No magic in Christian healing, book says, rather an ability to find joy and peace

By on March 1, 2000

Healing Through PrayerHealth Practitioners Tell the Story
Introduction by Peter Downie; several contributors
168 pages
paper $18.95
Anglican Book Centre
1 55126 229 0

JESUS’ supernatural healings were a sign to the people of his time that the Kingdom of God had arrived. These practices were continued by the apostles but are no longer a regular feature of worship today. In this book, various doctors, scientists, and theologians describe the effect of healing prayer in our time. There is also a section with contributions from representatives of the major non-Christian religions.

Several healings are mentioned which are not explicable scientifically. A double-blind study on intercessory prayer established that the group prayed for needed less treatment than the control group. Although belief and mental attitude are important for healing, the most effective prayers are those where there is much love. There is abundant evidence that success does not depend on religious affiliation.

Several contributors were asked to explain why God appears to heal some and not others. Most believed that healing does not necessarily mean that God will give us what we want; God’s will is sovereign. In seeking to explain healing prayer, some contributors refer to parapsychology and cosmic energy. Most, however, are content to rest in the sacramental mystery that the Holy Spirit in dwelling in us operates through our words and actions.

This book does not contain a prescription that will enable the reader to heal as Jesus and the apostles did. However, it is a responsible, thoughtful account, which recognizes that Christian healing is not magic. True healing for a Christian is to be empowered to live with joy and peace – and also with a share in the cross of Christ.

Dr. Colin Campbell is a physicist and a past president of the International Order of St. Luke the Physician. This organization originated in the Episcopal Church U.S.A. and promotes healing through prayer.

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