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Christian Union: The Magazine
August 8, 2022

Christian Union students and alumni experience radical healing through healing prayer methods

By Anne Kerhoulas

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed. - Luke 4:18

inner healing

The ministry of Jesus is a wildly supernatural ministry. But today, many churches focus on the teachings of Jesus more than the power of Jesus when he performed miracles, healings, deliverances, and raised the dead. Though the teaching of Jesus is essential to every church and every believer, the supernatural works of Jesus are such an enormous part of His ministry that they cannot be overlooked. And yet that’s exactly what is happening across America. 

Largely due to cessationist theology that argues that certain gifts of the Spirit and certain works of Jesus are no longer possible today, many Christians live their lives assuming that the teachings of Jesus are enough to transform their lives.

But throughout the gospels, we see Jesus perform healings before teaching, casting out demons and then proclaiming the good news of the Kingdom coming, and raising people from the dead so that others might believe. He even tells his disciples that they will do even greater works than He. The ministry of Jesus is at least His teachings and words, but it is so much more. Everywhere Jesus went, he brought the radical transformation of mind, body, and spirit from encountering the Living God. 

And these are exactly the kinds of works He is doing today, through the work of Christian Union.

This past spring, Assistant Ministry Director Karen Hetzler reported that she had far more people than ever before seeking her out for inner healing prayer. One of the many forms of supernatural ministry that Christian Union practices, Hetzler found herself, again and again, meeting with professionals in the city who were plagued by mental health issues, unresolved memories from their past that consistently caused pain, physical ailments, and . 

Hetzler, who believes that part of the influx of those seeking this kind of spiritual care may have been caused by the pandemic and the stressors of the past two years, has been deeply encouraged to see so many people set free from their struggles so that they might worship the Lord in freedom and share His gospel with boldness. 

“After twenty years in ministry, I am increasingly astounded by the freeing power found in Jesus through Inner Healing and Deliverance ministry. I am deeply humbled by Paul's rebuke to "arrogant" church leaders at Corinth saying "For the kingdom of God does not consist in talk but in power" (1 Cor. 4:20),” Hetzler says. “I can no longer preach and disciple with just words because Jesus is calling us to do what He did.”

Inner healing prayer is a prayer method that many are unfamiliar with, but it is a powerful pathway toward healing for many believers. We have a Wonderful Counselor in the Holy Spirit, who knows our thoughts and hearts completely and desires to make us whole. Inner healing is a prayer method that invites the Holy Spirit to bring healing in specific ways that are needed for an individual.

The inner healing prayer movement was developed and championed by Agnes Sanford, who started The Agnes Sanford School of Pastoral Care in 1958. Sanford was part of revivals and healings in the early 1900s, witnessing first-hand the power of the Holy Spirit delivering individuals and fully healing them from various ailments. The experience left a profound impression on her and she began to understand the need and demand for personalized ministry that would lead to inner healing that addressed emotional, spiritual, and physical wounds. 

Sanford began her ministry by visiting churches, praying for individuals and leading them toward healing, and teaching others how to pray for emotional and spiritual healing. This led to the publication of her first book, The Healing Light, which is a classic.

Inner healing prayer and deliverance have been a part of the Christian Union ministries since its inception. With an emphasis on seeking God and inviting the Holy Spirit to work in powerful ways, Christian Union has regularly trained ministry faculty in inner healing and deliverance methods so that they might be equipped for ministry needs as they arise. And arise they have. 

Hetzler is only one of the Christian Union ministry faculty who have been leading believers through healing processes to greater freedom in Christ. At the annual Spiritus Conference for Christian Union Universities students, CEO and Founder Matt Bennett led many through inner healing and deliverance. Ministry faculty on each campus also have testified to physical healing, the need for inner healing for many of their students as they work through childhood trauma, the mental health toll that the past few years have taken upon them, and other spiritual struggles. 

Hetzler, in accordance with what healing prayer books and teachers have taught, takes those seeking help through a process of identifying and listening to the Spirit about what is causing the pain and disruption. 

“I have witnessed countless people who have been through years of secular counseling, finally find deep healing and freedom once the Holy Spirit is invited into the deepest recesses of their pains and memories. I have also witnessed that frequently these deep wounds became the entry point for the enemy to afflict and bind us to these pains,” says Hetzler. “Once Jesus has healed someone, they say things like, 'I feel so light,' or 'I feel so free,' or 'I don't hurt anymore when I think of that memory.' I am learning that inner healing and deliverance are often a powerful duo.”

Praise God for the miraculous work he continues to do today through the Holy Spirit and His body. For more reading on this topic, consider these resources. 

Heaven on Earth by R. Alan Street

Healing by Francis MacNutt, PhD

Confronting Powerless Christianity by Charles H Kraft

Christianity with Power by Charles H Kraft

They Shall Expel Demons by Derek Prince

Demon Possession and the Christian: A New Perspective by C. Fred Dickason