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A     H E A L I N G     S E R V I C E
With The Laying On Of Hands
Anointing With Oil & Prayer
James 5:13-16; Isaiah 61:1-3; Mark 2:1-12


  Acknowledgements and Sources: For well over 25 years I had led
  healing prayers and performed anointing within Bible Study and Prayer
  Groups.  But despite this practice I had never held or conducted a
  "Healing Service" in the sanctuary of any of the churches I attended
  or served.  Recently a number of parishioners suggested that it would
  be good to have such a service and requested that I conduct one.  One
  of the folk with a ministry of prayer offered to take care of the
  logistics of the service - and so at last, after many years of
  thinking about it, a date was set and an invitation was made to the
  congregation (and through the congregation to any friends or family
  who may desire it) to come and take part in a service of healing as
  both makers and receivers of prayer.

  What follows in this service is indebted to numerous conversations
  and discussions with Charlene Elizabeth Fairchild regarding healing
  and wholeness during the last 18 years.  While I have used "anointing
  oil" in my ministry from the very beginning, Charlene brought into
  our marriage and our ministry together a greater depth of
  understanding of how to prepare, bless, and use anointing oil. 

  The following service is indebted to outlines and words from the
  Episcopal Book of Common Prayer (USA)and the Book of Alternate
  Services (Canada) garnered over many years of referring to them. Of
  particular help in initially organizing the prayers for healing
  (including use of some phrases) was Nancy L. Woodworth Hill's "A
  Healing Liturgy" copyright 1992, 1994 (The Episcopal Church of The
  Ascension, 16 Linwod Avenue, Buffalo, NY).  Also Chaplain Allison
  Cline(aacline@isys.ca), Pioneer Manor Long Term Care Facility,
  Sudbury, Ontario offered numerous tips during a series of online
  exchanges on the worship-recl@uniting.com.au List in late May 2003. 
  Her "Notes on Healing" were a particularly helpful reminder of some
  of the issues around healing prayer.  Those notes were based in turn
  on materials she received from the Iona Community.  Also thanks to
  Allison for some of the petitions of the prayer of confession and the
  pastoral prayer.


* OPENING WORDS
L    The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, 
     and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
P    And also with you.


* OPENING SONG: "Shine Jesus Shine"                                    SONG


* PRAYER
We ask your presence among us, O God,  Creator of the universe, Sustainer
of life, Redeemer of humankind;  bring your healing light and power  into
our wounded  hearts and bodies and minds and souls, clear the way for each
of us to discover within ourselves the fulness of your power and all of
your wondrous blessings; help us dear God to respond to your vast love and
to bless you,  so that we may be a beacon through which you may shine into
the world and be everlasting citizens of your Kingdom both in heaven and on
earth.   Amen.


READING                                                       JAMES 5:13-16
Hear this reading from James, the servant of God and of the Lord Jesus
Christ - taken from the Fifth Chapter of his letter to the twelve tribes
scattered through the nations.  He writes:

     Is any one of you in trouble?  They should pray.  Is anyone
     happy?  Let them sing songs of praise.  Is any one of you sick?  
     They should call the elders of the church to pray over them and
     anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord.  And the prayer
     offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will
     raise them up.  If they have sinned, they will be forgiven.
     Therefore  confess your sins to each other and pray for each
     other so that you may be healed.  The prayer of a righteous
     person is powerful and effective.

L    This is the word of the Lord.
P    Thanks be to God


COMMENT
Tonight that is what we are here to do.   We are here to pray for those in
trouble.  To sing songs of praise with those who are happy, and to anoint
with oil - the oil of gladness - the oil of blessing - all those who are
sick that they may be made whole.  We come in the expectation that God will
do all that He has promised - that sins will be forgiven and that lives
will be made new. 

As we gather here in a holy hope tonight - we give thanks to David Hiebert
who is on the keyboard for us to help us make our offering of music to our
God - and to the elders in our faith and in this congregation, those who
have been given a ministry of prayer and intercession - who will come
forward at the appropriate time to help administer the laying on of hands
and anointing - and to all of you who have come with your joys and your
concerns and your deepest hopes.
   
We are going to sing a couple of songs now - following from your sheets....


SONG: "How Majestic Is Your Name"                                      SONG


SONG: "Shout To The Lord"                                              SONG


READINGS                                         ISAIAH 61:1-3; MARK 2:1-12
I have already read to you from the Letter of James, the brother of our
Lord regarding gathering to pray for one another.

