One of our core practices at WCV is community, and part and parcel of expressing and demonstrating God’s love to one another (as well as inviting his kingdom to come, now) is healing prayer. To see God heal, you have to be attentive to people who need healing, and you have to be willing to respond by taking the risk to pray for them. This action of actually praying for healing, more than a sense of inward mental certainty or emotional enthusiasm about what will happen, is what constitutes faith. As John Wimber used to say, faith is spelt “R-I-S-K.”
Though of course there are many ways through which God heals, he often seems to do it through the laying on of hands (Mark 16:17-18; Luke 4:40, Acts 28:8, James 5:14). For some reason, people often sense the power and presence of the Holy Spirit when prayer is accompanied with the laying on of hands. Though we may not understand the why or how of it, we recognize, welcome, and cherish the supernatural aspect of this practice. In a natural sense, the laying on of hands also communicates care and concern for those for whom we pray. Placing your hands on a person you’re praying for says “I am in this with you and am making time to cry out to God about it for you.” Understandably, it is both comforting and encouraging for those receiving prayer to tangibly feel this sentiment and to be loved in this way; this often helps them discern God’s love for them. All in all, we long for people to both know and experience God through prayer whether it’s by supernatural or natural means, or by a mysterious mingling of the two.
Recently, Brian experienced God at our drop-in. After one particular occasion where we prayed for people who needed healing, Brian came to me to express his gratitude. Something about being in an environment where those who were sick were cared for in this manner moved him. As we were talking, I noticed that he had a cane and asked him what had happened. Afterwards, I asked him if I could pray for him. He heartily agreed, I placed my hand on his knee, and so began a truly wonderful story of God touching and healing him. My wife and I now have his cane hanging off a shelf in our apartment. He wanted us to have it as token of his gratitude to God for restoring him physically and giving him back his life (he’s working again). And, of course, because he has no need of it anymore. Hallelujah!