Healing Line

Healing Line

Should We Pray About Aging?

by Francis MacNutt
Mar/Apr 2006

Just last week, I read that Oral Roberts is 88 years old, and his beloved wife Evelyn died last year. Again, it brings up a question we faced in an earlier newsletter: Are we supposed to fight against the aging process? The amazing thing to me is that although I’ve read many books on healing and heard many talks, no one, to my knowledge, has addressed the universal problem: we all grow older. Are we supposed to “go gently into the night?” Now that I’m facing it myself (at the age of 80), I need to ask this question. This question is daily reinforced by looking at our dog, Chewy, who is a big malamute and often falls over just trying to get up off the floor.

Since some of you are getting up in years, and all of you know someone who is struggling with the problems of age, I’ll try here to share some thoughts about how to pray for the aging process.

In the first place, aging does not mean you have to be sick. I keep praising God that I am relatively healthy: my eyesight and hearing are still excellent. And yet, the effects of aging are in many ways like being sick: You may limp, and you may hurt.

Twenty years ago I was still able to sign up for 10K races (6.2 miles), but now I slowly walk along those same paths — and my knees now hurt from the pounding they once took. The joints have worn down in a natural process. (It’s like Judith’s faithful 1994 Toyota Camry, which she traded in last week. Over the years, it served us well, but now the motor and upholstery show the effects of wear.)

Since aging is touching me personally, I’ve been reading a little about it. One thing we all realize is that our bodies peak physically when we are about 25, then slowly start to decline — a process which hastens sharply toward the end. Studies show that our immune system loses its strength, enervated by the diseases our bodies fight off throughout our lives, and becomes weakened in its ability to keep us strong and healthy. A health report from Harvard tells us that 215,000 people in the U.S. die every year of sepsis, a bacterial infection, and that in 2001, 62,000 died of flu or pneumonia. As the body ages, it loses its ability to fight off disease, and the elderly more often than the young fall prey to cancer.

It’s as if God, our creator, fills us with an initial burst of life which enables us to grow from a microscopic joining of two cells to an incredibly complex organism of over a trillion cells, then some of that life–giving force gradually starts fading away.

As Ecclesiastes writes:

Remember your creator while you are still young,
before the bad days come...
before the sun and the light grow dim...
when strong men are bent double,...
when going uphill is an ordeal
and you are frightened at every step you take...
...the dust returns to the earth from which it came,
And the Spirit returns to God who gave it.
(Eccles. 1–2a,3b,5,7)

Francis MacNutt Francis MacNutt is a Founding Director and Executive Committee member of CHM. Mar/Apr 2006 Issue

You Do Not Belong to the World

by Caryll Houselander
Mar/Apr 2006

Caryll Houselander is one of my favorite spiritual writers. She was an ordinary English layperson who lived during World War II days, and was granted very deep insights into the world of the Spirit. She writes simply and very directly. I think you will like this selection taken from Magnificat, April 2005, p. 404–5.

— Francis


To put aside suddenly every motive except this single one, the forming of Christ in our life, is not so easy for ordinary people who are to remain ordinary.

The surrender we shall make will ask two hard things of us straight away.

<The first of these hard things is that through being wed to the Spirit, we shall receive the gift of understanding.>

In the world in which we live today, the great understanding given by the Spirit of Wisdom must involve us in a lot of suffering. We shall be obliged to see the wound that sin has inflicted on the people of the world. We shall have X–ray minds; we shall see through the bandages people have laid over the wounds that sin has dealt them; we shall see the Christ in others, and that vision will impose an obligation on us for as long as we live, the obligation of love; when we fail in it, we shall not be able to escape in excuses and distractions as we have done in the past; the failure will afflict us bitterly and always.

We shall have, by virtue of this same gift of understanding, far truer values; and we shall be haunted by a nostalgia for divine things, by a homesickness for God which is not eased in this world even by the presence of God.

And in proportion to our understanding we are likely to be misunderstood; the world does not accept Christ’s values. The beatitudes are madness to the world. “Blessed are the poor, the mourners, the reviled, the persecuted, the calumniated; blessed are those who hunger and thirst after justice.”

People who will not compromise with Christ’s values are uncomfortable neighbors for mediocrity; they are likely to be misunderstood; they are often hated.

