Healing Line

Healing Line

A Healing Place

by Mike Simon
Sep/Oct 2009

In July I had the privilege of serving as a prayer minister at the Journey to Healing Retreat in Jacksonville. If you have completed all levels of the School of Healing Prayer but have not yet been a prayer minister at one of our conferences, I highly recommend it. I found that it accelerated the development of my spiritual gifts in prayer. God answered my prayer to hear more clearly how He wanted me to pray for people and in some cases even to confirm what He was revealing to them. As you know there is a powerful anointing at these events.

On the last day of the conference a gracious attendee asked me if it would be possible for her to give a monthly donation using her credit card. I am grateful for her desire to support Christian Healing Ministries in this way. The answer is “yes” and there are a couple of different ways to give electronically on a monthly basis. Since she asked the question I thought you might be interested in the answer as well. The ways are highlighted in the section below. If you are interested in this approach and need help please call our main line at 904–765–3332. If you know of another way that is not mentioned below, please call us so that we can share with others who may be interested.

While there is an advantage for us in terms of monthly budgeting when donors set up an electronic monthly gift, we are simply thrilled that you would honor us with your financial support in whatever form and frequency works best for you. Thank you for all the ways you support this ministry — from financial support, your prayers, your encouraging letters and emails, attending and inviting friends to a school or conference, volunteering your time and more! Your openness to the Holy Spirit and willingness to help us enables thousands of people each year to experience God’s love and receive His healing. Your help makes it possible and we are grateful.

Making a Monthly Gift Using a Debit or Credit Card

To do this, simply call Christian Healing Ministries and ask for Mike Simon or call our bookstore and ask for Jane Wilson or Janice Melton. Currently we are being blessed by donors that are giving gifts ranging from $15 to $500 per month this way. If you are like me, the debit is the best option, as they take it out of your account directly and you avoid credit card balances. Some people prefer credit because they like to get the reward points offered on their credit card and manage the balance on those cards very well. We accept Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express.

Making a Monthly Gift Using Bill Pay

If you pay your bills through your bank with an online bill pay option that is another way to do a monthly payment digitally. Many banks offer this service for free. Other banks charge about $5 per month for the service for an unlimited number of payments. If you are already paying your bills this way it may be simple for you to set up Christian Healing Ministries as a recipient. With the online bill pay option they often offer a memo field to be included with the payment if you want us to know anything specific about your desire for the gift.

Making a Monthly Gift Using Automatic Withdrawal (Bank to Bank)

This is similar to when you join a health club or sign up for a monthly service at your home. With a voided check and a signed note from you telling us how much you would like us to receive each month and what day of the month, we can set up an automatic transfer from your account.

If you are interested in one of these options and need help please call our main line at 904–765–3332.

Mike Simon Mike Simon is the Director of Development for CHM. Sep/Oct 2009 Issue

Lessons from the Ministry Frontlines: Things Learned Through Prayer

by Sara Flynn
Sep/Oct 2009

Less Is More

May I give you some advice?

My seventeen year old daughter recently got a cute, new haircut. It’s much shorter than it has been in a long time. A friend complimented her on the haircut but then proceeded to give her advice about how to manage it when she decides to let it grow long again. She said, “I had a short haircut before and found it was a nuisance to grow out. To do it right, you need a strategy so it won’t look funny and stick out in all directions while it’s growing back.” She meant well but her “helpful” comments were not well received. My daughter feigned polite interest in the other girl’s remarks but soon came into the kitchen to tell me how irritated she felt. She said, “I wanted to say, ‘What makes you think I want to hear all this? Why are you telling me about how to grow my hair out? I just got it cut yesterday.’”

Unsolicited advice is seldom well received. We know this, but we go right on giving it. We do it in our families, friendships, work environment, and in casual conversations with strangers. Though we teach students at the School of Healing Prayer® not to give advice during prayer appointments, it happens anyway. However well–intended the advice may be, a prayer appointment is not the right venue. A participant at a recent conference wrote on her evaluation form that her prayer minister spent so much time giving her advice that there was no time left to pray. This breaks my heart and puts a fire in my belly.

