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Prayer for Healing
People came to Jesus for healing for themselves and for others. He sent his disciples out with authority to heal the sick. They continued this work after his resurrection, a ministry that came to be expressed in prayer with laying-on of hands and sometimes in anointing with oil. The letter of James describes it like this:
Are any among you sick? They should call for the elders of the church and have them pray
over them, anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord. The prayer of faith will save the
sick, and the Lord will raise them up; and anyone who has committed sins will be forgiven.
At St. Peter's we practice this ministry at our Healing Eucharist where prayer and laying on of hands is offered and also anointing. The clergy are also pleased to visit the sick and pray in their homes if requested.
What does it mean?
Prayer for healing is prayer to a God who cares for us in our sickness as well as our health and who looks after us and meets our needs in many ways. In the prayer for healing he helps us find healing, wholeness and strength. We know that God will answer our prayer. We may find that we are cured or relieved of pain. But God's healing can come in other ways, for example we find courage to face our illness and pain. Or God may lead us gently to accept death as the natural end to the illness and the way to a closer relationship with Him in his glory.
Illness can be more complicated than it first seems. Anxiety and worry can increase the difficulty. Through prayer and anointing God may help us become less anxious and more peaceful. It is also appropriate for people facing surgery, giving assurance of God's love at a testing time.
God's will for is is to be both 'whole and holy'. Prayer with laying on of hands is part of the church's ministry to the whole person, body, mind and spirit. If you would like to know more, or to ask for prayer in this way, please contact Fr Nicholas.
(This page is adapted from the leaflet 'Healing Touch'. Copies are available at the back of the church.)