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Title:   Experiencing Healing Prayer: How God Turns Our Hurts Into Wholeness

Author:  Rick Richardson

Publisher: Intervarsity Press     Url:


I was interested in this book for both personal and professional reasons.  Personally, I am always looking for a guide that will take me a little further and deeper in my own healing of specific emotional wounds.  Professionally, as a therapist, I often look for resources that I can pass on to my clients.


The purpose of this book is to give the reader a “roadmap” for the journey of emotional healing.The book was birthed out of the author’s own quest for emotional healing and his experiences with Healing Prayer.  He credits C.S. Lewis for the philosophical approach that he has; Dallas Willard for developing the approach in relation to life in the Spirit, and Leanne Payne for application of these insights to the ministry of healing and prayer.  Before getting into any of the mechanics of Healing Prayer, the author provides a good overview of examples of and purpose of healing in the Gospels and the ministry of Jesus.


Richardson states, “Healing is primarily about the transformation of the person into a truer and more whole follower, worshiper and lover of God.” (pp. 27)

He talks about the importance of and the need to reclaim and redeem intuition and imagination as we worship and as we move through the process of emotional healing.


Six “Signposts” are highlighted for the reader to stop at along this healing journey:  

  1. Learn to practice God’s presence and to hear God’s small voice.
  2. Replace diseased images and memories of God and human beings with healed and transformed images.
  3. Renounce unreal identities.  Discern and embrace your real identity.
  4. Get at the roots of pain and problems, not just the fruits or symptoms.
  5. Use the physical and sacramental means God has given as channels of healing power.
  6. Turn outward!  Healing that empowers compassion and service in the world is true healing.

Some of the chapter titles include:  Understanding Gender Identity, Healing Mother wounds, Healing Father wounds, Battling Sexual Addiction, and Forgiveness and Healing Memories.


One thing that I found most interesting was a section which talked about how differences in temperament influence how we primarily hear from God.  For example, those who are more rational connect with God through ideas and study of Scripture; those who are artistic may connect better through images or kinesthetic experiences, and those who are more nature oriented may find that God speaks to them through the great outdoors.  For those of us who have studied the differences in learning styles, this makes perfect sense and reminds us to expect differences in the way that individuals communicate with God.

I appreciated how the book began with practicing God’s presence and hearing His small voice rather than unpacking a person’s story and interjecting God later.  Most of the chapters have a “Reflection and Response” section at the end of the chapter with questions to help you process and apply the content of those chapters.

The book seemed a bit too academic in a couple of sections and almost lost my attention however, that may have been an intentional break for the reader from heavy emotional work or introspection that can be part of the healing process. 


Appendix 2 is dedicated to, “The Healing Ministry Applied to Ethnic and Racial Identity.”

Appendix 3, “The Leadership Journey in Healing Prayer” is a “How to” section for those who may want to develop a Healing Prayer ministry.


This book is best suited for mature audiences and seasoned believers due to the emotional issues which may get stirred up, and the attention that is given to issues related to sexual addition.  Don't be surprised if the Holy Spirit reveals something that needs healing as you read this book.


Questions to ponder:


1) How important is it to work on our own emotional healing before trying to pray for or counsel others?


2) Is it a problem if people become addicted to Healing Prayer experiences?  If so, how might we keep this from happening or how might we re-direct this?


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Our associate pastor and his wife just lost their son to cancer. Their son had a wife and three children. It's an extremely painful time for the entire family, however, our associate pastor's wife is still grieving so much. She has lost weight, is not eating, and seems to be in a deep depression. Do you think this book would help her or can you recommend one that would?


Honestly, I don't think this particular book would be the best resource for so much grief.  More than a book, this woman and her family probably need people around them who will allow them to be be "real" with their grief rather than try to remove it.  Connecting her/them with another family that has lost a loved one to cancer would probably be more helpful at this stage because they are likely flooded with emotion and those who have not experienced this kind of loss would have a difficult time knowing what to say or do.  They need people to listen, put their arm around them, and take initiative to meet practical needs (ie. meals, housework, lawn care, or whatever).  A grief support group could be helpful but she might need someone to go with her the first or second time. I wouldn't be a bit surprised if she/they have to work through a crisis of faith related to all of this.  As someone who cares, you probably want to take away the struggle but this is grief work that they will need to do. 

She may receive comfort from a number of the Psalms, especially some that show David's journey through Depression like Ps. 86, 88,  22, 42...

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