Healing Line

Healing Line

The Way We Were

by Francis MacNutt
Nov/Dec 2006

Some of you will joyfully remember the 1970s when the charismatic renewal first burst upon the scene. In St. Louis, where I then lived, we started a prayer meeting that drew about 300 people; and they came on Saturday night, of all unlikely times. Every week, with great rejoicing, several people were baptized in the Spirit, and then they came back to give their fresh testimonies the next Saturday. Those were exciting times!

Great hope grew within us that the entire church would come to join in and accept what was happening. Of course we received criticism but, by and large, people were open or at least curious. One criticism was that what happened was all emotion, but we saw deep transformations as God had worked in our friends’ lives. One friend shared with me how three major problem areas in his life were changed overnight after he was baptized in the Spirit. For years he had been trying to change, but he repeatedly failed until he was baptized in the Spirit. We saw such deep transformations happen over and over.

But now, after nearly forty years, what has happened?

Some of the lasting fruits are still there and many of the lay leaders in our churches got their start in the renewal. The greatest positive change is that, for the most part, the church has given its approval to charismatic renewal. The leaders no longer harbor the suspicion that we encountered forty years ago and in many churches we find small teams praying for healing after communion. Today we find much more acceptance.

Nevertheless, the renewal in some ways has stalled. That prayer group of 300 that I mentioned earlier has dwindled. In 1980, there were reportedly 110 prayer groups in St. Louis; now there are only a struggling few. What has happened?

A Call to the Future

First, I think we should celebrate the fact that charismatic renewal now meets with acceptance instead of skepticism. But what hasn’t yet happened is for the church to see that

the Baptism in the Spirit, and
the Charisms (such as healing)

are not meant merely to be accepted (“for those who like that kind of spirituality”), but should be seen as essential for the vitality and growth of the church.

If only the church would recognize that these two crucial elements (baptism in the Spirit and the charisms) are absolutely essential to living a full Christian life, then we could move from the “church basement,” as it were, to the sanctuary upstairs.

Even more than that, these key activities need to become part of the Sunday services. Otherwise, the baptism in the Spirit and the charisms will always be seen as an extra, as optional, and removed from the sight of the ordinary churchgoers. The only glimpse they will have of the spiritual gifts will be the sight of Benny Hinn as they scan programs on TV.

How can we provide for all this to actually happen? How can we arrange for all Christians to have the opportunity to be baptized in the Spirit and to have access to healing prayer? I’m not sure exactly how this can be done, yet, I think it has to happen, or many good churches will dwindle and perhaps die.

If this doesn’t happen, many good Christians who are seeking for more life will find what seems to be more life in the New Age movement. Or, far better, they will search among the multitude of evangelical–charismatic churches that are springing up everywhere.

This also means that seminaries need to teach future leaders about the power of the Spirit and how it applies to their own lives: in their sermon preparation and in ministering to the sick. (As a sign of hope, I just heard this past week about a course on healing being given in a Roman Catholic seminary.)

This seeking outside the traditional denominations is already happening on a large scale. The old denominational attachments are loosening rapidly and some of their more dedicated members are joining the growing number of charismatic churches that are springing up everywhere. In fact, a sociologist — Philip Jenkins — has written a fascinating book, The Next Christendom, which describes how Christians in the Third World (Africa, Asia and Latin America) are growing at an extraordinary rate. Ironically, the faith in Europe — which used to be the heart of Christianity — is now growing dim. If you have been to Europe recently, you have seen it yourself. For the most part, only a few of the elderly faithful still go to church on Sunday. They say that the fastest growing religion in Europe, aside from Islam, is now Satanism.

Meanwhile, Christianity is exploding in Africa, Asia and Latin American, and most of those growing churches are evangelical churches that experience the power of the Holy Spirit. In Mozambique, for example, we hear credible reports that there have been 60 resurrections and we have friends who have traveled to that island to check it out for themselves.

At the very least, God seems to be trying to wake us up to what Christianity needs in order to make us into fully alive Christians. No longer can we have the luxury of a drowsy, routine, religious life as usual.

For those of us who believe in baptizing infants (and I do), what do we offer in regular church life for adults to be truly empowered by the baptism in the Spirit? How do adults aspire to receive the charisms listed by St. Paul (1 Cor. 11 and 12)? How do the sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation relate to what we have experienced that transformed our lives when we first became involved in charismatic renewal?

Now is the time, not only to study the life of

Jesus but to imitate his life by being anointed with the Holy Spirit and with the power to heal the sick and free the oppressed.

With love,
Francis


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


A Christmas Message

by Francis MacNutt
Nov/Dec 2006

For many of us, Christmas has the deepest, most tender feelings of any Christian feast. For me, it brings back childhood memories of walking through a gently falling snow to a small chapel at

midnight to celebrate a quiet service. What peaceful, secure prayers, kneeling in front of the Madonna and babe, surrounded by shepherds and oxen. Afterwards, we went home to a small meal and hot chocolate.

