Prayer seems to be on my mind. Whether it was the conversation about politics that began this or the awareness that I will be talking about prayer in a month with a young adults group, I am not sure. Whatever the reason, this post is one of a number of prayer experiences I will be sharing with you over the next month or so. I'm praying that you will be encouraged and maybe even challenged by it. I still am.
It was the closing of the time of worship when the pastor came to the front of the auditorium and began to speak about prayer. He said he was feeling led to pray for healing.
When he said this, I perked up bit, thinking of my left ankle in its air cast. I had been wearing it since my sprain, a few weeks before; and I planned to wear it until my wedding day, so I would not reinjure it. I had been known to do that. This was my fifth sprain in the last six years. I sprained my left ankle three times in six months, skipped two years and sprained it again. Oddly, this most recent sprain happened when I shifted my weight from my right leg to my left leg, as I was waiting for my brother to unlock the car door. My ankle just gave out on me.
The pastor began to pray. He used simple words, nothing fancy. He spoke about a few specific ailments that were brought to his mind—one concerning neck pain and another was someone’s back. He seemed to know just what they were experiencing.
As he prayed, I thought about the many times Jesus had healed the lame; called them to stand; forgave their sin; sent them joyfully on their way. The disciples healed people too. Jesus sent them out to do so and he even told them they would do “greater things” than these. I believe these things really took place. I believe these things happened, though I had never experienced them myself.
I knew that James wrote, “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”
So, as I sat and listened to the pastor pray, my ankle aching, I wondered if I might experience healing too. Sometime in the middle of this time of prayer, I began to notice warmth radiating around my left ankle. It tingled in this way, noticeably, for a few minutes before it stopped. I was no longer aware of my aching ankle. There was no doubt in my mind that something had happened. What was it? Had I just experienced healing? I wondered inside.
When we stood up to leave, I noticed how my ankle still ached as I stood with my weight upon it. It couldn’t have been healed, could it? I still wondered. What had I experienced? I wasn’t exactly sure.
It was only time and observation that began to unravel the mystery of that time of prayer.
The first time I took a wrong step on my left foot, I was surprised when I didn’t fall to the ground in pain. My ankle held strong and self-corrected. This happened multiple times over the course of a few years. Each time, I thought about this prayer experience wondering if I had really been healed in a way I couldn’t have been imagined, almost like a hedge of protection.
It was the first time my ankle rolled that I was not so sure. I stood up one day and my left ankle gave out under me causing me to cry out and my husband to come running. I felt a little ridiculous. We elevated my ankle and iced it. It was sore, but nothing more. I was amazed. In the past, this incident would have been enough to put me on crutches for a week. Instead, I was able to walk around with just the smallest bit of an ache in my ankle. Is this what healing looks like? I wondered.
In the midst of a few similar experiences, I came to believe that I have been healed. The healing has been different from what I imagined healing would be. I received back the strength of my ankle, rather than a healing of a particular sprain. Any normal person would have been able to self-correct a wrong step or would have been a little sore in the midst of my ankle rolling experiences. I was not that person before that prayer, now I am. My ankle is once again a normal ankle rather than a weak one. I praise God for his work; and I now know from experience that healing can come in the midst of faith and prayer.
Grace and peace be ours in abundance as we believe in faith that God can heal through prayer. May we find that this is true whether we have a broken heart, a hurting spirit, or a physical ailment that he provides just the kind of healing that we need. May we lift up one another trusting in His goodness and the power of prayer.