Here my late father, Rev Philip Bell, explains how his father, Rev Edgar Bell, first discovered that God had given him a gift of healing.  See also his blog http://philip1.blog.co.uk/2009/11/04/my-father-and-his-gift-of-healing-7307779/


When my father, the Rev Edgar Bell, was a young Vicar the clergy of his area held a monthly meeting called “The way of renewal”.
This was a monthly study course to help local clergy bring fresh light into their ministries.

At one such meeting they discussed what Jesus meant when he said, “Preach the gospel, heal the sick” (Luke’s Gospel chapter 9, verses 1 and 2). They also remembered an instruction by one of the apostles and found in the letter of St.James: “Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. 16Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. (See the letter of James in the New Testament, chapter 5, verses 14 – 16).

My Dad had given a lift in his car to a neighbouring Vicar who had a little daughter who was seriously ill with infantile eczema. In those days there was nothing doctors could do to treat this.

My Father said, “I suppose that if we took this teaching to heart, we ought to be able to help your little girl.”

Those were days when the only telephone in any area was at the Post Office. After a few days Dad received a Telegram from his friend … “Please come and do what you said”.

Nowhere could Dad find a prayer book with a service in it for anointing the sick and laying on hands to pray for healing. In the end the two of them blessed some olive oil and went together to the hospital.

What they saw there would have broken your heart…. The child lay on her back in a cot. Each hand and foot was tied to the side of the cot by a bandage. This was to prevent scratching which would have covered her in blood.

My Father dipped his finger in the oil and anointed her head in the shape of a cross on her forehead. Then he laid his hands on her and prayed, “Lord, we have obeyed the words of your Son and of Holy Scripture. We pray that you would give healing to this child, in the name of Jesus, Amen”.

A day or two later Dad received a telegram to say that she had improved. The following week my parents decided to attend the garden fete at the vicarage of this child’s parents. I must leave it to your imagination, to think what my father’s feelings were when the little girl came running across the grass to greet my father and take his hand.

That was how my father realised a calling to minister to the sick in the power of the Holy Spirit. It is all the more remarkable because it was at a time when such things were almost unheard-of.

Some time later, after he had spent many years praying for healing and had seen many miraculous recoveries, Dad gave a series of talks about the gift and ministry of Christian healing. These talks were published in a booklet which is now out of print. However, you can find them now on the page ‘Redemptive Healing’ – see tab at top of home page.

Who knows what God could do through us, if we only have the faith to believe his word and trust in the love and mercy of Jesus?

It’s quite a thought.



  1. Once again words of inspiration; thank you for this. I’ve recently had the thought “Anoint the sick with oil” and then my daughter brought home a bottle of Anointing Oil which she got at a church meeting she attended. I’ve been “sitting” on this not quite sure what to do and what it means. I’ve told my Vicar about this and even asked him how do you anoint with oil. I know of several people who are ill, And now I’ve read that is exactly what your grand-father did all those years ago and though I’m inspired by his words, I’m still not sure what it all means for us as a church. Could it be that we are to look at healing ministry? I’m constantly praying for enlightenment.


    1. It could well be that the Lord is guiding in this direction, Jo, but I also think that it is not yet the right time to do anything about it. There is too much upheaval ahead for the church and things will need to settle down, and a fresh vision for the church needs to be revealed. Healing and prayer with anointing could then be part of that vision.

      If you read the rest of my grandfather’s book you’ll see that he is very insistent that prayer and anointing with oil for the sick should be the work of the priest, because he was basing it on the book of James (last chapter). However, things have changed a lot in the ministry of the Anglican church since he wrote his book, and now there are so many lay ministers and Readers, and I am sure that these come into the category of the ‘elders of the church’ that James talks about in his epistle.

      Keep praying and trusting and the Lord of time will tell!


  2. Alleluia! He was a remarkable man and a faithful, obedient and godly priest with a real gift of healing. We and the world need more like him! God’s healing work continues in and through his church, as in so many other ways, too.


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