They came to Bethsaida. Some people brought a blind man to him and begged him to touch him. He took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the village; and when he had put saliva on his eyes and laid his hands on him, he asked him, “Can you see anything?” And the man looked up and said, “I can see people, but they look like trees, walking.” Then Jesus laid his hands on his eyes again; and he looked intently and his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly (Mark 8:22-25).
Eugene Veith was a businessman who brought his faith into every relationship, both at work and in the wider community. Here, he talks about healing prayer.
I developed an informal routine with people I met through my business and other activities, and this became part of the rhythm of my life. I would pray with the people I visited as a natural part of our conversation, and if they asked for specific healing prayer, then I would pray for them in that way …
When people are sick or in pain, their suffering often opens them to God, even if they are not overtly people of faith and prayer. Sometimes an unbeliever is healed and sometimes a person of deep faith is not. There are many questions in this ministry, and no one knows all the answers. But even when physical healing does not occur, there is frequently a deep inner healing of mind and spirit and also of relationships. And sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly, there may also be incredible physical healing in a person’s life.
I remember a woman of faith who was not a member of Kew Baptist asking our small prayer group to come and pray with her. She had a blood condition that was causing her trouble, and her sight was deteriorating. We went and prayed with her three times. The last time, only two of us could go because she called us urgently on a Friday afternoon. We were with her twenty minutes.
The following Monday, I phoned to ask how she was and to encourage her through this difficult time, as was my usual practice after I prayed with someone. She told me that an hour or so before we arrived on Friday, she knew she was going to be healed. Then she had a big battle with God about her internal feelings of hatefulness towards someone, and she realised she had to deal with this before she could be healed. During this hard wrestling, she remembered the story of Jacob wrestling with God all night by the river Jabbok. Finally, she had a sense of victory.
After we prayed with her, she went into her bedroom and saw things that she had not seen for ages, because her sight had been so poor. A few days later, she had an appointment with a specialist concerning her blood condition and he found her blood was normal. I spoke to her several years after this incident, and she is still in excellent health and active in the life of her church community.
This experience moved me and gave me insight into the interconnection between our bodies, minds and spirits, particularly how grudges, resentment, hate and unforgiveness can erode our health. Through the experience of healing prayer, this lady became aware of what was hindering her healing and harming her health, though she did not speak about this to us in the earlier meetings we had with her or on that Friday afternoon. When God touched her with this clear awareness, she found the inner courage to confront her hatred …
We can only entrust the person we are praying for to God’s goodness and allow [God] to work. Sometimes what I pray for is not the primary issue—though I don’t realise that, and the person concerned may not either—so I always pray that the Lord will bring deliverance into every aspect of a person’s life. Ω
Reflect: Ask God to reveal what you do not yet see clearly: a wound in your heart, perhaps. Notice the emotions which arise, and name them before God. Ask God to show you what this wound blinds you to, and how it can turn you from the path of love. Sit in silence for a moment, noticing any hints, images, words, or sensations which may arise. Wonder what the world might look like when this wound no longer blinds you. Wonder how this wound may be transformed into a gift to others.
#Lent2020 © Sanctuary, 2020, quoting Eugene Veith, as told to Jill L. Manton, An Ordinary Bloke: The Making of a Modern Mystic. Morning Star Publishing, 2016. Order it direct from the publisher.
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