The woman tried everything.
For 50 years, she battled depression and used every medical cure available, including shock therapy, to no avail. She eventually sought help from Christchurch-based prayer counsellors and was set free from her depression by encountering Jesus.

The healing of the soul is a ministry open not only to priests but to lay Catholics as well, said Emotionally Free Prayer Counselling chairperson Diana Ingle, who spoke at the Open Teaching night of the Catholic Discipleship College in Takapuna on May 3.

Mrs Ingle has been running the Christian Renewal Association of New Zealand (CRANZ) with her husband and friends for the past eight years. They offer training courses for prayer counsellors called Emotionally and Spiritually Free.

“It’s about healing: body, soul and spirit. This is from the Catholic Cathechism. ‘Heal the sick.’ The Church has received this charge from the Lord and strives to carry it out by taking care of the sick as well as by accompanying them with her prayer of intercession,” she explained.

Mrs Ingle said the thing to remember is that it is Jesus, the Lord and Physician, who does the healing, not her or the other prayer counsellors.

“That is the basis of our ministry. You come and have a healing encounter with Jesus, not with us, but with Jesus,” she stressed.

Soul healing, she explained, is allowing Jesus to heal past hurts so the person can be freed from spiritual and emotional oppression.

“You can also think of soul healing as allowing God’s light and love into those pockets in your heart,” she said.

Mrs Ingle, who is also a pastoral coordinator for Christchurch diocese’s Catholic Youth Mission Team, said she felt called to soul healing ministry when she felt an increasing desire to see people free from their emotional and spiritual burdens.

“[There was a] . . . feeling of increased love of God for other people where I felt other people’s pain and felt God’s love for them and his desire to heal them. That’s really how I got into it,” she said.

“I started noticing there were a lot of people not living the abundant life for which they were created. They needed something. So, I’m helping them in getting set free from the things that are holding them back from being all they could be for God,” she added.

The first thing she did was to make an appointment with the late Bishop of Christchurch, Bishop Barry Jones, who was ill on the day and sent Vicar-General Fr Rick Loughnan.

“He [Fr Loughnan] got excited about what we are doing. So now he’s actually involved in our ministry, which is a real blessing for us,” she said.

Initially she was planning to write a course on healing, but quite providentially she met Dr Rita Bennett, the founder of Christian Renewal Association in America at a conference.

“I’ve been praying and asking God whether I should be writing a course and then I met her and she showed me her course and then she invited me to come to Seattle,” Mrs Ingle said.

Mrs Ingle started the charitable trust here. “Our ministry is nationwide. We’ve got about 40 prayer counsellors in New Zealand. And we have got prayer counsellors now in each diocese except Dunedin. We are planning to go there at the end of September,” she said.

The counselling is koha-based, and the prayer counsellors are all volunteers.

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