(Note: Last week’s article was written by Miel Formantes. The editor apologizes for the mistake!)
Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. (James 5:14-15a NIV)
Some of you may not know this, but I lived in China for a little over a year. While I was there, I attended the local church almost every Sunday, and by Christmas, I was asked to participate in their special Christmas service.
While I was practicing for my performance, the pianist who was accompanying me said that the week before, a motorcycle had run over her foot in the street, and it was broken in many places. I felt compelled to kneel down and pray over her. When I saw her on Christmas, a few days later, she was wearing normal shoes on both her feet, and she told me that my prayers for her foot had healed her. She was running and jumping, all in high heels!
I never expected that I would be a conduit for such a thing. Until my experience of praying over my friend’s foot, I had never fully believed that prayer could spontaneously and miraculously heal a person. Although I’ve been to several charismatic churches and witnessed a few miracles, I’ve always been a teensy bit skeptical…
Fast forward to last week: on Sunday night, I was sitting in the bathtub with Isaac, who will be 4 months old next week. I handed him off to Daniel, and in that one movement, I tweaked my back. Now, I throw out my back at least once a year, to varying degrees. Usually, it’s just a pain that I deal with and it goes away. This time, though, I felt top-heavy when I tried to stand up straight, and I ended up crawling on the floor in excruciating pain. I am not exaggerating.
I was so scared! That Monday morning, Daniel took off work, we slowly organized to get in the car and take Isaac to daycare, and then Daniel drove me to the Emergency Room for a diagnosis. While we were on the way, I emailed Pastor Mark about how scared I was, since I’d had to crawl to the car as well. I’ve never been reduced to crawling, and I don’t care to ever repeat that experience. After my request for prayer had been circulated to the prayer team, I began to find myself not needing to crawl. It still hurt to walk, but I could do it! I walked standing up straight by Wednesday. This last Sunday I walked short distances holding Isaac. Today, I was able to take him from my car and walk him into daycare without a baby carrier!
As many times as I’ve hurt my back, I’ve never recovered so quickly as I did last week. I’m 100% certain that the difference this time is that I asked for prayers. I felt them. Every day, I felt prayers. Paul tells the Corinthians, “On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many” (2 Cor. 1:10b-11 NIV). I give thanks for the generous prayers of Creekside! Thank you so much for caring for my family and me, enough to pray that my back will be healed. I’m incredibly grateful. Yes, I took Prednisone and went to physical therapy, but even today at my PT visit, they were all amazed at how well I was able to move around. Though I’m not yet fully healed, I’m very close to full restoration!
For all of the people who believe that prayers are trite and do no good in a world of pain and sorrow (for it seems that tragedy after tragedy has been happening lately), I would like to challenge you to pray more often. God hears our prayers. He doesn’t always answer them in ways that we would like, but sometimes, He answers them exactly the way in which we expect! That happened for me this last week. Praise God, and thank you for joining with me in prayer.
Nicole can be reached by email here.