By Deacon Ross Guthrie
At my ordination as a deacon, the bishop gave me a charge to work with my brothers and sisters in Christ to search “for the sick, the poor, and the helpless, that they may be relieved.” Each Wednesday, we find them at JACOA, an alcohol and drug dependency treatment facility here in Jackson that serves West Tennessee.
Fr. Wes serves on the Board of Directors and began going on some Wednesdays from 3:15 to 4:15 to offer prayer for men and women who were in the rehabilitation program. He invited others to join him like Jonathan Stewart, Janet Brown, and myself. During their hour of free time, the patients can come to the chapel where we simply offer prayer for them.
It’s a very different experience each week. We’ve had two or three people come for prayer. At other times, there have been six or eight or even twelve. We have prayed for them individually. With our largest group, Fr. Wes led the whole group in “a prayer of imagination” as he invited them to allow Christ to enter a painful experience in their life. Their response was powerful and a sign that the Holy Spirit was with us.
I am always saddened by the lack of self-worth many patients share with us. Each week, we encourage and remind them that God loves them and desires to bring them healing through his beloved Son Jesus. As we pray for them, I am reminded how much God cares for the broken ones and for those who are sick.
If you are interested in spending an hour in prayer for the sick, the downcast, and the brokenhearted ones at JACOA, call the office at All Saints so that we can coordinate it. “And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. Freely you received, freely give” (Matthew 10:7-8).