In the book Laying on of Hands by Eastwood Anaba, explained that the laying on of hands is a spiritual process by which hands are laid on people for the transfer of spiritual virtue, gifts, and blessings. The practice of laying on hands is an ancient tradition that began in the Old Testament, continued in the ministry of Christ and the New Testament Church, and is in practice in the Church today. This practice is one of the most treasured abilities God has given the Church. It is so important to the Body of Christ that we have to teach and practice it constantly to keep it alive.
In this book, Eastwood Anaba teaches the meaning of laying on of hands, traces its practice in the Bible, and explains the power that is available to the Church through it.
In the medical sector, laying on of hands is becoming popular. This means that this concept is beyond the church cycle. It also tells the importance of this practice from biblical concepts.
This concept is being practiced by drugless healers and referred to as “therapeutic touch,” which seeks to create a feeling of caring that physical closeness or touching, like stroking a fevered brow or holding someone’s hand, can convey. This is because the practitioners are dealing with energy fields that surround the body.
Genesis 48:8-20… Jacob said: “Joesph, bring your sons to me.” And Jacob placed his hands on the boys’ heads and prayed: “May God bless these boys, and multiply their descendants greatly throughout the Earth.”
Jesus says in Mark 16:18, “They will place their hands on sick people and they will get well.”
And 21st-century science tells us what mothers have known since Eve: touching babies relaxes them, makes them calm, and helps them to grow into confident adults.
People lay hands on other people just about everywhere in the Bible, and it always leads to some benefit.
The Biblical basis of laying on of hands for:
3. Baptism in the Holy Ghost
4. Spiritual Gifts
5. Commissioning ministers
Genesis 48:8-20 is the scriptural example of blessings by laying on of hands. By calling blessings from God and laying on hands (touching the recipient with the whole palm and fingers — not just tips), one multiplies power and faith. This often transfers the benefits of one’s powerful faith to another person.
For Jacob and his grandchildren, it bore great fruit in the later generations as they multiplied to become a great nation.
Healing refers to body, spirit, and soul. The Bible has many passages wherein people are healed of physical afflictions after prayer with the laying on of hands. Read in full the passage Mark 16:15-18. There’s more, but first this:
Healing happens to those who believe. Belief is the only qualification for the one doing the praying. It is not the physical act of laying on of hands that does the healing. Hands are the outward sign of one’s belief that the sick person will get well.
In Luke 4:38-40, Jesus lays hands on Peter’s mother-in-law and heals her of a fever. Because of this demonstration, lots of people came forward and were healed.
Later, in Luke 13:10-16, Jesus heals a woman with a twisted back. This practice is the basis of chiropractic care. Verse 16 tells us that the woman is freed from an evil spirit. This often happens. The illness is demonic, and laying on of hands in faith casts out the demon.
For more examples, see Matthew 8:1-4, Mark 6:1-6, and Acts 28:7-10
There are early examples in Acts 8:14-21, where we see that the Baptism is a gift from God and cannot be bought with money. And in Acts 19:1-6, some believers had been baptized by John but had never heard of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. Then they gladly received it.
4. Spiritual Gifts
All Spiritual Gifts come from the Holy Spirit, but that doesn’t mean we all get every gift. God knows what He is doing, and He gives to each the one or two best suited to that person’s nature.
o Stephen, in Acts 6:1-8, received gifts, stepped out in faith, performed marvelous works and wonders, and then got clobbered by skeptics. The Devil was at work, trying to keep people from receiving God’s best and from spreading the Good Word.
o Timothy got the gifts and Paul admonished him to never forget it. Timothy used his gifts in the face of opposition and came out ahead.
See 1 Timothy 5:22. “Do not be hasty in the laying on of hands, and do not share in the sins of others. Keep yourself pure.”
This admonishes church leaders to be careful about laying on hands to ordain new ministers. If Timothy commissioned someone who did not follow sound doctrine, then Timothy would be responsible and share in the sin.
Today, we might call that aiding and abetting, or being an accomplice after the fact. So — the laying on of hands has many purposes in the body of Christ.
This spiritual power is not transmitted through a physical act of laying on hands. Christian Science treatment never includes the belief or practice of a “therapeutic” physical touch. Spiritual power is realized only through scientific prayer, acknowledging God’s allness, and proving error’s nothingness. Thus Christian healing can be accomplished even when we are asked to pray for someone many miles away. The omnipresence of divine Truth knows no separation. However, one needs faith to experience positive effects in healing (Benor, 1990).
Grad (1961, 1965, 1976), is the pioneer of healing work in experimental animals. In the first controlled experiments, Grad studied the Hungarian healer Oskar Estebany’s ability to accelerate the healing rate of mice with one-half by one-inch wounds. Estebany held the cages of mice twice daily for 15 minutes. The treated group healed significantly more rapidly than the untreated group (Grad, 1961). Grad also induced goiters in mice by feeding them an iodine-deficient diet (Grad, 1976). The thyroid glands of mice treated by a healer twice daily for 15 months grew significantly more slowly than those of the control mice. This effect was also obtained when Estebany did not treat the mice directly with his hands but instead held in his hands cotton cuttings, which were placed in contact with the mice in the cages.
