Healing Line

Healing Line

Angels are for Real

by Judith MacNutt
Jan/Feb/Mar 2012

Years ago, in 1990, Francis and I were in London for a conference where John Wimber, founder of the Vineyard Church, was the main speaker. At the end of his talk, John invited us backstage to meet the members of his team. Several of those present were remarkably gifted in the prophetic. John was delighted to bless us by having his team pray over us. Some beautiful and encouraging words from the Lord were spoken to us by his team. I remember one ‘word’ in particular lodged in my heart! The youngest pastor present that day on his team admitted that he didn’t know much about our ministry, but, yet he felt that God wanted to encourage me to write a book about angels. What only a few close friends knew was that a contract to write a book on angels was on my desk back in the U.S. at that very moment!

At that time, Francis and I were traveling extensively and were raising two young, wonderful children while simultaneously involved in a full time ministry. As a result of our hectic schedule, that contract was never signed. Two years ago, Jane Campbell, an editor for Chosen Books and a longtime friend who has worked with Francis editing several of his books, asked if I would revisit the possibility of writing that book on angels. This time I signed the contract and we have moved ahead to bring Angels Are For Real into print.

Our publisher, Chosen Books, has this to say about the book: “Angels have been and will continue to be, a vital part of God’s Kingdom. Throughout the ages, angels have been messengers, protectors, healers, comforters and more to the people of God. Sometimes their presence is as subtle as a whisper of wind, at other times as visible as the sun. Yet many Christians treat the existence of angels lightly or fail to consider them at all. In Angels Are For Real Judith MacNutt pulls back the curtain on the lives of these intriguing heavenly beings, recounting inspiring, true-life stories. She draws on solid scriptural support to explore:

  • What angels look like
  • What they do
  • Why they are important in believers’ lives
  • The heavenly hierarchy
  • What fallen angels are

Angels Are For Real is an accessible, comprehensive, encouraging guide for Christians. When believers grasp how important angels are to God - and to themselves - they will better understand God’s extraordinary love.”

During ministry trips to different parts of the world, I constantly meet ordinary people who have had extraordinary supernatural encounters with God’s holy angels. These experiences are not rare and for most of these people, are unexpected. A 2007 Gallup Poll found that 75% of Americans believe in angels and 50% believe they have their own guardian angel. At a time when many theologians de-emphasize the supernatural realm (which includes angels), we believe God is raising our awareness that the angelic host is actively involved in our day-to-day lives. Their presence brings comfort and strength by conveying God’s love in real and tangible ways. An angel is a stepping stone to the larger reality of God’s Kingdom, and ultimately, they point to God Himself.

In speaking of the angels, scripture says, “he makes his angels winds, his servants flames of fire. Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?” (Hebrews 1:7, 14) These holy companions also escort believers into the Kingdom of Heaven at death. The first story is from our dear friend and CHM Board member Mrs. Emmy Cerveny. The second story serves as a powerful reminder that God’s holy angels are actively engaged in spiritual warfare on behalf of God’s children.

Excerpts from Angels Are For Real

 

A Mother's Heavenly Escorts at Death

My mother had been diagnosed with emphysema, and her doctors believed she only had a short time to live. My husband, Frank, was active as an Episcopal Bishop of Florida, and our lives were quite busy. Even so, we wanted to be with her, so we moved her into a lovely condominium near our home.

My mother was an incredible believer, having had her life transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit, and she was excited to live close to Christian Healing Ministries. I would often go into her home and hear Francis MacNutt’s voice on tape and wonder if he was visiting her, which, thankfully, he did many times. Because of her deep faith, the MacNutts and many of the community of the faithful, my mother experienced a very holy death. She was not afraid to die. In fact, she looked forward to joining my daddy and others who had gone before her.

My friend Sue would often play her harp, and we would all gather around my mother’s bed and sing praise music. Once Mother bolted straight up in the bed and said, “Am I dead yet? This dying is not bad at all!”

One day, Bishop Frank held a Diocesan Convention and wanted to bring Mother Holy Communion before the meeting. When he walked into her bedroom, she said, “Emmy, did you see that angel fly in over Frank’s head when he opened the door?” I hadn’t seen it, but she clearly had.

Frank gave her communion and prayed with her. A few hours later, Mother called me into her room and said, “Emmy, do you see those angels in the corner of my room? There’s a path of beautiful flowers on either side, and the street is lined with many, many angels.” The picture was so vivid to her. As I sat quietly by her bed, she said, “Emmy, the angels - do you see them now? They want me to come and go with them. I believe I am ready to go - please come hold my hand and help me join them. Wait! Honey, call your brother to be with us.” As we stood on either side of her bed, she said, “I am ready to join them...” Then she quietly departed with the angels.

