Long ago an angelic chorus announced to a band of shepherds, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
The occasion, of course, was the birth of Jesus. When the angels ascended into heaven, both the sound of their voices and the glorious brilliance which shone around them dissipated. Their message did not.
The shepherds, like many of us today, struggled with the profound simplicity of their promise. Those far-reaching, never-achieving words, “favor” and “peace,” echoed like hollow rhetoric in their ears. But now the message came, not through prophets or teachers, but through angels.
“An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.’“ Luke 2:9-12
The validation of the angelic message slept, as only babies sleep, in a manger.
Prince of Peace
Look around! Can you see it? Feel it? Hear it in the air? This message of peace for all the people?
While tornados rip apart communities, homes, and families, where do we find peace? We silently watch as military giants set siege to defenseless nations and ask again, “How will peace be found?” Floods destroy. Fires consume. Addictions devastate. Yet, God’s Word echoes eternally,
“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those o whom his favor rests.” Luke 2:14
Peace, illusive peace, embodied the paramount blessing Israel looked for with the coming Messiah. The shepherds, like us, desired this state of tranquility, freedom from civil disturbance, security and order, as well as harmony in personal relationships.
The peace which God offered reached beyond the natural realms. Jesus, the Prince of Peace, came to extend peace within, dispelling confusion and discord, first in the hidden recesses of hearts and minds.
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end . . .” Isaiah 9:6,7
My heart longs for such good news, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace!”
Peace and Hope
Hope within the humble band of shepherds latched on to these words! Hope of peace spurred them into the streets of Bethlehem until they found Him.
When they looked into the face of the Christ Child, what did they see? Did they recognize the Holy Lamb of God who would pay a horrific price for their peace? This Gospel of peace declared first to them, would one day echo through the hills of Galilea, and eventually reach even us!
The message reached me when I was over twenty years old — my mind filled with confusion — suicidal and broken. As broken as the family, my internal peacelessness helped to break. Lost and without hope. Needing a Savior, I didn’t know. A Redeemer. An Advocate.
In a last ditch effort to take my life, He came to my ditch. He offered what no man could offer. He gave what no human could give. Peace with God! The peaceof God.
In a single moment, the Messiah, Jesus Christ, not the Baby in a manger, but rather the glorified Lord, reached down to me, the worst of sinners, granting indescribable peace. Faith arose. Knowledge of Jesus bearing the sins of the world, even my sins, burst through disillusionment and despair. I believed Jesus died for my sins and was bruised for my iniquities to arise from the grave three days, all to give life. I knew in that instant the offer extended to me, to you, to all . . .
Not through angels, but Holy Spirit breathed words,
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27
The most common Old Testament word translated into “peace” is shalom. It embodies a sense of wholeness, soundness, health, well-being, and prosperity.
Though none of these immediately became outwardly evident, inwardly my heart filled with shalom! Why? God, the Author and giver of peace became my peace.
“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God.” Romans 5:1
When we experience peace with God, nothing and no one can rob us! The peace and hope flowing from Him surpasses anything. Vertical peace — peace with God — inevitably becomes horizontal peace — peace with others. The evidence of internal peace expressed to others resounds the loudest,
“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rest.” Luke 2:14
Let Peace Rule
Paul wrote to the church in Colosse,
“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace.” Colossians 3:15
God grants peace to us, but we cooperate by letting His peace work and rule through us. With me, it is impossible. But God makes a way through His indwelling Spirit!
“The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.” Romans 8:6
Jesus intends for the enduring “greatness of his government and peace” to operate consistently and continuously through us as we surrender the control of our minds (and hearts) to Him.
As we follow the path of peace, we ultimately follow the way of God, yielding our minds and motives to Him and purpose.
Jesus knew how much we would need to live at peace within an unpeaceful world. Three times after His ressurection, He says, “Peace be with you!” (John 20:19, 21, 26) Co-incidence? Not at all!
On Earth Peace
This earth, the broken, aching world, knows no peace. But it longs for it!
Our neighbors and communities, our friends and our families wait as the shepherds waited. They wait for someone, anyone, to bring them “good news that will cause great joy for all.”
God strategically places you and me to be His voices to herald the Good News, sharing the message of peace to those around us. Peace, perhaps greater than anything else, remains the most desired gift of this and every generation.
“When they had seen him (Jesus), they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child. And all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.” Luke 2:19
When we see Him, we want to tell others about Him!
May we all follow the example of the shepherds, spreading the Good News. Jesus makes Himself as available to all people as He was to the shepherds long ago. May the message of peace and hope be loudly and broadly proclaimed, not just at Christmas, but every day.
“Glory to God in the highest realms of heaven! For there is peace and a good hope given to the sons (and daughters) of men.” Luke 2:14 TPT
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In a world gone off course, I’m thankful for the God of miracles. He remains on the throne — unchanging, powerful and good. Though great kingdoms rule the earth and dangers invade from every side, God sits upon the throne above earth’s domain.
“After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven. And the voice I had first heard speaking to me, like a trumpet said, ‘Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.’ At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it.” Revelation 4:1-3
Today, lets all take a break from the stresses for some good news. News that God still hears the cries of His people and actively involves Himself in their lives.
“Prayer does not equip us for the greater work; prayer is the greater work.” – Author Unknown
The prayer principles within this book are tangible and potent only because they are based on the inerrant Word of God. Everything about prayer originates from and rests securely upon the foundation of God—His divine character and faithfulness: God drawing us to Himself in a personal relationship; God turning His ear toward our faint cries and warring shouts; God empowering us to move with His power and through His authority.
The Bible describes faith as “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Heb 11:1 KJV). The evidence of God moving through His miraculous power in answer to prayer could not be expounded in a few simple writings. However, this closing chapter includes mini-testimonies of prayer rooted in faith, becoming substance.
Miracles of Healing and Provision
Joy-Lyn could write her own book on the miracles she has witnessed God do in answer to prayer, but here are just a few:
“I was in the chemistry laboratory completing an experiment when I received a word of knowledge for the girl sitting across from me in the lab. I felt she was having a problem with the right side of her neck or shoulder, perhaps from a sports injury or gymnastics.
“When we were finished our work, I asked her about it. She did have an injury, but it was from softball. She was experiencing tension and pain on the side of her neck, running down into her shoulder. We prayed right there in the chemistry lab at the university. God touched her. She almost started crying and said, ‘That made my day!’
“A couple of years ago, my mom and I went to a garage sale in a little church across the street from our house. I thought I had a word of knowledge for one lady about her knee. ‘No,’ she said, ‘but my shoulder is in a lot of pain.’
“I asked if I could pray for her. ‘Sure,’ she said, ‘but I’m going to keep shopping.’ After praying, I asked her to test it out. Before prayer, she could only raise her arm parallel to the floor, but now she could raise it a little higher, although it still hurt.
“I asked if I could pray again, ‘Okay,’ she said, ‘I’m shopping, but go for it.’ I prayed again and asked her to check it a second time. She lifted her arm all the way up and gasped, ‘Who . . . are . . . you?’ as she backed up.
“ ‘It’s Jesus! It is all Jesus!’ I said.
“She turned around and quickly left. I walked away laughing and thought, ‘We’re in a church. I don’t know what you expected.’ It goes to show that healing isn’t as normal as it should be.
“After my first year of university, I needed a job and applied to several places but didn’t receive any response. I started praying about it.
“I already knew that tithing was not an option but an important biblical principle. I had tithed before but wasn’t diligently keeping track of every source of income. Up until then, I hadn’t made tithing a priority in my spiritual walk.
“After I prayed for a job, the Lord quickly and clearly said, ‘You start tithing and I’ll give you a job.’
“That was on a Tuesday. Immediately, I took the time to figure out, as far back as I could remember, what I hadn’t tithed from and tithed on that income. By Friday, I was offered a job.
“I received a random phone call for an employment opportunity that I hadn’t even applied for stating, ‘We think you would be good for this position.’ That was probably the quickest answer to prayer I’ve ever received.
“As soon as I obeyed, God provided!
“At work, I was picking up a couple of kids from visiting their mother. When she helped put the kids into the car, I asked if she experienced headaches. After confirming it, we prayed together. Immediately, she felt a lot better. The Muslim girl I was working with that day got to hear the prayer and see this woman’s healing. Then I invited the woman to come to church with me.
“ ‘Sure,’ she said, ‘I’d like that.’
“ ‘Great! I’ll pick you up tonight.’
“That evening I went to the women’s shelter to pick her up and waited for twenty minutes but she never came to meet me. I was about to leave when another lady walked in with crutches. We started talking and I felt led to pray for her. She was in a lot of pain and had been on crutches for ten years because of a failed surgery. After I prayed, she tested it out. It was somewhat better but not completely, so we prayed again.
