Healing Line

Healing Line

Jesus' Passion to Heal

by Francis MacNutt
May/Jun 2004

I imagine that many of you have, by now, seen Mel Gibson's movie on the Passion of Christ. In that context, the word "passion" means suffering. You may have heard a sermon or two about that during this Lenten season. Usually, such a sermon centers on Jesus' suffering in order to take away our sins. But have you ever heard a sermon on how Jesus suffered to free us from our sicknesses? This is a key theme in the Gospels. Take, for example, the Gospel of Matthew.

When evening came, many who were demon–possessed were brought to him, and he drove out the spirits with a word and healed all the sick.

This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: "He took up our infirmities and carried our diseases" (Mt. 8:16–17).

The purpose of Jesus' dying was more than dying to forgive our sin, in addition, he died to free us from illnesses and our sufferings. Do people realize that Jesus had a passion to heal the sick? Do you hear that preached? Have you ever considered how Jesus risked his life to heal the sick by healing on the Sabbath? When he did not have to do it? Since people no longer are killed for breaking the Sabbath, it's hard for us to imagine what it must have been like when Jesus spoke to a woman who had been bent over for 18 years — and then, in plain view, healed her (Lk. 13:10–17) so that she could straighten up. Jesus' enemies were looking for some reason to trap him, and one of their interpretations of the Law was that you could not heal on the Sabbath. What Jesus easily could have done was to ask her to wait until the next day. That's what the irate synagogue official claimed the people should do: "There are six days for work. So come and be healed on those days, not on the Sabbath" (Lk. 13:14b). But, instead, Jesus publicly confronted the issue, then healed her in front of the entire congregation — freed her so that she could stand, upright and erect, after 18 bent–over years.

Jesus not only was faced with a heated religious argument with his church leader; he actually was throwing a challenge into his face. He was running a risk of death for breaking the Sabbath. In Matthew's Gospel we read that Jesus healed a man's withered hand on the Sabbath, at which point "the Pharisees went out and began to plot against him, discussing how to destroy him" (Mt. 12:14).

These were not just prejudiced religious officials; they were loyal and dedicated to the Law, as they understood it. Their Scriptures described how their heroes had died rather than break the Law.

Take, for example, the story about the seven brothers in 2 Maccabees 7. All seven underwent horrible tortures and, finally, death rather than eat pork. Their mother encouraged them to face their martyrdom courageously. The first brother, for example, was whipped and scourged. Then he told the Greek king he was prepared to face death rather than break the laws of his ancestors. The king was furious and ordered that the first brother have his tongue torn out, his head scalped and his limbs cut off. When he was completely helpless, he was fried alive in an enormous pan. All the while, his mother and brothers looked on.1 If we think Mel Gibson's movie is violent, consider this gruesome picture that shows how devoted the Jews were to devoutly keeping the law.

I simply quote this to show how fierce a devotion to the Law the Jewish officials had. Their loyalty to the Law was strong and courageous, and they, themselves, were ready to enforce it with the death penalty. Similarly, Jesus was ready to risk his own death in order to change that understanding of the Law and heal the sick on the Sabbath. Truly, Jesus had a passion to heal the sick. Like the charge of the Light Brigade, Jesus was ready to head into the valley of death. Would you heal someone in public when it meant risking your neck?

Why? Because, as he said, "I do what I see the Father doing." Clearly, Jesus saw his Father bringing life and healing to the sick every day. As Jesus said, "The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath" (Mk. 2:27). To Jesus, healing was a life and death issue. He was zealous to let people know what kind of a God his Abba was: "/ desire mercy, not sacrifice" (Mt. 9: 13b ).

For us, the question is do we take healing as seriously as he did? Are we as passionate and compassionate as Jesus was — and is?

The healing ministry is intimately connected with the life, suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus. To quote the opening of the Mel Gibson film, "by his stripes we are healed" (Is. 53:5).

12 Maccabees 7:1–6. Two books of Maccabees are in the Catholic list of inspired scriptures and can be found in the Protestant Apocrypha. These books were written less than two centuries before Jesus' birth.

Francis MacNutt Francis MacNutt is a Founding Director and Executive Committee member of CHM. May/Jun 2004 Issue

School of Healing Prayer® – Getting Up and Running

by Ted and Carol Ward — Toronto, Canada
May/Jun 2004

One morning in June 2001, when Francis brought his breakfast over to our table and asked if he could join us, we didn't think any of us had any idea of how God intended to use that conversation or what He had in store for us and over 240 lovely people. During the course of the conversation, Francis casually asked us if we had thought about running the School of Healing Prayer® (SHP®) here in Toronto. No, actually, we hadn't; we were far too deeply involved in being Alpha Regional Advisers. However, we said we would think about it, and pray about it, and almost before we realized what was happening, the School of Healing Prayer® in Toronto was birthed with 55 registrants for Level 1.

