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