Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. (James 5:14)
To those of you who have been reading these blog posts about healing prayer, either because you want to learn more about it, or because you are in need of such prayer, I offer this advice: ask around in your community to find out which churches or Christian prayer centers offer healing prayer – and if any of those churches have a solid track record of healings taking place – go and visit and find out what you can learn from them. This may take a bit of effort, but eventually you will get to know the people in your area who take seriously Jesus’ charge to go forth and preach and heal in his name and who allow the Lord to use them as conduits of his healing power.
You may find healing for yourself – and at the same time learn a great deal about healing prayer and how to pray more effectively – from people you’ve never met before, whom the Lord is using for his mighty purposes. I certainly have from such people in the greater Raleigh area. However, I always make sure before I visit a church or healing center and ask for prayer that I am in agreement with their beliefs and that their expression of worship is within a range of what is generally considered to be orthodox.
I have visited several churches in Raleigh over the past six months and encountered worship styles that were very different from my own denomination (Anglican). Yet, despite feeling just a bit uncomfortable at times during their service, I have been greatly blessed, especially when their prayer teams laid hands on me and prayed for healing. With the Holy Spirit as my guide I will continue, from time to time, to visit churches where healing prayer is offered, even though it may mean worshipping in a way to which I am not accustomed and with people whom I do not know. If you want to receive healing or learn more about healing prayer, I encourage you to be open to doing the same.
One such church I visited, Higher Call Christian Church, meets in a large space located in an outdoor shopping and office mall. I called the church office several days before I attended a Sunday service and spoke with their church administrator. I explained that I was interested in receiving healing prayer and she informed me that it is always offered on Sunday mornings, either during or after the service. She kindly answered my questions about their style of worship and how most people dress for church. She also gave me helpful information about the history of the church, its current pastors (a husband and wife team) and the size of the congregation. Best of all, she offered to meet me in the lobby before the service and show me around.
On the Sunday I attended, healing prayer was offered just before the sermon. I walked forward and stood in an area between the stage (where the pastors and praise band stood) and the rows of chairs in which the congregation sat. Every person desiring prayer was met and prayed for by at least one person on their healing prayer team and then each of us was prayed for individually by the pastor leading worship. After the service I had an opportunity to speak with that pastor and he explained to me that several years ago the Lord instructed him to proclaim to the congregation that the area where I had stood for healing prayer would be a “cancer-free zone.” Since that time a number of people have been healed of cancer after receiving prayer for healing. This pastor has no doubt that Jesus heals today – as he did when he walked this earth – and that we are to hold fast to God’s promises in Scripture about healing. I was greatly encouraged both by what he had to say and by what the Lord is doing in the lives of the members of the congregation.
Catch the Fire – Raleigh is another one of the churches I visited, first in August and then again several weeks ago. It is one of many church plants worldwide from the “mother” church – Catch the Fire – Toronto, which was founded by John and Carol Arnott. The church in Toronto is not without controversy, but I’d read enough about their beliefs and practices – and I was reassured by Christian friends who have worshiped at the Toronto church and been blessed by their experience – to give the Raleigh church plant a try.
The service included Communion, but was very unlike my own tradition. Original praise music was offered for almost an hour, but rather than seeming repetitive, it had the effect of soaking us with God’s love. Joy permeated the worship and seemed to be evident in the lives of the members of the congregation. Healing prayer was offered at the end of the service and many members of the congregation stayed to pray with those of us who desired prayer. I was really touched by such generosity.
A group of about ten people gathered around me as I found a space on the carpeted floor where I could kneel. They prayed for me for a long time (I lost track of time and space) and I felt the power of the Holy Spirit upon me – as I have when the prayer team to which I belong has prayed for me. It was a very powerful experience and their prayers confirmed what the Lord had been telling me – that the cancer was gone from my body.
In all of the churches and healing centers I’ve visited so far, I’ve discovered several things in common: 1) praise is an integral part of the service, regardless of whether prayers for healing are offered on Sunday morning or on a weeknight; 2) both the pastors and congregation expect that God will heal when prayer is offered; and 3) significant healings are taking place on a regular basis. God continues to stretch forth his hand to heal (Acts 4:30) and I encourage you to look for evidence of this taking place in your community, as it is here in Raleigh.
Next week: passages of Scripture about healing to confess and stand upon.