The Joy of Being in Healing Ministry

by Francis MacNutt
Mar/Apr 2010

I remember once when I was in Australia, after I had led a glorious retreat for 220 priests, I went walking through the streets of Sydney. As I was going along, I had a sense of what wonderful people were walking down the streets.

About that same time, an evangelist whom I knew and respected gave some talks in Australia. After he finished, he ended up in his room, crying over the sense of sin welling up from those same streets of Sydney. When I heard about that, I thought, “What’s this? Should I be laughing or crying?”

It came to me that we were both right! I could weep for the sins of Sydney every day and all day, and it would not be nearly enough. Or I could rejoice and celebrate all day about the goodness that was in the people – and that would not be enough. As I see it, there is a grace in seeing the evil that’s there, and there’s a grace in the seeing the goodness that’s there. Being human, I need a balance: I need to cry with those who cry, pray for deliverance everyday, and I also need to be at peace and rest. I need to laugh more than I do and be able to see and enjoy the delightful side of life.

I believe those of us who pray for healing are, or should be, the most joyful people alive. We see so much sickness changed by healing prayer and so much demonic oppression transformed into freedom. But we need to make a choice in where we put our focus.

The healing/deliverance ministry deals with the most painful and worst aspects of human experience. If you pray for inner healing in any kind of depth, you hear tragic stories. What lies beneath the surface are so often tears of sadness caused by the abandonment of children, cruel words, and harsh judgments that most people haven’t heard about. The wounded and broken person trusts you in sharing his or her story. You then can ask Jesus to reach into those painful memories and transform the pain. And when that happens, we all rejoice.

When you hear about so much human tragedy, you can easily become weighed down. If you spend most of your day praying for deliverance from evil spirits, you yourself can actually become oppressed by what evil spirits have done to hurt innocents. You either feel like weeping or you get angry. Especially, when you learn about how relatively common such evil as satanic ritual abuse is, you may come to contemplate at night on the hideous images of what you have heard during the day.

This is when you have to make something of a choice, because you are also seeing the oppressed go free, and the sick become whole and well.

We rejoice with those who rejoice, as well as weep with those who weep. The blind see and the deaf hear. I could spend all day fighting evil, but more and more I see the wisdom in Paul’s advice. “Fill your minds with everything that is true, everything that is noble, everything that is good and pure, everything that we love and honor and everything that can be thought virtuous or worthy of praise.” (Phil. 4:8)

In the healing ministry we can choose to concentrate on the freedom and life and health that Jesus brings, rather than the enormous forces of evil that occupy the news channels. Without in any way denying the evil, I do not want to concentrate on attacking the evils in this world, but I want to see the beauty that is in this world - in nature, but primarily in loving people that I meet every day and that I have the privilege of ministering with.

It is helpful to try to concentrate on all these positive, beautiful parts of our lives, and to celebrate what God is doing in our lives, especially at the end of the day. When we get older it’s supposed to become harder to sleep. But I find it easy to fall asleep, without tossing and turning with worry, because in the evenings, I try not to think of things that could weigh on me  -  things like work and problems and evil.

I think it’s very instructive to see in the famous Parable of the Sower (Mt. 13: 4-9), the problem with the seed that falls among the weeds is that the seed is choked by the “worries” of this world (Mt. 13:22). At times, I have even felt that I was being virtuous in worrying about things. Worry shows that I am really concerned about things that really need to be changed. But this was not Jesus’ attitude. When the storm came up on the lake, Jesus was asleep in the bow; and when his disciples woke him up, he blamed them, actually, because they did not have enough faith to let him take his rest. That always touched me.

Peace is one of the fruits of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22), and Jesus wants you to rest from the cares of the world so that you can concentrate on healing work and transformation.

“Celebrate God all day, everyday. I mean revel in him! Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying pray…petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers. Letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Jesus Christ displaces worry in the center of your life” (Phil. 4:6-7, The Message).

Then we can rest and be thankful for each day we are able to be faithful servants.
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Francis MacNutt Francis MacNutt is a Founding Director and Executive Committee member of CHM. Magazine Issue

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