St. Stephen's Episcopal Church
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
There's a place for you here.
Healing Prayer Ministry
Jesus was known for many things in the first century. He was considered a social prophet and a rabbi. He was known as a teacher of wisdom and the leader of a new movement. And he was known far and wide as a healer. As one New Testament scholar has pointed out, "More healing stories are told about Jesus than about any other figure in the Jewish tradition." (Borg, The Heart of Christianity) Jesus also sent his disciples out to heal others, and he promised that they would do greater things than he had done. The ministry of healing has been a part of the Christian experience from the very beginning.
As a part of our Sunday evening Celtic service, we offer the ministry of healing prayer for any who desire it. Healing prayer ministers are available in the side chapels during the administration of Holy Communion. If you would like to receive healing prayer and the laying on of hands, either for yourself or for someone you love, we invite you to move to either side chapel in the main church after you have received Communion. If the healing prayer ministers are praying for someone already, we invite you to take a seat in the front pews of the chapel, and come forward when there is space available.
It is often helpful if you tell the healing prayer minister your name and the concern for which you are asking prayer. If you prefer not to do this, that is fine--everyone's situation is different. Although there is usually a brief spoken prayer at the beginning and at the end, the healing prayer minister will lay hands on you and join with you in silently opening ourselves and presenting the concern to God. This is not a ministry of magical incantations. Instead, this healing prayer ministry is simply about fellow pilgrims opening ourselves more completely to the healing love of God. Although God is always with every one of us, there are times in all of our lives when we need help in becoming more fully present to God. Much as a group of friends once brought a paralytic to Jesus so that Jesus might heal him, so we sometimes benefit from the loving care of others who bring us more fully into the presence of God.
On some evenings, there might be people waiting in the chapels for healing prayer when we reach the conclusion of the service. When it is time for all to say the prayer after Communion, we'll pause in our prayers for healing. When the service continues, we will continue to offer the ministry of healing prayer at the front of each chapel, so please exit quietly. And since prayers for healing are going on near the exit door at the Chapel of the Good Shepherd, it is helpful if you either use a different exit or move very quietly.
Whether or not you choose to present yourself for healing prayer on any given night, we always welcome your personal prayers that our Sunday evening gatherings may be filled with compassion, and that everyone who worships here may know the healing love of God in their lives.