About three years ago, I was late to church and had to sit a few rows from the back. I always sat in the back pew to be prepared to make a hasty exit if I start jumping as well as to avoid distracting other people as I sit wrapped up in blankets trying to stay warm. A woman I had never seen before and have never seen since spoke to me after the service.
“I saw you sitting in front of me and felt a strong urge to pray for you. You have heart trouble, don’t you?”
I responded in the negative.
“I had this vision of lines going through your body. I thought they were veins and arteries.”
I told her my problem was in my nervous system. “Nerves, that’s what I saw,” she said. “I got a message from God when I was praying for you. You’ve been healed, but the healing may take a while to manifest. So if you have symptoms for a while, just tell yourself you’ve been healed, and the healing will manifest soon.”
I was so excited to hear this that I didn’t even think to find out who the woman was, and to this day I can’t even remember what she looked like. Instead of praying for healing, I started thanking God in my prayers for the healing that would manifest soon. But as time passed, no healing manifested. In fact, my symptoms worsened. Several times, I stayed for healing services at church, but other than that, I didn’t ask anyone else to pray for me except in isolated cases when other people saw me jumping.
Maybe it goes back to that control issue. I thought I should be able to pray for myself. Besides, there were so many other people with more serious problems than I had that it didn’t seem fair to ask clergy or prayer intercessors to spend their time praying for me when they needed to be praying for people with cancer and other life-threatening conditions. Father Chip always quotes James 8:14-16.
Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.
Since I haven’t been able to attend Bible study at All Saints, I’ve taken a number of online Bible studies in the JesusWalk Bible Study Series from Joyful Heart Ministries. In a study of James, I was struck by Pastor Ralph Wilson’s comments on this passage. He said some faith is necessary for healing, and quoted Mark 6:5-6: “He could not do any miracles there … and he was amazed at their lack of faith.”
But then he went on to point out that “the sick person is to ‘call for the elders of the church,’ but it is the elders who are responsible to pray the ‘prayer of faith.’ (Pastor Ralph Wilson, JesusWalk Bible Study—James: Practical Christianity)
In mid-April 2008, after I had missed several consecutive Sundays, Father Chip said he wanted to give me Unction and pray for healing. So between the two Sunday morning services, I sat on the back pew surrounded by Father Chip and two prayer intercessors. Father Chip anointed me with oil and prayed for healing. He got my attention with the words, “Lord, I’m tired of seeing this woman suffer!” Amen to that! He prayed as long as I jumped. When the jumping stopped, Father Chip stopped praying. When the jumping started again, he started praying again. I don’t recall how many times that happened, but Father Chip persisted until the jumping finally stopped … and stayed stopped. When I said I was still cold, he laid his hand on my left shoulder and prayed for warmth. His hand grew hot and the warmth spread through my left side.
Since that day, my symptoms have subsided dramatically. Following Father Chip’s advice, I have called on prayer intercessors several times when I’m going through a jumping spell. The members of intercessory prayer team at All Saints are always ready to pray whenever needed.
I started attending the Wednesday night Bible study and Evensong, something I have missed doing in recent years. Several people have commented that I appear “chipper” now—apparently the jumping had affected my attitude more than I realized. I still get cold on my left side, and I have a few random jerks, especially when I first go to bed if I’ve very tired. But the last severe jumping spell I’ve had was on my birthday—exactly six years from the day the jumping started.
Thanks be to God for healing and the intercession of powerful prayer warriors.