But as I grow older, I realize more and more that it was not only peace and joy that Jesus brought to our world. More than that, it was God making a statement that he stood on the side of the

dispossessed. The Holy Family ended up in a cave (or something like it), because there was no room at the inn. Mary, who was about to give birth, was forced to walk (or ride a donkey) for miles to

another city — forced to do so by a foreign despot who wanted to make a census to further tax the Jewish people.

And then there was the suspicion that she and Joseph experienced in regard to accusations of an illegitimate birth. The only human beings who came were shepherds; the lowest class of riffraff in the culture of that time. Additionally, God did send the angels to celebrate and encourage Mary and Joseph.

In human terms, Jesus’ birth was not only simple, but it also dignified the poorest people that God could have chosen. Thirty years later Jesus told a would–be follower that he (Jesus) had no place to lay his head. So, from beginning to end, God sided with the poor and dispossessed rather than those living in Herod’s palace.

If we can see beneath the surface, this is an even more encouraging Christmas message than I

received as a child. It means that God is with us more deeply than ever, even in our times of trial: when we have few possessions, with no place to lay our heads and have lost our reputations.

Jesus not only knew about these trials but he lived through them with his family, long before he was crucified.

He will be our companion always, no matter what, as long as we stay close to him!

With Christmas peace,
Francis
With Judith
And Rachel and David

P.S. Christmas is the time of giving, of course. Since we rely on contributions to keep the healing ministry of CHM thriving in order to pray for the suffering, the sick and the wounded, we do not hesitate to ask that you send a contribution to CHM at this special time of the year!


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


Praise the Lord and Give Thanks

Compiled by Anne Early
Nov/Dec 2006

“I have visited CHM several times for prayer. One evening I received prayer by one of your prayer teams (a man and a woman) I can never forget. After they explained the procedure in the privacy of the prayer room, I was anointed with oil. The lady and I were seated, and the man was standing with his hand on my shoulder. As they began praying in tongues, I noticed his hand felt very hot. (I thought he was sick, but he explained that the heat was the Holy Spirit.) After a few minutes of prayer, the lady stopped praying. When the man asked why she had stopped, she replied that the words “consider it done, my child” had come to her. The cancer, MFG (a rare form with no known cure), had caused itching and the appearance of spots on the skin. I had received numerous kinds of treatments before coming for prayer, but none had provided healing. As they prayed the itching subsided and the spots began to fade. During the next several weeks, all the spots disappeared and no more developed. God does good work!”


“Before I went to CHM for School of Healing Prayer® Level III, in September, I had been taking sleeping pills for three years in order to sleep.Since I came home, even though it has been a battle from hell, the Holy Spirit has laid it on my heart that He would get me through it.This is the fifth day, since returning from CHM, that I have awakened after sleeping through the night without a sleeping pill and without fighting a ship full of demons. I want to praise God, our Father, who has delivered me.It has taken a while for me to believe the scripture I received —‘Thank you, Lord, that in peace they will both lie down and sleep, for You alone make them to dwell in safety.In the name of Jesus Christ.’I just wanted to share with you and tell you how merciful our Lord is to those who love Him.”


“When I was at CHM’s School of Healing Prayer Level III in September, I had bladder pain and heaviness. (Before going to Florida, I had gone to my doctor. A urine culture had been taken, but since it was Friday, the results had not been available before I left for Jacksonville.) My Level III teammates prayed for me Wednesday, and the heaviness and pain decreased. I also had back pain which entirely disappeared.

“The following Monday I learned that the urine culture, which had been taken before I went to the school, showed that I had B-strep of the bladder.The doctor wanted to put me on antibiotics, but I said I had been prayed over and healed.The doctor still wanted me to take medication, so suggested that I retake the urine culture.Well, when the Lord heals he doesn’t do a second rate job!The results came back completely negative.Praise God!Thank you, all of you at CHM, for your wonderful work of getting the word out and opening hearts once again to God’s healing mercy and love.”


“Thank you for your ministry.It is a source of light and love in our world!Results of prayers received during your Day of Healing Prayer have been wonderful.My doctor has confirmed that the mitral valve prolapse I’ve had since birth is gone!Thank you, Jesus!When two different prayer ministers asked me to lay my hand over my heart, then covered my hand with theirs, I thought it was to open my heart more spiritually, not for an actual physical healing (since that was not on my prayer request form). Well, the Lord had other intentions.I’m so happy and relieved.The mitral valve prolapse was a condition for which I might have had to have surgery later on in life.”


“Today I visited Christian Healing Ministries and was baptized in the Holy Spirit.It was a very peaceful experience.”


“Two years ago I came to CHM for the Day of Healing Prayer and asked for prayer that I conceive.Two of the prayer ministers saw another baby in my future.My husband and I gave it all to the Lord and adopted a little girl.We were very happy with our family, but God had even bigger plans.After finally giving it all to Him, I conceived.I am 13 weeks pregnant and know that in Him all things are possible.This is totally a God thing and we are truly blessed.”


