and Devils by Joan Carroll Cruz In the most thorough book about
in modern times, Cruz answers virtually every question: when they
were created, their knowledge of the
future, their access to our thoughts -- with facts and insights on
everything from Guardian Angels to demons. Many of life's issues are better
understood when we comprehend the pervasive nature and good and evil
LAYING ON OF HANDS: WIDESPREAD PRACTICE CAN BE BOTH A 'DANGER' OR A GIFT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
We are of two minds when it comes to the "laying on of hands."
On the one hand (not to play on words), there are the many claims of healing and deliverance. Through the years -- through the centuries -- countless have benefited from prayer that is said while a healer or simply another person rests one or both hands onto the afflicted person, allowing for the flow of the Holy Spirit. "When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied," we have in Acts 19:4-6.
Clearly, the laying on of hands is biblical.
But then, in Scripture, we also have: "Do not be hasty in the laying on of hands, and do not share in the sins of others," intones 1 Timothy 5:22. "Keep yourself pure."
Therein is the rub and the reason we always urge prayer and fasting (without haste) before allowing anyone, including a priest, to lay on hands. The reason is simple: if the person laying on the hands has a dark spirit ("sin"), there is a chance that spirit can be transferred. This is called "imparting" a spirit. Fasting seals a person against the enemy -- and purifies. Meanwhile, we see that Jesus also healed by praying from a distance.
"Laying hands on a person in prayer is not just a picturesque religious ritual," a foremost deliverance expert named Derek Prince once warned in a terrific, insightful book called They Shall Expel Demons. "It can be a powerful spiritual experience, a temporary interaction between two spirits through which supernatural power is released. Normally the power flows from the one laying on hands to the one on whom hands are laid, but at times it can flow the other way.
"The power may do either good or evil. It may emanate from the Holy Spirit or from a demon, depending on the one from whom it flows. For this reason Paul established certain safeguards. [Here he quotes the passage from 1 Timothy above]. In other words, be careful with whom you allow your spirit to interact!
"The laying on of hands should be done reverently and prayerfully. Any person participating should make sure he or she is not thereby, in Paul's words, sharing in another's sins. It is a mistake to lay hands indiscriminately on one another. The following brief testimony illustrates the danger:
"'In 1971 I was attending a charismatic meeting, and the speaker asked people to stand if they wanted prayer for healing. I had a bad cold, so I stood. He then instructed people seated nearby to lay their hands on us and pray for our healing. Four or five prayed for me."
'When I awoke the next morning, my cold was better -- but my fingers were all curled up and stiff and hurting. Immediately I thought, Someone with arthritis laid hands on me last night! I renounced the spirit of arthritis, and within five minutes all the symptoms were gone.
"'I was a very young believer, less than one year old, and I have been so grateful to God for teaching me then to be careful who lays hands on me.'"
We see the need for caution at the same time we must not be paranoid. These things we discern only through extensive prayer, and protect against by fasting.
[resources: From Darkness to Light and The Medjugorje Fasting Book]
[Michael Brown retreat in Pittsburgh: preparing for the afterlife, protecting ourselves now]
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