Third, the person already possesses a flexible and expectant faith that doesn't prematurely leap to claiming a specific outcome on a particular timetable or cling to a formulaic theology of healing. Trust in God's grace-even when God seems momentarily absent or diverted from our deepest desires--is a mark of this maturity. Of course, a suffering person may not be able to easily muster such faith, for suffering itself can make the well of faith run dry. But I would want the person at least to have the inner capacity to assent intellectually, if not emotionally, to the idea that we can't order up the exact kind of healing and growth we want. Instead, we cooperate as best we can and wait for grace to surprise us.
One who is on a conscious and deliberate spiritual journey, or is ripe for taking the first steps on such a journey, is much more likely to benefit from an individualized healing liturgy than one who wants to try a liturgy because she yearns for a cosmic zap that will fix everything.
Further, I want to be reasonably sure ahead of time that the recipient of a personalized liturgy is strong enough to refuse my suggestions and to voice her own preferences and needs. Lay folks usually need and welcome pastoral suggestions for liturgy, and even clergy may need a few ideas of possibilities for personalized liturgy they may not have considered. However, if the recipient is too shy to speak up, or so eager to please that her own desires are sacrificed, or too cowed to disagree, the possibility is great that a liturgy intended to focus on her needs will actually be neither personal nor healing. In other words, the liturgy will more likely be tailored for the pastor's own world rather than hers. An individual is not readyfor a personal liturgy until he or she can understand the difference between Christian liturgy and magic rituals.
One woman, while refusing to go to Alcoholics Anonymous, wanted a liturgy to "get rid of my addiction to alcohol." Another woman wanted a personal liturgy to compel her hus band to "love and understand me:' A young pastor wanted to have a liturgy to "store up some power so that I can get control of my church board."
In a personal liturgy we are not conjuring or casting a spell to get what we want. Instead we are seeking to op en to God's healing grace.
Furthermore, he wanted God to quiet certain people who were gos siping and sniping behind his back, keeping the church from being a place of prayer, welcome, generous service, and peace.