n., An issue of water from the earth; a spring; a fountain. v.intr., To rise to the surface, ready to flow; to rise or surge from an inner source., To pour forth. adj., In a satisfactory condition; right or proper. interj., Used to introduce a remark, resume a narrative, or fill a pause during conversation; used to express

Monday, March 15, 2004  

I've been drawn to books on praying for healing in the last while, and the lastest classic-that-I'd-never-heard-of that I just ran across (& read) was Francis MacNutt's Healing. The book contains some real kickers, such as:

Christianity is more than doctrine; it is power. It is power to transform our lives, to destroy the evil that prevents us from loving God and our neighbor. Jesus came to bring us a new life, a share in God's own life. We have always believed these things, but where is the reality of it? Where is the power that truly changes lives?

What we have done all to frequently has been to take the good news and turn it into good advice. The good news is that Christ has come to help us enter into the very life of his Father and to transform us by his power into new persons who can love and rejoice and help the poor in a way far beyond our capabilities. In contrast, good advice is to hold up a Christian ideal of life and service, and then to say: "Here's the ideal; now use your own willpower to achieve it." In short, we are tempted to preach law rather than grace

Hear, hear!

or this--the response I've been waiting for to the conception that many people have that "having faith" (especially in terms of prayer for healing) consists of ratcheting up self-deluding "belief" that something that they in all honesty don't think will happen will nevertheless happen:

My faith is in God--not in my faith. . . .

My faith is in God--in his faithfulness to his promises, in his wisdom, in his power, and in his goodness. . . .

But my faith is not
in my faith. . . . Once we begin to look at our faith rather than at God, we begin to concentrate on our own inadequacy. . . .

Many people I have met who do believe in healing feel guilty about their human doubts. They turn inward when they hear the challenge, "Do you have the faith to be healed?" Instead of confiding absolutely in God's power and goodness, they begin to probe within themselves to examine whether they are entirely free of doubt; and nine times out of ten, the answer is no. Then there ensues a painful conflict, in which they begin to feel guilty; the more they examine their doubt, the bigger it grows. In the struggle to pass beyond the point of doubt, they end up suppressing their real feelings.

The more they wrestle, the deeper their anguish. They may finally try to surmount their doubts by a strong act of the will, moving beyond the doubt that still swirls around underneath. But faith is a gift we cannot attain by our own efforts. As Dr. Bogart Van Dunne, a Methodist scripture scholar once said in a seminar: "Protestants began by rejecting Catholicism for what they conceived was its reliance on works for salvation. But now, for some Protestants,
faith has become the works they struggle to achieve" (pp. 94-95).

Instead, the approach he puts forth is to turn to God, trusting in His love, wisdom, and power; accept our own doubts as normal; take the appropriate concrete action (e.g., praying for the sick/being prayed with); and then simply leave the results up to God.

Refreshing. Very refreshing.

I would also recommend Healing Prayer by Barbara Shlemon Ryan--much shorter and less dense; a good introduction.

posted by Heidi | 15.3.04

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