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Rick Richardson: Experiencing Healing Prayer

After explaining “how healing looks,” Richardson offers a “map for the journey” that includes six signposts. The “signposts” are practical tips for engaging in a healing ministry.

First, the believer is instructed to begin by practicing God’s presence and listening to His still small voice. Next, the believer is encouraged to replace diseased images and memories of God and human beings with healed and transformed images. Following this, the believer is asked to renounce unreal identities and embrace his or her real identity in Christ.

The believer is also told to get to the roots of pain and problems, and to use the physical and sacramental means God has given as channels of healing power. In other words, much can be gained through personal reflection on baptism and Communion.

The advice noted in the final signpost calls on the believer to reach out to others with compassion and prayer. This, suggests Richardson, may complete the healing process of one being healed.

Richardson follows the signposts instructions with advice for specific types of healing. The “healing prayer” method is not done in a quick, thoughtless manner. It actually questions and answers where the believer asks probing questions of the person seeking healing. The believer reflects on the answers and seeks God about the needs of the person. When the believer is sure about the needs and the way in which he or she must pray, the believer offers a prayer in faith. Richardson also encourages the use of tongues as a prayer language during the process.

He concludes his work with a list of “dangers and dead-ends on the healing journey,” in which he writes about pride and elitism. He also covers such issues as the need to feel needed, over-promising, the need to perform, misuse of power, the promise of quick fixes, and the lack of accountability in the healing ministry.

Analysis

Readers familiar with the works of Francis MacNutt and Dennis and Rita Bennett will see some similarities of their work in Experiencing Healing Prayer. This is especially true when one considers the overall style and gentle approach of Richardson’s work. Richardson, however, goes beyond the Bennetts and MacNutt by combining his approach with some of the teachings of John Wimber, author of Power Healing (San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1987). Richardson also acknowledges the influences of C.S. Lewis.

Richardson gives the reader a balanced approach to the healing ministry. It is an approach that shuns the quick fixes, sensationalism, and extremes. In addition to balance, Richardson offers a viable alternative to what may be called “traditional healing ministry practices.” Instead of focusing on the symptoms or the outward condition of an illness, he encourages the believer to identify and effectively deal with the possible roots of an illness.

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Category: Spirit, Winter 2008

About the Author: Roscoe Barnes III, Ph.D. in Church History (University of Pretoria, S. Africa), is a writer, historian, ghostwriter, and prison chaplain. He is the author of numerous books including F.F. Bosworth: The Man Behind ‘Christ the Healer’ (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2009), The Guide to Effective Gospel Tract Ministry (Church Growth Institute, 2004) and Off to War: Franklin Countians in World War II (White Mane Publishing, 1996). His articles have appeared in Refleks Journal, The Journal of the European Pentecostal Theological Association, The Africa Journal of Pentecostal Studies, and in numerous newspapers and popular magazines. He blogs at Roscoe Reporting and shares his F. F. Bosworth research at FFBosworth.strikingly.com. Professional: Roscoe Barnes III. Twitter: @Roscoebarnes3

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