I would like to read to you now a couple of other scriptures....  The first 
being from the Book of The Prophet Isaiah - in the 61st Chapter.   There
the prophet proclaims these words - words read in part by Jesus in the
synagogue in Capernaum as he began his ministry.  Isaiah announced:

     The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has
     anointed me to preach good news to the poor.  He has sent me to
     bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives
     and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year
     of the Lord's favour and the day of vengeance of our God, to
     comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion
     -- to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil
     of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead
     of a spirit of despair.  They will be called oaks of
     righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his
     splendour.

L    This is the word of the Lord.
P    Thanks be to God

The next reading some of you have heard fairly recently - it was the gospel
text for the first Sunday of June here in this place.  It is, as I said
then, a favourite passage of mine - and I hope it will be one for you as
well.  It is taken from the Gospel According To Mark - chapter Two - verses
one to twelve.

     A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people
     heard that he had come home.   So many gathered that there was no
     room left, not even outside the door, and he preached the word to
     them.  Some men came, bringing to him a paralytic, carried by
     four of them.  Since they could not get him to Jesus because of
     the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus and,
     after digging through it, lowered the mat the paralyzed man was
     lying on.  When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic,
     "Son, your sins are forgiven." 

     Now some teachers of the law were sitting there, thinking to
     themselves,  "Why does this fellow talk like that? He's
     blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?" 

     Immediately Jesus knew in his spirit that this was what they were
     thinking in their hearts, and he said to them, "Why are you
     thinking these things?  Which is easier: to say to the paralytic,
     'Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, 'Get up, take your mat and
     walk'?   But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority
     on earth to forgive sins . . . ."   He said to the paralytic, "I
     tell you, get up, take your mat and go home."

     He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. 
     This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, "We have never
     seen anything like this!"

L    This is the gospel of our Risen Lord
P    Praise be to you, Lord Jesus Christ.


SONG: "Lord, I Lift Your Name on High"                                 SONG


HOMILY
Since the very beginning, the ministry of healing has played a vital and
central part in the life of both Israel and the Church of Jesus Christ.   

The world was made good it says in the very first chapter of the first book
of the Holy Scriptures,  but alas - the wholeness of the world, its basic
integrity, has been broken by sin.

We learn from the very beginning that not only is death introduced into the
world because of sin, but even the thorns and thistles that prevent us from
fully enjoying the riches of the world that God has made, are the result of
sin, the result of the broken-ness of our world.

We, also learn from the very beginning that it is God's plan is to restore
to wholeness the earth and all who dwell there in - and in particular to
bring his people, those whom he has chosen and called to his own, to the
fulness of the joy that is possible in this world - that fullness, that
wholeness, that completeness, that integrity, that wells up as abundant
life here and now - and indeed forever.   Sin is forgiven.  Death is indeed
vanquished. 

Jesus, quoting from the prophet Isaiah, proclaimed to his community in
Capernaum, and he proclaims to us here today - the eternal purpose of God -
a purpose that Jesus said was even then being fulfilled in their hearing -
a purpose that is indeed still being fulfilled - in places like this - and
among  people and by people like you and me - among people and by people
who are called and anointed by God.

We as a community of believers - and as individuals of faith - are called
by God - each as God gifts us - to proclaim good news to the poor, to bind
up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from
darkness for the prisoners.

We are called to proclaim the time of God's favour and of his judgement
and to comfort those who mourn and to provide for those who grieve.

These things God calls us to as a community of faith with Isaiah - and with
Christ - are not simply physical things that we are to do - but spiritual
as well.   

There are many people whose bodies are completely free in the physical
sense, they can come and go where and when they want, but they are captive
in their minds and hearts and souls to anxiety and fear they are bound by a
sense of despair, they mourn not simply the loss of a person dear to them,
but the loss of the sense of God's care and God's goodness towards them
or towards those whom they love.

There are many who are bound up by sin, their own sin and/or the sins that
others have committed against them; sins that they have not been able to
forgive - even though they want to, people who need to be set free, who
need what we call inner healing, inner peace, inner wholeness.

And there are those who do indeed have need of physical restoration,
those who, like the paralytic in the gospel lesson that was read tonight,
whose bodies are in rebellion - whose bodies are enslaved.

We are called to minister to all these and to proclaim the good news of
God's love.

Like the friends who brought the paralytic to Jesus,
we are called to bring to God those among us in need of healing, those in
need of wholeness and to beseech God and to allow God - to give to them
what has been promised.

As Isaiah puts it we are called to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead
of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.  

The truth be told - we don't do it ourselves - but God does it on account
of us and God does it on account of his own name - his own glory - his own
splendour.  God does it as a testimony to his word, as a fulfilment of his
own promises.

Our part is to trust in God, to believe in God, to trust in God for
ourselves - and for those who cannot yet trust in God, to believe in God
for ourselves - and for those who are still lost in unbelief.

