Healing Line

Healing Line

A Life Changing Experience

by the Rev'd David L. Barr
Jul/Aug 2003

Attending the Christian Healing Ministries' School of Healing Prayer was a life changing experience for me. I wanted to learn how to organize and train members of my congregation for a Sunday morning Altar Ministry. Little did I know that I was being called to the School for my own healing.

We began the first day with Prayer, Praise and Worship, singing hymns to guitar and electronic keyboard music, my least favorite choice of worship. Francis MacNutt delivered the first teachings: Introduction to Healing and Four Types of Healing. As a seminary student I had read his book, Healing in 1974. It was great to hear Francis' insight into the practice of healing. However I became rather uncomfortable with the emphasis he put on the subject of satanic forces of evil. I acknowledged the presence of evil in the world, but I believed evil was a result of our own disobedience to God's will, not the result of demonic control over us. I believed everything God created was good, and that Christ had overcome sin, death, and the devil to free us from the oppression of wickedness.

During the afternoon sessions of Spiritual Healing and Forgiveness there was more talk of evil power and its effect on us. I felt myself becoming defensive and began to pull into my shell to avoid this "fundamental" view of evil that I had rejected long ago. I had always been able to explain away in psychological terms any mention of Satan and his cohorts in the Bible. Then, Judith MacNutt quoted from Paul's letter to the Romans, "I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect." When I heard "be transformed by the renewing of your minds," I began to really listen to what Judith was saying. I recognized that I really didn't know or understand the magnitude of the impact that evil spirits had on people's lives especially Christians—and me in particular.

Later that evening, during individual group prayer sessions, I received a powerful healing that allowed me to experience a new concept of God. I felt the Father's love I had never known before. His love became real to me through tears of joy and laughter.

For homework, we were asked to fill out the occult sheet to determine the extent of our involvement with the demonic. This just about finished my desire to continue in the course. By the next morning I had almost decided not to return to the Christian Healing Ministries. I did, however, decide to go back only to hear Francis and Judith's presentation on Physical Healing and Inner Healing. I planned to arrive after the worship time.

During the session on Physical Healing, Francis spoke about the power of the Holy Spirit, and how he had received the baptism of the Holy Spirit. He explained his baptism experience as the opening of the gifts he had received at his baptism confirmation and ordination. We, too, would have the opportunity to receive this same anointing on Thursday morning. I liked his explanation of "being born again," and decided that I would ask for the powerful anointing of the Holy Spirit to release the fullness of His gifts. As the day progressed, I began to feel like a child on Christmas Eve anticipating opening the presents that I had received at my baptism, confirmation, and ordination but had never opened. I was excited, for no one had ever asked me if I would like to be baptized by the Holy Spirit.

During her talk on Inner Healing, Judith shared her personal account of "being saved" as a child after being threatened with the eternal fire of hell. Her story was quite similar to my own experience as an eight–year old boy. I went to Mississippi to spend the summer with my relatives who likewise threatened me with the hell fire if I didn't accept Jesus.

When I returned home and expressed the unimaginable joy I felt of having accepted Jesus as my Savior, my mother told me, "We don't do it that way in the Episcopal Church—you have already been baptized." Hurt by her attitude, I began to develop unknowingly a theological framework in which I rejected any belief in the devil for fear of being hurt again. I also rejected Jesus for allowing me to be crushed by my mother's disapproval. Fortunately, through confirmation, I did get back into a relationship with Jesus even though it was more of a slight acquaintance than a genuine intimate friendship. I came to realize during Judith's talk that I had left my self wide open to being used by the devil and to the infestation of the very evil I chose not to acknowledge.

During individual group prayer sessions that evening, I received real forgiveness and acceptance for having rejected Jesus for a time. I was also delivered from much of the unrecognized evil that had latched on to me during my life.

The next day, I would get to open my gifts in the late afternoon. For the first time, the morning worship was a joy. The MacNutts' talks on Conception to Birth and Generational Healing made the morning fly. I was filled with new insights that explained so much of my past—especially my early childhood. In the afternoon session, Introduction to Prayer Ministry, Elizabeth Coleman gave me the tools I had sought to begin a prayer ministry at my Church.

Baptism in the Holy Spirit was a blessing from Francis that was followed by Group Prayer for Baptism in the Holy Spirit. Wow! What an experience. Chairs were moved to the back of the room, the lights were dimmed, and soft music was played. Francis asked those of us who wanted to receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit to come forward. He then asked those who had already received this blessing to pray with him. They began to pray softly in tongues as Francis encouraged the rest of us to "launch out" and let the Holy Spirit lead us in this new venue of prayer. As hands were laid on me and voices lifted me to the presence of the Spirit, I began to sing quietly in tongues to the most beautiful melody I had ever heard. The gifts of peace, joy, happiness, and excitement overwhelmed me and are still present in me to this day. A new relationship with Jesus and the Father had begun.

On the last day of Level I during the Prayer, Praise and Worship time, I raised my hands in praise with the others, and again I sang in tongues to the melodies that were being played. Developing Prayer Teams and Intercessory Prayer by Elizabeth Coleman further prepared me to begin a healing prayer ministry at my church.

Francis and Judith came to pray for each of us individually. As hands were placed on me and prayer in the Spirit bathed me like warm water, my arms began to feel heavy and a tingling sensation like electricity went from my shoulders to my fingertips. I became weak in the knees and fell backward into the strong arms of one of the staff who laid me gently on the floor. I was resting in the Spirit. Total peace and tranquility enveloped me for quite a while. As I got up and walked to the back of the room, I felt as if I was walking down the aisle of an airplane in motion, wobbling to and fro. What a glorious way to be sent on our way filled with the power and joy of the Holy Spirit.

The Rev'd David L. Barr is an ordained Episcopal Priest of 25 years, having served in large, medium, and small churches. He was director of development of Meshota House Episcopal Seminary and has served as Canon of Stewardship, Diocese of Florida.

Jul/Aug 2003 Issue