— Caryll Houselander —


Mar/Apr 2006 Issue

Praise the Lord and Give Thanks

Compiled by Anne Early
Mar/Apr 2006

From clients who received healing through Intensive Prayer Ministry at CHM:

“Praise the Lord; my depression has lifted. The Lord has broken many generational curses. Oh that this could be in all the churches soon. The country needs healing and deliverance.”

“I’m filled with a sense of ‘WOW! What happened?!’ The day I was saved, I thought I had it all; but that was just the beginning. I’m so happy! It has taken me years to get to the point of being ready for CHM; I have been too hurt, too bitter. I have wanted to do everything my way instead of like this, so in line with the Word of God. Why can’t church be like this?”

“When you set foot on these grounds, you know God intends to heal you here. Satan had me bowed down for 15 years and almost destroyed me. After having been so wounded and unable to heal, I have received healing and deliverance.”

“Thank you, Jesus, for IPM — for bringing me into inner healing of childhood abuse/trauma. May the Lord complete his work for his glory.”

From our Emerging Leaders in Healing Conferences:

“The talks were really excellent at the ELH Conference in October. The prayer ministry was wonderful, too. After I went for prayer, I was released from some soul ties I didn’t know I still had with former sexual partners. What joy came to me with the cutting free. Glory to God!”

“Judith’s talks were all good. Francis’ love and gentleness poured out on us, and I was transformed and inspired. We loved Jenny Howard. Her worship led me straight to the throne of God every time! Glory! Her intimacy with God and sureness in worship was beautiful and a refreshment for my soul.”

“I really received a lot of healing through the evening anointing and prayers. The appointment with the prayer ministry was good, too. The Thursday evening with Francis and Judith was extra special. I received a vision while I was resting in the spirit. God showed me that He had transformed my family tree into a beautiful tree with perfect pears hanging on each branch. His light shone behind the tree and it became a glow. What a beautiful sight! Thank you, Francis and Judith, for all you did for us.”

“All of Francis’ and Judith’s talks were wonderful, clear, full of truth.”

“Bless you for your service and worship to our Lord and Savior. This conference has blessed me as I go forth in His name.”

“I am a 53–year–old woman who, from the time of conception, was not wanted by my parents. I experienced trauma, including incest (father), during most of my childhood. God has been with me through it all, but for the last three years I have felt stuck. This week I have experienced deliverance from spirits of shame, trauma, control and defiance. I feel more alive; my face feels new. My sense of oneness with “the little me” is more than a truth in my head. All glory to our God and deep gratitude to you all for faithfully following Him.”

“God has been more present and alive to me during this painful ‘dark night of the soul.’ Praise Him for bringing your ministry to The Falls Church Episcopal in Falls Church, Virginia last May.”

From our Mail and Email:

From David, a college student who felt so blessed by his prayer time at CHM that he wrote a paper for his English class about his experience. David had a tumor in his knee which had been diagnosed as Non–Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, a type of cancer. When we thanked him for sending a copy of his paper, he replied: “Thankfully, I am in remission and feeling great. I am able to run without pain as if nothing had happened. Actually, I am training for a marathon and feeling very strong. Praise the Lord!”

“Last fall, I contacted your prayer ministry for healing prayers for a very painful nerve condition called Trigeminal Neuralgia. I had been suffering for over 10 years with very sharp jabs of pain on the right side of my face, spending many days and nights in doctors’ offices and hospitals and taking all kinds of medications, some with strong narcotics. In spite of several medical procedures, nothing had given me lasting relief.

“After your intercessors started praying for me, I was referred to a doctor in neurosurgery who performed an operation on the nerve with excellent results. It has been three weeks since the surgery. I am recovering, and all the pain I had before is gone! All praise to our Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. I thank them all, and I thank all of you for your healing prayers.”

“In December, I asked CHM’s intercessors to pray for 16–year–old Curtis, who had been hospitalized for three months with an aggressive infection that was eating away at his muscles. Six surgeries had been performed in an effort to save him, but he had lost 75 pounds and appeared to be wasting away. I asked for prayers for a miracle (my request would take a miracle!), that he be able to go home for Christmas. When he did go home for Christmas, two of his doctors said: ‘This was not us. This was work from a higher level.’”

