. There are many sufferers who are just unable to communicate their thoughts and so they remain untreated. Since we have no test, we cannot prove that someone has a depressive illness. This allows skeptics to influence a depressed person not to accept treatment or to accept another explanation of their symptoms. The inability to measure mood causes the public to see psychiatric treatment as unreliable, unpredictable, "hocus pocus" and to be avoided. It is a constant struggle for physicians to try to convince sufferers that there is a scientific and reliable treatment for something that can not be measured scientifically.

I will try to describe the differences between true depression and what I call discouragement.

Discouragement is transient with an obvious cause and the person is still able to enjoy other unrelated activities. It resolves with time and supportive counseling. A discouraged person can still be hopeful, with good thought control and concentration. Depression is usually very prolonged with unrelenting symptoms. It is often, though not always, characterized by sadness. There is an inability to enjoy activities and all interests fade. There is general hopelessness and a lack of ability to control or steer thoughts. This is a much more disabling condition than discouragement.

In the next issue we will look at the causes of depression.

Dr. Grant Mullen is a mental health physician in Grimsby, Ontario, Canada. He is the author of Why do I feel so down when my faith should lift me up? Nov/Dec 2002 Issue

Reflections on Our Visit to Germany

by Francis MacNutt
Nov/Dec 2002

We were truly honored by a remarkable invitation from the Baptists of Germany to speak at their annual conference, held this year in Essen at a church of the newer type that reminded us of the Vineyards in the U.S. - that is, no superfluous, soaring arches, but a very simple, functional building with large spaces suited for their many services ( such as a program for addicts) that the people need. (We found that these evangelicals had been strongly influenced by the well-known Willow Creek Church in Michigan.)

The conference itself, held on the weekend of September 20-22 was remarkable in that one-third of the 400 people in attendance were clergy, while another one-third were medical professionals. This group was truly a vibrant group in a Germany where, now, the state-supported churches (Lutheran and Catholic) are suffering from lack of attendance - and the small congregations that are left are mostly older people. The dying out of Christianity in Germany is typical of what is happening all over Europe. Judith and I were glad to be part of what is going on among evangelicals to try to restore a vibrant, Spirit-empowered Christianity to what was once the heart of Christianity. As Hillaire Belloc once wrote in the 1930's: "Europe is the Faith." But no longer.

Our reception on the part of the Baptist leaders (and other leaders, because Lutherans and Catholics were also invited) could not have been warmer, and we were privileged to share· the platform with two other wonderful speakers: Dr. Jerry Mungadze, originally from Zimbabwe, but now from Dallas, where he runs a center which helps people who have DID (Dissociative Identity Disorder, which used to be called Multiple Personality Disorder). Many of his patients are victims of Satanic Ritual Abuse. Since we have been ministering to more and more of these survivors ourselves, and trying to find more counselors and clergy who understand this problem, it was a providential time to meet someone like Dr. Mungadze - in Germany of all places. He also told us that there are now five centers in the U.S., like his, that work with DID patients -usually for three weeks at a time. (Altogether, treatment usually takes years). Like us, he is working to inform deliverance ministers, usually well-meaning but not well-trained, that it is a disastrous mistake to try to cast out all these multiple "alters," as if they are all evil spirits. You can damage people by trying to cast out real parts of their human personality; moreover, this kind of simplistic deliverance ministry can damage the reputation of Christian deliverance ministries in the eyes of psychiatrists and counselors.

The other speaker was a delightful Austrian woman, Marian Prean, who spoke powerfully about God's love. She, of course, was the only speaker who didn't need an interpreter, but fortunately we had excellent translators.

The organizer of the conference, Dr. Heinrich Rust, is a leader among the Evangelical-Freechurches and some 21 different organizations sponsored the conference, whose theme was "Healing and Deliverance." Among the sponsors was the Vineyard in Germany and the group for which I spoke in 1997, "Christen in Gesundheitswesen" (try pronouncing it!). Our deepest desire was, of course, that our teaching might help bring an ever-stronger healing ministry into the churches of Germany. One of our board members, Taylor Smith, traveled with us at his own expense and was a tremendous support to us in many ways, as we struggled with jet lag and giving five talks in three days. The wonderful thing we have discovered about Jesus' healing ministry is that it is able to reach out across what used to be impassable cultural and denominational divides. The greatest healing of all is that the Lord is bringing all of us together in a wonderful unity and love.

-Francis MacNutt

Francis MacNutt Francis MacNutt is a Founding Director and Executive Committee member of CHM. Nov/Dec 2002 Issue

Praise Reports

Nov/Dec 2002

L. writes: I have attended the "Day of Healing Prayer"for the past three months. I have received profound inner healing and physical healing. I had a Cat Scan showing a Jung tumor. After prayer on July 8, 2002, a repeat Cat Scan showed no cancer. A benign tumor only. I was also delivered from the bondage of 30 years of nicotine addiction. That is a marvelous victory for me.

M. writes: Through God's grace and prayers (especially a Day of Healing Prayer at CHM) I have been delivered from Coronary Heart Disease and two bouts of cancer.

From a lengthy praise report by a nurse who describes healing in her left hand: My fourth finger is quite free and the residual lump in my palm is 2/3 smaller and no longer painful when pressed firmly. So I am praising God for your prayers and his answers.

R. writes: Praises for four years of freedom from Melanoma symptoms.

A friend of A. writes: Thank you for your prayers for A. She had a very serious, large brain tumor at the center of her brain diagnosed in August 2001 . She had surgery the 30th of August and again on the 27th of September with a follow-up radiation procedure called a gamma knife. Since then she has fully recovered, is back to work and doing great. The best part is she is believing and praying regularly. She is a physician and now prays for her patients as well. Praise God.

M. writes: My husband Richard was on heavy medication for mental illness. Through prayer and the healing ministry he is off meds and well.

J. writes: I was healed of my cancer, April 16-18. My energy is restored. Bless each one of you, and I shall always thank God.

N. writes: I was healed, this past summer [in 2001 J, of Babesiosis.

H. writes: Thanks to the Lord for the bonus blessing-Carol's healing of cancer on her leg.

J., who thanks God for continual healing of her daughter writes: S. is doing very well-works, attends university, and walks several miles every other day, preparing for the M.S. challenge walk.

More Praise!

• Thanks to the Lord for the bonus blessing-Carol's healing of cancer on her leg. Deliverance and healing of friend who suffered from scars of sexual abuse as a child!

• My son M. was healed of his sickness.

• Gradual healing of son, D., who has had psychological problems since age 21. He's getting better.

• The 1-112 pound baby I called for prayer about is well and getting ready to go home.

Weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.
(Psalm 30:5b)

Nov/Dec 2002 Issue