Healing Prayer: A ministry from the past, for the present, into the future

Icon of St Luke

In this week’s News from Nick, outreach coordinator Jan Tossman posted about her experience with healing prayer at last Saturday’s service.

I want to personally thank Fran and Tony Begonja for ministering healing prayers (in honor of Luke, the Physician) to those of us who desired/needed it this weekend. I felt love and compassion generating from the two of them, as they gently touched and prayed over me. Coupled with Hal’s beautiful music in the background, I was literally overwhelmed with emotion, and felt a stronger connection with God than I have in awhile. It was not only a moving moment for me, but a beautiful and heart-felt addition to our service. On behalf of the congregation, I just want to say, Thank You, Fran and Tony, for your very special prayers and significant presence at St. Nick’s.

-Jan Tossman

Once, years ago, I also experienced the power of healing touch in a couple of ways during a family crisis; one was during a small Eucharist (communion) service for medical staff and visitors at an Episcopal hospital in the Intermountain West. The other was a distinctly secular, yet meditative “hot lava stone” massage during the same period of time. Both really helped me get my head on straight and gave me a renewed sense of spiritual well-being.

More recently, Father Manny has offered healing prayer and annointing, sometimes at the drop of a hat after services. Just ask!

Several years ago, several of us would accompany Father Paul Broullet during monthly visits to Asbury Court, a senior community that was the home of a much-loved member, Carmen McCall. Every other month, it was an Anointing for Healing rather than a Eucharist… and it seemed to us that not only were we offering spiritual food and healing, we were being fed and healed. When Father Paul’s health declined, we weren’t able to continue the ministry… but perhaps we should think about starting it again if there’s interest and energy there.

In one of those happy coincidences, the Episcopal News Service published a very nice piece about healing prayer, and how effective it can be in getting the Gospel message through to people (and how it can be a catalyst for growth):

[Episcopal News Service] Although Jesus commanded his followers to go out and preach the kingdom and heal the sick (Luke 9:2), the Rev. Nigel Mumford wonders if the Episcopal Church has only gotten it half-right.

“The church has done a great job preaching the kingdom, but not a very good job of healing the sick. That’s 50 percent of what the Lord told us to do,” said Mumford, 57, director of healing ministries at Christ the King Spiritual Life Center in Greenwich, New York. “Why is it that we’re not doing it?”

Healing prayer is such a strong evangelistic tool, he said. “If we would just do it, the church would grow. We would breathe new life into it, literally.”

All it takes is six simple heartfelt words, according to Mumford, that can be offered by everyone, anywhere, wherever and whenever, and as often as possible: “How may I pray for you?”

Which is not to be confused with “televangelists, who have given healing ministry a bad name,” he added.

“Smacking someone on the head and saying they’re healed in the name of Jesus frightens most Episcopalians, to say the least,” he said in a recent telephone interview. “It’s not at all what we do anyway. What we do is very quiet and gentle.”

And now finally, in yet another suspiciously timed coincidence, here is a link to some healing prayer resources… on the webpage of a different St Nicholas Episcopal Church, this one in the in the Diocese of Washington.

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