Leanne Payne, made an extraordinary contribution to the ministry of healing prayer through over forty years of service and leadership. Called a “great soldier for Christ” by the philosopher Dallas Willard, she founded Pastoral Care Ministries, dedicated to teaching, healing, and growth in Christian maturity. She wrote seven books that continue in print in English and in 12 other language translations.
Leanne Payne was born during the Great Depression on June 26, 1932, in Omaha, Nebraska, the elder daughter of Robert and Forrest Mabrey. Times were hard and became even more difficult when her father died when she was three years old. Her mother moved with Leanne and her younger sister to Little Rock, Arkansas, to live with family.
Leanne’s early adult life was shaped by several impulsive and painful choices that ultimately brought her to a place of deep repentance. At the end of herself by her mid-twenties, she underwent a full and lasting conversion to Christ, stepping firmly onto the path of obedience to God.
In 1963 Mrs. Payne became the dorm mother at Wheaton Academy, beginning her forty-plus-year association with Wheaton, Illinois, and its legacy of great evangelical leaders such as R. A. Torrey, F. B. Meyer, and Dwight Moody. A year later she joined the prayer circle of Fr. Richard Winkler, considered the grandfather of the charismatic renewal movement. In 1965 while working for Wheaton College, she enrolled as a student and thus began her formal education. From 1965 to 1974 she studied at both Wheaton and University of Arkansas, earning a BA and two MA degrees.
During the next several years she wrote her first book, Real Presence: The Christian Worldview of C. S. Lewis as Incarnational Reality, taught at Wheaton College, and assisted Dr. Clyde Kilby, the visionary who established the C. S. Lewis literary collection at Wheaton College (today’s Marion E. Wade Center). She catalogued the letters of C. S. Lewis while sitting at his desk and benefitted richly from Lewis and the mentoring by Dr. Kilby.
Fr. Winkler introduced her to the healing-prayer ministry of Agnes Sanford in 1973, and Leanne was soon serving with Mrs. Sanford in her Schools of Pastoral Care. By 1976 she was ministering full time through writing and healing prayer. She moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in 1978 and served as a research fellow under Henri Nouwen at Yale Divinity School in 1981. This year also saw the much-celebrated publication of The Broken Image.
In 1982 she incorporated Pastoral Care Ministries with the guidance of friends experienced in business matters. The establishment of this ministry structure brought order, and Leanne flourished in generative creativity. From this time onward, she provided pastoral care through prayer and counselling mainly at the week-long PCM schools conducted throughout North America, Europe, Hawaii, and Australia. She published five more books in the years that followed: Crisis in Masculinity, The Healing Presence, Restoring the Christian Soul, Listening Prayer, and finally in 2008 her spiritual autobiography. Dr. Donald Bloesch said of Heaven’s Calling, “It poignantly shows how the author has been mightily used by the Spirit of God to spearhead a ministry of renewal and celebration.” In 2008 Leanne founded Ministries of Pastoral Care, which has allowed her week-long pastoral care schools to continue beyond her retirement and to this day.
Leanne was known for her deep devotion to God, her profound thought, her writing about “incarnational reality” – how God dwells in his people – and for the way the triune God would respond mightily to her prayer, “Come, Holy Spirit.” She shared the winsome character of her mentors Dr. Kilby and Agnes Sanford, the “eternal child,” delighting always in creation whether it be a squirrel, a perfectly formed flower, or a man or woman made in the image of God.
In his celebrated Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God (Matthew 5:8). And while the phrase “pure in heart” means as Soren Kierkegaard stated, “to will one thing,’ to wholly and sincerely pursue God alone, it also means more. The Greek word for “pure” depicts a clearing of muddied waters, a ridding of all that pollutes. To be pure in heart is to be free from guilt and sin, to be free from what is false. It is to approach God, as C.S. Lewis says, with the prayer which precedes all prayers: May it be the real I who speaks. May it be the real Thou I speak to”
-Leanne Payne Source Healing Presence
To celebrate our smallness does not mean we do not prepare ourselves by learning all we can about the spirits, souls, and bodies of men and women and the laws of health and wholeness concerning them…but we can never substitute our learning and counseling “skills” for the simplicity of opening the eyes and ears of our hearts to God…no matter how qualified the Christian minister, physician, psychologist, or counselor, he is still one who is inadequate apart from God, in the face of his own or others’ needs. And this is where faith in the Unseen Real comes in
But to acknowledge the Presence of God who is really there is actually a form of prayer, a way of praying always as the Scriptures exhort us to do. When we do this, the eyes and ears of our hearts are opened to receive the word He is always speaking. We enter into a path of obedience perhaps unknown to us before where we joyfully acknowledge “Jesus is Lord” But the acknowledgment that God is always with us—even when in our sensory being we are least aware of it—is not always easy. It requires discipline.
The practice of the Presence, then, is simply the discipline of calling to the mind the truth that God is with us. When we consistently do this, the miracle of seeing by faith is given. We begin to see with the eyes of our hearts.
The power to heal and be healed is available because God Himself is in our midst. His Presence and His power are mysteriously one, and we who live and move and have our being in God are called to preach, teach, and heal in that spiritual power and authority. Oswald Chambers expresses it this way: “Ye shall receive the power of the Holy Ghost’—not power as a gift from the Holy Ghost; the power is the Holy Ghost, not something which he imparts.” We become ministers of God’s healing love and power, therefore, as we learn to invoke the mighty Presence of our Lord, and as we learn to become the vessels through which He ministers in our midst.
To be a Christian minister is to call the needy to a radical and full repentance, and then, in the power of the Spirit, to proclaim forgiveness in such a way that the repentant one can receive it. The Christian minister is a sacramental channel through which Gods forgiveness flows
Separation from the Presence is, quite literally, what the Fall is. As a result of the Fall, mankind slipped from God-consciousness into the hell of self and self-consciousness. Such a state is at once sinful and incomplete. This fallen self turned inward and narcissistic, dwells in misconceived feelings and attitudes, those that arise from listening to the self-in-separation and the voices of the fallen world. That self is to be “put off”—we are not to practice the presence of self
“It is not good for man to be alone” (Gen 2: 18). The poet Milton commenting on this word said: “Loneliness is the first thing which God’s eye named not good.” We know ourselves only in relation to God and others.
Born lonely, we try hard to fit in, to be the kind of person that will cause others to like us. Craving and needing very much the affirmation of others, we compromise, put on any face, or many faces; we do even those things we do not like to do in order to fit in. We are bent…toward the creature, attempting to find our identity in him. Slowly and compulsively the false self closes its hard, brittle shell around us, and our loneliness remains.
The fallen self cannot know itself. As we have seen, we do not know who we are and will search for our identity in someone or something other than God until we find ourselves in Him. And it is only in Him that we become persons. In the Presence, conversing with Him, we find that the 'old man' - the sinful, the neurotic, the sickly compulsive, the seedy old actor within - is not the Real, but that these are simply the false selves that can never be rooted in God. We find that God is the Real and that He calls the real 'I' forward, separating us from our sicknesses and sins. We then no longer define ourselves by our sins, neuroses, and deprivations, but by Him whose healing life cleanses and indwells us.
-Leanne Payne Source: The Broken Image