“She ended up walking pain-free without her crutches and then gave her heart to Jesus. Another lady, who had come into the lobby, heard the prayer, saw the miracle and began thanking God.”
It is really cool when God shows up at work! Even though Joy-Lyn wasn’t completely accurate with the words of knowledge, when she stepped out in faith, trusting God, He graciously healed those around her.
A Family Prays Together
“I haven’t always felt comfortable praying for others but as I learned to trust the Holy Spirit, I became more willing to pray.
“I have seen several significant answers to prayer. My whole family started praying for my uncle when the doctors believed he had a tumor in his neck. Surgery was performed, but they found it was actually a lymph node, not cancer, and it was resolved. Praise the Lord! That was my earliest loud answer to prayer.
“For several years, I was struggling with knee pain and had to go down the stairs one at a time. When a young girl prayed for me at a youth retreat, I felt something hot in my knee. That ongoing knee pain hasn’t returned. Now, I can walk down the stairs normally.
“Our child is one hundred percent a miracle and an answer to prayer. My husband and I were told we would never be able to have children on our own. We both felt no urgency to look into in vitro fertilization or adoption. God gave us a great deal of peace to continue praying and waiting on Him. We became pregnant by the hand of God within three months. Our child is nothing short of a miracle!
“I realize that not everyone’s prayers get answered like that even though they are far more faithful than we are. God hears every prayer. Not a sparrow falls to the ground without God seeing and knowing (Mt 10:29). Sometimes our desires are fulfilled before our eyes, at other times ‘no’ or ‘wait’ is an answer.
We say with confidence that our prayers are answered because we know who we are praying to.
“We have a God who cares deeply for us. Sometimes the tangible answer we experience is God’s peace during imperfect circumstances. We may never understand how God chooses to answer our prayers.”
Leaning on Others
Emmanuel actively pursues spiritual gifts. The list of miracles he has witnessed in his young life spans far.
“I keep pressing in to see God move miraculously in the lives of others. I don’t create doctrines based on my lack of understanding, however.
“For years I prayed for people with one leg shorter than the other to be healed without seeing results. Nothing! Even though I was frustrated, I knew that God wasn’t the issue, but I was. Then I asked a friend who often sees healing in this area to pray for me. The very first person I prayed for after that was healed. Now at least ninety percent of those I pray for with that condition are healed.
“If the door hasn’t been opened to me, I knock again. Then, I keep on knocking (Mt 7:7-8). For me, to pray without ceasing means to not give up (1Thes 5:17).
“There was a fellow in serious condition in the hospital. I don’t think I have fought for someone’s life so much in prayer. I kept in touch with his mother and knew he was getting worse instead of better. The doctors gave him no hope of recovery. He was in a coma and given twenty-four to forty-eight hours to live. I, and many others, kept pushing through in prayer. Not only did he recover, but he gave his life to the Lord. He’s alive and well today.
“That is a recent example of praying for someone without immediate results. It doesn’t mean we pray 24-7, but we pray without giving up. Although we should all make intentional time for prayer, that should not be the only time we pray.
God is a Good Father. He doesn’t inflict pain to teach us a lesson. That would be abusive! God is so gracious and wonderful.
“Even though I have seen many others healed, I have rarely been healed of anything. My theology is that God always desires to heal. He takes ugly situations and transforms them into something beautiful.
“We need to be deeply grounded in the Word of God; otherwise, we will lower God to meet our pain. If we anchor ourselves in the Word, we won’t diminish God in any way. I’m okay with not understanding why God sometimes heals and doesn’t at other times. Even though I don’t understand, I keep pressing in to see and know Him more.”
“Prayer is a two-way conversation involving both talking to God and listening for Him to speak. Even in insignificant things, I ask God for help.
“Not that long ago, I lost my wallet. After coming home from a restaurant, I couldn’t find it anywhere. After looking everywhere to no avail, I prayed, asking God to put it in a place where I could see it. A little while later, I noticed it on the living room couch, clearly visible.
“When I was in Grade 12 my marks weren’t amazing. I wanted to find a job so I could buy a car. I didn’t plead or demand, but simply prayed only once, ‘Jesus, if You want me to have a car You’re going to have to give me one.’ I didn’t tell anyone that I prayed. Shortly after, a former pastor called and offered me a car. Was that a coincidence? I don’t think so. When we allow the Holy Spirit into our lives and conversations, we will see things happen.”
The Miracle of Sensing God’s Voice
Sometimes, just hearing God’s voice is the greatest miracle, as Karen discovered.
“A little while ago, God unusually demonstrated His love to me, thereby increasing my faith.
“My husband and I were driving to the city on a beautiful, sunny fall day. All was quiet and the view picturesque. With my husband behind the wheel, I silently enjoyed the ride, gazing blissfully out the window of the car at the splendid fall colors. Amongst the other trees, a smaller brightly colored red tree seemed to stand out, catching my attention and filling me with awe.
“ ‘Wow!’ I said to myself, ‘Do I ever like that tree! It’s gorgeous!’
“ ‘Thank you,’ I heard, ‘I like that one too. It’s one of my favorites.’ The voice came so quickly and unexpectedly, I was surprised. Did I hear right? Yet, I knew beyond a doubt that it was not my own thoughts.
“For days I marveled at what had happened. It made me feel oddly special—like a secret shared between two people who love each other. I wanted to share it with others, but I knew that it wouldn’t mean the same to them as it did to me.
“Since then I’ve wondered why He would speak to me about something so insignificant. How many times had I begged and longed for a word from God, without hearing anything? Now, out of the blue, when I wasn’t even praying, He spoke so clearly to me.”
Miracles Through the Prayers of Others
Jewell experienced healing of an arm injury.
“I had a bad accident and received a “dinner fork” fracture to my wrist. I was in a cast for a long time and had also gone through many painful procedures trying to get it to release. Nothing helped. Because it hadn’t healed properly, I had limited use of my hand.
“While working at a summer camp, all the counselors gathered around me to pray after their morning meeting. Most of them knew I had received a spinal injury and broken ribs from a serious accident. Because they loved me, they wept as they prayed over me. Everyone, except for one fellow, prayed for my spine and the pain I was enduring. He prayed for my wrist and arm.
“I had been seated on a chair encircled by all these young people. When they finished praying, there was a complete circle of tears shining on the floor around me. They asked if I felt any different. Though I was encouraged by their prayers and felt so blessed by their love, I didn’t feel any change physically.
“I continued the day, performing my duties as best I could. Later in the evening, since there was usually someone who needed a nurse’s attention after the games time, I was sitting by the medical cabinet waiting. While I was waiting, I went to flex my arm to stretch it.
“I was shocked! For the first time in a year, my wrist had full flexibility in both directions. I suddenly realized my wrist was completely healed. It hasn’t bothered me since.
In God’s perfect time, it only took a minute.
“That year, there were several other healings that occurred at camp including a girl who had experienced multiple concussions. It was an exciting time for the campers to witness God perform physical healings.”
Beyond All Expectations
Christie shared a miracle of provision.
“I had applied to enroll in a university program but was reluctant to take out any student loans. I said to God, ‘I’m not spending money on this program. If I’m going back to school it has to be paid for.’
“I was informed that I would need to retake an exam to qualify for the program. Because of my schedule, I didn’t have time to study. I asked several people to pray for me as I rewrote the exam and for the finances for the program.
“The way things worked out, the administrators didn’t care about my grade score on the exam. They also decided that they would cover the cost of the program, plus my rent and utilities. School is very expensive, so it was a big deal to have all my expenses covered. I saw the provision of the Lord as He gave me everything I needed.”
Obedience Before the Miracle
Visions, both her own and others, have impacted Yogeswari’s life resulting in miracles.
“When my husband lost his job, our daughter was six years old. We decided not to have any more children because, in India, there are no child benefits. Parents have to pay for everything including all medical and educational expenses from kindergarten through university. Without my husband working, we couldn’t afford another child.
“My pastor’s wife had a vision. ‘God is trying to give you something and you’re abandoning it. That’s why your husband has lost his job.’
“ ‘What? How could my husband’s losing his job be related to me not planning on having any more children?’
“She said, ‘Don’t ask questions. Tell God that you will let your son be conceived and that you will have this child. Then there won’t be any further problems with him finding a job. Please promise God that you will receive the child He wants to give to you.’
“That’s what I did. Our son is a promise. Not that we didn’t face problems, but my husband immediately found a very good job. When our first child was born, we had to pay for everything. With our son, my husband’s employer paid for everything including a cesarean section. God gave us a son and paid every expense.
“When I was pregnant, I prayed, ‘The son of David is going to come to me. I want Solomon’s wisdom for this child.’
