Friday, October 31, 2014

Healed on Halloween!

Times Prayer Changed Everything - Instantly! Story # 2

Once while visiting a missionary friend in Kolkata (at that time it was still called "Calcutta"), India, I got very sick: I had fever and stomach pain, threw up, and felt completely miserable for about two days or so. I tried various remedies, but nothing worked until I realized that it was Halloween. Knowing that Halloween is the highest holiday of Satanists around the world,* I broke the power of curses put on missionaries by Satanists by claiming the power of the blood of Jesus and Proverbs 26:2 which states that an undeserved curse will not come to pass. Within an hour, I was completely back to normal!

* A day lasts 24 hours - in one location. But taking in account the different time zones and the international dateline, a calendar-day actually lasts almost 48 hours globally. So I think that I started to get sick when Satanists in Eastern Asia began to "celebrate" Halloween by worshiping Satan and making sacrifices to him, and when the Holy Spirit brought my attention to it some 36+ hours later, it was still October 31st in the US and other parts of the Western hemisphere...

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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Times Prayer Changed Everything - Instantly

We all believe it: Prayer changes things. But sometimes change seems to come slowly. And when we don't see a prayer answered after a while, we more often than not give up prayer altogether. After all, we reason, it must not have been God's will, otherwise He would have done something already. As I thought about this today, I was reminded of some situations in my life when the Lord responded to prayer instantly and the idea was born to write them down and post them on this Blog. Thus the start of this little series today. I hope that you will be encouraged to be uncomplicated and spontaneous in your prayer, as it seems to be the pattern in the stories that came to my mind so far: It is when we pray simple, childlike and not pre-meditated prayers that our Father in heaven rushes to move heaven and earth, and even people's hearts!

Story #1: A drug addict set free!

"Are you willing to make an experiment tonight?" I asked. He looked at me with big eyes and said "What do you want to do?" "I want to pray for you, and see what the Lord will do." That didn't seem to be too threatening to him, and so he agreed. We were in downtown Los Angeles on a rather chilly night. Together with a team of students from our Discipleship Training School I had come to what is known as "Skit Row" to hand out sandwiches, hot coffee and cocoa to the homeless that populate the streets here after business hours. In many ways it was a crazy night. Hundreds of men were more or less aimlessly walking around, some had made fires on the street to keep warm. Drug dealers waited for their regulars, many of the men were drunk, here and there were quarrels with people yelling at each other. A police car had stopped by a few minutes earlier and one of the officers had made it clear to us that we should not be there as it was too dangerous. They urged us, just as some of the homeless people themselves, at least not to go into certain side streets, but I am not sure whether all of the team members even heard the warning and thus some of us probably went there anyway. I was glad that I had called a prayer meeting before we had jumped into our two vans to get here. This way we knew that God wanted us to be here and we felt completely safe and were very much aware of the peace of God surrounding us. While I had talked to Peter*, an obviously demon-possessed man tried his best to make us scared by yelling at us and rolling his eyes weirdly. But he kept a respectful distance to us. So did the drug dealer who was eager for me to finish talking to his client. "Okay, let's pray: Father, I pray for Peter, that in the moment he walks away from here you would change his heart so that he would no longer want to use drugs. In Jesus' name. Amen." When I opened my eyes after this short prayer, Peter looked at me curiously and maybe just a little bit mockingly. "So you think God will answer your prayer?" he asked. "Yes," I said, with a confidence that you cannot manufacture by your own effort even if your life depended on it. "But I don't feel any different," he said, and I heard his dealer laughing a few meters away from us. "You remember," I reminded him, "I prayed that in the moment you walk away from here God would change your heart." I had never prayed like that before, and I had not thought about what to pray before I had closed my eyes. And I certainly had not thought about how to respond to his questions after the prayer. As it was time for us to go back to our base on the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains, I pointed to our vehicles and asked Peter whether he wanted to walk with us to send us off and maybe grab another sandwich. He agreed. We had walked just a few steps when he pulled his drug equipment out of his pockets and cheerfully handed them to me: "Here, please keep this, I don't want to do this anymore!" I was stunned, but then again not even really surprised. Rather, me and my friend who had been part of this encounter were genuinely happy and thankful. Don't ask me what it was that Peter actually handed over to us, because I have been blessed with total ignorance in regards to things related to drugs - I've never tried anything but cigarettes and never made it my mission to study up on the subject in regards to how exactly to use the various drugs, whether you smoke, inhale, shoot, sniff or simply eat them. I do know the difference, though, between a fake surrender for whatever reason and a genuine change of heart. And Peter didn't pull a stunt on us, but he was delivered from his drug-habit in an instant. As our vans had parked at one of the Missions that are offering meals and shelter for the homeless in the area, we connected Peter with it for follow-up and discipleship. 

This happened in January or February 1996. I haven't heard anything from Peter since, but I trust that the Lord continued what He started in this young man's life. I also have never prayed for other people in this way again. I simply was led to pray in this way on that day for that man. I didn't use any "technique", didn't go through 10 steps of intercession and didn't even spend time listening to how the Lord might want to have me pray. I just prayed whatever came to my mind in the situation and God answered. 

I guess you could write volumes of books on the theological implications of this incident, and maybe someday I will do that. But much more do I wish for the same child-likeness in my everyday prayer-life. To help me (and maybe some of you who read this) to get there, I wrote down this little story. If you were encouraged by it, please feel free to post a comment, click on "Like," share or let me know in some other way. I want to post more stories in the weeks to come, so come back to this site every now and then. Be blessed, and be a blessing! :)


* Probably this is not the actual name of the person we prayed for that day. It's a long time ago and I don't remember the person's name. The rest of the story, however, is a true report, with the quotes reflecting the heart of what was said, not necessarily the exact words that were spoken.
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