Kingdom Come: Healing
This is a suggestion for how to lead an online Connect Group, based on the talk that Liam Thatcher gave on 11th October. It lasts around 80 minutes, but feel free to extend sections, remove sections, add your own or just do your own thing entirely! Whatever works best for you and your group.
The discussion questions and reflections will work without having listened to the talk, but if you are going to use them you may want to watch the talk before you meet.
Welcome & Prayer (5 mins)
Welcome everyone to the group and remind people of the following:
- As a general rule it’s helpful to keep your mic muted unless you’re talking to reduce background noise.
- During the discussion if you want to speak, raise a hand and I’ll throw the conversation to you.
- We’ll be using the chat function to post links, quotes, Bible verses and prayer requests.
Start your time together by praying, thanking God for the opportunity to be together and asking the Holy Spirit to lead and guide your time together (you may want to ask someone else to pray).
Gratitude & Challenges (15-25 mins)
Ask everyone to introduce themselves and share one thing from the last week they are grateful for, and one thing they are finding particularly challenging.
Don’t forget to make it clear who is to share next, and to let people know they can pass if they want to.
Overview & Group discussion (30 mins)
For Liam’s other talk on healing, click here.
This term we are thinking and praying about what Jesus’ kingdom come ‘in London as in heaven’ might look like. Each week we’ll be looking at a different aspect of the nature of the King and his kingdom. This week Liam reminded us that throughout the gospels the coming kingdom was most often demonstrated by the healing of the sick. So much so that when Peter went to share the good news of Jesus with Cornelius and his household, gentiles living in Joppa, about 50km south of Jerusalem, he was able to say:
“You know what has happened throughout the province of Judea… how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.” Acts 10:37-38
Physical healing was and still is a sign that Jesus’ kingdom has come, and will one day come in full. It is a demonstration that God has a plan to put the world to rights and that plan is already in motion. Jesus still heals today, it’s just that now he chooses to heal through us. As Teresa of Avila remarked:
“Christ has no body now but yours. No hands, no feet on earth but yours. Yours are the eyes through which he looks with compassion on this world. Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good. Yours are the hands through which he blesses all the world.”
Whilst many of us may have experienced disappointment in this area in the past, not to mention questions raised by a global pandemic, Liam encouraged us to continue to seek God for healing, and to keep praying for the sick.
Liam invited us to learn about Jesus and his healing ministry, by reading the gospels, coming to understand his heart of compassion towards the sick; to learn from Jesus, as a man anointed by the Spirit who only did what he saw the Father doing (John 5:19); and to learn with Jesus, allowing him to teach us ‘on the job’ as we step out in faith, rather than being paralysed by the mystery of not everyone we pray for being healed.
- How has your view of God healing today changed over time? What things (people, books, experiences, etc) do you think have most influenced your understanding of God healing today?
- Share with one another times you have prayed for healing in others or been prayed for yourself. What happened? How did you feel before and after? Was the experience encouraging or discouraging?
- What are the things that might keep you from offering to pray for physical healing or asking someone to pray for you?
Meditation (5 mins)
You may want to encourage people to close their eyes, sit up straight in their chairs, place their palms face up on their knees/table and concentrate on their breathing – breathe in for 3 seconds, then out for 3 seconds (people may feel more comfortable doing this if their video feed is turned off).
You may want to use the Jesus Prayer that Lars introduced us to a few weeks ago: “Jesus Christ (breathe in), Son of God (breathe out), have mercy on me (breathe in), a sinner (breathe out).”
Prayer (20 mins)
The only way we know of to see more people healed is to pray for more people, so move now into a time of praying for one another for healing.
- Ask anyone if they would like to receive prayer for healing. The group may be small enough for everyone to pray for people in turn, or you may want to start breakout groups.
- Ask the person to briefly share what is wrong, and whether they are currently in any pain (it can help to ask for a number out of 10 as a reference).
- Ask the person to place their own hand on the part of the body being prayed for (or ask someone from their household to place their hand on them)
- Invite the Holy Spirit to come and encourage the person to just receive from God.
- Encourage the rest of the group to keep their eyes open, to observe what God is doing and to be open to the Holy Spirit bringing phrases, images or scriptures to mind.
- When praying for healing, you may feel led to command the sickness or illness to pain to leave in the name of Jesus. Or you may want to pray petitionary prayers, asking God to heal.
- After praying, ask the person if they felt any physical sensations or sensed God at work. If they had pain before, ask how it is now.
- Don’t be afraid of praying again if you sense that God is still at work – Jesus himself prayed more than once when restoring the sight of a blind man in Mark 8.
If you don’t have anyone in the group who wants prayer for healing, spend some time asking God for opportunities this week to pray for people and for courage to offer prayer. You may also want to pray for people in your wider community who you know are sick or in pain.
You may want to pray the Lord’s prayer together to end:
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation
but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power,
and the glory are yours
now and for ever.