Enable your servants to speak your word with all boldness, as you stretch forth your hand to heal. 

What comes to mind when you read healing stories in the Bible? Maybe you think of a saint whose prayers were miraculously answered. Or maybe you recall the site of a Marian apparition like Lourdes, where miraculous healings have taken place.

But what about today, and what about us? Can we expect God to use “everyday” Catholics like us to heal people? The short answer is yes—because we have the Holy Spirit living in us. In today’s first reading (Acts 4:23-31), we learn that the apostles, “as they prayed, . . . were all filled with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 4:31). It wasn’t the apostles, in and of themselves, who healed people, but the Holy Spirit working through them. It was God who would “stretch forth [his] hand to heal” (4:30). They believed in the Spirit’s power and then acted in that faith, and God did the rest.

Plenty of modern-day people have believed in the Spirit’s power and have seen their prayers for physical healing answered. Think of Blessed Solanus Casey, who was just the porter of a monastery. Or St. André Bessette, the doorman as well as the “miracle man” of Montreal. God delighted to work through them, and he can work through you too.

That’s the key: expectant faith. When we believe that God can heal through our prayers, we are giving him the chance to work through us. Sometimes physical healings do occur when we pray with someone. But even when they don’t, we can trust that our prayers make a difference. Perhaps the person we pray with will experience a sense of peace or an assurance that God is with them. Or they may receive a deeper understanding of God’s love or a greater confidence that God is at work and will take care of them.

So does your neighbor have chronic back pain? Go ahead and pray this simple prayer with her: “Lord Jesus, please heal this person, and take away the pain.” If your child has a fever, place your hand on his forehead and pray for the fever to leave in Jesus’ name. As you do, believe that God hears and responds to your prayers.

“Lord, give me boldness to step out in faith and pray with those around me.”

Psalm 2:1-4, 7-9
John 3:1-8
Acts 4:23-31


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