When Livvy was 17 we went to the hospital for a routine check-up and were told that she had a lung infection and her lung function was down to 69%, the lowest she had ever had. This was quite a rapid decline, and she was diagnosed with a very serious bacteria called ‘Mycobacterium Abscessus’, which is very resistant to medicine. It required 4 weeks of heavy doses of intravenous drugs in hospital with only a 30% chance of getting rid of it. This was a big blow for us all, and although Livvy was really sad about losing most of her summer holiday in a hospital room, her strong faith in God gave her such a peace and kept her cheerful.
It would have been easy to doubt what God was doing in her life. Two verses really encouraged us:
Romans 4:18-20 says ‘Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and…without weakening in his faith…he did not stagger through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised’.
2 Samuel 22:38: ‘Samuel pursued his enemies and crushed them – he did not turn back until all of them were destroyed’.
After 5 years of working with God to pray his heart of compassion for Livvy, I wasn’t about to turn back now. When we feel like giving up we should also remind ourselves of who we are doing it for.
In praying against this bacteria, I said to God ‘show me my enemy, so that I can defeat it in Jesus’ name’, but I felt that God was saying to me that I should be praying ‘show me my God, so that I can see how powerful you are’. This taught me a good way to look at prayer: We spend a lot of time telling God how big our mountains are, but we should spend more time telling our mountains how big our God is!
I love the verse in Hebrews 11:33-35 which says that believers with a strong faith ‘conquered kingdoms, administered justice and routed foreign armies’. For me, the infection is the foreign army that is resident in her body, and I am called to rout it because I believe that it is an injustice that it is there.
God is certainly with us as we stand against the injustice of illness in people’s lives. It says in Isaiah 61:8 ’I the Lord love justice’.
Saturday 15-Sunday 16 August 2015: a memorable victory
I did a 36 hour fast and pray, ending with a 2 hour prayer walk around the outskirts of the Northern General Hospital in Sheffield. My attack against the bacteria Mycobacterium Abscessus was based solidly on the Bible:
I often use the advice that Jesus gave in Luke 11:21-22 – ‘A strongman guards his possessions, but when someone more powerful than he comes, he ties up the strongman and robs him of his possessions, then divides up the spoils’. The Mycobacterium Abscessus was a strongman, difficult to defeat with medicine. As a Christian I am more powerful and can rob it of its authority as an illness. I prayed this through, then tied it very tightly with God’s strong rope so that it was defenceless and exposed, powerless to stop me. I took away its right to live in Livvy and its ability to damage her lungs.
I also robbed it of its name Mycobacterium Abscessus. To take away its identity is to have total victory over it. With God’s backing, I prayed along these lines: ‘I am a Christian and I have the authority in Jesus Christ to rob you of your name – I take it away right now so that you have no identity, you are now nameless, and therefore defeated.’
I tied up the bacteria with God’s strong rope. God illustrated this in my mind’s eye by giving me a picture of a dark figure so tightly bound up that it couldn’t even move – hands, feet and body all tied. Death was inevitable, given its helpless state.
God gave me a sword to hold, which represents the Word of God, with the word Victor written down it. I felt myself standing over Mycobacterium Abscessus, portrayed by this dark bound figure, and I pierced it to deliver the fatal blow. These were very vivid pictures to show me the effects of my prayers, and the brutality of prayer warfare.
The healing was confirmed by 3 clear cough swabs at the hospital. Wonderful news, thank you God!