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ss triple helix - winter 2005,  Healed, restored, forgiven (Book Review)

Healed, restored, forgiven (Book Review)

Healed, restored, forgiven - Liturgies, prayers and readings for the ministry of healing - Written and compiled by John Gunstone - Canterbury Press 2004 - £12.99 Pb 117pp - ISBN 1 85311 587 8

In 2000, the Church of England produced its monumental report A Time to Heal. This book draws from that report, and is a valuable collection of material for use in connection with healing prayer. It is a resource not just for Anglicans but for all Christians everywhere.

There are sets of personal and responsive prayers, prayers for intercessors, ministry teams, preparation, thanksgiving and a general selection. There are liturgies for healing services that include anointing and laying on of hands, and the Eucharist. The ministry of reconciliation (confession to a priest with absolution) is also covered. The book ends with a relevant and representative selection of Bible readings from Old and New Testaments, and with helpful readings from some twentieth century writers.

The Christian healing world has long been indebted to John Gunstone and this collection increases that debt. He has composed much of the material and compiled the rest from other sources, mainly Anglican but occasionally Roman Catholic and Orthodox. There are frequent cross-references to the exhortations in A Time to Heal and this book therefore functions as a supplement. Gunstone uses Scripture well throughout, and the only quote from Ecclesiasticus (38:1-2) is the well known: 'Honour physicians for their services, for the Lord created them; for their gift of healing comes from the most high'. Some might be uncomfortable with repeated references to Mary as the 'Mother of Christ', always in capitals.

All those who pray for healing in church contexts, no matter their denomination, will want this to hand. But do busy health professionals need it? I think so. There were insights, profound in their simplicity, which I found illuminating as I reflected on my own lot, and on that of many whom I have attended professionally and in prayer. You might even consider using sections with carefully selected patients.

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