Ruminations from the back pews; yes, ‘pews’.

Ruminations from the back pew

I have a confession to make. If you’ve read previous editions of ‘Ruminations from the back pew’ (and if you haven’t, good God man, save yourself), you’ll remember (perhaps unwillingly) that I’d staunchly refused to give in to any and all variations of ‘clappiness’ during worship (the Dutch Reformed Church, my religious alma mater, does not acknowledge any emotion that might make your mustache move). You will be thrilled (or horrified) to learn that I’ve thrown all caution to the wind and my hands up in the air like I just don’t care. Yes: I fear that I am now one of those worshippers.

It was Jack Hayward’s excellent book, Manifest Presence, that brought the change around. I finally figured out that worship isn’t about me. (Papa Rick will be ecstatic, I’m sure.) And you know, in realising that it isn’t about what I want out of worship, but what God wants out of worship, I’ve ended up getting more out of worship. Neat, huh?

Anyhow, yesterday we had a fantastic healing workshop at Trinity Methodist in Linden, Johannesburg, which is enviously beautiful and has floods (floods) of natural light in the chapel. We HMC folk are plotting a takeover even as I type this; I have already earmarked ‘my spot’ (my once and future spot!)

Sheldon

Dr Sheldon Cooper is my spirit animal.

The workshop was led by Rev Ray Goddess and managed to be informative and practical without being too ‘how to’ and formulaic. Hearing the testimony and seeing the healing that took place afterwards during the healing service itself just reminded me that essentially we Christians are called to do no more and no less than bear witness to the greatness of God. Fantastic news considering that his awesomeness never stops.

It’s actually ironic that I’m posting a ‘Ruminations from the back pew’ on one of the few Sundays lately I haven’t been to church. This morning I worshipped in the grocery store by covertly singing along to Aretha Franklin’s ‘Natural Woman’ in the toiletry aisle (in my defense, I caught at least two other people doing the same thing), and then naturally proceeded to run into three people from my congregation.

Methodists! They’re everywhere.

Pentecost.

Pentecost.

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Rev Mike Endicott on faith, healing, sandwiches

Grace

We were privileged to have Rev Mike Endicott speak at our church this weekend. He is an Anglican minister from the United Kingdom passionate about taking the church’s healing ministry back to its Jesus basics. He’s a very droll and engaging speaker so if you’re curious, check out his website, which offers some free audio downloads and other resources.

The gist of what he discussed this weekend:

1. Instead of telling God “please do so and so”, we ought to thank Him for the work already accomplished on the Cross. By doing this we essentially acknowledge that all obstacles between God and ourselves have been removed. The power of God is in the message of the Cross.

2. Grace washes over us in an unceasing flood; we need to (re)learn how to receive it, because Christians in general bungle up this basic with overly-complex theology.

3. God is interested in having a working relationship with us. By being in harmony with His will, we carry the Kingdom with us, and it takes root wherever we go.

4. We need to trust God. A trust relationship with God is a two-way street: we trust Him…and He entrusts us.

5. When in doubt, remember: sandwich! God’s authority and presence are the slices of our faith sandwich, and we are the filling (Matthew 28:18-20). We needn’t worry about the details: that’s God’s area. We only need to tell the Good News, and get out of the way.

The Jesus sandwich.

~oOo~

Related:

Healing prayers

For ourselves

Healing Prayer of Surrender

Dear Lord Jesus, it is my will to surrender to you everything that I am and everything that I’m striving to be. I open the deepest recesses of my heart to you and invite your Holy Spirit to dwell inside of me.

I offer you my life, heart, mind, body, soul, spirit, all my hopes, plans and dreams. I surrender to you my past, present and future problems, habits, character defects, attitudes, livelihood, resources, finances, medical coverage, occupation and all my relationships.

I give you my health, disabilities, physical appearance, home, family, marriage, children, sexuality and friendships. I ask you to take Lordship over every aspect of my life. I surrender to you all my hurt, pain, worry, anxiety and fear, and I ask you to wash me clean.

I release everything into your compassionate care. Please speak to me clearly, Lord. Open my ears to hear your voice. Open my heart to commune with you more deeply. I desperately need to feel your loving embrace. Shut the doors that need to be shut and open the doors that need to be opened. Set my feet upon the straight and narrow road that leads to everlasting life. Amen.

