On Sunday, September 18, our worship service will be a special kind of service: it will be a “healing service.” I would like to explain exactly what this will look like, so you know what to expect and how to prepare yourself.
Now, a bit about our motivation to have this service: The idea for this healing service came from a couple of church members. They have mentioned this to me on a few occasions over the course of this summer, and I think it can be a beautiful experience for us. The intent of this service is to provide space for us to pray for each other, for the needs of our community, for God to move in people’s lives. The healing we have in mind is not only physical but also spiritual, emotional, and relational. God has created us completely in his image, and he can bring healing to any part of our lives that is broken.
A word about how this service might feel to you: My intention is for this service to be of the same temperament and basic style as our regular worship services. If you have ever worshiped with Mt. Haley in the past and have been comfortable doing so, my hope and prayer is that you will feel comfortable in this healing service as well. We will not be doing anything “outrageous” or “strange” (from our perspective). We will sing songs, read scripture, and pray together. We will have a special time of anointing people with oil if they so desire. We will give our offerings to God. But in this service we won’t have a traditional sermon.
This service will move through seven distinct phases, following the structure of Arlo Newell’s pamphlet on divine healing:
- CELEBRATE OUR HOPE IN CHRIST. We will begin by reflecting together on the hope that we have in Jesus Christ. He is able to “accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine” (Ephesians 3:20).
- EXAMINE OUR LIVES HONESTLY. We will take a few moments to examine our hearts, our attitudes, and our thoughts. “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts. See if there is any wicked way in me” (Psalm 139:23-24).
- ACKNOWLEDGE OUR DEPENDENCE ON GOD. We will declare our need for God’s presence in our lives. “Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth” (Psalm 124:8).
- LISTEN TO THE STILL SMALL VOICE. The busy-ness of our lives often prevents us from being quiet long enough to hear God’s voice. We will engage in a short guided meditation on Psalm 46:10, “Be still and know that I am God.”
- OBEY THE LORD’S INSTRUCTIONS. We will follow the New Testament instruction by anointing with oil those who desire healing. “Are any among you sick? They should call for the elders of the church and have them pray over them, anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord. The prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise them up; and anyone who has committed sins will be forgiven” (James 5:14-15).
- NOW, BE PATIENT. We will then “wait for the Lord” (Psalm 27:14) by reminding ourselves to be patient and to identify the healing of the Lord even when it appears in ways that we do not expect or desire.
- GIVE THANKS TO GOD. Finally, we will celebrate the fact that we have a Savior who can “sympathize with our weaknesses” (Hebrews 4:15). The service will conclude with high expressions of thanksgiving through songs and offerings.
I am looking forward to sharing this experience with you! Please feel free to ask questions or share your concerns with me before we reach the date of this healing service, September 18.