“A while later, a pastor prophesied over our son, ‘You are a son of promise. You are having David’s promise in you.’ That pastor confirmed it, even though it was something only my husband and I knew. I know my son will be a person of praise and prayer, just like David was. Our son knows he is a child of promise.”
Many Prayers Later
God answered Kristina’s lifelong prayer in several ways.
“My maternal grandmother was Ukrainian Catholic. Maybe she knew the Lord, but I didn’t know for sure. As a little girl, I always tried to share the Lord with her. In her late eighties, when I was in Bible college, she was in a nursing home and started having heart problems.
“I was concerned. I tried to share the Lord so many times with her. She was either hard of hearing or had selective hearing. I’m not sure which! One day after visiting her in the nursing home, I walked back to our house and was almost home when the Lord said, ‘Go back and tell her about Me.’
“I was so mad, ‘I have told her so many times about You.’
“I tromped back to the nursing home, went into my grandmother’s room and sat on her bed. It wasn’t even close to a heartfelt explanation of the Gospel. ‘Grandma, you are a sinner. We’re all sinners. Jesus died on the cross for you. He rose again. You need to ask Him into your heart. Do you want to do that?’
“I tromped back to the nursing home, went into my grandmother’s room and sat on her bed. It wasn’t even close to a heartfelt explanation of the Gospel. ‘Grandma, you are a sinner. We’re all sinners. Jesus died on the cross for you. He rose again. You need to ask Him into your heart. Do you want to do that?’
“She said, ‘Yes.’
“I was kind of dumbfounded and hardly knew what to do but led her through the sinner’s prayer and left.
“My grandmother had struggled with anxiety throughout her lifetime. Because of the heart problems she was having, I prayed, ‘Okay God, she has received You. Please don’t let her struggle with fear and depression right now. Please, can we see some tangible results of You in her life.’
“The first of three answers to my prayers was that she came to know Jesus.
“Second, my grandmother’s new-found passion was playing bingo. She loved playing bingo and would give the quarters she had won to the visiting grandchild of the moment. My Mom called me up one day when I was back in Bible school to tell me that my grandmother passed away. To me, an answer to prayer is that my grandmother, who wrestled with fear, died doing the thing she loved—playing bingo. Furthermore, she had just won her second game; they put the money in her hand; she smiled, hung her head and went home to be with the Lord. There was no pain or fear in this new Christian lady.
“The third answer was that the Catholic priest from grandmother’s town was too busy to do her prayers and we were able to have our little Baptist church pastor who knew and visited her in the nursing home, come to do the prayers. All of my mom’s siblings, nieces and nephews came. At my grandmother’s prayers, my family, who didn’t know the Lord, heard the Gospel being shared by our Baptist pastor.
“My grandmother appeared to be hard of hearing, but this pastor said at my grandmother’s little service, ‘I visited Mary many times and shared the Lord with her. Recently, I asked her, “Do you want to receive the Lord?” ’
“She said, ‘Kristina and I already dealt with that.’
“Somehow through my obligatory actions, ‘Okay God, I’ll go share with my grandmother,’ she got it. Through whatever hearing matters were happening, she understood. God answered my very special lifelong prayer in several ways.”
The Simplest Prayer
Prayer wasn’t a daily practice when Keith prayed for his wife.
“My wife experienced hip pain constantly. It was uncertain the direct cause but no doubt a heavy physical workload was a contributing factor—handling hundred-pound grain bags, flipping and rolling out hay bales by hand, gardening and a multitude of other strenuous tasks.
“Her father had undergone both shoulder and hip replacement surgery. The enemy taunted her, that she would soon end up the same way. Each night she would crawl into bed struggling to find a comfortable position to sleep.
“We can’t remember whose idea it was, mine or hers, but someone decided it was time for prayer. I laid my hand on her hip not knowing how to even pray. Before I could say a word, I felt an intense heat flowing through my hand. She felt nothing but peacefully went to sleep.
“The next morning, she woke up completely healed. She never experienced any pain or discomfort in her hip again. God did it. He answered my silent prayer and it only took a minute.”
The Love Bus is an inner-city ministry bringing food and necessities to prostitutes and gang members. I don’t join this dedicated group of volunteers often, but each time I do, I learn as much from the street people as from the workers.
“I arrived early to help prepare the sandwiches and fruit that we would be taking along with us. We had a brief time of prayer and received final instructions before heading out for the night. We were told not to let the neighborhood children, who would be the first to bombard the bus, take all the food before we reached the streets.
“Sure enough, while we were loading the bus, children started clambering up the steps looking for food to take home with them. It wasn’t long before I began to resent their demands. We gave each child a drink of hot chocolate and a supply of food before escorting them back off the bus.
“I honestly had to go and sit at the back of the bus for a few minutes just to repent of my nasty attitude. It was obvious these children didn’t have much to call their own; critical judgment had no place in God’s work.
“Soon the bus was rolling through the core area of our city, stopping to welcome anyone onto the bus for a warm cup of coffee, hot chocolate or something to eat. The Love Bus offers protection, safety, love and dignity to everyone.
“Several hours later, a man and woman entered. Age is hard to determine on the streets; it isn’t measured by years, but rather by experience. The trauma of inner-city life distorts and molds people leaving little room for normalcy. Before leaving the bus, they both received prayer, hugs as warm as the coffee, and love enough to carry them through the night. They stood outside chatting with the driver for a while.
“Soon the driver re-entered asking if we could change our route and head outside the normal area to give this couple a ride. We all agreed. Back on the bus, they came.
“I slipped over beside the woman, beginning a conversation. She had been in the hospital because she had shot up with a deadly cocktail of substances. Within hours, they quickly released her to fend for herself. Her legs were still grossly swollen from the effect of the self-inflicted potion.
“ ‘They feel like shattered fiberglass hockey sticks—each splinter tearing at me with terrible pain.’ she explained.
“At that moment, I forgot that she was a drug addict, heading to get another fix. My heart reached out before my hand touched her leg, as I asked, ‘May I pray for you?’
“Together we prayed for the swelling to dissipate and the pain to be removed from her body. I asked her to test her legs and see if there was any change. She stood on them for a moment before sitting back down, ‘Yes, they’re a little better.’
“I explained that God is so big and loving that He doesn’t want to make things just a little better but bring complete healing. She agreed to allow me to pray again, before testing her legs a second time. Now they were almost completely better and the swelling had gone down considerably. One more time we prayed.
“This time when she checked her legs, they were completely pain-free. For the first time that night, a giant smile spread across her face, deepening the wrinkles on her cheeks and exposing blackened teeth. Joy and unbelief mingled with gratitude, ‘God did it! He took my pain!’
God showed up on the most dangerous streets in the most dangerous city in our nation. How awesome is that!
“Soon we were at their desired destination. Again, I moved to the back of the bus for a time of solitude. Tears of gratitude oozed from my heart down my cheeks. Never before had I witnessed God’s love so tangibly as on the night He healed a little prostitute and drug addict. The greatness of His love and goodness stretched beyond my ugly attitudes and her destructive habits, exposing itself to a world gone mad.”
Miracles in Spite of Ourselves
Fortunately, God’s desire to intervene in people’s lives is far greater than our handicaps and hang-ups. Prayer’s effectiveness is never dependent on our ability, but rather on God’s availability to move. Helen shares her personal experience.
“We get to be co-laborers with Christ. How exciting is that? He shows me something and I get to pray with Him. We may think we should pray for someone, but real prayer is God moving on us to pray. I need to be hearing what Holy Spirit is saying so I can be more effective.
“Having said that, I remember being at a training on prayer but was sicker than a dog that night. I was paired up with a girl who had a bad foot. Honestly, I couldn’t have cared less about her foot. I just wanted to go home. I felt as dry as toast, prayed for her foot and she was healed.
“I thought, ‘God, You are good.’ I didn’t care less. She was ecstatic!
“Someone said to me later, ‘You must have felt elated?’
“I said, ‘No! I was shocked.’
“I really didn’t want to be there and didn’t want to be praying. The answers don’t depend on us. God is so anxious to answer prayer He will use anybody He can find. We are not always in the right mood. Sometimes we don’t feel like we’re connected to God at all. We don’t have to sense Him or feel Him. He is the One who does it!
“I would like more faith in prayer to ask bigger and not limit God. He is beyond what we could think or imagine.”
Miracles While Shopping
I’ve had my own dry as toast experiences.
“A couple of years ago, I had been to a discipleship class and was hurrying to pick up groceries before the store closed. I was overtired and anxious to start the hour trek home. Even though the class should have given me a more godly attitude, I think I forgot the Christian part of me behind when I left the building.
“The icy Arctic wind swept across the parking lot, blasting its cold onslaught against anyone brave enough to be outside. As I reached the door of the grocery store, a woman and small child approached, asking for money. Because panhandlers often frequent this spot, I had grown suspicious of their stories and motives.