At CHM, we take seriously the “Listen, Love and Pray” prayer model. When we pray we rely fully on God since without His direction, we don’t know what to do. I am a social worker and have a lot of professional training and education as well as my own life experiences but none can compare to the elegant work of the Holy Spirit as He ministers through fully yielded prayer ministers. The Lord is so creative in his approach and often we are awed by his ability to go straight to the point of deepest need during a prayer session.

At CHM, we often pray, “Lord, less of me and more of you. Fill us to overflowing with your love for this person.” We know it’s His love that heals people, not our advice. We also pray for wisdom. We pray that we may see what Jesus is doing and follow Him. We pray that we may hear His voice and clearly recognize His direction. We pray that He will reveal insights to us as we pray. The Holy Spirit faithfully leads us in our prayers so that we are able to pray with more understanding.

However, instead of sharing everything He reveals to us in prayer, we ask Him, “Lord, do you want me to share this information with the person for whom we are praying, or have you revealed this so we know how best to pray? How can we incorporate this knowledge into our prayers?” We may silently ask the Lord to give the prayer recipient the same revelation. As we pray, we check in with one another and the recipient and ask, “Is the Lord revealing anything to you?” Many times, the prayer recipient will have received similar knowledge in a message, vision, memory or Bible verse. Sometimes one prayer minister will pray exactly what the other is hearing from God. It’s very exciting and humbling. Sometimes we do not verbalize what we have seen or heard from the Lord except to make it a prayer; there is an art to the formation of such prayers that requires creativity and thought.

Sometimes the Holy Spirit very clearly tells us to relay a message to the individual. When this happens, we reveal only what the Lord has shown us. It’s done in a spirit of gentle obedience and humility since we may not fully understand what we are being asked to say. Often instead of saying, “The Lord says…” We ask a question. This usually engages the prayer recipient in a new way, brings a pivotal moment in the prayer session and leads to more healing.

For example, we were praying with a lady who said she could not recall anything about her life prior to the age of twelve. As we prayed I clearly heard from the Lord, “Ask her about the piano.” After a few minutes of prayer, we asked her if she was hearing or seeing anything. She said, “No.” I asked, “Was there a piano in your house when you were growing up?” This simple question opened an avenue of previously darkened childhood memory and we spent the next hour praying accordingly. We were all very excited about the Lord’s gracious entrance into that area for healing. The lady experienced Jesus’ deep love and concern for her. The prayer recipient’s relationship with Jesus is greatly enriched by this type of interaction during prayer. Their relationship with us is blessed too but chiefly, they have a powerful encounter with Him and that’s what changes their lives and heals them in some way.

Sometimes we want to share our own story, especially if the prayer recipient’s history is familiar to us. If we pray about it during the prayer session and the Lord says we should share, then we do so very briefly. Sometimes sharing a relevant piece of our own testimony gives the prayer recipient courage or comfort to move forward in their own healing journey. Sometimes a person is reluctant to share a particularly shameful aspect of their history. When we make ourselves transparent and vulnerable as prayer ministers, others may feel safe enough to allow the light of Christ into the darker corners of their lives. Even so, this type of sharing must be done with great discernment so as not to wound, annoy or frighten the prayer recipient. It’s very important that the focus stays on what God is doing in the person receiving prayer. If we share, we must make sure we do not interrupt the healing that is taking place.

Most people don’t ask for advice. It’s common that by the time they arrive at CHM they have already received advice from numerous other people who may have tried to “fix” them by answering their questions, telling them what they “should” do, or trying to “help” solve their problems. People may have tried desperately to “fix” themselves. Often they are here because they’re at the end of their rope and simply need Jesus. One word from Him is so much more powerful than a whole conversation with us. As Judith says, “Jesus brings Good News, not good advice.”

