They are all God’s works, not ours, if they’re real, and all the spiritual gifts are His, not ours, including the gifts of healings and miracles. He does it all, even when He does it through us. It’s not like we have any power to heal or even know how to do what needs to be done apart from Him. We don’t deserve or even want the credit.
In recalling examples to give you I can’t begin even to list here, much less describe, all that we have seen God do. Over the past 14 years in my case and eight in Jerry’s, we have served on prayer teams, sometimes during ministry weekends at the Center for Prayer Mobilization (center4prayer.org) in the mountain community of Idyllwild. We have seen physical healings from headaches to heart, liver, and spleen problems to the lengthening of uneven legs. People have sometimes attributed healings to God-through-us but we don’t see the medical records afterwards which would prove it.
But physical healing usually isn’t an isolated thing. God heals people, not just body parts. He makes people whole and that isn’t always just or even primarily physical. God doesn’t just line people up, touch a sore spot here or speak a professional word of command there and move on to the next person. Some healings follow or happen within a context of desperation involving years of prayer. They may involve tremendous emotional pain and spiritual neediness, so that when physical healing comes it is almost an addendum to the healing of fear, unbelief, rage, self-condemnation, loneliness, or unforgiveness.
My journals are full of miracles we’ve watched God perform. Those people in on the process, with Him in charge, are characterized by a sense of our inadequacy, of groping to know and follow God’s leading–and often end with a rapturous acknowledgment of God’s love and power, a spontaneous outpouring of worship. We look back and see how God led us steadily to a victorious conclusion.
For instance, there was Myrna, a grandmother who lived in Idyllwild. She came to the center on Saturday nights for our time of community worship. When I met her she was so doubled over, her extremities so twisted with arthritis my first amazed thought was, “She is (just like) the woman Jesus healed in the New Testament!” I hadn’t the slightest doubt He could and would heal her.
Myrna did get healing. The Lord pinpointed the beginning of her arthritis. At the age of 35 she made a vow, something like, “People treat me better when I’m sick so I wouldn’t mind being sick all the time!” By doing so, she had invited in a spirit of infirmity. At the prayer center, she renounced that vow and, over time, she experienced healing. Every time I saw her, her back was straighter–we could see her face now–and her hands not so crippled. She was not in so much pain, maybe not in any pain.
I kept waiting impatiently for total healing. But Myrna didn’t care about that. She was so thrilled to be able to stand up and raise her arms high in praise to Jesus, she was perfectly happy. God had healed something more important to her than her body. Several years later I heard she had died but it had nothing to do with the arthritis.
Those of us whom God uses to facilitate healings always come to a given need with “an empty tool box,” although He has given our teams many tools and taught us to use them effectively. We can’t take anything for granted. Moses assumed because he was commanded to strike a rock to provide water for the masses once that he was to strike the rock when they were thirsty again. But God told him, You were supposed to speak to the rock this time! and his disobedience cost him his entry into the Promised Land.
In the New Testament Jesus healed one blind man with a touch, another with mud-and-spit applied topically, another with forgiveness of his sins. Each person who comes up to Idyllwild for prayer meets with two separate teams for two-hour sessions. One day the team I was on met with two women in succession, each with the same presenting problem, unfinished business regarding a past abortion. Happily we did not assume what had just worked with the first woman was what the second one needed. Her healing involved a different issue but was just as effective.
Throughout much of my life, when I was in therapy for depression, I often felt when my hour was up that I was required to climb off the operating table in the middle of surgery, holding my bleeding guts together until my appointment the following week. But we have found when we let God be in charge of a session, He almost always heals something important in the time allotted. If the person genuinely wants healing, there is closure by the end even though other issues needing to be addressed might be revealed at another time.
When Jerry and I are part of prayer teams in our home (more often now, since Idyllwild is 2-1/2 hours’ drive away!) we clear our schedule and let the Lord decide how much time He needs. If we have three hours, He may do a 3-hour healing or series of healings. If we have half an hour, He’ll do a half-hour healing. And I’ve seen Him heal some issue (in one instance, bulimia) permanently in ten minutes!
One night a dozen of us, intercessors and guests who had come up to Idyllwild for prayer, were assembling in the main room. One of those who had come to be prayed for was a doctor and we learned afterward God had used him on many occasions to heal people directly.
Bobbie, one of the older intercessors, tripped over a rug and fell on the wood floor so hard she was screaming in pain and could not get up even when we tried to help her. It was after dark and we were miles and miles from an emergency room.
Most of us were shocked into “human response” mode, caring, concerned, bringing pillows, making suggestions. After a few minutes the doctor, who had been silently asking the Lord for His leading, rose quietly, and went to kneel beside the woman, asking her where it hurt and gently lifting and stretching her leg, turning her knee. The pain seemed located in her hip-joint. She was still in terrible distress, crying out, hardly able to breathe or speak.
Over the next twenty minutes, while a roomful of us watched, he kept focusing her attention on saying, “God is good, all the time” while he laid hands on her leg and prayed in a low voice. Every few minutes he would move her leg again and ask her how it felt. By the end of that time her screams had stopped. He didn’t check her again. He just took her by the hand and pulled her to her feet and she walked back to her chair rejoicing, free of pain.
So I could tell you, “We watched God heal a woman of excruciating pain in her leg, possibly a broken hip.” But that wouldn’t begin to capture and help you appreciate the context. It wasn’t just about her being “fixed.” It was all of us being in God’s presence, in a holy time and place, experiencing Him, entering into her healing. What we saw God doing reassured us of His reality, of His love, His power, and His ability to use any one of us, if we relax and listen inward and obey. We were all healed, in a way–of doubt, if nothing else. And she knew she was a living miracle!
I could fill this blog with examples of God’s amazing love exhibited through miracles! He is still in the business of healing people not only physically but (even more) emotionally and spiritually and of delivering them from demons.
Gray Matter by Dr. David Levy A neurosurgeon’s stories of God’s healing through prayer.