In the area of cancer in live animals, Onetto and Elguin (1966) experimented with inhibiting tumor growth in mice that had been injected subcutaneously with a tumoral suspension. They found the area, weight, and volume of tumor growth in one group of 30 tumorigenic mice significantly less than that of 30 untreated control mice. Interestingly, a second group of 30 mice was treated in an attempt to increase tumor growth, but these mice did not differ from the control mice.
Null (1981) also gave 50 healers two mice each to screen for their ability to prolong the lives of mice injected with cancer cells. Only one healer produced total tumor regression in one of his mice, and the other survived longer than predicted. The one successful healer was then asked to replicate the healing on 10 mice. The healer was able to extend the average survival of the treated mice to a statistically significant number of days beyond that of the control group (Grad, 1976).
A recent study by Bengston & Krinsley(2000) titled “The Effect of the “Laying On of Hands” on Transplanted Breast Cancer in Mice published in the Journal of Scientific Exploration found a positive response with the cancer cells after the preacher lay hands. In this study, Bengston treated these mice for 1 hour per day for 1 month. The tumors developed a “blackened area,” then they ulcerated, imploded, and closed, and the mice lived their normal life spans. This demonstrated the effect of anointing by laying hands on breast cancer cells.
How spiritual power is obtained has not changed in two thousand years, and two thousand years from now it still will not have changed. The way is illustrated in the life of Christ Jesus: It is to accept man’s holy office, his true identity as the beloved offspring of God, Spirit.
One study by Bleakley et al.(2010) found that incorporating therapeutic exercises during the first week after ankle sprain results in significant improvements in short-term ankle function compared with the standard PRICE intervention. Over the years, practitioners have reported the benefits of immediate soft-tissue therapy after injury.
Also, Veljkovic et al.(2010) found that Laying on hands creates movement of tissue similar in ways that exercise causes tissue movement. A recent article suggests that aerobic exercise training may be a promising nontoxic anti-HIV therapy.
Another study by Suhr et al.(2010) also found that frequent exercise enhances the extracellular matrix (ECM) processing of angiogenic molecules. Science says, when a hand is placed on soft tissue, stress is created. Stress is defined as the amount of tension or load per unit in a cross-sectional area that is placed on a specimen.
The significant aspect of this is that the effect of all soft-tissue methods (including exercise) is the deformation of the tissue.
Banes et al.(2001) explained that when the tissues are deformed, the resident cells are deformed.
A more recent study by Carneiro et al.(2020) showed that laying on of hands with Spiritual connection by Spiritist “passe” appears to be effective in increasing cardiac vagal activity and regulation of immune responses of employees in a public hospital with stress/anxiety.
Quality of life care
One study by Pohl et al.(2007) determined whether the impact of “laying on of hands” on the well-being of patients with advanced cancer is more efficient when performed by a person with self-declared “healing powers” as compared to an actor mimicking the healer in close detail.
A total of 80 patients were registered to participate in a randomized, single-blind phase III trial to evaluate the difference in efficacy of “laying on of hands” by either a “healer” or an actor. Each group consisted of 40 patients, scheduled to receive treatment for 5 min, three times a week. The effect of treatment was measured using a “Well-Being scale”, with the difference of the average score of the “Well-Being scale” on day 10 being defined as primary and that on day 5 as the secondary endpoint.
The study found that “Laying on of hands” resulted in a significant improvement in cancer- or cancer-therapy-associated symptoms. The magnitude of improvement obtained was similar whether on a self-declared-healer- or an actor-provided “treatment”.
Healing by hand has been employed by many drugless as well to heal their patients. For instance, reiki could all be incorporated in healing. A Reiki practitioner uses this type of therapy to guide energy throughout the body and promote a person’s self-healing abilities.
The use of massage with a good hand could heal the patient. Acupuncture, acupressure, and many more are being used today in healing. All these therapies have their basis in the bible.
Laying on hands was practiced in the biblical days. It is effective right from biblical days and is still effective in the modern era based on science. Laying on of hands in the modern days in the healthcare sector is practiced by drugless or alternative medicine healers.
For Ministers of the Gospel, Paul admonishes them in
1 Timothy 5:22. “Do not be hasty in the laying on of hands, and do not share in the sins of others. Keep yourself pure.”
For the congregants, it is not any Pastor that you should allow to lay their hands on you. Finally, laying on of hands is being practiced in healthcare as well.
The writer is a Professor of Naturopathic Healthcare, a Medical Journalist, an author, and a science writer. E. mail: [email protected]. Visit-profnyarkotey.com