In our daily morning devotionals my wife requests that Our Lord lead me to those who need His healing through my prayer and touch. She asks that He continues to use me to bring people to know His love. It's humbling and empowering at the same time. Humbling because I feel so unworthy of such undertakings, yet empowering because I'm reminded of the awesome work God has and will do with a mere servant. In the past month these daily reminders have yielded 3 opportunities to bring the love, mercy and grace of God to needy people.
I serve believers in numerous ways through leading worship, preaching, and other means. These opportunities to serve are rewarding and I'm comfortable undertaking them. What's challenging is the deeply personal and spiritual interactions with others through healing prayer. It is in heeding to this calling that that I struggle because it is so "personal". Let me explain.
How often do we look deeply into the eyes of someone we may never have met before, touch them, hold them, pray about their soul, their love for God, their hopes for health, and more? And through these spiritual and personal encounters, they look to you to be the lifesaver thrown out to pull them back into better health, restored relationships, forgiveness and wholeness. That is the "difficult" part of this calling. It evokes a sense of vulnerability as their burdens become yours. Their hurting becomes your hurting. Their cross becomes yours to bear. These are the things that take place when God puts someone in my path for ministering to them through this calling.
I cannot speak to how others are called into a healing ministry, or what happens in their hearts, minds, spirits and bodies while ministering...but this is how it is for me. I feel their pains and afflictions in both my spirit and my body as I pray for them. When praying with a diabetic who has aching feet, my feet ache. When praying with one who has back problems, my back hurts. Their pain is felt in my body and I believe that God does this to me so that I have a deeper compassion for the one I'm ministering to. In that very moment where their pain is manifest in my body, I know what it is that they truly want God to make right. This knowledge gives me the authority to know what we're praying for. At the moment when God acknowledges our petition, He releases the pain and replaces it with joy. Tears of joy replace the anguish of pain. Hope and optimism replace hopelessness and pessimism. At that very moment God is in our midsts, and there's no denying it!
In the few years I've been heeding this calling to the healing ministry I've grown in love and compassion as I never imagined one could grow. I see people whom I've prayed with on the streets or while shopping and we're drawn to each other for a warm embrace. That love is so wonderful and rewarding that it compels me to want more and more. So in pursuit of wanting more love in my life and in the lives of others, I heed this calling. It's all about love. Christ's love.