“Annoyed I invited them inside the doorway, selfishly wanting to escape the chill myself. She explained how they traveled across the country when her husband was offered a job here. However, by the time they arrived, the position had already been filled.
“The whole family—father, mother and five children—were now living in their van. They had no food or money to provide for the essentials. Her story neither impressed nor convinced me. I sized them both up—a desperate woman and her young daughter, perhaps five years old.
“Welcoming her to pick up a couple of baskets to fill with groceries, I told her that I didn’t have money, but would buy them enough food for a meal. We went through the fresh produce picking up groceries. She cautiously began filling her basket, asking for permission for each item she chose.
“Halfway through the produce aisle, she talked about having a bad headache. My attitude was so crappy, I thought, ‘If you are taking advantage of me, the least you can do is let me pray for you.’ Thankfully my words didn’t match my thoughts that night, so I expressed it more like, ‘I believe in Jesus Christ and I have seen Him heal many times. May I pray for you?’
“The woman was dressed in Middle Eastern garments, so I’m not sure what her religious beliefs were. She was so desperate, however, that she agreed to let me pray.
“Honestly, the prayer was probably no more than ten words, ‘Lord Jesus, heal this headache and take away all pain.’ I asked her how she felt.
“She rubbed the back of her neck and twisted her head from side to side. A huge smile erupted on her face as she exclaimed, ‘It’s better! The headache is completely gone!’
“You would think that having God do a miracle in the supermarket would jolt me out of my “ugly mode,” but alas, it didn’t. That is until I saw her little girl jump up and down like a pogo stick with excitement, chanting and singing, ‘Mama is better! Mama is better!’ Then I began to comprehend the stress and pain this woman had been experiencing.
“This little one skipped and danced through the store as she joyously helped fill the baskets with vegetables, fruit, cheese, meat, bread, milk, cereal, and healthy snacks for later. With the baskets filled and my list complete, we headed for the checkout. After paying for all the groceries, I left the store first.
“From my car, I waited and watched for them to come out. Soon they appeared and walked across the parking lot toward a large white van. Before they reached their destination, the van door slid open as a clatter of youthful activity spilled out into the snow. Now several children bounced up and down with excitement reaching into the overflowing bags.
“Finally, as I saw the unhindered joy and gratitude of the entire family, my heart melted. I was the least likely candidate, the worst example of servitude, the poorest display of God’s goodness, the stingiest prospect of generosity, the grumpiest host for His Presence and yet, “God still used me to bring healing to a woman and provide for a family. I can never claim the credit for anything God does through me.
“Even on my best days, when I think I have it all together, I fall far short of what God desires. Why He chooses to use the frailness of humanity to display His presence is beyond understanding, but He does. He just needs someone, anyone, who is willing to be used.”
Miracles at Work
I sat at the reception desk of a thriving manufacturing company. This Tuesday started like any normal morning. All the employees except for me were in a weekly safety meeting. No sooner had the meeting begun when two young salespeople entered, one male and one female.
Explaining to them that the manager would be busy for a while, I welcomed them to be seated until the meeting was over.
“It wasn’t difficult to overhear their conversation. The young man had been in an accident twelve years ago. Ever since that time, chronic pain and restricted mobility had hindered him from doing many of the things he once enjoyed. They chatted for some time about the injury and his prognosis.
“I had witnessed God heal back injuries and knew that He could do it again. Listening to the young man’s discouragement prompted me to speak. ‘God doesn’t heal every time I pray for people, but I have seen Him heal enough to know that He can and will. May I pray for you?’ I asked.
“The salesman appeared more than a little shocked by my forthrightness, but hesitantly agreed. I said the shortest prayer asking God to heal every part of his spine and remove all pain. Then I asked him to test it out. He looked at me like I was bordering insanity, but stood up and cautiously tried a few movements. The surprised look on his face proved there was a change. He now had more mobility and less pain than just a few minutes before.
“Spurred on by the evidence of God’s touch, I asked if I could pray again for him.
“With reluctance, He agreed. I briefly thanked God for what He had already done and offered another quick prayer. I was concerned workers would soon be rushing through the reception area and bring an end to what God was doing for this young man.
“When I asked him to test it again, he was obviously annoyed but rose to his feet muttering something to the effect that I was being pushy. If pushy was what it took to release a man from twelve years of pain, then pushy I would be. This time the pain was completely gone and he was able to bend down and touch his toes—something he wasn’t able to do previously. For a full minute, he twisted his torso back and forth, and from side to side. He reached and stretched. Even though he was now pain-free and able to move unhindered, he remained almost unphased by the whole encounter.
“However, the young woman with him was ecstatic. Her eyes grew bigger with each prayer initiative. She knew she was witnessing a miracle. She had been his partner for long enough to know the extent of his injury and the limiting effects it had had on him. His restricted movements and the draining nature of chronic pain had previously hindered his ability to function normally.
“Though the young man never gave God credit for touching his back that day, the young woman left with her faith elevated.”
One cannot separate the miraculous from the Word of God and maintain the integrity of the Bible. From the first words in Genesis to the closing chapter of Revelation, God is evidenced by His supernatural workings and power.
Jesus, the express image of the Invisible God, (Heb 1:3) “was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him . . .” (Acts 2:22). Don’t miss the reality of this profound statement. As a man, not God, Jesus relied upon His Father to work through Him. But unlike us, He was a man fully yielded and obedient to God.
Jesus sent out His disciples, giving them authority and power to teach as He taught and do the works He had been doing. Astonishingly, He said they would do even greater works than His (Jn 14:12).
“He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well . . . Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them, and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.” Mark 16:15-20
Signs, wonders and miracles marked not just the lives of these apostles, but also many other faithful servants and followers of Christ. The writer of Hebrews affirms,
“This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him. God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and by the gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.” Hebrews 2:3-4
“The miraculous element in Christianity and the fact that God can act in this world of ours is essential to the vitality of Christianity. Without this aspect, prayer becomes meaningless . . .” 1
God has not and will not change (Heb 13:8; Jas 1:17). In our day, in this generation, God is moving in an increasing measure through the same signs, wonders and miracles we read about within the pages of the Bible. He is calling ordinary women and men, boys and girls, young and old together, anointing them through the Holy Spirit to turn hearts to Himself. God has not suddenly become powerless and silent; signs and wonders continue to follow those who believe. The miraculous is the abundant fruit resulting from the seeds of prayer.
Despondency and neglect of faith followed those who “refused to listen and failed to remember the miracles (God) performed among them” (Neh 9:17). Continuously as I interviewed people of all ages, they joyfully remembered and shared God’s grace and goodness witnessed through answered prayer, often in ways they least expected. Remembering reignites the flames of our first love, realigns us with the faithfulness of God, redirects our focus to the Source of life, rekindles the passion of His Presence, restores the deep reservoir of faith, re-energizes our desire to pray and to keep on praying. Remembering is critical to all vibrant faith.
We cannot and will not be silent about the good things God has done. He still sovereignly moves among us by His Spirit.
(Unedited segment of Chapter 3 Unmasking the Myths: Is This Prayer? to be published 2020. Unmasking the Myths is the first of three books on prayer containing over 70 interviews from people around the globe. Their stories and experiences give insight to the power and effectiveness of prayer.)
“All along, prayer has been the Holy Spirit planting love in me for Jesus.” – Meg
As young as seven years old, Kevin wondered if God was real. Even though he went to church and took communion, Kevin felt there was a huge distance between God and himself. As a young boy, whenever he had trouble falling asleep, he would reflect on God. Yet, he felt confused.
By the time he turned 16 the confusion had turned to fear. Though he assumed he was a Christian, he honestly didn’t know what that meant. Only three years later, he was heading in the wrong direction fast.
“Back home from my first year of university, I was working for the town. However, Because of a severe spinal injury from playing hockey, I couldn’t do anything without being loaded up on prescription pain killers. When I came to the end of that summer, I had no money left. I was drinking daily and spending every penny at the local bar. I was on a destructive path.
Here I was a 19-year-old guy who couldn’t even stand up straight or sit down. I was depressed. I didn’t want to go back to university the way I was. Everything was on a bad track, although I maybe wasn’t aware of it at the time. My family had been set free from alcoholism. However, I was on my own journey of recovery after being raised in a dysfunctional home.
I met Merodee and beyond a question fell in love with her at first sight. She and her sister were crossing the street right in front of my oncoming vehicle. I slammed on the brakes to avoid hitting them. We held eye contact as she passed by.
Shortly after that, I invited her to a football game. Merodee brought some Christian music with her and without saying anything she took my music out of the cassette player and put her in. We listened to her music all the way to the football game and back again. Since she left those tapes in my car, that’s all I listened to for the next couple of days. I was so enamored by Merodee that her music absolutely captivated me.