I remember singing, “This is holy ground.” And holy it was - the room was filled with the heavenly hosts. I will never be afraid to die.

I was prepared for this time through teachings we had received from the MacNutts and Father Frank Dearing, a local beloved Episcopal priest. We learned that healing takes many forms. In my mother’s case, as in the case of many I have known, death was a friend. Death for her came gently, beautifully and in the presence of the holy angels. Blessed are those who have had the privilege of learning to expect them. Angels are real, if only we have eyes to see them! - Emmy Cerveny

 

 

A couple of year ago, my husband and I developed a close relationship with a precious eight-year-old girl. Her family sat next to us in church every Sunday, and she would draw pictures for us during the sermon.

One day at school, she became very belligerent. She was hitting, yelling and spitting at the other children. This behavior was totally uncharacteristic of her. Because of this, the school asked her parents to take her home. Seeking help, her parents had her evaluated by a child psychologist, who diagnosed her as schizophrenic and admitted her to a children’s psychiatric hospital.

As a member of my church’s healing prayer team, I met weekly with the group to pray for those in need. One morning as we were praying, I had a vision about this little girl. I saw in my mind’s eye a figure who I “knew” was the Archangel Michael. He was standing in the door of the girl’s hospital room, guarding her. He was large in stature and was holding a double-edged sword slanted across the open door to her room, barring any entrance. His eyes were fierce. He was dressed like a Roman soldier, with a short tunic gathered at the waist by a leather belt. The “skirt” of his outfit was made of tooled leather strips hanging down to his knees. He wore sandals that were laced and wrapped around his strong legs. The neck of the tunic was rounded, and the sleeves were part of the shoulder seam. I knew he was protecting this child from some sort of evil. I shared my vision with my prayer group as we continued praying.

The next day, a friend called to say that the girl had been released from the hospital. She was perfectly fine and was back at school being the sweet girl everyone loved. Later when I saw her at church, she leaned over and said, “I have a new friend. His name is Michael, and he takes care of me.”

I thank God for this beautiful child’s healing and for Michael the Archangel, who delivered her and guards her still. - Prim Brown

 

In addition to this child’s guardian angel, God had commanded the great Archangel Michael to defend her. Michael is the mighty warrior angel that you will meet again in the section ahead on the classification of angels. Michael leads the battle against evil and will destroy Satan at the end of the age.

These two touching angel stories are representative of these stories submitted by our readers. My prayer is that you will become increasing aware of the angelic realm, as I have, and as you read Angels are For Real. God has provided these loving, powerful heavenly beings as our companions.

If you have an angel story, we would love to hear it! Please send it to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with your name, address, phone number and email address.


Judith MacNutt Judith MacNutt is author, teacher, conference speaker and co–founder of CHM. Jan/Feb/Mar 2012


Why You Shouldn't Pray for Healing

by Francis MacNutt
Jan/Feb/Mar 2012

Over the years we have heard many reasons why we shouldn’t resurrect the ministry of healing. One of the most persistent, (you have probably heard it yourself) goes like this:

  Not everybody gets healed and if you present God as if he wants to heal everybody, you are just setting people up for disappointment. Not just any kind of disappointment, but disappointment in God so that your way of promoting healing prayer may strike at the very heart of our belief in God. If we promote false hopes of healing do we really have faith?  


Those of us in the healing ministry are well acquainted with cancer patients in the hospital who are given a grim medical prognosis and then some zealous hospital visitors tell the sick person to have faith that God will heal him, if only he or she really has faith. Then if the sick person doesn’t get well his/her faith may be damaged at the very time when he is dying. Not only the sick person can be hurt in his/her faith but all their friends are too – just when they need encouragement the most.

Over the years we have learned to suffer through these unsettling experiences when friends are desperately sick. But let’s take one problem at a time and answer the person who says we should not encourage the sick to talk about healing. You are leading them, they say, into disillusionment - not only for the sick person but also for all their friends.

I think that the simplest answer to this attitude is to compare it to our own attitude when we seek medical treatment.

Suppose, for example, I was given a grim medical prognosis. The physicians may then recommend a course of painful medical treatment. And suppose the physicians suggested treatment only holds out about a 10% hope of being healed of the cancer. Even still, with physical healing having only a minimal success of 10%, I would still grasp at the treatment held out to me. I would take what I could get, and hope to be in that 10% group that would be cured. I wouldn’t complain that the hope is no better than 10%, but look at the hopeful side of this life-saving medical treatment, fully aware that the certainty of healing is not being promised to me.

