Liturgy Ideas

Ideas for using the Liturgy for Healing

One of the main threads running through the public ministry of Jesus was his great desire to heal. Mark recounts several of Jesus' healings at the beginning of his Gospel - each one highlighting a different aspect of what healing means. For some, it is liberation from something evil that holds them bound - for others forgiveness - for others a healing that allows them to return to their families and communities.

We all know of people who are in need of healing - in body, mind or spirit - and we desire in solidarity to pray for them.

Oil has been used for generations as a source of healing - and, in many countries, aromatherapy has become a popular and effective source of healing and comfort.
So, your setting could include a jar of oil and an oil burner with a healing essential oil to fragrance your prayer-space.

Invite people who are unable to join you for Prayer to let you have their own intercessions - people for whom they would like you to pray. This can be written on a card - but, if the intention is very personal, it could be sealed in an envelope and marked simply "Special Intention"

Have a tee-light or other small candle for each one and, during the time of Intercession, read out the name of the person to be prayed for and light their light.
You can use simple background music to accompany this - e.g. the Wild Goose Group's "Kindle a Flame" or the Taizé Community's "Oh Lord, the light of my life" or "Jesus, your light is shining within us" Allow the chant/ song to drift into silence

If possible, leave the names/ envelopes in your prayer-setting

Alternatively, invite those attending to take a card home with them with the promise to light a candle and pray for the person each day. Those in sealed envelopes should be held by the leader - unless you are very sure of those who might take them home.

We recently prayed for two dear friends in very difficult circumstances, lighting a candle at 7.30 p.m.(G.M.T.) - as did one of the people concerned. You might like to suggest that your group comes to a similar arrangement. And how about asking some of those who are sick - or housebound - to do the same?

Another idea using candles, especially if you have invited people to a special liturgy for healing is to pass a candle from one to another (a small light in a clay pot works well - reminding us of spiritual treasure in frail earthen vessels...) People are invited - but not compelled to name someone for whom they particularly want to pray. As each person holds the light, the group joins their own prayer to that of the person holding the candle: he or she becomes a sort of funnel (or aerial!) for the shared prayer to pass through them to the one being prayed for.

Use flowers to represent your intentions - one flower being added to a vase as each name is read out.

It may be possible to arrange a Liturgy of Healing at which those gathered can receive the Sacrament of the Sick.
Where this isn't a tradition, the minister - or a trusted member of the community - could use fragrant oil to anoint those who wish... a simple sign of the cross on the forehead with a prayer calling for the healing love of God to be bestowed on the person is enough -
Example: We pray for you ....... and ask that God blesses you and keeps you, strengthens you in trials, comforts you in pain, and fills you with a sense of his unending love for you.

Some parishes have an active ministry of taking Communion to the sick and housebound. Where appropriate, consider giving them the name of someone for whom they can pray - they, after all, have a deep insight into what prolonged illness and pain can mean - and their prayers must carry a lot of weight with God!

Again, where appropriate, consider holding a short and gentle prayer service/ Mass/ Word and Communion Liturgy in the home of someone who is unable to join the gathered community on Sundays/ weekdays.

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