For almost two years we held monthly Meetings for Prayer and Healing online. We have discontinued these online gatherings, however, and hope to return to in-person meetings for prayer and healing soon.
Co-sponsored by Swarthmore and Chester Meetings, these meetings for prayer and healing used to take place on second Thursdays at Chester Friends Meeting.
Address: Chester Friends Meeting, 520 E 24th St., Chester, PA 19013.
What Happens at a Meeting for Prayer and Healing?
A meeting for prayer and healing lasts for about an hour. Participants sit in prayerful silence on the benches around a center, in which a chair is placed.
In the silence, each person finds their own way to turn their attention to God and the healing power of the divine Light. While settling in, it is good to remember that God is always seeking to bring about everyone’s well-being. In the silent prayer, we open ourselves to participate in the flow of divine healing energy, seeking to center in the state of Eternal Oneness in which all is already whole, healed, and in harmony.
Out of the silence, someone requests prayer, naming a relative, friend, member of their community, a situation anywhere in the world, or an entire category of people, such as refugees, victims of violence, or those suffering from addictions. Or prayers are requested for a situation, such as the climate crisis, an upcoming election, or for any other situation. After each request, a period of silence follows in which the group’s prayers are focused on the named person, place, or situation. Sometimes there are many requests, each followed by a period of silence. Sometimes a prayer is voiced out loud. All of these concerns are held in the Light of God’s healing love. Sometimes prayers of thanksgiving are offered, including thanks from those who have experienced healing after previous prayers.
During the course of the hour, anyone present who feels in need of prayer may stand up and walk to the chair, either remaining silent or saying a few words about what’s in their heart. Each person who sits in the center is asked if they are comfortable being touched. Only if they say “yes” do others come and touch them. Placing hands on another person may not be right for everyone, and it may be best to wait for a leading of the Spirit before doing so. It is also appropriate to stay seated on a bench and pray for someone from a distance.
Those who feel led to offer a laying-on of hands gather close around. One might stand behind the person and place a hand on both shoulders, others might touch an arm or knee, or sit on the floor, with hands on the person’s feet. The prayer begins and ends in silence, but one or more spoken prayers may also be offered. If tears come, a tissue is offered. After a few minutes, at the end of the prayer, those gathered around gently remove their hands and step away, and the person in the chair returns to sit on a bench. If it seems needed, someone may go sit beside them to show continued support even after the focus of the larger group turns toward another prayer request.
At the end of the hour, the meeting ends with the group forming a circle in which each person is invited to say his or her name. After all have spoken their own names, everyone simultaneously adds the names of others whom they are carrying in their hearts. There is a wonderful murmur as these names are spoken simultaneously.
This description of a meeting for prayer and healing draws upon (and significantly revises) text in the Pendle Hill pamphlet #382, Holding One Another in the Light, by Marcelle Martin (@2006 by Pendle Hill). This Pendle Hill pamphlet can be ordered HERE.