The Practice of Healing Prayer: A How-To Guide for Catholics
is a great introduction to the idea and movement that are based on the Holy Spirit’s ability to work in and through people to bring about healing. For a number of years, the Church sort of drifted away from the importance and power of laypeople in bringing about healing in mind, body, and/or spirit. Clergy and kings were the only ones “authorized” to anoint the sick or suffering at one point in time.
Former priest, now husband, father, and author, Francis MacNutt, PhD, has been working hard to revive the healing prayer movement in the Catholic Church. He and his wife Judith, cofounders of Christian Healing Ministries in Jacksonville, Florida, have developed their organization around the fundamental grace of healing God has given His children throughout the ages. This book includes information on the how, why, when, where, who, with and for whom of healing prayer, especially for laypeople in the Catholic Church.
The Practice of Healing Prayer helps open the eyes of Catholics to the Scriptural basis for Jesus Christ and his disciples healing others. It is a great source to learn more about the Charismatic Renewal Movement, which in many countries and ways, is leading the healing revival taking place in the Catholic faith as well as other Christian traditions.
I liked how MacNutt included and emphasized the inherent healing power of the sacraments of the Church. He brings up the medical connection, the role of doctors and modern medicine as part of the healing process God uses to transform our lives. He also gives plenty of examples of Jesus healing people in the New Testament and includes testimonies from people who have experienced healing recently through the laying on of hands and intercessory prayer.
The spiritual director for the Christ Renews His Parish formation team I served on this past summer recommended we read this book and discuss it at our next meeting. I have to say it’s a good choice. Though I’ve read and been learning more and more about the Charismatic Renewal over the past year, I found this particular book to be a great introduction and bridge, especially for Catholics who aren’t familiar with the movement or as well-versed in the laity’s role in healing ministry. Much of what he writes about is already being lived out in the Charismatic Renewal Movement as I’ve seen through the invitation of a friend of mine at church to become involved in their prayer meetings.
I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in learning more about how God, who is Perfect Physician and Wonderful Counselor, can and does use clergy and laity as vessels for His healing love.
You can purchase this book here