Tonight is the first meeting of Light of Christ’s healing prayer discussion group. We’re reading Experiencing Healing Prayer by Rick Richardson and discussing it, with monthly “practicums” to, well, practice.
I’ve been involved in healing ministry off & on for over 15 years. I had a front row seat to a healing ministry meltdown. I remember thinking, “Man, I never want to go through that.” And here I am leading discussions on healing prayer, entering into a ministry that can be amazingly powerful yet still crush and hurt.
Because I am a pessimist, I find myself wondering “what’s the worst that could happen?” How about a meltdown of relationships, people going off in a huff, misunderstanding and unforgiveness on all sides–real damage to the work of the Kingdom here on earth. I know that great things that can happen through healing ministry–mended relationships, putting straight the crooked things in a life, weeping converted to rejoicing–but these positive outcomes seem distant when eliciting “problem areas in the reading” from other fallen human beings.
One of the positive things about being a pessimist is you tend to think carefully about how to avoid the negative results you expect. So in this instance, I ask myself why am I involved? (Particularly given that my specific call is to a gentler, longer-term form of healing, namely Spiritual Direction?) I think I have a two-fold call in this situation. First, to be a spiritual piano tuner. My spiritual direction training is all about listening: here, I will listen carefully to those in the group and to probe gently the thinking behind their suppositions. I will listen to the pitch of an expressed opinion to see if it rings with the truth of Christ, or the twang and twhack of fear or unresolved issues. This listening must be done with the tuning pitch of the Holy Spirit in the ears to ensure all the notes sound together properly. Tuning mostly requires gentle adjustments.
The second call is to be a contractor: we are building a foundation with this group. If we try to build too quickly, we may not fit our stones carefully enough together, our cement may not have time to cure before this ministry can support more weight. I must use the craftsman’s eye to oversee the construction and keep the plans of the Lord ever before me. I must be willing to call a halt to work when I see shoddy construction. I will praise work well done and encourage craftsmanship in others.
When we enter into healing ministry we must expect that the first person the Lord will want to heal is us! Healing ministry is messy work. Please pray for our group as we meet, listen to the Lord and learn to collaborate with the Holy Spirit in his healing work.