Healing. It is a word with many meanings. For some, healing is a cure to their disease – a cure for cancer, a cure for diabetes, etc. For others, it is coming to terms with or acceptance of the disease. And there are others who find healing with family and friends in the midst of the suffering. Healing can be many things for many people.
I believe in healing. I believe in all these aspects and more of healing. I believe that as the church we are called to heal. For some it might be praying for the healing or curing of the illness. I’ve prayed with many people for healing in this way. It is the most prayed prayer I say with others. But sometimes I am called to pray differently, and that call might come from the afflicted, or from the Holy Spirit.
When I was doing Clinical Pastoral Education, a part of my seminary training, I spent the summer at the Reading Hospital Chaplain Department and I prayed many prayers. One time I walked into a room and the patient was elated. “I was praying that someone would come in and pray for me and bring me Communion.” That sticks with a person. This patient knew in her heart that God would send someone else to intercede for her, and that she would find healing in the Lord’s Supper.
But then there was another patient. It was one of my last days at the hospital. Technically we were not supposed to visit patients, but were going around saying “goodbye” to the staff. One nurse asked me to visit a patient. And so I went into the room and asked how I could help. The patient, an older woman, looked to her husband and said “tell the priest I want to die.” At first I was stunned. I asked a few questions and found out she was suffering much pain, and there was little hope for a cure.
So I took a moment and started to pray. And in my prayer, I asked God to bring this woman the healing she required. I didn’t ask for her pain to abate. I did not ask for a cure. I asked God to heal her.
I have no idea what happened to this woman. I don’t know if God cured her, healed her, or if she suffered for years. I just do not know. What I do know is that I had to pray for her. And that is what I do today. I pray for people. And I ask for healing – God’s healing.
We have embarked on a healing journey. We have begun a healing service on the second Sunday of the month. At our first service we had three members of the community come for prayer (and Communion), and we prayed for them. This is our call. This is my call. If you need healing prayer, if you have a family member in need of healing prayer, please come to the service, or contact me. I would be happy to pray.