One of our most helpful teachings is that there is mystery connected with the healing ministry. I believe that we need to teach optimistically that astonishing things often happen when we pray. I personally believe, although I can’t prove it, that I’m still alive at 86 because of prayer. And my eyesight and hearing are still good. On the other hand, my gait is not so good, and is about what it normally should be at my age.

Our ministry is dedicated to the belief that God still is in the business of healing the sick and this makes it much easier – not more difficult – to believe that God loves us.

The healing ministry convinces me more deeply than ever that Jesus and his power surrounds us and enables us to have the strength to continue on. Believing in the healing ministry does not set me up for disappointment. It gives me hope.

In my spirit I am “walking and leaping and – praising God!” (Acts 3:8b)


Francis MacNutt Francis MacNutt is a Founding Director and Executive Committee member of CHM. Jan/Feb/Mar 2012


Coffee with God

by Mike Evans
Jan/Feb/Mar 2012

Yes, you read it right! I enjoy having my coffee with God and He enjoys just being with me. We both look forward to this time together. Kind of like friends would do. Interesting thought, isn’t it? My journey with God for much of my life was centered around reading a devotional, offering a quick prayer for my day and then some prayer for others. I was certain this kept God happy and kept me in good standing with Him. What more could He want? I was reading the Bible, tithing, attending church and praying.

We are a busy people, harried and hurried through each day. The disciplines of silence, solitude and stillness are contrary to how we live. We think that we don’t have time for these or even that they are a waste of time. Francis Frangipane wrote, “He who would find God will find time.” Don’t we always find time for the things that are important to us?

We are also an impatient people who don’t like to wait. I was on a flight home from Houston with a quick stopover in Phoenix before another short hop to my home airport in Bakersfield, California. The plane was late so I assumed since I was catching the same airline in Phoenix to my home they would wait a short time for me. This airline never runs on time so it was very normal to be late. I was only six minutes late arriving at my mid-stop, so I bolt off the plane running to catch my next flight. As I go skidding up to the counter this sweet flight attendant says, “Sorry, we knew you were coming but we couldn’t hold the plane so you will have to wait three hours for the next flight.” I almost lost it.

Fortunately, instead of yelling at her, I left the counter and began walking around the terminal fuming and mumbling, “Your stupid airline is always late. You couldn’t hold the plane six minutes when you knew I was coming? This is a one hour flight and now I have to wait three hours for your next flight which means I won’t be home for another four hours.” Finally I decided to sit down, put on my headphones and listen to some music. The song that started playing was Bridge Over Troubled Water by Simon & Garfunkel. “When you’re weary feeling small, when tears are in your eyes, I will dry them all, I’m on your side when times get rough and friends just can’t be found….” As I listened to these words, God said, “Michael, look at yourself, you are acting like a spoiled child. Get over it!” I started laughing at myself because I was acting as if this delay was the biggest deal in the world. Dutch Sheets says “We don’t wait well. We’re into microwaving; God on the other hand is usually into marinating.”

Some years back I discovered that God wants to hang out with me. The best way for me to do this is early in the morning. I always get up to have coffee and take a few minutes to wake up. It was quite easy to utilize this time to spend with God. I knew the importance of having a devotional time and I was occasionally good about having my quiet time with God, but I never seriously thought about just hanging out with Him. When I do this I have no agenda other than to be there with Him. For me this is the best way to hear from God.

People will often ask me, “How do you hear from God?” First of all I need to know that it is God I am hearing. This requires that I be familiar enough with His voice that I recognize His voice when He speaks. God does not speak to me in an audible voice but normally He places thoughts in my mind. Sometimes it’s a word or a simple sentence. Occasionally it will be a picture. Because I have cultivated a relationship with Him, in these times of intimacy, I recognize His voice.

My wife Jane and I have been married almost 42 years. We have a deep relationship as a result of our time together. Because of this I know her voice. When I call her on the phone I don’t have to remind her that I am her husband Mike. She knows my voice. In the same way, I know God’s voice because I have made a conscious effort to spend time with Him doing nothing but just being with Him. Jane and I can be in the same room and we don’t have to talk, we just enjoy being with one another. That’s the type of relationship God wants with us.

Do you have a friend that you enjoy being with? Why not have that same relationship with God? He wants to have that deep friendship with you. If I want to become someone’s friend I must spend time with them. Some of the time we do an activity, but much of the time we just enjoy being together.