“Last spring two CHM prayer ministers prayed for my daughter Elizabeth, who, for two years, had suffered terribly with fibromyalgia. Three days after Easter, and having been hospitalized for detoxification from pain medications, she experienced a miracle. She woke up with no pain and, with the exception of an occasional migraine headache, has remained pain free ever since. She acknowledges that she has received a miracle and is so happy and thankful. Praise the Lord and thank you for your intercession.”


“Since attending Day of Healing Prayer last month, I have experienced continuing healing of food and alcohol addiction.I specifically requested that the Lord continue to work on me for my weight problem, andI have lost an additional 16 pounds.May the Lord be praised and glorified for His mercy!“


"I attended the Lutheran Renewal Conference where the MacNutts were speaking last August.I was deeply healed of memories of my mother’s suicide.I know God healed me of the pain of abandonment.I felt God’s deep presence within me when I was slain in the Spirit, and have continued feeling it!It was truly amazing.It seemed that Jesus healed a memory very deep in my soul.Thank you for praying for me!It truly was a life-changing experience.”


“I attended Jack Hayford’s Healing Conference last November.Francis MacNutt prayed for me and I was healed of many food allergies.Most dramatic was the healing of my allergy to wheat.Prior to receiving prayer, I would suffer a major depression for 48 hours after eating wheat.I was healed of that and other problems.I also received inner emotional healing. Thank you for your ministry and God bless you.”


“I have pursued healing with Jesus for several years, and have read a lot of books and listened to a lot of talks. During this FISHNET conference God gave me a few insights that I had not yet encountered.

“I am disabled from orthopedic deformity, and with many other things, was sexually abused by my mother. The Lord has told me several times that he is healing me from the inside out. I could see the connection between my physical ailments and my inner wounds, yet it came as a surprise, one afternoon in my hotel room, to feel God prompt me to consider a connection in relation to receiving healing. He showed me a hesitancy, a ‘hanging back,” at the thought of his healing power having its way with my body. I already had prayed through the terror of intimacy with regard to sexual abuse, but I never had prayed about specifically giving him permission to enter into all areas of my flesh to bring healing. Our God is a consuming fire, yet He is always invitational. I gave him permission; I invited him into every area of my flesh, as well as my soul and mind, to bring healing.

“The other insight he gave me had to do with time and the healing of sexual abuse. A prayer team was ministering to me concerning the abuse, and one of the women asked me if I was willing to let Jesus give me a memory he wished to heal. I said, “Yes,” and eventually I had an image of lying there as an infant, with my approaching mother looming over me. She was scary, enormous, like a monster! (I should tell you I never have wanted to sleep on my back, no matter the level of physical comfort. Now I know why.) The woman who was praying with me asked if I could see Jesus. I responded, “No.” I looked, but the field of vision of my little infant eyes was filled with my mother’s face and upper body looming over my left side and center. The prayer minister asked me to look around, but there was a wall on my right. What else could I see? I tried again. Suddenly, Jesus changed the vantage point. I no longer was looking out of my infant eyes; I was seeing the room from a different place, as if a camera had backed up and more area had come into view. I saw Jesus near the wall, a few feet down from my mother and me, and his eyes were on us. “Can you see Jesus yet?” I was asked. I was crying, and several moments went by while the prayer team waited.

“I knew I needed to explain to them what had happened for me in those moments. As soon as I could see Jesus, I thought, “Why is He watching?!” Isn’t He going to do something?!” I was outraged and heartbroken. When I sobbingly told the team He wasn’t doing anything, one prayer minister immediately prayed, ‘Lord Jesus, show her why you’re there.’

“Suddenly, He showed me that I had confused watching with seeing. Jesus saw what was happening, and He moved forward and gently pushed my mother back. He put out his hands, picked me up, and brought me to his chest. Holding me in his arms, He said, ‘I came to rescue you. You don’t understand time; then is now. I am rescuing you now, and it is then.’ Wow.

“I know He is ‘outside’ of time and exists in all places simultaneously; but abuse happens in linear time.How could He rescue me from something that already had happened?This was sexual abuse of an infant, and that infant was me.The horror!My body was trembling convulsively.Everything in me cried out for intervention.This called for rescue!I thought God had been remiss, but He showed me that the very cry for action from the depth of my being had originated in God’s heart.I told him I was so sorry I had accused him in my lack of understanding.I was sexually abused, and yet I was rescued – not by a passerby but by the Lord of Time, the King of Kings, whose blood can heal and whose presence banishes all darkness.It healed me to be taken into His arms.His entire presence spoke of what is pure and holy in the ‘essence’ of masculinity.He is the Father’s heart, and for him, then is now.He shares that reality of his authority with those of us who need him to invade what we think is merely past.With the healing of our perception of God comes the acknowledgement that ‘He who vindicates me is near,’ and the surrender of our misperceived ‘right’ to unforgiveness.”


But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you
may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light (1 Peter 2:9).

(The Praise Reports have been edited for readability.)


Nov/Dec 2006 Issue