A while back, I asked these questions in a sermon: Do you believe people can be physically healed supernaturally by God? According to research by the Barna group, 66% of Americans believe people can be physically healed supernaturally by God. I also asked this: How many people would say that they themselves have experienced a physical healing that could only be explained as a miraculous healing and not solely as a result of a natural process, medical procedure, or the body healing itself? According to Barna's survey 27% of those surveyed said that they themselves had experienced a supernatural, physical healing.
This Sunday is our first "Fifth Sunday" worship service. We are having a time for healing and wholeness as a part of our regular 9:00 and 11:00 a.m. services. I asked those questions to give us a sense of how people in general might think about healing by God. We call this time, "A Service for Healing and Wholeness." We use that language in the Presbyterian church because we think that what God may choose to do extends beyond simple faith healing. I like these words about the meaning of healing:
In their ministry to the sick, the community of believers first offer intercession for healing and wholeness. They pray in response to what they have heard in scripture and sermon. Opportunity is given to pray for specific needs of any who are present. In the laying on of hands upon the sick, those who take part can see an outward sign of their prayer of faith that God will come in healing grace. Even if the sick are absent, they are still part of the community gathered for worship. This suggests that friends or relatives be encouraged to receive the laying on of hands representatively for the sick for whom they pray.
I have led services like this before, but I have noticed that last line about coming forward to represent someone for whom we are praying. I hope you will make plans to be here Sunday as we pray for those we care about and ourselves. I know you will be glad you came!