Every now and then someone will ask for advice. We may simply lift the question to the Lord in prayer and ask Him for advice instead of answering ourselves. We may offer encouraging suggestions as a follow–up to prayer. For example, if we have discerned that counseling would be beneficial and the prayer recipient seems opened to that idea, we may refer them to someone in the community who can help (as prayer ministers we need to have a referral list available precisely for this purpose). We do not counsel them ourselves. We may share a way of praying that would be helpful (i.e., we may tell them about soaking prayer and encourage them to soak at home or with friends from church, or share a prayer from Joy Lamb’s book, The Sword of the Spirit, the Word of God). We may recommend a book or reading from the Bible. In this way we give the prayer recipient tools that he or she can use to draw near to God. We may invite them to make another appointment and come for more prayer. We do not give advice.

As prayer ministers our role is to usher people into the presence of the Lord so He can heal them. As Susan Stanford Rue, a local psychologist, and national advisory board member says, “We are donkeys carrying Jesus into Jerusalem.” We are His servants and must give Jesus room to do what only He can do. People come to receive our Holy Spirit filled and loving prayers. So when it comes to giving advice during prayer sessions, our advice is: less is definitely more.

Sara Flynn Sara Flynn is the Ministry Program Director at CHM. &Sep/Oct 2009 Issue

God's Kingdom Behind the Walls

by Dale Recinella
Sep/Oct 2009

The famed particle physicist and Noble prize laureate Erwin Schrödinger once said, “If you cannot — in the long run — tell everyone what you have been doing, your doing has been worthless.” He was referring to the invisible thousands of hours spent in the recesses of his physics laboratories, researching what is unseen and unknown to most of humanity. Accountability demanded an explanation of his work that would make it visible to all.

Such a universal principle can apply to kingdom work as well. When Mother Teresa was asked what she spent her time doing, her stock answer was, “Come and see.” An invitation easily given for her work in the streets, accessible to all who dared to traverse the slums of Calcutta. With such transparency, accountability is automatic.

But what if one’s field of kingdom work is not accessible, not transparent? What if the needs are hidden in the recesses of massive buildings bounded by walls of razor wire and guard turrets? What if the desperately needy are hidden in darkness, unseen and unknown to most of humanity?

Such is the plight of the institutionalized mentally ill and the condemned on death row. The kingdom workers whom God has blessed with access to them bear a double duty — to make God’s love visible and manifest inside the hospital and prison walls, and to make the humanity of their hidden suffering manifest outside those walls.

My wife, Susan, works with severely mentally ill women at a large state hospital. I minister cell–to–cell on the second largest death row in the U.S. We work as a ministry team caring for the condemned and their families during executions. We’ve been asked by the Association of Christian Therapists (ACT)* to share at the September conference our experiences of God’s kingdom behind the walls. It will be an opportunity to bring you inside with us — to make the humanity of the unseen needy visible to you, and to share with you how the power of the Gospel and the Holy Spirit is manifested inside those walls. We hope to see you at the conference.

Dale Recinella Dale Recinella is the Vice President of Special Projects at CHM. Sep/Oct 2009 Issue

Reflections on Impartation

by Francis MacNutt
Sep/Oct 2009

One of the latest practices in healing conferences is for leaders to pray for people to receive an impartation of various spiritual gifts, such as prophecy or healing. Similarly, for years people have asked us to pray for them to receive the gift of healing to empower them to minister in their homes or churches.

There is something wonderful about this practice, the practice of impartation, but it is accompanied by some real difficulties.

The first thing to note is that Jesus, in choosing the 12 and the 72, didn’t ask for volunteers. He looked around at members of his community, then prayed, and then he chose. And St. Paul did the same thing. After evangelizing for several months in a city, Paul chose those who would be his successors. They didn’t volunteer to be bishop. Paul simply chose as leaders those who had already shown gifts for teaching and administration. Then he commissioned them.

The encouraging aspect to the idea of praying for impartation is that Christians, who so often hang back and let the pastors do all the ministering, are taught to be more assertive and launch out in ministry. Ordinary Christians are encouraged to see God as a source of blessing and goodness, who loves to bless in abundance — God is not a miser. We honor God more by seeing him as generous rather than as a miser. And impartation is certainly a healthy, life–affirming attitude for us to have.

