Fifteen years ago I began praying with people for healing with Francis MacNutt and the delightful people at Christian Healing Ministries in Jacksonville, Florida.
The miracles that happened there each week—both the miracles that I witnessed and the miracles that I personally experienced—have dramatically altered the way I look at God’s desire to heal us. And for that I owe Francis a debt of gratitude.
Francis is a pioneer in the Catholic world when it comes to the gift of healing. He has been studying and practicing this amazing gift for more than forty years now. He has prayed with thousands of people and seen many of them healed. He has also taught seminars on healing around the world. In 2008, he participated in a Vatican-sponsored colloquium on healing and other charisms, where he addressed cardinals, bishops, and lay people on the need for a greater emphasis on inner healing. As a consequence, he has much wisdom to share with all of us.
Rediscovering an Ancient Gift. I truly believe that God wants us to rediscover the gift of healing in our day—a gift that was prevalent in the early church. All of us, and I mean all of us, have the power to pray with our loved ones for physical healing and for inner healing from the hurts of life. As Francis taught me, even if the person we are praying with isn’t healed directly, our desire to reach out is itself a gesture of love. And love always heals.
I myself faced a deep need back in 1987. It happened when we discovered that my three-year-old daughter, Christine, had cancer in both of her eyes. I was disgusted with God. How could he do this to my little girl? But within three weeks, as some close friends continued to pray with me, I was slowly set free. I remember finally saying: “Jesus, it’s okay if you want to take Christine. I want your will even if that means losing her.”
Naturally, as a parent I wanted Christine to live. But as a Christian, I had to echo the Lord’s Prayer and say, “Thy will be done.” We were fortunate in that Christine didn’t die. She lost both of her eyes, but in every other way, she is a happy, productive, well-adjusted young woman. What’s more, my own frustration with God was healed.
This issue is packed with information on the subject of healing. But don’t just read it. Test it out. Pray with your daughter when she comes home hurt by some negative remark made about her at school. Pray for your spouse when he or she becomes angry at another person. You may even want to offer to pray with your neighbor who is struggling with a head cold or perhaps something more serious. Praying for healing works, and the more we launch out and learn how to do it, the more God will use us.
May we all begin to pray for healing on a regular basis. It’s easy. It’s without risk. And it pleases God deeply when his children launch out in faith.