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God, Prayer and Healing


Question & Answer

Q: By David
Does God have to heal all the people who ask me to pray for them?

A: By Rev. Lauren Van Ham
Dear David,

If God were like us, with an ego, I would say, “God doesn’t have to do anything,” but this has not been my experience of God.  In the world around me, I see God in the Life that is happening in you and in me, and in every living thing.  Our creation is God, generating life and learning and possibility every single moment.  Along the way, we get hurt, mistakes happen, events take place in ways we don’t like.

Prayers for healing are some of the best prayers we can pray.  It is never wrong to pray for a miracle or for a cure, but prayers for healing create space for outcomes we might not be able to see initially.  Healing is a space where any number of things may happen, and all of them are movements toward wholeness.  I pray for the health and wholeness of all beings each time I remember to — and especially when I am struggling with the enormity of injustice or heart-break or another hardship that feels so, so wrong.

When we pray for the healing of others (and for ourselves), we are asking for God – the source of unfathomable Love – to bring us into wholeness with that love.  I don’t believe these prayers are ever “wasted,” because each one reminds us of our own intention to strive toward this sense of love and wholeness in our own life, and in our walk with others.  I hope you will keep praying healing prayers, when you’re requested to do so.  Life and Love are ancient and wise.  In ways we understand, and in ways we do not, they are always conspiring to bring us into divine wholeness.

~ Rev. Lauren Van Ham

***This Q&A was originally published on Progressing Spirit – As a member of this online community, you’ll receive insightful weekly essays, access to all of the essay archives (including all of Bishop John Shelby Spong), and answers to your questions in our free weekly Q&A. Click here to see free sample essays.

About the Author
Rev. Lauren Van Ham, MA was born and raised beneath the big sky of the Midwest, Lauren holds degrees from Carnegie Mellon University, Naropa University and The Chaplaincy Institute. Following her ordination in 1999, Lauren served as an interfaith chaplain in both healthcare (adolescent psychiatry and palliative care), and corporate settings (organizational development and employee wellness). Lauren’s passion for spirituality, art and Earth’s teachings have supported her specialization in eco-ministry, grief & loss, and sacred activism.  Her essay, “Way of the Eco-Chaplain,” appears in the collection, Ways of the Spirit: Voices of Women; and her work with Green Sangha is featured in Renewal, a documentary celebrating the efforts of religious environmental activists from diverse faith traditions across America. Her ideas can be heard on Vennly, an app that shares perspectives from spiritual and community leaders across different backgrounds and traditions. Currently, Lauren tends her private spiritual direction and eco-chaplaincy consulting practice; and serves as Climate Action Coordinator for the United Religions Initiative (URI), and as guest faculty for several schools in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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