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Healing of body, mind and soul

Lord, You invite all who are burdened to come to you. Allow Your healing Hand to heal me. Touch my soul with Your compassion for others; touch my heart with Your courage and infinite Love for all; touch my mind with Your Wisdom, and may my mouth always proclaim Your praise. Teach me to reach out to You in all my needs, and help me to lead others to You by my example. Most loving Heart of Jesus, bring me health in body and spirit that I may serve You with all my strength. Touch gently this life which you have created, now and forever. Amen.

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For others

Prayer for healing and comfort

Heavenly Father, giver of life and health: Comfort and relieve your sick servant (name), and give your power of healing to those who minister to his needs, that he may be strengthened in his weakness and have confidence in your loving care; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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Healing prayer

Dear Lord of Mercy and Father of Comfort,

You are the One I turn to for help in moments of weakness and times of need. I ask you to be with your servant in this illness. Psalm 107:20 says that you send out your Word and heal. So then, please send your healing Word to your servant. In the name of Jesus, drive out all infirmity and sickness from his body.

Dear Lord, I ask you to turn this weakness into strength, suffering into compassion, sorrow into joy, and pain into comfort for others. May your servant trust in your goodness and hope in your faithfulness, even in the middle of this suffering. Let him be filled with patience and joy in your presence as he waits for your healing touch.

Please restore your servant to full health, dear Father. Remove all fear and doubt from his heart by the power of your Holy Spirit, and may you, Lord, be glorified through his life.

As you heal and renew your servant, Lord, may he bless and praise you.

All of this I pray in the name of Jesus Christ.

Amen.

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For pets*

Prayer for a sick pet

Heavenly Father,

Please help us in our time of need,

You have made us stewards of (name of pet).

If it is Your will, please restore him (her)

to health and strength.

I pray too for other animals in need.

May they be treated with the care and respect

deserving of all Your creation.

Blessed are You Lord God,

and holy is Your name for ever and ever.

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How to pray for the sick

Free Anglican “Healing Prayer: A How-To Guide for Prayer Ministry Teams” PDF.

And this:

To that end, then, I want to encourage you to be faithful to follow Jesus’ lead and James’ command to pray prayers of healing for the sick every time you encounter someone who is ill. One way to do that and to avoid getting freaked out in the process is to learn a simple prayer of healing that you can grow into.

Read the rest of it here.

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*Pet people will understand why I included this.

Also see:

In the land of the glass hearts, tupperware is king

Once upon a time in the land of the glass hearts, there lived a young girl. This girl, as all the girls did, carried with her a heart.

While she was young it was kept safely on the nightstand by her bed and every night she would look at it and smile. It was so perfect; pure, clear, everything a beautiful heart was suppose to be.

Eventually the time came that her parents gave her the heart to carry with her always.

“It will break if you aren’t gentle with it,” her father reminded her.

And she was. She kept it cradled softly in her hand as she wandered through life.

When she was still a young girl, no longer a small child yet not yet a woman, it happened. She was sitting there, her heart in her hand, and he walked by.

It wasn’t on purpose!

It just happened that neither of them were paying attention and when he passed, it fell, swiftly, with a slight “whoosh!” and hit the pavement with a bump. The girl was horrified. The boy never noticed. He had only passed her, after all, and had someplace to be.

The girl fell to her knees next to the heart. It was still in one piece but cracks were beginning to show. Picking it up carefully, she held it gently in both hands. She looked around and realized that no one saw. Not a single person had any idea that her heart was broken.

Read more. It’s beautiful.

Source: YLCF.

Healing vs resurrection

Run, Forest!

We hope for healing in so many areas of our lives.

When Jesus wants to give us something so much bigger.

Complete death of our old selves, pains, relationships, and fears.

He doesn’t want to heal you.

He wants to resurrect you.

(Please read the whole thing.)

Who else has been missing the forest for the trees?

‘St Teresa’s bookmark’

Let nothing worry you;

Nothing dismay you;

Everything passes;

God does not change.

If you have patience

You can do anything.

Those who have God

want for nothing;

God alone is enough.

Your tattered heart lets more light shine through

“The most forgiving people I have ever come across are people who have suffered — it is as if suffering has ripped them open into empathy. I am talking about wounded healers.”

— Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu