A few days ago, on waking and starting to pray, I began thinking about how Jesus heals people in body, mind, heart and soul, according to their need. Here are a few examples from the New Testament:
- Body: Jesus heals a man with a deformed hand (Luke 6:6-10; NLT).
- Mind: Jesus heals a man with a severe mental illness (Mark 5:1-19; NLT).
- Heart: Jesus heals Paul’s hatred through a spiritual experience (Acts 9:1-20; NLT).
- Soul: Jesus forgives a man’s sins (Matthew 9:2-7; NLT).
Then I saw that whilst all healing is a great blessing:
- The healing of the mind is more important than the healing of the body
- The healing of the heart is more important than the healing of the mind
- And the healing of the soul is even more important than the healing of the heart
In fact, Jesus made it completely clear that our souls are infinitely more important than our bodies, minds and hearts when he said: “Don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul. Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28; NLT). Therefore, the healing of the soul is the most important healing of all.
Our souls can only be healed through God’s forgiveness. As the psalmist said long ago: “Heal my soul, for I have sinned against you” (Psalm 41:4; NKJV). Thus, when Jesus taught us how to pray, the vital petition: “Forgive us our sins,” was immediately followed by the words: “as we forgive those who sin against us” (Luke 11:4; NLT).
He went on to explain why forgiving others is so important: “If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins” (Matthew 6:14-15; NLT).
So, in order for us to be forgiven, and thus for our souls to be healed, we ourselves need to forgive those who sin against us. As I wrote these words yesterday, I suddenly glimpsed that forgiving others may be the deepest and most miraculous healing of all.
Of course, I’m not saying that forgiveness is easy. I know from painful, personal experience that it can take a lifetime to forgive those who have damaged us. However, with God all things are possible. Christ’s prayer for those who crucified him is our constant example: “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34; NLT).
Pray for all souls
A little later, as this blog was coming together, I was given some electrifying words: Pray for the healing of all souls.
Instantly, I saw a whole, new realm of prayer and spiritual practice opening up before me, the implications of which I haven’t even begun to explore yet. It was as if I were being shown the most important task for the remainder of my life, a meaningful task I can carry out no matter how handicapped my body becomes.
Three stands of prayer
It quickly became clear that praying for the healing of all souls has at least three essential strands:
- Asking God to help us all forgive those who have hurt us,
- Asking God to forgive us all for our sins,
- And asking God to restore our oneness with each other, and with God.
A daily prayer for the healing of all souls
As I embraced this idea, a simple prayer came into my mind:
I pray for the healing of all souls.
Please help us all to forgive
Those who have sinned against us,
And forgive us all for the sins
We have committed against others,
So all souls are restored to unity
With one another, and with you.
I ask this through your dear Son’s name.
He restores my soul (Psalm 23:3; NKJV).
The LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul (Genesis 2:7; WEB).
Whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord (Romans 14:8; NIV).
I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one – as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me. I have given them the glory you gave me, so they may be one as we are one. I am in them and you are in me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me (John 17:21-3; NLT).
I pray that God, who gives peace, will make you completely holy. And may your spirit, soul, and body be kept healthy and faultless until our Lord Jesus Christ returns (1 Thessalonians 5:23; CEV).
The dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it (Ecclesiastes 12:7; NIV).
Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires. So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls. But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves (James 1:19-22; NLT).