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Healing, a great old book by Francis MacNutt

Healing By Francis MacNutt.  Hodder and Staughten, London, 1989

So remind me then, why is it you can’t be healed?  Is it because faith healers wear bouffant hairdos (men and women alike) and shout hysterically?  Did God decide that you (like Jesus) should have the honor of suffering and sacrificing yourself?  Is it that the only miracle workers are Saints (with a capital ‘s’) and you don’t have any of those in your church?  Perhaps it is because Saint Augustine once said (though later retracted) that the time of miracles is passed.  Or maybe it is because God only heals people when he has a really important point to make, and you are sure you are not at the heart of any big theological arguments.  Or maybe you just secretly think (though you don't tell your friends at church) that miracles don’t really happen; that’s just a lot of hocus pocus stuff for gullible illiterates. 

And then, why can’t you participate in healing prayer?  Is it all this, plus the fact that you cannot declare “I am pure!  I am pure!” like an Egyptian pharaoh on the brink of death?

The point of Francis MacNutt’s book is first and foremost to debunk all these prejudices and others.  

Having the faith to set out on the journey of healing is no mean feat, he writes. The reality of healing prayer is very mixed.  Some people are healed, others improved, others gain in faith, and some go nowhere.  The statistics for improving your health are much better if you get prayer than if you choose inaction--but it’s no sure bet. 

To say “I will have faith God will heal me” is chutzpah, nerve, brass.  Just go for it! suggests MacNutt;  that’s what Jesus tells us to do.

In healing, love is at least as important as faith, writes MacNutt.  The loving atmosphere surrounding the pray-er removes anxiety and fear, allowing God to move through us, where he chooses to do so.

Healing also explains how such prayer works in a very practical sense.  Four basic types of sickness need to be identified, along with four corresponding types of healing.

1.       Illness of the spirit, caused by personal sin requires repentance and forgiveness

2.     Illness of the emotions caused by the human condition requires that we forgive others and prayer that we call “inner healing”

3.     Illness of the body, due to disease accidents and stress requires prayer of faith for physical healing, (medical remedies and treatments are not to be ignored)

4.      Illnesses of the spirit, emotions or body can all, occasionally, be caused by demonic attacks, and require a prayer for deliverance

But again, this is not a formula.  MacNutt suggests practitioners must never develop “the right method” for prayer, and always ask God with confidence to meet their needs, without telling him how to do it. 

As a former healing skeptic, MacNutt has a tone that is factual and peaceful. But he also calls out to us at the end of the book:  How can you know Jesus and still NOT heal anybody?

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