When we have our devotional time or our special quiet time with God usually we have an agenda. We want to hear from Him or we want an answer, some direction or affirmation. What if you had a friend and you knew that every time he came to spend time with you, he wanted something from you. No matter what reason he gave for being there, you knew there was always some other purpose. How would that make you feel? Isn’t that what we often do to God? Did you ever think that occasionally He would like to be with us when we don’t want something from Him? Think about this, wouldn’t it be nice if you could just hang out with your friend knowing that there was no agenda other than that they just liked being with you?

I believe it’s difficult for us to do this because many of us have been conditioned by our culture to stay busy. If we aren’t doing something we are wasting time. Wasting time is not looked upon favorably. Even when we are with people we love we are busy doing or thinking about something else. Consider this, how would you feel as a parent if during a typical seven-day week your grown child came to your house to spend an hour with you? This was your special time together. During the hour they talked with you while reading the newspaper, watching television or texting their friends. At the end of the hour they jumped up, gave you a hug, said, “See you next week,” and headed out the door.

If that’s the only time you get with them the entire week would you be immensely pleased and thankful that they had spent time with you? Would you consider that quality time? I suspect that while you would be happy to see them and grateful for what little time they did give you, wouldn’t you also be a little saddened? There was so much you wanted to share with them but there just wasn’t enough time. Isn’t that typical of how many of us spend our time with God?

If you have lost that sense of intimate connection with God or perhaps have never had it, you can choose now to change all that. But first you must come to accept that merely being with God has immense value. Theologian Edward Schillebeeckx wrote, “In a revealed religion, silence with God has value in itself and for its own sake, just because God is God. Failure to recognize the value of merely being with God, as the beloved, without doing anything is to gouge the heart out of Christianity.” To gouge the heart out…That’s stunning!

Part of moving to this place with God is to love ourselves. If we fear God we cannot accept love from God. If we cannot accept love from God, we cannot love ourselves or others. If we cannot accept ourselves in both our strengths and weaknesses, we cannot accept that we are of value to God. To grasp the reality of being “God’s beloved” is totally beyond our reach. Someone said, “The sorrow of God lies in our fear of Him, our fear of life, and our fear of ourselves.”

What are the benefits? A peace begins to settle over your whole being. You start to grasp how special you are to Him. The haste and driven pace at which most of us live begins to lessen. Your dependence for approval from man becomes less and less of an issue. The desire for the spotlight fades. You want to be alone because you start to hunger for and enjoy the solitude and silence. You start to see, smell and hear the world around you in a new way. You begin to see others with new eyes. Furthermore, there is an appreciation for every moment of every day. The fears attendant with the future become smaller. There is a fresh passion for God and the things of God. There’s a new level of peace in your spirit. You become more at peace with yourself. You begin to realize that God’s approval does not depend on what you do or don’t do. I discovered that the benefits of hanging out with God far outweigh what I thought was consuming so much of my valuable time. That thinking, in and of itself is absurd. We are, after all, with the God of the universe!

He wants to be a friend. While I hunger to have an intimate relationship with God as my Abba (Daddy in Aramaic), I also need to see Him as friend, one with whom I can be myself and know that He understands and accepts me in my humanness. When I understand that He accepts me, then I can begin to grasp my uniqueness and destiny as a child of eternity.

As you enter this New Year find ways to have some time for coffee with God. It’s not a difficult thing to do. You will discover that He is proud of you, wants to be your friend and you will experience what it means to be His beloved.

Consider this: The God who created the universe, who heals the sick, who knows you need food and shelter to survive, against whom all military might and power is but a puff of dust; beside whose power a swirling, raging river is but a trickle in the sand, is the God who wants to spend time with you.


Mike Evans Mike Evans is the founder of Wholeness Ministries in Bakersfield, CA and is also in the National Advisory Board of CHM. Jan/Feb/Mar 2012


Surprised by Joy Again

by Taylor Smith
Jan/Feb/Mar 2012

We were nearing the end of the morning session during day two of the recent CHM in the Rockies Conference, and I was dreamily thinking about the hot soup at the hotel’s lunch buffet when my phone buzzed. It was a text from my wife, Kathi, asking me to meet her at noon in the hotel’s boardroom to pray for a woman who was suffering from “unspecified severe issues.” The text triggered a tremor of anxiety. I was slightly fatigued from a combination of travel, work stress and the fast pace of being a part of the CHM conference team, and I always react the same way to an invitation to pray for healing – with some degree of anxiety and doubt. Nonetheless, I obediently made my way to the designated location, arriving a few minutes early to find the room empty and freezing cold. It seemed as though frigid air had been piped from the nearby mountains directly into the boardroom. I shivered involuntarily as I regarded the locked thermostat and thought about how I would rather be in the hotel restaurant. Doubt and uncertainty crept into my mind alongside anxiety, even as Kathi arrived and we busied ourselves preparing the room for the prayer appointment. My thoughts began to form into a unified opposition against praying for the woman who would be arriving shortly: what if we don’t correctly discern the source of her issues; what if she isn’t fully healed; what if the Holy Spirit doesn’t show up; what if nothing happens at all…. My anxiety peaked!

