I walked into the small South African wooden hut with dirt floors to notice a thin woman lying on a bed. “She was cursed by a witch,” one of the locals told me. “She just lays in bed all day long, her bones feel like broken glass; she is in so much pain. Will you pray for her?”
My palms were sweaty; my heart was beating into my throat. My mind raced with questions, “Lord, what if my prayers don’t work? What if I embarrass you?” But something within me that day told me it was possible. It was a divine empowering; I just knew God was going to do something.
I placed my hand on the bony shoulder of the practically lifeless woman. Both fearful and faith-filled, I opened my mouth and began to pray. I felt something that is difficult for me to explain even today.
It wasn’t an emotion, although I felt emotional. It wasn’t physical; but I felt something through my body. It was an infusing, an empowering, an impelling and a propelling. It was Holy.
As I was praying, the feeble woman opened her eyes, looked directly at me and sat up and then stood up. Just like that. The local villagers began to talk, “She hasn’t sat up or even stood up in weeks.” I stood there in belief and disbelief all at the same time. Was it a fluke? Emotions swirled, questions and confusion all at the same time. I walked out of the hut that day wondering, did God heal her?
Again, when I was serving as an associate pastor in Upstate New York I made a hospital visit to see a small premature baby in the NICU. The prognosis was grim. I can remember standing there as a young, scared, 23 year old Pastor wondering how to pray. “He hasn’t moved in days,” said the Dad with tears streaming down his face. I walked in to see the beautiful little boy lying almost lifeless in his bed. I placed my hands on him, closed my eyes and began to pray for the Divine presence of God to surround this child. Again, I felt something that is difficult for me to explain even today. It wasn’t an emotion, although I felt emotional. It wasn’t physical; but I felt something through my body. It was an infusing, an empowering, an impelling and a propelling. It was Holy.
“He’s moving, he’s dancing;” laughed the dad. I opened my eyes only slightly to notice the baby’s arms and legs were flailing. We all stood there; laughing and crying as we watched the tiny infant “dance.”
Was that God or just a coincidence?
Just a few short weeks ago, a young couple in our church was fully expecting to deliver their baby at only 31 weeks pregnant because of complications. During a Sunday morning worship gathering, the congregation gathered and prayed boldly for a miracle. We prayed specifically that they would not have to deliver the baby and that the Doctors would be dumbfounded and say, “This never happens.”
God did exactly that.
When the couple arrived at the appointment the Doctors and nurses were ready to deliver with all of their bags fully packed. However, after doing the stress test the Doctor was “confused” and “gitty” looking at the results. They said, “we were fully expecting this to be bad and for you to deliver today, but now our plan has changed. THIS NEVER HAPPENS. I don’t know how there could be this much of a change in one week.” This was almost a month ago and the baby is still strong and healthy.
These are only a few stories, I could write a book of answered prayers.
Why am I sharing these stories?
You see, when we read through the pages of the New Testament we see a wild, untamed Triune God that heals, transforms, forgives sins, and does the unfathomable. We wonder – does God still work like this?
God does. God is. God will.
Richard Foster writes, “My Lord and my God, I have a thousand arguments against healing prayer. You are the one argument for it…You win. Help me to be a conduit through which your healing love can flow to others. For Jesus’ sake. Amen.”
You see, the days of Kingdom Power, Manifested Divine Presence, and the astonishment of many is not over; in fact, it is quite alive.
But let’s be real, sometimes our prayers aren’t answered in ways we expect or want them to. There is no easy answer and I don’t always know “why.” There were times that even the disciples of Jesus failed at healing prayers (Mark 9:14-29). I do know this:
The Triune God is a complex, wild, untamed mystery.
Over the last two days, a little boy by the name of Ryan has gripped my heart. Last week it was a little girl by the name of Leanne. Leanne’s situation was also grim and she is now miraculously out of the hospital. Ryan is a 13 year old little boy suffering from Steven Johnson’s Syndrome. When I received word to pray for Ryan, things were not looking good. Last night, when I prayed for him, the Holy Spirit came over me in such a way that was again, indescribable. I have so much hope for Ryan; I am praying for a miracle.
My hope is that you, the reader, will be encouraged by these stories. None of these stories are about me; in fact, most of the times I wasn’t the only one praying. I did not heal anyone, I didn’t perform any miracles; I have been nothing more than a simple and ordinary conduit.
How about you? Do you have a story? Maybe we could share it here to encourage others.