Prayer for Healing
by Fr. Rufus Pereira
The Global Situation:
Never before has man been so much broken in spirit, mind and body as today and is in so much need of receiving spiritual, emotional and physical healing. When, in his search for total healing and personal integration, his recourse to doctors has proved futile, he has instead often resorted to questionable alternative medicines and to suspicious new religious movements, and ultimately even to occult practices, thus placing himself under greater bondage and in danger of being dragged to a living death.
The Biblical Answer:
The Biblical response to this dismal worldwide situation is the proclamation of Jesus that he has been sent by the Father and has been anointed by the Holy Spirit to forgive sinners, to heal the sick and to deliver the oppressed (Lk 4:16-21, Acts 10:38). He therefore invites all who are burdened in any way to come to him to receive his healing rest and life to the full (Mt 1:28, Jn 10:10), and charges his followers to do the same: to heal the sick, to cast out demons and even to raise the dead (Mt 10:8). Inspired by his example and motivated by his pleas, the Church has continued the proclaiming and healing ministry of Christ in the Sacraments and through the charisms.
The Charismatic Response:
But as the Sacraments gradually became ritualistic and routine and the charisms slowly disappeared or were misused, healings became associated only with certain places like Lourdes and with certain persons like the Saints - until in 1959 Pope John XXIII led the Church in a prayer, in the spirit of Acts 4:31, for a New Pentecost to renew the Church with signs and wonders. A magnificent answer to that prayer was the emergence of the Charismatic Renewal, which, in the words of the Popes themselves, has proved to be truly God's Gift to and a Chance for the Church - encouraging and enabling even ordinary lay people to receive and to exercise the charisms of healing and deliverance.
The Christian Healing:
Christian healing does not take place by the exclusive use of some medicinal substance or by sole reliance on some obscure impersonal energy but through a personal encounter with and experience of Jesus, our Saviour, Healer and Deliverer. It is not something we get hold of but Someone we hold on to. It does not result from some sort of emotional faith but from one's unshakable trust in the Lord, in his love by dying for us and in the power of his resurrection (Phil 3:10). It is the full Gospel in action, proclaiming God's love and bringing peace to man, giving glory to God and destroying the work of Satan.
The Healing Prayer:
The Prayer for Healing is therefore not a magical formula but a faith process of experiencing God's forgiveness, inner healing and deliverance. It calls for preparing oneself through repentance, forgiveness and renunciation. It can be experienced at Mass or before the Blessed Sacrament, on hearing the Word of God or through receiving words of knowledge, by recourse to the Sacramentals or through the intercession of the Saints, through the laying on of hands or by resting in the Spirit. In any case healing takes place in an environment of faith in the Lord and of love for one another, - just as it is both the power and the love of Christ that heals.
Healing is Evangelising:
Finally healing is not an end in itself but is meant to lead a person to a more loyal adherence to Christ and a closer communion with the Church and then to inspire and enable him to bring Christ to others and others to Christ. Even though healing for evangelization is not yet reflected explicitly in the Church documents on Evangelization, there has always been within the Charismatic Renewal a firm conviction that the twin ministry of preaching-teaching and of healing-deliverance is meant for the re-evangelization of Catholics and the evangelization of non Christians. This came out very compellingly at the International Colloquium on 'Prayer for Healing' that was organised by the Pontifical Council for the Laity in collaboration with the International Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services (ICCRS) Council in Rome in November 2001.
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