And our part is also to do those simple things, those necessary things,
that help to answer the prayers we make... if we pray for bread for the
poor, it is also for us to share the bread on our table, if we pray for a
healing for cancer it is also for us to tend to our way of living and to
support the healers among us.

Our part is to do what we can do - and to come in trust and in faith to God
and to ask him to bring healing and wholeness - just as he chooses.

Brothers and sisters - I tell you today I have seen cancers arrested.  I
have witnessed one who was not supposed to live, let along walk, climb the
steepest stairs to attend his brother's wedding on Christmas Eve.  I have
seen God provide for the poor - bringing groceries and leaving money when
the only hope that the person had was the hope they expressed in prayer.
I have seen many prayers answered and wonderful things happen.

The most wonderful thing I have seen happen however - is the journey to
wholeness that has occurred as different men and women who have touched my
life at different times have sought the Lord - or had others seek the Lord
on their behalf - and have found him.

I have seen those who have had only weeks left to live - frightened and
afraid - come to peace, come to know that God had something good in mind
for them.

I have known those who, after a life of righteousness and faith, despite
years of suffering the assaults of their own body, receive and share the
vision of the paradise that God has formed for us all.

God has a plan for us.   A plan to make us whole.  A plan to heal us.
And God calls us to pray for and proclaim that plan - and to give thanks
for all that has done, and is doing and will yet do.

     Is any one of you in trouble?  They should pray. Is anyone happy? 
     Let them sing songs of praise.  Is any one of you sick?   They
     should call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint
     them with oil in the name of the Lord.  And the prayer offered in
     faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them
     up.  If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. Therefore
     confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that
     you may be healed.  The prayer of a righteous person is powerful
     and effective.

That is what we here to do tonight.

We are here to praise God - to pray - and to anoint the sick - and to keep
the commandments of our God.  We are here in testimony to the words of 
David in Psalm 23 - "You prepare a table before me in the presence of my
enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.  We are here so
that God may fulfil his word among us.


* SONG: "Bless Be The Name of The Lord"                                SONG


          Movement to the communion table or altar for the first
          part of the prayer time.  Confession is an important
          part of the service as is a general pastoral prayer.  


PRAYER FOR FORGIVENESS AND FOR GRACE - PASTORAL PRAYER
     Loving God, we hold before you our lives.   Examine how we have used
     the resources you have given us: our time, talents, money and energy. 
     Give us grace to understand how our decisions, our actions, and even
     our inactions, affect our lives and the lives of others.   Rejoice
     with us in the good we have done, sorrow with us in our sin.  Help us
     to accept accountability for those things for which we are truly
     responsible, to make amends to any we have injured, and to turn to
     you.... In your loving kindness restore and forgive us.... Lord, hear
     our prayer....

     Gracious God, we also bear the impact of others' actions and inactions
     on the course of our lives. By your gracious presence encourage us to
     let go of any evil we have endured.  Help us to forgive now that which
     we need to forgive......  Lord, hear our prayer....

     Lord we pray for others in our community and in our world at this
     time.  And we give to you our thanks....

     Most Holy God we praise and thank you for the gift of your continuing
     presence in our lives; embracing, strengthening and upholding us. 
     Help us and help all we hold before you to recognize the numerous ways
     you continue to be present in our lives....  Lord, hear our prayer...

     O Rock of our salvation, we give thanks for those who support us in
     our journey: our friends, our partners, our family members, and those
     professionals who walk with us.  Gift them all with wisdom, caring,
     vitality and strength.... Lord hear our prayer....

     Loving God, whose Child Jesus wept and laughed, exult with us in our
     triumphs and comfort us in our sorrows.   Help us to remember the
     great value you place on our lives.

     Life-giving God, you gifted humankind with memory, reason and
     capabilities. Give us guidance in discerning the direction of our
     lives.... Lord, hear our prayer.... 

     We place before you our current sorrows and concerns - and we pray
     you, lift from us the burden and grant us your yoke of peace and
     comfort and service....  Lord, hear our prayer...

     We offer prayers for the poor the sick, the hungry, the oppressed....
     We pray for the departed and for those who mourn.....
     We pray for peace in our homes, and among nations and peoples.....
     We pray for the children and all the little ones of our world - that
     their needs may be met and that they may grow in grace and in love as
     they advance in years...
     .... Lord hear our prayer....


               Continue as one directly into the following
               blessing of the anointing oil.


