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Healing Line

Healing Line

Being Freed From Generational Bondage

by Francis MacNutt
Spring 2000

As we begin a new century and millennium, we at CHM have a renewed excitement in the healing ministry of our Lord Jesus. We always have the joy of seeing the elation on people's faces when Jesus heals them, and we also are learning constantly so many new things about what God heals and how He heals. Although prayer for healing was so long neglected among God's people, it now seems excitingly new to us.

One area of prayer for healing that is particularly appropriate to consider during this period in history is generational healing. When I first learned about healing in the '60s, I didn't hear anything about generational healing, but in recent years more and more leaders in the healing ministry have discovered how important it is for most people's lives, including their own. As we look toward the future, it is important for us to consider our past.

Most of us are familiar with the Scripture in the Old Testament where God is giving Moses the third commandment: "I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, and on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing loving kindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments" (Deuteronomy 5:10). If you have committed your life to Christ, you probably aren't too worried about the sins of your ancestors affecting you.

But we have discovered there is much more to it than that, and we have found several very practical areas where Jesus can free us.

Certainly, we know that physical traits and illnesses can be passed down from generation to generation. In addition, we have learned that spiritual generational influences can affect us — for good or evil. Many world cultures, such as Asian, Native American, and African believe ancestral influences can dramatically affect living individuals, and their tribal religions deal with freeing them from harmful ancestral influences. Even Dickens' A Christmas Carol reflects this belief.

Let me suggest to you that you write out a simple spiritual family tree, mapping out the positive spiritual influences that you recognize in your forebears, but also listing the negative. patterns. This is very similar to what we do every time we go to a doctor's office and are asked to check off a list of physical diseases that run in our family. For example, doctors want to know if there is a pattern of heart disease, cancer or stroke in a family, because if so, the patient might be subject to the same physical weakness.

The same is true of spiritual weaknesses. Patterns can run through an entire family. On a larger scale, we realize that entire ethnic groups are predisposed to certain problems, such as the Irish to alcoholism and the Africans to sickle cell anemia. If you look at the characteristics of your own ancestry, especially your parents, your grandparents, your brothers and sisters, your aunts and uncles, you probably will observe certain patterns of behavior.

When the patterns are positive, such as with a godly heritage, we thank God — especially for how He has gifted us through our parents and grandparents. When we find patterns of weakness or sin, we can pray for healing. The good news is that Jesus can break that inherited pattern or disposition as it affects us and our children. Jesus came to set the captive free (Luke 4: 16–22), and that captive may lie within us, a prisoner of the past.

The first step in the healing process is simply to recognize that your family's history may affect you and need healing. Sometimes this influence may even be demonic and can descend from generation to generation until it is finally broken. But most of what we experience is far more ordinary.

When I outlined my generational family tree, I was surprised to see the patterns that emerged. I found that my family reveals a history of abandonment, primarily through death and sickness. My parents and grandparents grew up in many ways as orphans, and this pattern has gone back for generations. The effect upon me is that I was a lonely child who felt more comfortable being alone and preferred to do everything by myself. In some ways, of course, this has been a blessing (for instance, in writing books), but in other important ways, it has made it hard to fulfill Jesus' great commandment to love others and to go out to them. It has taken a lifetime, but God has been faithful to gradually change that excessively introverted side. Whenever we discover such a harmful pattern, Jesus desires to free us.

The following is a prayer that you might say for yourself ( or a friend):
"Lord Jesus, gently reveal to me, through the Holy Spirit, those ways in which I may be living out certain patterns of inherited weakness or sin." (Here wait to see what you receive in prayer.)
"Now, Jesus, if there is any predisposition in me to ____ (alcoholism, lust, etc.) that has come down to me through my ancestry, I ask you through your power to set me free. Send your Holy Spirit, and by the power of your Spirit and by the sword of the Spirit, cut me free from that disposition to ______.

"For any sins I have committed — or my ancestors committed — in this regard, I ask your forgiveness, Lord. In the name of Jesus Christ and his precious blood, set me free, heavenly Father. "And now, Lord Jesus, in place of this weakness, fill me with the power of your Spirit; fill me with your spirit of (self–control, courage, sobriety or whatever gift counteracts the weakness you have). And Lord, I ask you also to cut my children free from any harmful disposition they may have inherited from me or my ancestors."

If there seems to be an evil spirit connected with this trait, you can simply command that spirit (for example, a spirit of rejection) to leave. "I command you, spirit of ____ , to leave in the name of Jesus Christ. And I command you to go to Jesus Christ to dispose of as He will." Of course, you can also ask a minister or friend to pray these kinds of prayers for you.

It is a great help to pray for generational healing within the context of a Eucharistic service or celebration of the Lord's Supper, for it is through Christ's death and resurrection that we are able to obtain freedom and forgiveness. At CHM, this is done three times a month for people who come for ministry.

As you begin this new millennium, I encourage you to consider what generational patterns and areas in your life as a whole are in need of the Lord's healing touch. Remember: Jesus came to set the captives free!


Francis MacNutt Francis MacNutt is a Founding Director and Executive Committee member of CHM. Spring 2000 Issue