It is a shared insight of many spiritual traditions that humans are beings of many layers. We are physical creatures. We are conscious being. We are thinking entities. We are spiritual phenomena. All overlapping.
If I seek physical healing of, let’s say an injury to my foot, I am disassociating myself from my physical being. In effect I am saying I associate my self, my consciousness with a body with a healed foot. In my mind I can visualize that possibility. My will desires it. My spirit is ready to operate a healthy foot. And so as consciousness, mind and spirit I will take action to fix that foot. I might decide to take myself to the GP or the physio or the osteo or to some other healing practitioner – depending on what modality of healing I have confidence in, or have seen work before.
As a Christian a modality I have become vary familiar with is that of placing a hand on or over an injury and leaving it there for a while. Often the injured person will begin to experience a warmth, sometimes intense heat out of all proportion to body heat, sometimes electricity, sometimes vibration, sometimes pins and needles. These phenomena are often the outward signs that a healing is taking place.
The placing of a hand on or over another person is a way of inviting and directing the flow of the Spirit of God. It is a practice modeled in the Gospels and New Testament. For instance Luke’s Gospel (Luke 4:40) says, “After sunset all who had friends who were sick with various diseases brought them to Jesus; he placed his hands on every one of them and healed them all.”
The placing of the hand invites the energy of the Spirit of God to flow into the effected part. In the Christian worldview this is a very powerful thing to do because the Bible proposes that it was Divine Spirit that created the universe. So to invite and guide the Spirit of God is to go to the Ultimate Source, which we must do with the utmost respect and humility. No sense of arrogance or ego is to be inferred by the use of the language of “directing” or “guiding.” God is the Source. We are the conduits. No healing practitioner with a healthy mindset believes him or herself to be the source of another person’s healing.
Case Study – Dave (not pictured)
One time I used this approach with a young man called Dave who had been suffering abdominal cramps. After our session he was so relieved that the pain, which had been afflicting him for days on end, had suddenly gone.
“You put a lot of pressure on my side,” he said. “I wasn’t sure what you were doing, and it was a bit uncomfortable. But I trusted that you knew what you were doing and the effect is wonderful! All that pain has released!”
To his great surprise I showed Dave – and the group present – what I had actually done while his eyes were closed. I showed that in reality I had placed the flat of my hand very lightly against the side of his belly. Dave was astonished. He said, “That’s incredible. It felt as if you had taken a finger and pushed it really deep into my side!”
Not me. What he had felt was not a physical force at all. It was a flow of Divine Energy. And it happened when my hand invited or directed God’s Spirit into the injured part of Dave’s body.
Case Study – Greg (not pictured)
Another time I was working with a young athlete called Greg who was training himself up for the Olympics. He had injured his hip and needed fixing to get him quickly back into the field. With Greg, as well as placing a hand, I spoke aloud some words of direction. I said, “Holy Spirit go now into Greg’s hip.” Greg’s reaction and the healing that followed within minutes made it very clear that that is exactly what happened.
It may sound very strange to suggest “guiding” or “directing” the Spirit of God. Shouldn’t it be the other way around?! Yet Jesus Christ himself said, “I have not come into this world to be served, but to serve.” (Matthew 20:28, Mark 10:45, John 13:1-17) And the tradition of placing hands or “laying on of hands” goes right back to the practice of the Supreme Healer, Jesus Christ, and his followers. The hand is placed where we wish to direct the flow of the Spirit. So it is a practice with a good pedigree.
Case Study – Ben (not pictured)
Just recently I was making this point at a local healing workshop. I said to the group, “You may think it odd that I should presume to direct or guide the Spirit of God, but suppose I want Ben’s shoulder to be healed…” and I placed my left hand on Ben’s right shoulder and left it there for no more than twenty seconds. “What am I doing?”
The group replied, “You’re directing God’s Spirit to Ben’s shoulder.”
Then Ben suddenly cried out, “Oh my goodness I think it’s healed!!” And he began moving his arm around freely and without pain.
The funny thing was I didn’t even know Ben had a shoulder injury – let alone that it was his right shoulder. I had simply chosen Ben on the spur of the moment, spoken the words in the moment, and placed my hand as an illustration. When it came to a moment of prayer we didn’t need to pray for healing. Instead we thanked the Holy Spirit of God for confirming the illustration in such a wonderful and unforgettable way.
Whenever we unite our intention with the Spirit of God’s intention amazing things happen. Placing a hand is just one way of doing this.