What is Healing Prayer?

Are any among you sick?
They should call for the elders of the church and have them pray over them,
anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord.
James 5:14


Anointing the sick is among the oldest ministries in the Christian tradition. Jesus called his first apostles specifically to 1) proclaim the good news of repentance and salvation and 2) heal the sick by anointing them with oil (Mark 6:6b – 13). Anointing is a sacrament, an outward sign of God’s invisible but potent grace. Our world needs that grace, and so next week Trinity will resume Thursday afternoon services of Holy Eucharist with healing prayers, laying on of hands, and anointing.

It’s no accident that, from the beginning, healing and repentance have gone together when proclaiming the Gospel. We reject the idea that physical or mental illness are punishment for our sins, but we affirm that our total health depends on us asking God to remove those burdens. This makes Lent the perfect time to bring back this service.

We will begin on Thursdays at 12:30pm in Trinity Church. To make the service both intimate and accessible, our movable altar will stand at the crossing for Holy Eucharist. Two prayer desks will also be available nearby for those who wish to use them for the laying on of hands and anointing. My homilies will be brief and largely oriented toward the need for and nature of God’s healing. After the service and a brief break, we will offer Centering Prayer.

It is important to understand that this ministry is not magic. Like all sacraments it is a mystery of God’s loving grace that does not perform to our specifications or expectations. Like all intercessory prayer, healing prayer guarantees no specific outcome except an outpouring of love. Love does not depend on either perfect words and gestures from a priest or perfect faith in you. My only job is to welcome the Holy Spirit to effect whatever healing She deems most needed. It’s all grace.