With this post I want to draw attention to the work of healing prayer, often called “intercessory prayer.” This is something that I personally feel is a very important kind of service, and I also think it is a spiritual practice of the highest order. There are a lot of metaphysical and esoteric teachings about healing prayer, and it is central to a number of organizations, like the Order of St. Luke, the Guild of St. Raphael, and the Church of Christ Scientist. The Unity Church also has specific teachings on healing prayer. With this post I want to briefly highlight some of the elements of effective prayer that are common to such teachings.
First and foremost, it’s a common element of belief that our power is limited to serving as instruments or catalysts for healing, and that all healing is ultimately accomplished by Divine Grace. In this view, no matter what practices we employ we are fooling ourselves if we attribute the results solely to our own personal power. This is not to say that one’s own personal energies are unimportant. Rather, the challenge is to allow the Divine Will to manifest in us as a zealous hopefulness for healing and fervent faithfulness that the Divine works through us for that purpose. Few of us can ever know exactly how the Divine Will works in our own lives, let alone another human soul. Our best wisdom is therefore in giving such energy freely as an act of love, without making our hopes into specific expectations. Maintaining this realistic humility is sometimes no small feat, and the relationship and differentiation of hope and expectation is a matter well worth pondering.
In the act of prayer or meditation on the healing of someone, there are other important attitudes that tradition, metaphysical theory, and good old common sense urge us to practice. Certainly close to, if not on the same level as humility, is positivity, which relates to the earlier phrases, “zealous hopefulness” and “fervent faithfulness.” In practical terms, we are talking about the emotions, images and other thoughts we have with regard to the people for whom we are praying. While a certain amount of sorrowful sympathy may be natural and even helpful, in the moment of healing prayer we want to fill our hearts and minds with the most positive energies of love and health. We do not dwell on images of injury, disease and suffering, or wallow in feelings of pity, sadness, anxiety or despair. Rather, we imagine the subject of our prayer as receiving our own feelings of affection, courage and hope, while bathing in the light of Divine Grace, her or him smiling in happiness and health. For many mystics, our faith if not actual knowledge is that, no matter how much an individual may be suffering in body and soul, at the very deepest levels of spirit he or she is already and always in harmony with the Divine Will. We abide in the trust that whatever happens is ultimately an opportunity for that soul to learn and grow toward greater and more complete harmony.
As for methods of healing prayer, they are many and diverse. One method is the “Heart of Love” meditation I have previously provided, working specifically through the first two phases with the intention of sharing love especially for healing. It is also traditional for many Christians to address their healing prayers not only to Christ, but also to our Holy Mother Mary, to St. Luke the Physician, and/or St. Raphael the Archangel, whose name roughly means “God’s healing,” or “God’s healer.” There are many traditional prayers to these saints available online.