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The parish of

Kings Norton

Part of the Church of England

Prayer for Healing

Healing is central to the Christian Gospel: healing the relationship between God and humankind is the very essence of Christ's work in his life, death, and resurrection.

During his ministry, Jesus healed lepers, blind men, the lame, a haemorraging woman, the demon-possessed, and even raised the dead. Jesus involved his disciples in the work of healing; the book of Acts contains accounts of healing by Christ's followers, and the epistles of Paul discuss healing as a gift of the Spirit. For the first 300 years of the church's history, physical healing was an integral component of Christian life and faith as a sign of God's love, compassion, and care.

In the 4th century, influenced primarily by Western theologians, Christians began to regard illness as punishment or correction from God. Spiritual and physical health increasingly became divided and compartmentalized. The grim realities of the Dark Ages, and a tendency to view faith as an intellectual exercise rather than a lived experience further diminished the ministry of healing in the church. In the 16th century, the Reformers continued to view salvation as health for the soul, not the body.

Despite these trends, individuals have continued to receive healing from God, and history records their testimonies. In the mid-19th century, we began to rediscover the relationships between mind, emotions, body, and spirit, between faith and health. Today, as a holistic, integrated view of health begins to emerge in medicine, the church is rediscovering its ministry of healing and more and more parishes are making healing services part of their regular worship.

Healing Elsewhere

There are a number of well-established healing centres or ministries in the UK where communities of Christians, often with theological and/or medical training, offer prayer for healing and counselling of various kinds. Some of the better-known organisations are listed below. If you, or someone you know has a chronic health problem, you may wish to explore further.

If you have had experience of other places and have found them helpful, please let us know.

What Happens?

About once a month, during the Sunday evening service, we offer "the laying on of hands with prayer for healing". In simple terms, we invite people to come to the front of the church and to stand around the altar, much as we do at a Communion service. Then, following an ancient Christian tradition, we anoint them with oil and pray for their healing.

There is no pressure. Only people who wish to step forward do so. Those who pray quietly and confidentially with or for them will be clergy or trained lay (non-ordained) people. The part of the service during which prayer for healing is offered lasts no more than 5 or 10 minutes.

Quiet music is played or sung to mask any whispered conversation and ensure confidentiality, but those who step forward do not have to say anything about their reasons for being there. They may even come forward to ask for prayer for someone else. The entire experience is gentle, discreet and unthreatening.