You might know that back in the Bible-days Jesus healed people physically, but what about their emotional needs? Did Jesus pray for inner healing? Is inner healing biblical? Well, that question led me to do some deeper digging.
Is Inner Healing Biblical? Inner Healing is a healing method that is not biblical and differs from emotional healing in the Bible. It’s a controversial movement that started with Agnes Sanford in the 20th century. It is supposed to bring healing of negative memories or hurts in the past through a guided visualization.
Because this topic is highly controversial I did some more research that I’d love to share with you here.
What Is Inner Healing?
Inner healing started as a Christian movement with Agnes Sanford in the 20th century in connection with various other tent revivals at the time. The term “Inner Healing” stands for a guided visualization through forgotten memories of negative events or hurts that happened in childhood.
“The basic teaching of inner healing is the theory that salvation or healing comes through the uprooting of negative memories or “hurts” caused by others in early childhood that are supposedly buried in the “subconscious” from where they tend to dictate our behavior without us even knowing it.”Biblical Discernment Ministries
Even though it is spread widely throughout evangelical Christian circles it is still controversial. Some people say it’s an anti-Christian or even occult practice because its modern application uses visualization methods that employ Jesus as an imagination guide into the past of the person. The goal of this guide is then to heal the person in that past, so to speak. This practice might come close to a form of mysticism or New Age.
“Through a process of guided imagination, the all-accepting Jesus is imagined back into the memory of traumatic past events. Intensive prayer is offered for the Holy Spirit to be a mystical reveler of problem areas and then a Healer” (Powlson).tottministries.org
Secular practitioners of Inner Healing substitute Jesus for another figure like Buddha. Important is that the applicant believes that the guide can heal him/her.
Because this is a common evangelical “healing method” it is important to find out if it is in the Bible Let’s have a look.
Is Inner Healing Of Emotional Wounds Biblical?
Inner Healing as a guided visualization method of negative moments in the past is not biblical. The Bible never taught this kind of method, but teaches healing in the name of Jesus.
Let me tell you, that God is a loving father who only wants to bless you. He doesn’t want you to be hurt in any way at any time. Jesus even died for you on the cross so that we would be saved and made whole – inside out. The Bible says of Him prophetically that we are healed in His wounds (1 Peter 2:24, Isaiah 53:5).
I have heard many testimonies in which God healed people of pains, aches, or even diseases. I myself am a miraculous cancer survivor. But does this mean God only heals physical issues or also emotional wounds?
I found two passages, in the New and in the Old Testament, that reveal God’s heart about the healing of emotional baggage.
David said in Psalm 147:3 that God “heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Wow. It couldn’t be clearer. The Bible does say that God heals the ones with emotional wounds in their heart.
When you do a quick word search in Google or the Bible app for the term “brokenhearted” you also come across Luke 4:18. There Jesus introduces His ministry and says:
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,NKJV
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me, to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed;”
If you know the gospels, you might know that he wasn’t joking and that He walked this out everywhere He went.
Jesus Healing A Brokenheart
Writing this I was reminded of the guy with the demon Legion. Jesus encounters Him in the country of the Gadarenes. He was a mentally ill man who lived in tombs, wore no clothes, and even cut himself. People tried to bind him with chains, but he would break them and be wild as all get out. Speak of demon possession – this guy was ripe for the Lord.
So, Jesus meets him and the demon in the guy starts talking. He tells Jesus his name (Legion), that they are many (as if that matters), and that they’d like to be cast into the pigs. You should really read the story, it’s quite action-packed.
To make the long story short. Jesus sets this guy completely free by casting out many demons into nearby pigs. In the end, it says, “he who had been demon-possessed was healed.” (Luke 8:36), and “sitting and clothed and in his right mind.” (Mark 5:15).
Now, I was wondering why it says “healed” and not delivered. Jesus clearly and quite dramatically cast a whole legion of demons out of that man. In one of the gospels, it talks about the man cutting himself. Which if you think about it, cutting yourself is a form of self-destruction. A lot of people tormented by depression have similar behaviors, which is a lot of times rooted in deep hurts or harmful events in the past.
I really believe that Jesus healed this guy from emotional and mental wounds through deliverance. For me, that’s a great biblical example of true biblical healing of an inner wound. But it doesn’t say that Jesus took this guy on a visualization journey into his childhood to figure out some past hurts. No, He told that whole legion of demons to leave. They left, and the man was healed.
By the way, if you want to know the difference between healing and deliverance, I wrote a whole article about that the other day.
How To Biblically Pray For Healing
I think the debate about Inner Healing boils down to the terminology and the application (as so many controversial Christian topics do).
I do believe that a lot of people carry emotional wounds and mental baggage where they need healing on the inside. And according to the biblical example of Jesus, they can receive healing through a prayer (of deliverance) and be completely set free.
The Bible tells us also to “confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed.” (James 5:16) So, I think seeking Christian Counseling that is experienced with biblical healing and deliverance is a good thing.
But I don’t think that the method of “inner Healing” is the way to go. Yes, asking the Holy Spirit to show you what’s going on is okay and good. But inviting a guide named “Jesus” to take you into your past is just not the Jesus way to do it. Jesus in the Bible would name the issue by name and tell it to go.
“Jesus meets you in the present not in the past.”
For the sake of terminology, I’d say Jesus doesn’t heal you in the past through Inner Healing but heals your emotional wounds on the inside here in the present.
Most of these hurts come through other people doing you wrong. So, forgive them completely as Jesus forgave you. You don’t have to visualize anything through your imagination to receive that kind of healing.
If you need healing on the inside then this prayer guide I put together for you might be just the right thing for you.
On A Personal Note
It is important that you know that you don’t have to carry any emotional or mental load by yourself. Jesus wants to free you from all kinds of stuff like father issues, abuse, anger, depression, and the like because He simply loves you so much. That’s what He died for.
I had to go through some inner healing of emotional wounds from my past myself. And I can say that Jesus himself and a prayer of healing and deliverance was more than I needed to get completely free.
I had a really bad relationship with my dad throughout my childhood and teenage years. But with God’s help, I was able to forgive him fully which opened the way for Jesus to supernaturally take out all the bitterness and emotional hurts towards him. So much so, that I was able to call him daddy again for the first time after 21 years.
What God did for me, He wants to do for you too. So focus on Jesus, not your past. Your problem can’t help you, only Jesus can.
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