BLESSING OF OIL
     And now, O Lord, Holy Father, Loving God, giver of health and
     salvation: send your Holy Spirit to sanctify and bless this oil; that,
     as your holy apostles anointed many that were sick and healed them, so
     may those who in faith and repentance receive this holy unction be
     made whole and know the fullness of your joy.   AMEN


               The designated persons to take part in the
               laying on of hands are invited forward to
               stand before the communion table or altar:
               "Will those who are helping in the
               administration of oil and the laying on of
               hands please come forward now and stand
               before me...."      


BLESSING OF ELDERS
     Bless O God each one here as they pray for one another and anoint
     one another with Holy Oil.


               At this point move to the front of the table
               or altar and join the elders.  Invite them to
               stand in a semi-circle facing the
               congregation.   

               "Please stand here to one side and the other
               of me - and join with me and the congregation
               as we sing  "Just As I Am".   As the song is
               sung and as other music is played I urge all
               who desire to come forward for prayer and
               anointing to do so.   Otherwise, for this
               song and for the prayer time please remain
               seated and continue in prayer and meditation
               as music is played."


SONG   "Just As I Am"                                                  SONG


PRAYERS FOR HEALING
          Invitation is made by gesture.  Some encouragement may
          be necessary until the first two or so persons have
          started forward - and again when there is a lag.  Our
          experience is that there are two or three waves." 
          Don't hesitate, when there is a lag in people coming
          forward to pray for the whole congregation and to renew
          a cycle of singing the hymn. 

          As individuals come to the front have the elders form a
          rough circle around them, quietly inquire of the
          petitioner what they desire prayer for (let them
          whisper in your ear).  As the Spirit and pastoral
          sensitivity  move you, you may exhort the petitioner
          regarding their deep desires and needs. All the time of
          prayer should be filled for the rest of the
          congregation with music - quiet choruses, meditative
          tunes, etc.

          Then with the elders placing hands on the head and/or
          shoulders of the person anoint the petitioner with oil
          in the form of the cross on the forehead in the name of
          God - and commence praying.  Allow the elders to pray
          as they are moved to pray.  Sometimes this will be
          serially, at other times this will be concurrently.  Go
          with the flow.

          The following petitions are samples only.  They were
          shared ahead of time with the elders who were not
          familiar with this form of healing prayer to help "free
          them" to pray spontaneously and particularly with each
          person who came forward.


     I/We anoint you with this oil in the Name of the Father, and of the
     Son, and of the Holy Spirit and I pray for you NAME (or the person you
     are asking for) for the fullness of his blessings, the fullness of his
     Joy.....

     ..... May our Lord sustain you with his presence, drive away all
     sickness of body and spirit, and give you the victory of his life and
     his peace which will enable you to serve him both now and evermore.

     ..... May our Lord Jesus Christ uphold you and fill you with his
     grace, that you may know the healing power of his love in every area
     of your life.

     ..... May the Lord God set you free from all anxiety and doubt, all
     fear and uncertainty.  

     .....  Know that your sins are forgiven by his most Holy Grace
     and go and live as he has show you - in the power and by the
     power of His Spirit.

     ..... Send oh God your healing light and power and energy into
     every part of this person - and in particular grant that every
     malignancy of cell and fibre, of blood and bone be cast out and
     that wholeness of both body and spirit be given to them. 

     .... May the Lord help you walk with Him day by day....

     .... Through the love of God made known in Jesus Christ may the
     God's grace flow through your life, restoring wholeness to your
     relationship with God and others. May the indwelling Spirit
     strengthen you in all goodness and keep you in resurrected life.

     ..... May the Lord bless your husband and bring him healing. 
     Fill him with your Spirit and lead him in the way you, O God,
     want him to go.


               When all have come forward who will come
               forward close the prayer time with a word of
               prayer for all like this:


CONCLUDING PRAYER
     Lord, we pray for all who have been outwardly anointed with holy oil
     this night, that they all may have the inward anointing of the Holy
     Spirit.   And for all those who have prayed - those who have shown
     mercy - those who have lifted their hands to you in thanksgiving and
     in supplication - for all present here, O God, we give thanks and ask
     that you continue with them day by day.   Indeed, O Lord, keep us all
     from all evil, preserve us in all goodness.  Bless us so that we may
     indeed bless others in your most Holy Name - we ask it in the name of
     Christ Jesus - who taught us to pray together as one family,
     saying........

     Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come,
     thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us this day our
     daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who
     trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us
     from evil.  For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, for
     ever and ever.  Amen


HYMN  "Lord Jesus, of You I Will Sing"                                  SONG


BENEDICTION
Go in peace, And may the blessings of our Lord and God - The Creator 
and Maker of All - our Saviour and Redeemer go with you, both now and 
forevermore.  Amen



copyright - Rev. Richard J. Fairchild 2003
            please acknowledge the appropriate author if citing these sermons.



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