June 28, 2000 I was baptized in the Holy Spirit. I joined a prayer group which held a healing mass the 3rd Wednesday of the month. After participating in the prayer group for about a year I was drafted onto the healing team. I figured Father knew something I didn’t so who was I to contradict the Holy Spirit.
My only experience with healing prayer was to be prayed over. I had read one article that had said most often people would gain a sense of peace. I felt totally inadequate to pray over people. At that point I had only just started to pray in tongues.
One of the first persons I prayed over had terminal cancer, less than 6 months to live. I felt real glad that he seemed to have found that peace I read about because I didn’t expect my prayers to do much good. I was shocked several years later when the Lord pointed Him out and reminded who he was. It was like see what I can do if you let me use you.
One of the things I did was to read every book I could find on healing prayer, whether Protestant or Catholic and attend every healing service I heard of.
Probably the most influential authors I read were Fathers Ralph Di Orio and Matthew Swizdor. I noticed that in both cases they prayed over people repeatedly. Father Swizdor gave healing missions lasting 3-5 days. People experienced physical healing on the 3rd, 4th and 5th days. First they experienced spiritual and emotional healing. With Father Di Orio people went back several times.
It doesn’t really matter what words we say or techniques we use. Healing is totally dependent on God’s infinite love for us, a love that can only be described as intense, personal and immense, so deep and passionate we cannot adequately describe it. God heals us not because we say the perfect prayer or because of who prayed over us but because He loves us and wants to bless us beyond our imagination.
The challenge we face as Charismatics is to help people understand His awesome love and help them open up to His love and grace. So often we hold back because we believe that God loves us generally, but don’t believe that He loves us personally. We think that He died only for our salvation and forget that both Isaiah and Peter wrote that by His stripes or wounds we are healed. This is the message we have to beat people over the head with. God’s love for them is intensely personal and He cares about every aspect of our lives, often more than we do.
I once read in a book by Max Lucado that God loves us just the way we are but loves us too much to leave us that way. We know that God knows everything about us. I believe that to God we look like Jesus in the move, The Passion of The Christ, when Pilate presented Him to the crowd after the Scourging, blood pouring from every part of His body.
God looks at us and sees all our wounds. There is anger buried and repressed from grammar school, wounds inflicted on us by our family or peers, injuries and resentments that we’ve held on to and buried just eating away at us, taking its toll on our bodies and spirits. We haven’t forgiven others and often ourselves. We beat ourselves us and put ourselves down. We feel hopeless, afraid to open ourselves up to God’s love or unwilling to let go of the anger and resentment, unwilling to forgive, unwilling to let go of our sins and vices, unwilling to let God really heal us so we say no and fail to experience God’s healing love. So often we feel unworthy of God’s love. Yet the reality is no one not even Peter was truly of God’s love.
We may not even realize we are doing this. It is part of our fallen nature to hold onto control, to resist surrendering our will to God, to refuse to allow Him to do what God wants to do, what is best for us. As a consequence we miss out on the blessings God wants to give us
God knows all of this, the resentments we buried, the anger and tension we keep suppressing, He knows all of the un-forgiveness we keep burying in our hearts. He knows all the emotional and psychological pain that we suffer. He knows exactly what is keeping us from experiencing the life He created us for and His heart is overwhelmed with compassion. He longs to heal all these wounds. He ardently wants to pour His love and grace upon us. He wants to free us of all the negativity, anger, fear, doubt and distrust that is holding us back.
God’s love is not limited to our salvation but is all en-compassing. He cares about every aspect of our life. What we need to do is to help ourselves and others open ourselves to His amazing love. So often we go to God and ask Him to heal us physically but don’t really want to allow im to work on what is really wrong with us. We need to remember that Jesus came so that we might have life and have it abundantly. We have to trust Him and allow Him to do what is best for us at this time. He doesn’t go faster than we can handle or push us farther than we are willing to go.
I have been praying over people for 15 years and prayed over people in excess of 1500 times, maybe 2000 times. I have seen amazing things happen, operations being canceled or going way better than expected, biopsies turning out negative. I’ve known people whose cancer disappeared. But I also know people who were prayed over repeatedly but refused to let go of the anger and resentment and really experienced minimal healing if any.
All things are possible for God but as the songs says we have to say Yes We have to let God be God and trust Him so that He may pour His love upon us and knock our socks.
My favorite healing prayer is to pray with people before mass so that they are totally open to the power and graces of the Eucharist. One thing I learned was that there is a virtual Niagara Falls worth of graces available to us in each communion. What I do in prayer is remind them that Jesus is present in the Eucharist in all His power and divinity, that He is the same, yesterday, today and forever, that all things are possible and just as He healed the paralytic in the Gospel, He still heals people today. Next I pray that they be totally open to all the graces God wants to pour on them then pray in tongues and finish thanking Jesus for what He is going to do and pray that He be glorified.
We have to understand that God wants us to come to Him, to seek His help and guidance. He wants to heal and bless us. He also wants to use us to bless and heal others.
This is a talk given to a local charismatic prayer group.