A little while later, I drove out to an old country church and parked outside the locked gate. I sat there, a nervous wreck, feeling very emotional.
All of sudden, the palpable presence of God entered my car.
I started to talk to God and He started to answer me. I knew at that moment, without anyone ever telling me, what to do to be in a relationship with Him. Confessing my sins, I asked Him into my life. It was such an incredibly emotional experience I couldn’t even drive. I probably sat there for half an hour, unable to leave.
I didn’t understand anything, except I knew it was God and that He wanted to have a relationship with me. When I cried out, He was immediately there, closer than anything I had ever felt. I don’t know if I had any other impression except knowing that what I needed was God.
That was the beginning of prayer for me when I felt the presence of God for the first time. Looking back, I can close my eyes and still see everything and feel the same feeling, though not with the same emotion. Before that, I didn’t even know if I believed in God. Yet He revealed himself to me in an unforgettable way.
I’m a little naïve to what the Lord delivered me from. I can’t imagine where that track would have led if I hadn’t encountered God in that particular season.
Afterward, I phoned Merodee and told her what had happened. She yelled into the phone, ‘You’re saved!’
‘What does that mean?’ I asked. I didn’t even know.”
Yoge began her relationship with Jesus while living in her home country of India.
“When I was young, my grandmother was experiencing many problems. Someone welcomed her to church and told her about Jesus. They said, ‘If you pray there, everything will be all right.’
As a result, my grandmother was the first one in our family to accept Jesus and become a secret worshiper of God. When I was about four years old, she started taking me to church too, but I didn’t realize what was going on. Maybe God chose me then, but it took many years for me to come to Him.
In India, our work also determines our religion and cast. My private math tutor belonged to our cast. He was the one who helped me realize who Jesus was. If he wouldn’t have been from our cast, I wouldn’t have listened to him when he said, ‘You need to know that you aren’t worshiping a real God, but worshiping idols instead. You shouldn’t do that.’
I thought, ‘I know you. Why are you saying that our god is not a god?’ I asked, ‘What happened to you? What made you convert to Christianity?’
He said, ‘No, it’s true! We are all idol worshipers.’
‘Okay, let it be an idol.’ I said, ‘We’re living a sophisticated life, doing what we want to do. Compared to other people, our standard of living is very good. What is there to blame this god for?’
He said, ‘It isn’t the idol that is giving this to you; it is your living Father who is providing for you.’
‘How can you prove it?’
He continued, ‘What if you have a kitty and think your pet is a god? One day the pet dies. You cry because you aren’t ready to believe that your pet is dead. You say to the dead kitty, ‘I feel hungry and don’t know what to do.’ You’re asking something dead to give you food. Will that dead pet give you food or your mother who is listening to you cry? Who will give you food?’
‘Obviously my mother,’ I said, ‘the dead pet can’t give me food.’
‘Yes!’ he said, ‘The Living God is the One who provides all these things you’re asking for. Still, you believe that your dead kitty is giving you food. It is not the dead kitty but your living mother who feeds you. In the same way, when you are worshiping and praying to an idol, your living Father God in heaven listens to you and provides you with all the good things that you ask for. It is the living God not dead idols that give you all these things. Your Father in heaven is watching you, knowing what His daughter needs, but sees that she doesn’t know who to ask.’
While he was talking to me, he was weeping bitterly. He spoke a simple word but it was completely anointed. His weeping touched me deeply as I carefully listened to his words. God gave me the understanding that I had been praying to an idol, while He, my living Father, was beside me providing whatever I asked for.
As I walked home, those thoughts rewound in my mind. I closed my eyes and started crying as I realized what I was doing when I worshiped our god. I knew that what I was doing wasn’t good and asked forgiveness from my living Father in heaven. ‘I’m not going to worship idols anymore.’ I said, ‘I am going to live my entire life for You.’
I started going to church every Sunday, but soon my Dad discovered that I was worshiping Jesus. One day when I came home from church, he was ready to throw a brick at me to kill me. Because we were religious leaders in our cast, he said, ‘I will definitely kill you. I won’t allow you to live as a Christian.’ He also threatened to pour kerosene on me and burn me. The second time, he did pour it on my head, but my grandmother came and saved me.
Before going to church each Sunday, I was mentally prepared for the beating I would get when I returned home.
From the day I became a worshiper of Jesus Christ, I was crazy about God. I literally felt like He was sitting right beside me, talking to me. People wondered what happened and told me to limit my worship and devotion to God, but I never wanted to.
I couldn’t believe that all this time I had worshiped lifeless idols. When I came to God, I knew, beyond a doubt, that He was alive, sitting with me and talking to me. I felt Him moving all around me. Whatever I asked for in prayer happened. How do you deny that? No one can deny it!
That’s how my journey with Jesus Christ began.”
For Shelly prayer was a natural overflow of the relationship she entered into with God. She tells her story,
“I had made so many bad decisions that eventually landed me into an abusive relationship with someone who completely isolated me. I had never felt so much hatred. Feeling devastated, I didn’t know there could be so much darkness. I would wake up thinking I was in a nightmare, but it was real. To him, it was a big game; he was grossly unfaithful. It was like I was trying to get out of my own skin and away from the pain, but I couldn’t get free.
In desperation, I made an appointment to go through the steps of freedom through a ministry called Freedom in Christ. It was during those sessions that I received Jesus Christ as my Savior and began a personal relationship with Him.
After two sessions lasting nine hours (spending most of that time on forgiveness), I forgave him and everyone else in my life. It was like everything dropped off me. In its place, I could feel God’s love being poured inside me.
As God’s incredible love overwhelmed me, I instinctively knew that a relationship with Jesus Christ was where I wanted and needed to be forever. Looking back, I remembered experiencing that same kind of love when I was four years old.
I walked away totally changed—no longer consumed by hatred but overwhelmed by God’s love. I had all kinds of grace for this man, tried to help him and prayed for him. But I got out.”
As a child, Rachel moved to Canada where she became a Christian.
“I was born in China and lived there for eight years before coming to Canada. We didn’t hear about the name of Jesus or Christianity in China. There were posters about evolution everywhere. I was afraid that one day I would turn into a monkey in a cage instead of a human being.
In China, school is very competitive, but you are supposed to be friends with everyone in your classroom. One week before we left China, I was involved in an argument with a classmate over an origami crane I had made. She found my crane and turned into a frog. When I discovered my crane had disappeared, I became angry. Normally, I wouldn’t start a quarrel, but this time I did.
In China, if a dispute arose, a class monitor would come to the class to help settle the problem. The girl told the monitor that I lost my crane out of irresponsibility, so when she found it she made it into a frog. She kept crying and won the sympathy of the class monitor. I ended up having to permanently leave school because of the argument.
‘Okay, I will leave,’ I thought, ‘but where will I go.’
Actually, God used this incident to prepare me to move away. Right after the dispute, I discovered that my Dad and I were soon leaving to live in Canada. My grandmother, the first Christian in our family, had been praying for us to receive Christ.
God, by His sovereign will works through people in unusual ways. We had a friend from China who enrolled at Trinity Western University because a consultant who did not know Jesus specifically told her to go to this Christian University. It was there that her favorite memories developed and that she first learned about Jesus. Even though we don’t always understand how God moves, whether through arguments, class monitors or unbelieving consultants, God is working in our lives.
As a child, I would believe whatever my Dad told me. When I was little, he told me that Buddha held the earth. We didn’t know about Jesus then, but when we came to Canada, Dad became a Christian. Dad told me about Jesus and why He had to die for our sins. Until then, I thought Jesus was a rebel. When God started to speak to me through my Dad, I considered becoming a Christian. I didn’t ask Jesus into my heart yet though.
My first impression of Jesus was that He was like Santa. You could ask Him for something and He would give it to you. Later, I found out that He is bigger than that. He is God and works the big picture. He desires for us all to come to Him so He can give us His grace.
I started to change when I was nine years old and Jesus became personal. I began to pray, but at first, my prayers were self-centered. Then I realized my parents also had needs. I started to pray for people to be healed and began to understand Jesus’ love for others.”
No matter what age, stage or circumstance of life, the prayer of committing one’s life to the Lordship of Jesus Christ is the most powerful, miracle-working prayer anyone could pray.”
Unmasking the Myth
The myth that declares that any god will do has kept many people from committing their lives to Jesus Christ and finding the love Shelly spoke about.
“We can always have a non-god to go to instead of God.” – Karin
Only Jesus can create the profound change Charlotte, Kevin and millions of others have experienced. Jesus desires for everyone to come to know the one and only true God.