Francis, in an article in the May/June 2002 issue of "The Healing Line", eloquently provides two answers to the question "why should I take a course in healing prayer?": (1) because we need to "avoid mistakes", and (2) most importantly, so that we "might be better able to help people".

For us, there are two key aspects involved in starting and running a School of Healing Prayer®, the spiritual dimension and the practical aspects.

In the spiritual realm one needs to sense the call of the Holy Spirit to this ministry. This calls for a lot of prayer, a recognition that this is not my project but God's, modeled for us and called for by Jesus Himself, and total and enthusiastic commitment to the enterprise. It is important to recognize that this is a work done with the love of Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit, calling for excellence in execution. Only the best will do. Pray for the vision that God Himself has for the work you are contemplating.

Now for the practicalities. Consider the three "P's" – Prayer, Planning, Participation — and three elements to your plan: 1) start up actions; 2) operational details, including how many levels you might run ( one, two or three); 3) followup — what comes next for the School and its ongoing flow of graduates.

This process is very important. As Dr Robert Schuller often says, "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail".

If you have already bathed this project in prayer, and are you can begin to cast your vision before your pastor and a prayerfully assembled team of like–minded followers of Jesus for confirmation and support — the leadership group. Active clergy support and their participation for spiritual oversight and accountability is essential. Select a user–friendly venue — your own church if it is available and easily accessible by public transit or car. Discern whether this school is just for your own congregation or for the broader Christian community; call on the vision you and your leadership team have received. Look over the program materials, consult with others who have successfully run the School or similar courses such as "Alpha", and work out a plan.

Having decided on the basic details of leadership, time, place and fees (if any), then communicate theses plans by designing an informative brochure, a poster, church bulletin inserts, and by advertising to the Christian community (if you are being directed in this way) and networking by personal contact, e–mail or telephone with potentially interested individuals. Clearly set out the start–and–end times for the School sessions and stick with them; for example, 6:45 p.m. to 9:15 p.m.

The structure and conduct of the school sessions are important and may include praise and worship, scripture, prayer and witnessing. Choose music that is both lively, singable and worshipful. Use good CD's such as the Stoneleigh (Kingsway, U.K.) series in the absence of a competent musician or group. The worship time is very important in opening up participants to the teaching and healing work of Jesus through the Holy Spirit and the love of the Father. Be welcoming and provide refreshments as well as a book table. Teaching manuals supplied through Christian Healing Ministries, plus a schedule of dates for each session and good name badges are essential to each participant. It is important to stress the expectation that each person wishing to receive a certificate attend most if not all sessions. People should know that attendance is being noted.

Teaching is provided by the SHP® videos available from CHM but may be augmented by discussion of the issues. Active demonstrations and instruction in prayer ministry are offered following the teaching. Participants break up into small prayerfully predetermined groups of six or eight for discussion and/or active prayer ministry, or in two's or three's, depending on the lesson assignment set out in the manual. Leadership team members are available to assist each group. This is when healings actually occur. The evening ends on time with prayer affirming the Holy Spirit's work, cleansing, protection and blessing.

These are ideas which we have found to work. Much more can be said, however, about each stage of a wellfunctioning and productive School of Healing Prayer.

We are grateful to Francis and Judith for putting this wonderful challenge before us. We have been blessed beyond our wildest expectations as we have seen God's people healed and sent out to bring the healing love and power of Jesus to His hurting people. We pray God will inspire you and guide you as you consider this most wonderful and exciting work. If we can be of help, you may wish to contact us through our website www.christianbeaLingintoronto.ca (Christian Healing In Toronto).

May/Jun 2004 Issue

A Praise Report from a Prison Hospice

by Rev. Keith Knauf
Chaplain at the California Medical Facility
Vacaville, California

May/Jun 2004

The name of the prisoner has been changed to protect his privacy.

There were many things they didn't teach us in my seminary. Personal prayer was one of those things. Another was death and dying.

