Before we went to France for our summer holiday, I saw a picture in my prayer time of me in the street of the local French town, Bourg Saint Maurice, bending down praying for someone’s injured knee. This inevitably brought a number of reactions – doubt that it would actually happen, excitement that it might, and fear of failure!
The day after we arrived we went to the local swimming pool, and a friend of a friend arrived with her husband, limping with the aid of a walking stick. My first reaction was ‘oh no!’ I sensed some confirmation of the picture and the nerves kicked in, followed by the stark reality: I don’t even know her, what will she think when I ask her? What if it fails? She knows my sister-in-law! My way of checking to see if God is speaking to me is to send the idea back to him and to stop thinking about it – then, if it’s from God, it will come back stronger and make me even more nervous. I therefore spent the rest of the day thinking about this, and I said to myself that if it was God’s idea for me to offer her prayer for her knee, I would bump into her again during the 2 week holiday, and this would be the sign for me to be brave.
I didn’t see her again until the last day of our holiday as I was packing my car – she limped past me and I bottled it, telling myself I was too busy! I spent the whole 10 hour car journey back to Calais regretting my lack of courage the missed opportunity, and also said sorry to God for letting him down.
I decided on this long journey home that I would never again walk away from a situation like this, because I really wanted my Christian faith to have a real and relevant impact on people who are ill. This felt like a real turning point in my life, and made me available for God to use when the situation arose, which is potentially very exciting and challenging.
The year after, we went on the same holiday to the French Alps, and it was exactly the same scenario at the pool on day 1! Rachel limped in using a walking stick and I learned it was a serious skiing injury that wasn’t getting any better. The nerves kicked in again, but I knew in my spirit that I couldn’t walk away this time, and my wife’s apprehension just added to the pressure!
The Bible says that ‘we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God has prepared in advance for us to do’ Ephesians 2:10. I had to believe this was a divine opportunity, and our holiday was almost over before I summoned enough courage to go and knock on the door of her big chalet, knowing full well that Rachel and her husband and 3 of their teenage children were all inside.
As I walked up the hill to her chalet I prayed ‘Lord give me healing hands – your healing through my hands’, which always feels powerful to me. ‘Draw me into your presence so that I am a worthy vessel to allow your healing to flow through me’. The explanation of my coming to her chalet was well received by her husband, thankfully, since my aim was simply to show love and compassion to see her healed and walking normally.
I put my hand on her knee, and asked God to heal the scar tissue, ligaments, muscle and cracked bones that had all been damaged, and to flow his healing through her knee joint. Afterwards, she said politely that it didn’t really feel any better which was disappointing for me, so I asked her if I could pray again because I do feel it’s important to be expectant in my faith and determined to see a breakthrough. What’s more, Jesus prayed twice for a blind person and he was healed. The second time she said it felt a bit better, so all I could say was that I would carry on praying for her as I believed that God had started a work of healing. I actually didn’t feel embarrassed because I knew I had shown compassion for her in a way that she and her family appreciated, and God just had to do the rest!
When I got home I continued to pray for her regularly on my prayer runs as her healing was still on my heart and I wanted to come through to victory. By Christmas I felt I had prayed it through fully, and soon afterwards she emailed me the good news of her full healing! Her husband said he feared she would never walk properly or ski again, and they were both so grateful for my perseverance!
It’s God who gives us the desire to pray for someone, so it’s a pleasure to be faithful in how we listen to him and how we see it through. What a privilege to work with him to see miracles that change people’s lives.
Rachel is now walking, cycling and skiing again – thank you God!