Healing prayer ministry proceeding cautiously
2006. The facilitator of the School of Healing Prayer, set up last year in the Catholic Archdiocese of Wellington, says the healing ministry is a neglected area because “Satan has been getting his own way for all too long and has nearly succeeded in killing off the healing ministry, especially in the Western Church.”
The school was given permission by Catholic Archbishop John Dew to proceed cautiously in the archdiocese, said Archbishop Dew’s office. The archbishop does not have authority to give the ministry official backing from the Catholic Church in New Zealand because he can only authorise for the Archdiocese of Wellington.
“The decision to facilitate the courses developed by Francis and Judith MacNutt was to help to fill a growing awareness of a need for practical teaching in this area of Christian evangelism,” said facilitator Stan Nield.
The school was designed to teach individuals, churches, prayer groups and other Christian organizations about healing prayer in three levels.
Permission was granted by Christian Healing Ministries in the United States in late 2004 to facilitate School of Healing Prayer courses in New Zealand. The US body was founded by the MacNutts in 1981.
Described as ecumenical, the school operates under the banner of Christian Prayer Ministries in New Zealand and is facilitated by Mr Nield his wife Marie.
Last year’s Wellington regional seminars were facilitated at the Faith Nurses bi-annual conference and the Wellington Catholic charismatic renewal conference.
The foundation course last October was followed by a level one course at St. Francis Xavier School library in Tawa this month. They came from “as far-a-field as Palmerston North, Waikanae, Paraparaumu, Northland (in Wellington), and Crofton Downs”, Mr Nield said.
The healing ministry was important today because, “this is the reason Jesus came – to heal our relationship with God and to heal us in body, soul, and spirit. Jesus commanded us to do these things in His name. We pray with hurting, wounded people and have seen transfigurations.
“But we have no answers as to how, why, or when healing takes place. We don’t do the healing. That is God’s business, and the secret things belong to Him.”
Seminars and courses are requested by parishes and churches who want the courses to be offered.
Mr Nield offers, by email, extracts from testimonies. One sums them up: “I came along to this seminar not knowing what to expect. I have learned so much and now realise there is a lot more to praying for people.”
A prayer minister, said Mr Nield, needs to be a trained people helper, a people lover who wants to help restore people, confident about their own worth and dealing with own issues regularly, free from self-centredness.
Screening takes place in the first instance by an applicant’s pastor or priest, who is required to signify the person’s good standing.
“Since this ministry is the work of the Holy Spirit, the gift of discernment takes an important part.”
Pre-training requirements are baptism and willingness to be open to the Holy Spirit’s gifts, attendance at worship regularly, journeying daily with the Lord, demonstrating spiritual growth, living a Christian lifestyle, and having a teachable spirit.
By Peter Veugelaers.
Published 2006, Challenge Weekly