| Introduction to A Handbook for Christian Healing
Everyone has a point of view. I approach the issue of spiritual healing
from the point of view of a reasoning Christian. I am not a wild-eyed
fanatic. I recognize (hopefully) religious bigotry and superstition when I
see them. I am not a cold-eyed skeptic either. In all of life, I believe we
need to strike a balance between extremes.
I am a member of a faith tradition called The Christian Church (Disciples
of Christ). This tradition has believed since its19th Century beginning on
the American frontier that Christian faith and human reason must work
together. The earliest statement of our basic position comes from a
document written by Thomas Campbell, an Irish-born minister, who wrote
in 1809 that:
. . . the Church of Christ upon earth is essentially, intentionally, and
constitutionally one; consisting of all those in every place that profess
their faith in Christ and obedience to him in all things according to the
We see our unity as Christians as being based solely in Jesus Christ.
Furthermore, most of us have confidence that Jesus knew what he was
doing. The record of what he was doing is the New Testament, which
shows us who Jesus is and what he desires. If we are honestly his
disciples, we cannot help taking the New Testament seriously. Our duty
as Christians is to make the faith of Jesus Christ our own. This is our task
individually as believers and collectively as larger communities of faith.
No one else can do it for us. We must, as Paul the Apostle said, “Work
out [our] salvation with fear and trembling.”
I originally turned to the topic of healing with “fear and trembling.” While
healing is undeniably central to the Gospel, it has been anything but
central to contemporary, mainstream American Christianity. As a friend of
mine put it, we prefer to leave healing to “TV preachers with bad haircuts
and funny accents.” In large part, this is due to the excesses, even
charlatanism, of many who claim to heal. It is also partly due to our faith
in scientific medicine.
We are right to distrust charlatans and almost always right to trust our
medical doctors. Yet we are not right to neglect something so important
to Jesus Christ as the ministry of healing. Rather than keep our mouths
shut about it, we should study it prayerfully and carefully. We should
learn its principles, translate them from 1st Century understanding into
our own, and put them into practice. Sympathizing with the sick is well and
good. Providing the sick (and the healthy!) with faith resources that will
honestly help them is even better.
I came by this understanding honestly. After a series of personal
setbacks in the mid to late 1990s, I reached a point where I constantly
suffered from migraine headaches and depression, in addition to other
complaints. None of the medical treatment, counseling, or medication I
took made anything more than a temporary difference. I even began
keeping track of what symptoms I had on which days.
At some point, though, I realized that my problems were not physical at
all. There was no evidence of anything wrong, other than my pain. The
problem was obviously spiritual. Unless I learned to deal with it spiritually,
I would not be able to deal with it at all.
Fortunately, I already knew God could heal the sick. I already had studied
psychosomatic illness and knew something of the ways thoughts can
make us sick. I knew genuine faith could work wonders for physical and
emotional well-being. My own doctoral dissertation had documented such
things, at least in part! It wasn’t a matter of knowing, but of doing.
In the past, I had done a better job of practicing a healing faith. Yet in the
riptide of circumstance I had lost touch with that aspect of my faith. I
couldn’t find the motivation to get back to it . . . until my insurance
company gave me an incentive! They did me the favor (though I didn’t
call it that at the time!) of raising the price of the only migraine medicine
that worked for me from $25 per prescription to $187! I couldn’t afford to
medicate my migraines anymore!
With that as inspiration, I revisited in earnest the biblical teaching about
healing. I prayed, sifted, and synthesized, doing my best to combine what
the Bible taught with what I had learned about mental and physical
health. I made a conscientious effort to put what I was learning into
practice – putting God first; looking past surface symptoms to the fear and
anxiety that caused them; bringing God’s promises to bear on my life.
Lo and behold, it began to work! I still remember the first time I was able
to avoid a migraine through prayer, using the “Questions for Healing”
format in this book. My headaches and depression have diminished as I
have once again learned to trust God and doubt my doubts. I can
honestly say I am a healthier man today than I have been in years. I am
not a “walking miracle.” I still get stressed and, from time to time, I still
have headaches. Yet I no longer despair over these things. They no
longer dominate me. God has renewed my faith, deepened my
understanding, and given me another chance to serve Him with gladness.
The principles in this book are not magic bullets. This book is NOT
medical or psychological treatment! If you are under the care of a
physician or a counselor, please continue that! This course of treatment
works with, not against, other methods. Yet I am convinced the methods
in here work. May God bless you as you study them and put them into
This book is divided into four sections. The first section lays out “A
Biblical Notion of Healing.”
The second section is entitled “Working Our Way to Healing” and includes
worksheets, based on the first section. These worksheets are designed
to let us get closer to the root causes of what troubles u. Hopefully, they
also help us get in touch with the One who is the healing solution to all
problems. You might want to write answers down on a separate sheet of
paper, to save the worksheets for other occasions.
The third section, “Words that Heal,” uses the words of scripture to lead
us toward healing and wholeness. I encourage you to reflect slowly and
thoughtfully on each of the scripture quotes you read. There is no need
to hurry through them. Turn them over in your mind. Let God’s Spirit
shine forth through them. Return to them as often as you need to.
The fourth section, “Prayers for Healing,” includes a general outline for
prayer, a specific prayer for healing, and a lesson on meditative prayer.
Again, read it slowly. If it’s useful, use it!
I offer this work in hopes that it might help others on similar journeys to my
own. May God guide you to the point where this statement from scripture
will be true for you:
Those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will mount up on wings as eagles;
they will run and not grow weary;
they will walk and not faint.
May it be so. Amen!
John Cunyus is a freelance writer based in Dallas, Texas.
His work may be viewed online at www.JohnCunyus.com
©2006, John G. Cunyus
All Rights Reserved.
Words, Images, and Layout ©2006-13,
John G. Cunyus
All Rights Reserved
John Cunyus is freelance writer working in North
Texas. His work may be viewed online at
for Christian Healing
by John Cunyus
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