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.