For many years, St. Cuthbert's church has been a centre of Christian healing through the Ministry of prayer. The purpose of a healing Ministry is, as Francis MacNutt puts it in his book entitled "Healing":
"We are not ministering salves to sores; we are ministering love to suffering people. It is Jesus Christ living within us, who has perfected our humanity, who is ministering to suffering people . This means that all methods are ours. We build hospitals, we train doctors and we train nurses - all in God's image. Yet, we believe in the supernatural. So we pray, and the natural and the supernatural come together. It is not either / or; it is both / and."
Therefore, this is the focus of our Sunday evening services during and after which we offer prayer and blessing for healing, in the name of Christ Jesus. This is a quiet, gentle ministry of love, which we offer through prayer and action, in a safe, caring and supportive environment, to suffering people, who come asking for God's help.
Many people come regularly or irregularly asking for prayer, others may be visiting Edinburgh for a short period of time and "happening" to see that we offer prayer and blessing for healing at our evening services, come in to join us. (In God's plan however, we believe that there is no such thing as a coincidence, and that anyone attending the service, has been brought there by God, for a reason!)
Does the mention of a Healing Service bring to your mind the "American model" (which is the only one to which most of us have had any exposure,) with a larger-than-life TV evangelist? A huge service of thousands of people, with a lot of noise, bustle and razzmatazz, perhaps? If so, then let us assure you right away, that nothing could be further away from that than what happens at St. Cuthbert's. Our service is a quiet reflective service. It is a place of loving and prayerful concern for others, where the dignity and privacy of everyone is respected and maintained. It is a place for the healing of the body, mind, soul and spirit. It is a quiet oasis at the beginning of the week. It is a place to have your inner resources renewed and strengthened for the week ahead.
2. Biblical context / Instructions
We believe that we have a strong Biblical basis for this Ministry of healing. Primarily, we have of course, the example of Jesus himself who believed that this was an important part of His Ministry as we can see from the many gospel accounts of His healing Ministry. No-one who asked him for healing was ever refused. In many cases, Jesus Himself approached people to heal them, they did not always have to approach Him. In His commission to the 12 and later the 70, disciples, he instructed them to preach the gospel and to heal the sick.
"Then He called His twelve disciples together and gave them power and authority over all demons, and to cure diseases. He sent them to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick."
After His ascension, not only the 12 or the 70 disciples are recorded as healing people, but we can also see it was an accepted and even expected Ministry of the early church. Jesus' commission is still relevant to us today - which means that we are still under instruction to preach the gospel and to heal the sick. With such clear instructions from Our Lord himself, the question is not "why should any Christian community have a Healing Ministry?" Rather, the question should be "why would any Christian community not have a Healing Ministry?"
The only pattern we have of a Healing Service, comes from the Epistle of St James, who wrote:
"Is any among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven."
This is the biblical basis for praying for and anointing with oil which forms part of our Healing Service.
3. Healing Ministry
During the service, we pray for people known to us. We also pray for some that may be unknown to us, who have left a request for prayer in our book of intercessions. It does not matter whether any or all of us know the person personally - all are known to God and held in the palm of his hand. We simply lift these people to God in prayer, asking him to bless them, to intervene in their suffering or illness, and we leave the rest to God. Also during the service, is a time where anyone can come forward for prayer or blessing, whether for themselves, or for someone known to them. The minister prays with and for them, and blesses them, while anointing them with olive oil. This pattern follows the outline laid out in the Epistle of St James. (See section 2 - Biblical context / Instructions)
When we mention people in our intercessions, we do not name their problems. This is for two reasons. Firstly, it maintains confidentiality, and respects the privacy of the person involved. Many people would not want their problems to be "aired in public" - even during a Healing Service. Secondly, it ensures that we are focussing on the person and raising them, rather than their problem, to God.
In her book "The Healing Light", Agnes Sanford found she had difficulty praying for healing for people when she was not in their presence. She records a conversation she had with a lady Minister on this subject:
"I can help them when I'm with them, but my prayers from a distance don't seem to result in healing at all."
4. Further Ministry after the main service, in the Chapel
After the end of the Service, anyone requesting additional or specific prayer can remain in the chapel, where the person and their prayer requests are lifted to to God, also asking Him to bless them and intervene on their behalf.
Anyone wanting a quiet, or confidential, chat with a member of the healing Ministry team can be accommodated in another area of the church. They will generally be accompanied by a couple of people from the Healing Ministry team. They will listen to the person, talk with them and raise their specific, or general, prayer requests to God, asking Him to bless them and to intervene on their behalf.
Prayers for healing are offered during and after the 6pm Sunday evening services, at the 1pm Tuesday lunchtime service, and after the 11am service on the first Sunday of the month.
For all Church or calendar related issues, please contact :