I have had the honor of working, the past eight years, as a hospice chaplain in the prison hospice at the California Medical Facility. I minister to inmate patients who are suffering from terminal illnesses and have a prognosis of six months or less to live. John, currently one of our patients, is suffering from metastatic colon cancer. The cancer is causing him to experience great pain, discomfort and embarrassment; even so, he also has a strong faith in God. John's greatest challenge of faith began about three weeks ago. His lower colon became impacted. Pain and discomfort reached their highest level, requiring more morphine. All the medical efforts brought no relief. His abdomen swelled and the pain levels became excruciating. John's face was contorted with pain. The medical staff were convinced he was in the end stage of his illness.

John and I prayed for the blockage to be removed. The blockage was finally removed and John experienced comfort and relief.

Seminary training does not prepare ministers for such visceral experiences. God, however, does not limit our care to the higher ethereal and spiritual levels; he also cares for us on the most base levels of our existence.

I think the ancients had a good working balance between the physical and the spiritual. An ancient Hebrew morning prayer of blessing pointed up God's care for our basic human functions:

Praised are You Adonai our God, who rules the universe, fashioning the human body in wisdom, creating openings, arteries, glands, and organs, marvelous in structure, intricate in design. Should but one of them fail to function by being blocked or opened, it would be impossible to exist. Praised are You Adonai, healer of all flesh, sustaining our bodies in wondrous ways.

I gave John a copy of this prayer. He thought the prayer was written just for him. Through John's experience, God has taught me what they didn't teach in Seminary – that the sacred and the secular are one and the same. Everything is sacred.

May/Jun 2004 Issue

Praise the Lord and Give Thanks

See what He has done ...
May/Jun 2004

From Billy Kelly, a member of the Scottish Council on Deliverance who attended the Emerging Leaders in Healing Conference in March: "I am still reflecting on the wonderful blessings I received from my time in Jacksonville. I learned so much."

From Brenda: "Thank you for a wonderful day of prayer, March 8th. I saw clear evidence of the hand of the Lord at work. Before going I'd had severe depression and night terrors. Now, the depression is totally gone and the night terrors have greatly diminished."

From Virginia: "Elizabeth was near death with liver failure and very obese when I gave her name to CHM for intercessory prayer. What happened was so remarkable — a miracle. When I gave her name, the doctors had given up on her. She has gone from being extremely obese (100 pounds of fluid having been drawn from her body) to wearing a size 2 or 4. Secondly, she has been given a clean bill of health. She had come so close to death the doctors had thought it was the end for her. Now, she is functioning beautifully. Elizabeth is a wonderful violinist and precious in her walk of faith. We're praising God. It's so wonderful, really remarkable, how our Lord has healed her."

From Daryl: "I have received so much healing and ministry by coming to CHM for prayer, including womb–related healing. I want to thank you so much for all the inner healing prayers, the generational healing services, and all that you are doing at CHM. I have been a recipient of a great amount of healing and am very blessed."

• From Hugh: "You have been praying for me to overcome depression. God has been filling — with Himself and His love — the big hole I had in the middle of me that the doctors called depression and I have learned to recognize as hardness of heart, from which I have repented. Now I am free and happy and full of joy in His presence. Thank you for your prayers and for continuing to pray."

From Unnamed Individuals by Mail or Email

• "After having attended your 3–day prayer ministry, I have had much inner healing and am on my way to being fully healed, I believe, of FMS."

• "I went to your ministry for the first time a few weeks ago. My past had been full of neglect, abuse, and torment. I had attempted suicide 5 times in the past. When two of your prayer ministers prayed, I just began praising God. That evening, for the first time, I was able to run and skip down my hallway. I was laughing and laughing. Praise God for your willingness for him to use your hands. I have been back since and am expecting more. Praise His Holy Name."

• "The most amazing thing .. . I sent in a prayer request for a young man who has been using drugs, cigarettes and alcohol since he was 9 years old. (He now is 24.) There has been miracle upon miracle. Today he has been free of alcohol, drugs and cigarettes for 10 days. His entire life has changed A sleep habits, trying to eat healthily, and actively seeking holiness. His eyes are alive with light, his personality is vibrant, he has a wonderful sense of humor, he communes with God continuously, he calls himself 'free'."


• "Friends of mine suffered a miscarriage very late in their first pregnancy (January of 2001). Since later that spring, they had been trying to conceive but to no avail. In August of 2003, when I visited CHM, I added their names to the prayer list for conception. This Saturday, April 3, 2004, I'm going to their baby shower. The baby is due in May. Praise God. If you check out the calculations, they conceived within days/weeks of the date their names were added to CHM's prayer list."

"One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus' feet and thanked him A and he was a Samaritan" (Luke 17: 15)

May/Jun 2004 Issue