It all started at one of our church’s ethnic dinners. During conversation time, an elderly gentleman came up to me and asked, “Do you want to walk without that cane?” I said, “Sure, of course.” (But when he asked this, all of my more major issues, like heart disease and life expectancy rushed into my mind. “Pray about that,” my heart pleads.) But before I could say anything, he swiped each of his hands away from himself, shook his head and said, “It is done. You are healed. Get rid of the cane.” This REALLY bugged me! It wasn’t as if people have not already prayed for me to be healed. AND I walk around plenty without my cane, which, according to my physical therapist, aggravates my neck problem and leads to pain. Consequently, the real prayer is not, “Get rid of the cane,” but, “Get rid of the gait, that requires the cane; which means get rid of the nerve damage that causes the gait that requires the cane.” I think I said “Thank you.” Upon reflection, I asked myself, “Why, oh why, do I make things so complicated?” I did appreciate his more simple faith.
But then . . . It was my turn to be in the prayer room. A friend came for prayer. After I prayed for her family, she asked if she could pray for me. I said “Sure! Wonderful! Thank you!” I don’t know what she knew about my overall health, but she prayed from the top of my head to the bottom of my feet, including a prayer so specific that, if her prayer were answered, my pain really would go away, and maybe my lameness too. I felt a bit of the miraculous in our prayer room that day. Her prayer IS being answered day by day.
And then a morning about a week later, as I was leaving the Y, there was another prayer event. Visualize this: I am exhausted from my work out. Because of that, I’m pretty bent over my cane. When someone holds the door for me, I straighten up to look them in the face and say, “Thank you.” On this day when I came to the door, a “fine young man,” one you may recognize as “a cut above” many others, held the door for me, and in the usual manner I looked up and thanked him. Just outside the door he asked if he could pray for me. I said, “Sure! Of course! I believe in prayer.” So he prayed that I would be healed and I could walk straight. I thanked him and we went our separate ways.
Then…just a week later, when I was leaving the seminary where I’m taking a class, another “fine young man,” (younger still) came out of a classroom just as I went by on my way out. He held the door for me and when I thanked him, he said, “I think God wants to heal you. May I pray for you?” I said, “Sure. But please look at my hands and see what afflicts my body.” I took off a glove and showed him my crooked hands. Then he prayed for me, that I would be completely healed. This time, I asked what made him want to pray for me in the first place. He said, “When you raised your face to me I just wanted someone like you to be well.” I think I said, “Wow. Thank you.” And we went our separate ways.
On the way home from school that night, I couldn’t believe it. The prayers had piled up. I was overwhelmed with the presence of God and the power of the Spirit. My car was full of it! I didn’t know what will happen to me physically. But I felt a sense of complete submission to the Lord. When I got home, I checked the calendar and all of that had happened at one week intervals over a four week period—four people with four prayers in four weeks.
About four weeks after that, I went into a dark, dark period, an anguish of my soul over a loved one in a terrible situation from which I cannot save her. When we had the most hope it was all dashed and her situation actually became worse. I thought I would lose my mind over it all. I lay curled in the middle of my bed for a long time. She will die, I realized, because of her own choices, and we cannot help her. I cannot save her out of the darkness. Yet, God’s kingdom is alive and active for me! She may live in the darkness, but I LIVE IN THE LIGHT. Four people in four weeks had prayed for me, and now was the time God would heal me, he would heal my broken spirit. God’s spirit is at work in my life. His love and power burst forth in my heart and raised me up from my low place.
Until now, I shared my story of the four prayers only with my children, my siblings, and one older and wiser saint of God. In no particular order these were some of their comments:
“I’m encouraged for the church. If three total strangers felt free enough to approach you and pray for you, then I know the kingdom is alive and well.”
“I think that in the weeks to follow the prayers, it has become obvious that you are in great emotional and spiritual turmoil. These people prepared the way to your victory in the Lord. You were empowered for what was to come.”
“My family and I were filled with anxiety for you during the same weeks that you were being prayed for. I believe their prayers were powerful and saved you from something awful that Satan may have tried to do.”
“When you raised your face to your door-holder, and he saw your passion for life and obvious love for this world and the people around you, he was moved to ask God to make you well.”
All I can say is, “I am the Lord’s servant . . . May it be to me as you have said.”
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms (Ephesians 6:12).
For our Father knows what you need before you ask him (Matthew 6:8b).
By Margaret Broersma