Step out in faith — people are starving for prayer and joy
By Laurie Hallstrom
“When you pray with people, be confident. God wants to touch them with his love,” said Bishop Peter Muhich. He was the opening speaker for “An Encounter with Jesus’ Healing Power Today,” at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Rapid City, Feb.24-25.
The training was offered to instruct members of healing teams who pray with people at Mercy Nights. Those events offer a calm atmosphere to encounter the Lord Jesus through adoration, reconciliation, music and healing teams. The workshop was part of the dioceses’ participation in the three-year Eucharistic Revival movement from the United States Conference of Bishops.
Three or four persons on a healing team pray with people when requested. The teams are guided by the participant’s request for prayer for physical, emotional, or spiritual healing. The bishop instructed team members guiding mercy nights to be in a state of grace, “Go to confession, make sure your house is in order,” he said. “Remember you are in a privileged position. Give people privacy and dignity. God doesn’t fix us in snap, be gentle. Be very cautious, do not name what they need healed, ask them.”
In cases where the people seem to need more attention, Bishop Muhich told the teams to refer them to their priest. “The pastor of a parish is in charge of souls,” he said, explaining in ordination the priest’s hands are anointed to become instruments of healing.
Dr. Clare Ten Eyck was the keynote speaker. She is the mother of nine children, a secular Carmelite, and a counselor with more than 35 years of experience.
She said healing is the language of love and explained the first desire of people is to be heard and to be affirmed. “We are called to do more, to make Christ alive to others. People need touch and eye contact. They need to feel chosen and accepted,” she said. Ten Eyck told team members to ask permission before putting their hands on people’s shoulders, “because we don’t know what they have experienced in the past,” she said.
Ten Eyck affirmed what the bishop instructed about getting one’s house in order. “If we are going to enter into healing, we must first heal ourselves. I can’t love anyone including God until I love myself,” she said.
At mercy nights bring people to the presence of Christ,” continued Ten Eyck. “When we pray healing happens but we can’t always see it. Step out in faith — people are starving for prayer and joy.”
Ten Eyck led the team members through a series of exercises to help them feel Jesus’ love and to recognize the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
At a break, Myra Klein of Rapid City said the talks were awe inspiring. “I took copious notes. You have to be trained to do healing prayer,” she said. Ed Lee, also of Rapid City said, “I like Dr. Ten Eyck’s style.”
In the afternoon training, Ryan Hardy, music director at the cathedral shared ideas used at the cathedral Mercy Nights. “The church does not have a set method for Mercy Nights,” he said. At the cathedral there are tea lights and prayer intention cards. He instructed the prayer cards be prayed over at Mass and burned afterwards. The cathedral staff puts kneeling cushions down so people can be close to the Eucharist in the monstrance. He advised having Examination of Conscience instructions for people to review before going to confession. He also recommended a map of the church showing where confessors and prayer teams are located. Then place easy to read signs at those locations. The cathedral offers bottled water and tissue boxes to keep people comfortable.
“Soft background music can mask the voices of those in confession, but periods of silence are good too, silence is when God speaks,” he said.
Ana Robbins from cathedral parish has served on healing teams. She took up the ministry when she herself received healing from chronic back pain. According to Robbins, while there are several models for healing prayer, the local teams have worked with Bishop Muhich and have created a handbook approved by him.
She said it is most important to make people feel comfortable and welcome. She emphasized the teams do not heal people, “Minister to people in a way that allows the Holy Spirit to do what he does best,” she said. As a former nurse, she compared the healing team’s confidentiality to those of the medical profession. “You don’t share when a person leaves. We don’t even discuss within our teams,” she said. If there is something traumatic, she recommended discussing it with the pastor. Her advice, “Be very, very simple, we don’t need to be fancy. God is fancy, he does extraordinary things, so we don’t need to.”