I have two clear memories of unwanted prayer for ‘healing’.

The first was when I was a young woman and went to see our pastor to relay the young people’s concerns about the Sunday evening service. (As background, the pastor had decided that every Sunday night service should centre on an altar call. After four weeks of altar calls the young people were hoping to ‘mix things up’ – just a little!) To my shock, in the privacy of his office, the pastor laid hands on me and prayed, “that the demons of cynicism that had possessed me would leave me”! More recently I encountered another minister who, having disagreed with me on an issue, told me I was mentally ill and, again, prayed that I would be ‘healed’ (and, consequently, see things his way)! Both experiences have left scars.

But I cannot imagine constantly being approached by others – people you know or complete strangers – who want to pray for healing for you because you are a person with disability. I agree with Rev Zoe Heming’s (left) assessment that this behaviour, however well intentioned, is ‘spiritually abusive’.

Some of you shared stories with me, after Sunday’s service, about people praying for healing for your, or for family members, and how, when that healing did not occur, it was attributed to your lack of faith. This is also ‘spiritual abuse’.

Having said all that, I loved the response of Damon Rose, the BBC journalist whose article, “Stop trying to ‘heal’ me”  I referred to on Sunday, to the man who tapped him on the shoulder on the Tube in London, and asked if he could pray for his sight to be restored. The link to the article is here – https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-48054113

The other article I referred to, full of great interviews with disabled Christians, is here – https://www.premierchristianity.com/features/fearfully-and-wonderfully-made-5-disabled-christians-share-their-stories/14946.article

And that wonderful video about Rev Zoe Heming, that we played on Sunday, is here – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fK75pRC96LU

This Sunday we begin May Mission Month, and the theme is ‘Mending’ – how are we to join God in mending our beautiful, broken world? 

“We don’t bring healing in our strength,” Scott Pilgrim, Executive Director of Baptist Mission Australia comments, “we are co-menders with God in Jesus Christ, our Healer and Saviour.”  I particularly loved chaplain, Dom Whitting’s reflection on what healing looks like for people with disability, “I believe God can use anyone to do anything and so my prayer is that all churches would be inclusive places for people with disability.”

Grace and peace,


PS Please check out the info in the bulletin about the Walk for Gaza on Saturday. There are different legs of the walk starting at different times. Or, you can just join the prayer time at the Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture (10-11am) Saturday 4 May.

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