“Now this is eternal life; that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” John 17:3
This same intimate relationship with God that these people have spoken about, is available right now to any who will sincerely come to Him.
“He longs for everyone to embrace his life and return to the full knowledge of the truth.” 1 Timothy 2: 4 TPT
God is waiting for everyone to embrace Him and the life He offers. God loves us and has an incredible plan for our future, regardless of our past (Ps 139:16). He desires for us to have a fulfilling exciting life right now and forever—a life connected with Him (Jn 10:10).
“Does any other god communicate back to you? What other god responds to you like the Lord God? Does any other god give you life? Can another god forgive your sins?
Jesus Christ is life. He gives us an unbelievable life now. Eternal life! Life is found in Jesus Christ alone. In Him is everything I need to exist—love, joy, peace and so much more. I don’t want to look anywhere else or to anything else. Time is too precious to waste pursuing other so-called gods.
God is a life-giving Spirit. When You know that your spirit is made alive by God’s Spirit, that’s it! You don’t need anything else.
The ultimate, Almighty God, is available. He is the One and only living true God. Until you meet Jesus, you don’t know what you are missing.
To communicate with Almighty God is incredible. Knowing that He wants to have fellowship with us is very humbling. It is the ultimate relationship to have.”
Only one thing keeps us from experiencing this vital relationship with Him. God is holy and perfect. Only those who are without sin can come into His presence and enjoy His wonderful plan and experience His presence. Every one of us has sinned and comes far short of God’s perfect standard (Rom 3:23).
God provided the solution for restored intimacy with us through Jesus Christ, his perfect Son. Jesus died on the cross to take our punishment and pay the price for our sins (Rom 5:8). It didn’t end there! On the third day, Jesus rose from the grave as the giver of life for all (Rom 6:23).
The Bible says that by repenting and confessing the Lordship of Jesus, we can then live in a relationship with God. It sounds too simple for such a complicated problem. (Rom 10:9-10) However, God said that by personally accepting His provision and committing our lives to Him, He makes everything new.
The root of every prayer journey is a relationship with Jesus.” – Jan
Like a baby begins to walk by taking small steps, we begin the fascinating journey of faith through a seemingly small prayer spoken from sincere hearts. If you want to take that life-changing step today, He is only a prayer away.
“Dear God, I confess that I have sinned against You and others. I choose today to believe that Jesus died on the cross for the forgiveness of my sins. I turn from the way I have been living to follow You. Please forgive me and come into my life. I trust in You and desire for You to be my Lord and Savior from this day forward, in Jesus Name (Rom 10:13, Jn 20:31). Thank You Lord, for all you have done for me. Thank You for Your love and the gift of your saving grace.”
“Only one prayer causes jubilation in heaven and mourning in hell. That one prayer is asking God to come into our lives.” – Meg
How do you prepare for triplets? Making room for one new addition requires planning, energy and resources, but triplets demand so much more. Before you think this seasoned grandmother, well beyond the childbearing years, has lost all grip on reality, I can explain. No! Cuddling the recent influx of babies being joyfully deposited among the young and thriving families hasn’t given me the desire to turn back the clock and start over.
Nonetheless, God has conceived in me triplets. When I first became pregnant with anticipation, I consented to one birth; but alas one has become three. Such surprising encounters occur to those who wait and listen for God’s promptings.
“I will stand at my watch
and station myself on the ramparts;
I will look to see what he will say to me,
and what answer I am to give to this complaint.”
To “station” oneself “on the ramparts” means to take a stand at a place of siege or distress. Though I didn’t realize it at the time, that is exactly what God was calling me to do. About two years ago, I was standing at my prayer watch — well more specifically on my face, weeping in the prayer room. I felt God’s distinctive nudge to write a book on prayer. Though prayer is an active part of my Christian faith, I certainly neither felt equipped nor authoritative on the subject of prayer.
Yet, God persisted.
Then the LORD replied:
“Write down the revelation
and make it plain on tablets
so that a herald may run with it.
For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false.
Though it linger, wait for it;
it will certainly come and will not delay.”
Writing and making it plain sounds simple enough for a less weighty subject. However, looking at books written on prayer by Dutch Sheets, Anne Graham Lotz, Stormie Omartian, C. Peter Wagner and many others left me feeling intimidated and inadequate to say the least.
Regardless, I was pregnant! There was no turning back. After several months of hesitation and deliberation, I accepted the reality. “Okay, Lord, we’re having a baby, but this definitely has to be more You than me.”
And so, the writing began. About thirty thousand words into the process, God nudged me again to interview people, gathering testimonies about the miraculous interventions they have witnessed as a result of prayer.
My excitement was building. Since I love hearing other people’s stories, I looked forward to the process without considering the technical details involved. I began to approach people I respected in my small prayer circle, asking for their assistance.
“. . . ‘declare how much God has done for you.’
And he went away, proclaiming throughout the whole city
how much Jesus had done for him.” Luke 8:39
The voice of this once demonized man exemplifies the power of testimony. As I began to listen to these prayer testimonies, I knew they would inspire faith and increase prayer momentum. Surprisingly, recounting their prayer journeys ignited something deep and fresh within themselves before their words ever hit a page in my files.
Who but God would have known these multiple hours and dozens of voices would accumulate to over 400,000 words of intensely vulnerable and honestly raw prayer testimony. Their experiences reached from Mongolia to Jamaica, Chile to Great Britain, Nigeria to North America. Their ages spanned from nine to ninety years. Each held a piece — a unique story — of a prayer tapestry.
Together their voices impacted my own prayer life and spiritual perception.
“I will tell my people what you have done;
I will praise you in their assembly.”
Now came the task of honoring God and honoring their testimonies. As I mapped and charted their stories, I discovered distinct patterns within three main themes: the misconceptions that keep people from believing their prayers could be effective, the strategies necessary to defeat the enemy and praying with authority, and the miraculous interventions of God.
Prepare for Triplets
It was then that I realized, I was birthing not just one but three book babies:
Unmasking the Myths; Is This Prayer?
Unlocking the Legacy; Taking Territory
Unstoppable; Moving in the Miraculous
It’s a good thing God didn’t forewarn me of the magnitude of the project. I would have found the fastest way out of town and hid somewhere in the hills. However, these testimonies produced such a powerful impact on my life, I couldn’t wait to share their stories with others like you.
It’s incredible to me that Jesus would say that we are the light of the world. Of course, in and of ourselves, we are the opposite. Because of His Presence within us, we have become light and He desires that light to shine brightly.
“You are the light of the world.
A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.
Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl.
Instead they put it on its stand,
and it gives light to everyone in the house.
In the same way, let your light shine before others,
that they may see your good deeds
and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16
Dozens of people willingly opened their lives within the pages of these prayer books so that others will clearly see the power of prayer and give God glory. Only a handful are in full-time ministry. The vast majority are farmers, housewives, doctors, teachers, laborers, truckers, students . . . They are normal people we brush shoulders with everyday, people trusting in the grace and goodness of God to hear and answer prayer.
But through them, God is glorified. Prepare for triplets!
Born with Teeth
Even though these soon to be published testimonies remain hidden in files, sifted through by beta readers, polished by editors, and formatted by designers, they already have teeth and speak in full sentences.
Two years ago, I didn’t realize God was setting me on the ramparts of the desperate situation of prayerlessness, not just in our nation, but in our churches and homes. Such a void exists mainly because of the impotence many people feel in the context of prayer. John professes,
“They triumphed . . . by the blood of the Lamb
and by the word of their testimony . . .”
The blood has already been shed, but the words of testimony still speak. Every testimony vibrates with faith in Jesus Christ. Their testimonies expose the reality that God still saves the lost, heals the sick, casts out demons, and raises the dead. Neither God nor prayer has suddenly become powerless.
As I prepare to deliver the triplets, these three books on prayer, I no longer sense trepidation and fear. Rather, I anticipate the impact these shared voices, spoken so simply, yet boldly, will have on those ready to listen. With my part of writing and making it plain almost complete, the time to run ticks closer and closer.
“And for what purpose?” you might ask.
“For the earth will be filled
with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD
as the waters cover the sea.”
Is Jesus still the Healer? Is He the Lord who heals, or is healing coincidence? Many people believe that divine healing ended with the Acts of the Apostles. Personal belief is often based on personal experience.
Moses led the people of Israel through the Red Sea and into the “Desert of Shur.” After three sweltering days without water, they came to Marah. Here they found water enough to satisfy everyone’s thirst, but it was “bitter.”
God’s Name, God’s Nature
Bitter water formed the perfect backdrop for God to demonstrate His character,
“He said, “If you listen carefully
to the LORD your God
and do what is right in his eyes,
if you pay attention to his commands
and keep all his decrees,
I will not bring on you
any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians,
for I am the LORD, who heals you.” Exodus 15:26
Under God’s instruction, Moses threw a piece of wood into the water. The water instantly became pure and life-giving, complements of the “Lord who heals” — Jehovah Rapha.God’s nature is to not just to heal, but to keep us from disease.