The woman, who was to receive prayer for healing, was led into the boardroom by a prayer minister. She was visibly trembling and unable to make eye contact as we settled into big leather chairs, which we had arranged into a small circle at the end of the conference table. She began to tell us her life’s story, which involved extraordinary levels of painful memories. As we listened, it seemed almost impossible for anyone to have suffered so much trauma and still survive. In fact, she had developed coping mechanisms for self-preservation, which had become additional sources of emotional pain. Layers upon layers of “stuff” had built up, and I wondered how many years of secular therapy would be necessary for her to be fully restored. I knew that we had only a few hours to pray with her. Still anxious, we began to pray with her, and suddenly everything began to change.

My thought pattern and state of emotions that day in Denver were actually normal for me. My personal experience in praying for healing has most often been preceded by feelings of anxiety, uncertainty and doubt. Experience with healing prayer, Biblical knowledge and considerable prayer ministry training have not seemed to offset this condition, even though I have personally witnessed and received both physical and emotional healing as well as a release of the Holy Spirit. Almost without exception, when I am invited to pray for someone, it is as though the clock is reset to the very first time that I was invited to participate in praying for healing.

Thankfully, God has provided a great gift to me in the form of my wife and a group of prayer ministers who repeatedly encourage me to pray for healing for others. I doubt that I would participate without their encouragement. Tragically, if that were the case, I would fail to experience what I believe to be the most amazing aspect of praying for healing; the wondrous “thing” that occurs each time that I actually begin to pray.

It is difficult to explain, but it seems as though a spiritual transformation occurs in me, albeit sometimes temporary and other times permanent, when I pray for healing. Perhaps it is a release of grace by the Holy Spirit, maybe in response to the simple act of praying for another. My experience includes both a change in my feelings as well as a change in my attitude. The feelings of anxiety, fear and inadequacy that precede the time of prayer fade very quickly and are replaced with a sense of peace, calmness and sometimes even joy, which Webster defines as “the emotion evoked by well-being”. Spiritual gifts seem more “released” and heightened (in my case it is often the knowledge of unspoken facts or circumstances pertaining to the person receiving prayer). While praying for healing, my perspective seems to shift more into alignment with Scripture; for example, Paul’s “love chapter” (1 Cor. 13) begins to appear reasonable and the seduction of the world lessens. The engagement of the Holy Spirit, and sometimes angels, with the person receiving prayer becomes almost visible and definitely perceptible. The authority over the demonic realm is very evident. I am confident in these times of the Holy Spirit’s presence and active participation.

In the hotel boardroom, as we began to pray for healing, we were flooded with knowledge, discernment, love and - most interestingly - patience for the woman. My negative thoughts, anxiety and expectations evaporated and were replaced with a sense of joy, awe and respect. The Holy Spirit (and Jesus) provided tremendous healing that day, both directly and through us as prayer ministers. She was set free from spiritual oppression and was restored in ways that she previously thought impossible. It was humbling and awesome to be included on the team, and I would not have missed it for the world.

A work associate once commented that a successful business needs to be “sticky” in order to retain customers. Praying for healing in Denver produced sticky joy in me as well as in Kathi, which has lasted well beyond that day and that experience has helped us greatly in our daily challenges. We received so much more than we contributed in terms of time and effort in Denver. We have seen the overflow onto our children as well, with this most recent Thanksgiving being the most joyful family celebration in memory. The joy has also made us eager for more opportunities to pray for healing, although at times I still feel the drag in the opposite direction.

I am definitely one of the Lord’s works in progress. I also know that the enemy doesn’t like anyone praying for healing which contributes to my difficulty in “gearing up” to pray when asked. The other day I was at work when my phone buzzed with a text from Kathi inviting me to pray for a man in our church who is suffering from a debilitating chronic illness. I was tired, stressed and behind on several deadlines at work, and I felt the familiar rise of doubt and anxiety as I considered the invitation to the prayer appointment. I declined her invitation. As I write this article, I am saddened by my decision. What was I thinking? Thankfully, I know that there will be many more invitations to pray in the future. Next time, I plan to accept.


Taylor Smith Taylor Smith is a member of CHM's Board of Trustees and speaks at many of CHM's schools and conferences. Jan/Feb/Mar 2012