“As the sun was setting, all those who had any who were sick with various kinds of diseases brought them to Jesus; and he laid his hands on each of them and cured them.” Luke 4:40
What exactly are we praying for when we ask Jesus to heal our loved ones? Our scripture teaches us that Jesus has the power to release us from the bondage of illness and impending death. In the face of our advanced medical technology this is an audacious expectation. Do we dare pray for medical miracles? When I go to visit an elderly patient in the last stages of life do I pray for healing and recovery? Yes, that is my job, but it is also my belief. It is not for me to ask how God heals. But it is my experience that God heals in ways that are both profound and beyond any human expectation.
During our weekly healing service people line up for their turn to name before God all those who need healing. Using our ancient Christian healing ritual, I dip my thumb into the healing oil and draw the sign of the cross onto the person’s forehead then lay my hands on them, using variations of these words, “I anoint you with oil in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit beseeching Christ to heal you in body, mind, soul and spirit...” As I pray, I get myself out of the way and ask God to do what God does best - heal.
God intends for us to put our entire lives into his care. In this turning over of our entire self to God we are knit into God’s heart and become one, whole, and complete. Signs of this unity with God are physical healing, psychic confidence, spiritual enlightenment, and emotional peace and joy. Our destiny as Christians is to be converted, or changed, into new creations. The sign of this change is healing. In the wake of the tragic bombings in Boston, and in the midst of our own personal struggles, we dare ask God to heal us and make us whole. By our prayer we are committing ourselves to become part of the healing and instruments of peace and hope.