Healing in The Cross
Jesus displayed the perfect image of the Father (Heb 1:3). Healing was and is part of the ministry of Christ,
“Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom
and healing every disease and sickness.” Matthew 9:36
The word “every” leaves no room for exclusion or doubt. Peter refers to Isaiah’s prophecy (Is 53:5) being fulfilled through Jesus when he says,
“‘He himself bore our sins‘ in his body on the cross,
so that we might die to sins
and live for righteousness;
‘By his wounds you have been healed.'” 1 Peter 2:24
Peter witnessed Jesus heal multitudes before His crucifixion. God later used Peter powerfully as an instrument of healing.
Jesus didn’t have to be brutally beaten to save us from our sins. Such cruel treatment, “his wounds”, made healing available for every condition, however.
How can I be so confident Jesus still heals? Though my faith rests in God’s Word, not in experience, my experience validates that Word. God has taught me aspects of healing using my body as an example.
The first healing I experienced occurred shortly after I became a Christian. Even though the bible was relatively new to me, I approached it with childlike faith believing every word to be true — including healing.
I had suffered from ulcers since my early teens. It wasn’t uncommon for me to vomit blood during painful flare ups. As a young twenty-three year old, I was bent over the toilet vomiting when a verse of Scripture came to mind:
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ,
the new creation has come:
The old has gone,
the new is here!” 2 Corinthians 5:17
Though this verse doesn’t refer to healing, Holy Spirit amplified the word enough for my faith to grab. I stood up declaring, “Wait a minute! That means I have a brand new stomach.” You may laugh but I walked away, never to have any further trouble with my stomach. Ever!
In that instant, God became my Lord who heals! Not all healings are instant, however.
Some healings are more like a slow road to recovery. At fifteen years old, I was admitted to a psychiatric centre for treatment as a suicidal alcoholic. The journey out of that dark valley took decades, as God replaced truth for lies.
“Then you will know the truth
and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32
I have witnessed many others escape mental illness through Jesus Christ, The Truth.
Lung disease plagued my father’s family resulting in many deaths. When I was diagnosed with emphysema, the doctor proclaimed it a life long condition.
A word of knowledge led me to “cut off” the generational “curse” over myself and my family by renouncing the spirit of abandonment. In prayer, I agreed that I have been adopted by God into His family. Any sickness entering through natural genetic lines was eradicated through my new “bloodline” in Jesus Christ.
Was it a coincidence, or the Lord who heals, that further investigation revealed clear lungs?
“Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law
by becoming a curse for us…” Galatians 3:13
the connection between severe allergies and a broken heart was revealed through another word of knowledge. I claimed healing for my heart and renounced the side effects of allergies as I watched them disappear
painful arthritic hip was healed by the laying on of hands
ovarian cysts dissolved through forgivingof offenses
severely deformed hands were brought into alignment by speaking blessing over them in Jesus Name
restoration of movement and feeling to legs after an accident causing a 75% displacement of the spine, healed through active worship and much prayer
migraine headaches instantly left never to return through speaking the Name of Jesus
torn ligaments and a frozen shoulder instantaneously healed by rebuking the spirit of infirmity and commanding it to go.
These were all medically diagnosed. After the healing, specialists responded, “astounding”, “a miracle” and “unbelievable”. Even without God’s redemptive healing power, I believe Jesus remains the Lord who heals. These testimonies continue to elevate hope in the lives of others to also believe.
“Jesus Christ is the same
yesterday, today and forever.” Hebrews 13:8
God never changes. He remains the same. What He has done for me He continues to do for multitudes.
Some people came to Jesus with unquestionable faith. While others came with wavering faith. Some, perhaps, lived “worthy” of such healing grace. Others became social outcasts, despised and rejected, yet bravely approached Jesus for healing.
Healing draws us to The Healer, filling us with awe for Jesus Christ.
“The apostles performed many signs and wonders among the people…
Nevertheless, more and more men and women believed in the Lord and were added to their number.”
Healing demonstrates Christ’s presence and power among us.
“As a result people brought the sick into the streets
and laid them on beds and mats
so that at least Peter’s shadow
might fall on some of them as he passed by.
Crowds gathered also from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those tormented by impure spirits,
and all of them were healed.”
As you read this, may faith increase in your heart. God loves you! He is still the Lord who heals.
I seize every opportunity to pray for people. Many have also experienced healing — some instantaneous, others progressively still others have not been healed. Honestly, I don’t understand healing, but I know the more I pray for healing, the more I see healing happen.
I have faith to pursue healing for those who dare not hope themselves. Whatever the outcome, I trust God and want Jesus to get the full benefit of what He paid for on the cross.
“Therefore God exalted him (Jesus)
to the highest place and
gave him the name
that is above every name.” Philippians 2:8
Whatever your diagnosis, may I agree with you today for healing? Would you trust to receive healing today from the Lord who heals?
Lord Jesus, I thank You. You are the Lord who heals.
I bring this precious reader to you today.
In Jesus Name, I command all sickness and infirmity to go
from this person’s whole body, mind and soul.
I command every part to come
into complete alignment —
restored, healed and delivered.
In The Name above the name of every disease,
I declare, “Today is a new beginning!”
May the blood of Jesus
cleans and make every part new.
I thank You Lord Jesus for Your healing power,
in Your precious Name.
One thing remains constant — Dennis Boettger passionately communicates the lessons God is teaching him through dreams, visions and revelations of His Word. Defining Dennis, however, isn’t easy! Husband, father, physician, pastor, author, song writer and composer or photographer?
An encourager and contemplative, Dennis is remarkably sensitive to God’s voice. He possesses a sincere love for others, especially pastors. After meeting with Dennis, one cannot help but sense a portion of the Father’s heart!
At the same day as the atomic bomb dropped on Tokyo, August 6, 1945, Dennis was born. It was August 5 in Canada.
“I was just born, but obviously things like that have a deep impact. As a kid I was afraid someone would drop a bomb on me. I can only imagine the pain, fear and anxiety that refugee kids experience.”
The third of eight children, Dennis grew up immersed in faith. His farming father also assumed responsibility as a self-supporting Mennonite pastor. It was natural for Dennis to give his heart to the Lord, when about four years old.
“I will sing to the LORD all my life;
I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.” Psalm 104:33
From very young, Dennis sang the songs of faith from his heart — often in four-part harmony with siblings. “God was good to us! There was a sense of God’s presence.”
The Mennonite church emphasized being born again and walking in discipleship: faithful, servant-hearted and loving. Dennis wanted to please the Lord and personally know His will.
Missionaries, especially missionary doctors, had a big impact on Dennis’ young life. Although nobody in his family had attended university let alone medical school, Dennis nurtured an impossible dream of becoming a doctor. He equally sensed the call to preach.
Which path should he choose? For advice, Dennis approached one of his teachers who had also been his youth pastor. He received this directive:
“If you go to seminary
you will have answers for people
but you will have to convince them.
If you go to medical school,
people will come to you with problems
and you will give them answers.”
Dennis committed one year to bible school. The Lord also gave him freedom to consider medicine. Dennis’ mother said, he danced when he received the letter of acceptance to medical school.
During his second year in medicine, Dennis married Lucille whom he had known since Grade 3. She was a nursing student who had graduated from Prairie Bible Institute. They had their first of three children while Dennis was interning.
After receiving degrees in both pharmacy and medicine, Dennis and Lucille responded to God’s call to Ethiopia. For two years, from 1972-1974, Dennis became a missionary physician with the Eastern Mennonite Mission. In this time, during Ethiopia’s first modern famine, they witnessed many children dying from starvation and cholera. The experiences deeply impacting the Boettgers.
They attended an indigenous church, but without translation understood nothing about what was going on. A move of the Spirit was taking place in Ethiopia in those years. This season would prove to be the preliminary to receiving the baptism of the Spirit.
With the deposing of Selassie, the bloodless revolution began and the Boettgers returned home.
A Mennonite pastor, baptized in the Holy Spirit during the Charismatic Renewal, prayed for the Boettgers. Dennis felt convicted to repent of attitudes towards others, but nothing more. The seed was planted!
During their time at home, Dennis and Lucille did receive the baptism in the Holy Ghost. Dennis experienced healing and deliverance from anxiety and fear. This touch of Jesus transformed Dennis’ life and prepared them both for the return to Ethiopia.
“God gave revelation to me!
He could heal issues of my life
and restore things that had been damaged!”
As the Red Terror swept across Ethiopia, significant violence filled the nation! Victims of famine and leprosy, plus those beaten, burned and tortured were brought to the clinic.