“As I go through the list of prayer requests I’ve sent to CHM over the years, I am reminded of many answered prayers: After nearly dying, my mother has been cancer–free for two years. My father has been free of cancer and complications for one year. My husband and I have a better relationship than at any time in all our 19 years of marriage. The Lord sometimes works silently in the background, sometimes noticeably in the foreground; I have come to appreciate and lean on the fact that He is always with us and working in our favor. Thank you for your ministry. I feel the power of your prayers every day.”

“Two years ago, my friend Barbara received prayer at CHM for healing of lymphoma of the brain and the eye. She is in remission and doing well. Praise Jesus and thank you.”

How good it is to sing praises to our God….
He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds (Psalm 147:1, 3).

(The Praise Reports have been edited for readability.)

Mar/Apr 2006 Issue

How to Pray for Aging

by Francis MacNutt
Mar/Apr 2006

As a practical followup to the article on aging in this newsletter, I want to share some ideas on what you can actually do about this universal problem.

In the first place, if the elderly are suffering from sickness, such as cancer, you can do what you already have learned to do: namely, you can pray for healing.

The new insight we are discovering, however, is that we can be basically healthy, yet suffer like the sick. We are not exactly sick, but the joints ache and we start to bend over as the forces of life gradually lessen. It’s like the law of entropy, which describes how energy continually sinks to a lower level. We also can compare it to driving a good used car; there always will be wear and tear no matter how well we take care of the car. Just as sludge builds up in our car’s motor, globules of fat clog up the veins and arteries, it’s just a law of nature. Our "tent," as Paul says, is eventually folded up and taken down.

What we find is that this is a battle, a struggle, that goes on every day. It’s not like praying for a disease or a tumor, which Jesus can dissolve in one prayer. When a disease is healed, it’s all over and done with, and you praise God. The forces of dissolution are at work every day: a struggle goes on all the time between the energy of life and the opposing forces of weakness and infirmity. We are reminded of that part of the Lord’s Prayer which asks God to give us this day our daily bread and deliver us from evil (or the Evil One). We pray not once but continually, every day.

So, since the possibility of an advanced and healthy old age is a blessing held out to us in the Scripture, and is a wider application of what we believe about Jesus’ general desire to heal, I propose that we pray for the elderly, with the laying on of hands, every day. We can pray to strengthen the forces of life both in our minds and our bodies. (By the way, we heard recently that a friend, whose wife has long suffered from Alzheimer’s disease, and who has been praying for her for years, now tells us that his wife is recovering her mental health!)

Clearly, this kind of frequent, if not daily, prayer is not emotionally exciting. We are praying to stop the slow advance of aging, and we can't actually see this take place. If a glacier slows down, how can you tell? At the end of the year you say, "Thank God, my husband — my wife, or my friend — is still in pretty good shape." To be in the same physical and mental condition at the end of your 70th year as you were on your 69th birthday is a triumph, isn’t it? But you don’t actually see it taking place. Fidelity to this kind of prayer takes patience and resolve. It probably shows even more faith than when we pray once for someone who suffers from a terminal illness. Aging is terminal, too, but there is nothing dramatic in slowing it down.

What a wonderful thing it would be if Christians in nursing homes could learn to pray for one another. Judith and I try to pray five minutes of soaking prayer for each other every morning. It’s very quiet, very peaceful — nothing dramatic, yet we always wish it would never end. In a way, it’s a perfect beginning and the best part of our day.

Since I haven’t read anything about this kind of prayer (so I have no book to recommend), I think we are really on to something. See what you think about this kind of prayer. Try it.

Something you can tell, though, is whether or not the aches and pains you may have been suffering lessen or even disappear. Also, the swelling that some experience from the grinding of bone upon bone may gradually lessen. When that happens you should be able to tell a difference.

Another suggestion: since making up a new prayer every day can become tiresome, you might try praying in English once a week, then praying in tongues on the other days of the week. In that way you can practice the presence of God and gently rest in God’s presence.

Let us know what happens (or, perhaps it’s what doesn’t happen). The prayer may not be all that exciting, but this discovery is in itself, I think, very exciting!

— Francis

Francis MacNutt Francis MacNutt is a Founding Director and Executive Committee member of CHM. Mar/Apr 2006 Issue