The difficulty is that it is not totally up to us to choose our gifts, but we need to recognize the gifts that the Spirit has already given to us.

Take, for example, the gift of healing, which we experience at CHM so much. The heart of the gift is the Holy Spirit, and the Spirit dwells within every Christian. And so all of us are empowered to pray for healing from time to time — and we should expect to see healing take place, especially in our homes. Everyone gets to pray.

But Paul also says in 1Corinthians 12:28 that the special gift of healing is given to some, but not to everyone. And I don’t think we necessarily receive the special gift of being a healing minister by asking God for an impartation of that gift.

Why not?

Mainly, I think it’s because God doesn’t seem to work that way. Ordinarily, God builds his special gifts upon the natural, created human gifts he has already given us “Grace builds on nature.”

Let me give you two examples.

First, suppose there is a good Christian person who seems to lack common sense. This will radically affect the way the person prays with people, and the lack of common sense will impair their healing ministry — and they may actually harm people without even being aware of it. The aspiring prayer minister may have an admirable Christian character, but in addition to having a healing gift, he/she also needs just plain common sense. Haven’t you seen this? Of course, we all make mistakes from time to time. But if we lack common sense, we are likely to make practical mistakes all the time. Furthermore, people who seem to lack common sense don’t seem to recognize that flaw. And that wouldn’t be so bad, except that when we pray for inner healing or deliverance, we are dealing with wounded human beings and we cannot afford to hurt them.

A second good comparison would be if someone prayed for the first gift in Paul’s list, which is often translated as “inspired preaching.” Suppose that someone came to you and asked you to pray that God would impart to them the gift of inspired preaching. And then suppose you prayed for that impartation, and then the person approached the leader of their prayer group or their pastor and said, “I now have the gift of inspired preaching, and I’d like you to offer me the pulpit next Sunday, so I can try out my new gift of inspired preaching.” I think we can all see the difficulty with this approach to improving the preaching in our churches. There are so many natural, human gifts that go to making a good preacher that it’s presumptuous to expect to preach effectively by simply appropriating the gift of preaching. Becoming a good preacher takes time; ordinarily, a fifteen–year–old will not be as effective a preacher as he will at 30.

What I am afraid of is that good people will come to CHM and attend a School of Healing Prayer and pray for an impartation of the gift of healing; then they will tell their pastor, “I attended CHM’s school on how to pray for healing, and I’ve asked for an impartation of that gift, so I am now offering myself to lead the healing ministry here.”

I think we can all see that this approach might not work. To have a real spiritual gift of healing, we also ordinarily need natural, human gifts of compassion, of wisdom, of patience — and the virtue of taming our oversized need for recognition and success. Also, what the healing minister has learned from long experience enters into his/her ability to pray for healing. It would be highly unusual for a person to suddenly gain what most of us only learn from long experience by receiving someone’s prayer for an impartation. It is not a reasonable expectation.

In addition, the minister of healing — the person who has the gift of healing — on another, more personal level, has to be free of an inordinate desire to make money off the gift, and also to be free of an inordinate desire for recognition or fame. In short, the minister of healing moves into an arena of work where there are real moral dangers that many healers have fallen into. In other words, the healer needs to be spiritually mature and free from serious sin.

Having said all that, I’d like to say that we are happy to pray for Christians who want God to use them in a healing ministry. But it usually takes time to develop the various aspects of Christian character, together with the gifts that it takes to become a truly healing person. Usually, no one person has the totality of gifts needed for a healing ministry. Ideally, we need to surround ourselves with dedicated, sold–out Christians who can help us develop some of those gifts of healing in which we are still learning and growing.

Seeking impartation to grasp the gift of healing seems to be well–meaning but overly simplistic. The right approach seems to be to recognize the healing qualities he has already given us, and then ask Jesus to give us the light to understand how best we can grow in discernment and spiritual power to heal God’s wounded, hurting people.”

“. . . speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body,
joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work . . .”
— Ephesians 4:15–16

Francis MacNutt Francis MacNutt is a Founding Director and Executive Committee member of CHM. Sep/Oct 2009 Issue