With tears Dennis recalls, “We could hear the bullets hitting the bodies of innocent victims.”
Communication back home was non-existent! In two years, they phoned home once. But the Lord was gracious!
Dennis affirms, “The presence of the Lord in the midst of uncertainty, even death, calms our soul!”
Back to Canada
Back home, the Boettgers asked, “Where do you want us Lord?” Through a prophetic word, God gave a clear call! The Lord miraculously used them to plant a church in McLennan, a French community in Alberta.
Within 3 weeks of holding a bible study in their basement, a study they didn’t organize, a church was birthed. During their 25 years in McLennan, Dennis became ordained as a pastor/elder with the Fellowship of Christian Assemblies while continuing to practise medicine.
God was opening Dennis’ understanding through pictures and revelations both through him and the voice of others.
Dennis says, “At that time, I totally operated in revelation in the “night seasons”. God told me what to preach about. I had no plan or purpose other than sharing what God wanted me to hear.”
Thus his sermons presented fresh impressions God put upon his own heart.
Lucille developed ovarian cancer. The Lord was very near.
“Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his faithful servants.” Psalms 116:15
Several significant revelations during her terminal illness confirmed her home-coming was near. She went to be with the Lord in 2002.
In a dream, Dennis saw himself standing on a hill alone. God showed him a river, familiar but diverted, rushing along in standing waves. When he woke up, the Lord said, “…Everything will change. You will be directed along a new path. You will not be able to go on as you thought it would be.”
Dennis thought, “How can they do this to me and I not know it?”
Not wanting to be single, Dennis questioned, “How can I do this?” At 59 years old and almost ready to retire, he didn’t want to give a woman false hope. He had no interest in dating or having women pursue him.
Through revelation, God showed Dennis that his future wife would be like the sons of Zadok who drew near to minister to God. These priests could only marry a virgin or a widow of a priest.
God said, “I have someone for you. It’s a very narrow field.”
Dennis was neither wondering or looking!
He started a sabbatical, travelling to Israel and Europe. Upon returning, Dennis spent time at the Toronto Airport Church before driving to Quebec to meet pastor friends who had been part of his Alberta congregation.
Betty, a widow, was already there when Dennis arrived. She had been a farmer’s wife, was the mother of three sons, and didn’t fit the letter of what God had given Dennis. He had no sense there was or could be anything between them.
Just prior, Dennis had been meditating on the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and its pervasiveness in our thinking. At the pastor’s meeting, he stayed off by himself, deep in thought.
“Not paying attention,” he comments!
While touring Ottawa together, Dennis had a fleeting thought, “What about Betty? Don’t exclude Betty?”
That was November 2003. They parted ways. Betty continued her ministry in Quebec bringing hope to the abused. Dennis went to preach in Peace River.
In another vision, Dennis looked out of a window of a high-rise building. He could see a long way. Yet, his focus became fixed toward a “secluded corner, surrounded by snow and trees. There was a swimming pool without any tracks to it.”
An avid swimmer, Dennis recalled recently swimming in “the Dead Sea, Red Sea and Med (Mediterranean) Sea.”
He asked, “Lord, what are you showing me?”
“We have an elevated point of view.
We’re educated, can read and write.
As Christians, we’re filled with Holy Spirit.
We’re born again.”
“God was dealing with me!”
God called Dennis to leave his “high” point of view to catch God’s higher view.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:9
God clearly revealed, “What you need is a change in attitude.”
Through revelations, visions and divine encounters involving windmills, God increased Dennis’ understanding. God brought Dennis to realize that with the right attitude the wind of Holy Spirit moves in unknown ways to generate things.
Dennis knew God was answering prayer! The Lord was dealing with something that needed to be changed in order for him to receive all God was prepared to give him.
In 2003, people were talking about the next wave of the Holy Spirit. God said, “I am going to take the former moves of the Spirit and connect them with what is coming. It will be one move of my Spirit. I want to use you.”
“There was a time when
I could not hear God’s voice
and did not understand these things.”
God had already shown Dennis that He had received ministry from Betty. She fit the picture of a “Son of Zadok”. “Lord, was it an accident that I met Betty,” he asked.
“No!” God said, “I am in charge of the micro seconds.”
“You can make many plans,
but the LORD’s purpose will prevail.” Proverbs 19:21
Dennis was meditating about that when he saw another vision of a large Saskatchewan field. It was an enormous farm with huge implements: tractors, combines, cultivators, discs, all kinds of equipment.
In my vision, the Lord asked, “Where are you in this picture?”
Dennis thought and thought and thought but said, “God, I have no idea.”
He said, “You are the draw pin. The tractor is the word of God. The fuel in the tractor is Holy Spirit and the driver is the will of the Father. All the other implements are the gifts and operations of the Holy Spirit.”
“The only thing God needs
is someone to be in the word,
in the Spirit
and in the will of the Father.”
He says, “I am so thankful for the voice of the Lord. He is able to reveal things to us, taking us through anything!”
After God showed me that meeting Betty was no accident, I wrote her a letter asking, “Is God telling you anything about us?”
“If there is to be an us, He will talk to you first,” She curtly responded!
They didn’t physically see each other again until July in Langley, British Columbia. Dennis was preparing to ask Betty to marry him. On his way there, the Lord reminded Dennis about the dream of walking along the river, diverted and rushing along in standing waves. He asked, “Do you know what that rushing water was?”
Dennis said, “No!”
God said, “It was a swift current.”
Betty was from Swift Current. Through one more revelation, God confirmed He brought and put them together.
“I’m so thankful because she has been good for and to me.” Dennis says.
Dennis and Betty were married on Thanksgiving 2004.
“Whoever you are!
Whatever your life circumstances are!
Jesus wants to walk with you,
talk with you,
and go through life with you.”
“With God there are no accidents! God has a plan! We don’t have to wonder or search. He will make His ways known.”
“For I know the plans I have for you,”
declares the LORD,
“plans to prosper you and not to harm you,
plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
Through the joint calling of ministry and medicine, Dennis has impacted untold lives in many nations. Whether in the pulpit or on a hospital ward, Dennis leans heavily upon the wisdom of God.
On multiple occasions, God has supernaturally spoken to Dennis specifically revealing life-threatening conditions of his patients.
Dr. Boettger’s patients, as well as medical staff, know that both he and Betty pray. Those who have worked beside Dennis have witnessed God use him in miraculous ways. A hand larger than his leads! There is more than medical training directing this committed servant of Christ!
“And then he told them,
“Go into all the world and preach
the Good News to everyone.”
In addition to Ethiopia, he was also part of a team who carried bibles into China. Dennis has ministered in Canada, India, and the Philippines.
Together Dennis and Betty have carried the message of Christ to the nations of Costa Rica, Guatemala, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Singapore, Spain, and the United States of America. In Canada, they continue to impact lives in eight provinces and territories, faithfully returning to Inuvik twice a year.
Dennis humbly defines himself as “semi-retired” working part time in family medicine and surgery. “Semi-retired” hardly describes Dennis! Ministering hope and healing everywhere possible remains priority for the Boettgers as they follow God’s call!
For this supercharged senior, letting God lead the way is paramount! The difficulties that have crushed and silenced others have become her platform announcing victory and hope found in Jesus Christ.
The following verse appropriately describes this woman’s life:
“We are hard pressed on every side,
but not crushed; perplexed, but notindespair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body
the death of Jesus,
so that the life of Jesus
may also be revealed in our body.”
2 Corinthians 4:8-10
A leisurely withdrawal from active service is the desire of many women her age. Betty is far from typical however!
Betty was born and raised in the Swift Current area of Saskatchewan. Her father, a Royal Air Force pilot from England, left his wife and his daughter in Saskatchewan when he returned to England after the war. Betty lived with her grandparents until her grandmother died of cancer when she was twelve.
Feeling angry, alone and abandoned, it was the age of turning for Betty.
The woods became a shelter where no one could see her play, wait and hide. In the seclusion of trees, Betty encountered a personal relationship with Jesus as Saviour. She simply talked to Him and He became extremely real to her.
“I love you, LORD, my strength.
The LORD is my rock, my fortress, and my saviour;
my God is my rock, in whom I find protection.
He is my shield, the power that saves me,
and my place of safety.”
As a teenager, Betty met Bob who was seven years older than her. He was the same faith, good looking and had attended university. Intrigued, she became his wife at 16.
Because Bob was polite and courteous while dating, Betty was unaware of the abusive situation ahead. Unknown to Betty, he was a “drunk”, a severe alcoholic. Only ten days into their marriage, she was beaten for the first time. This pattern of drinking and abuse marked the next 17 years.
Two to three times a week, Bob would come home angry and for no apparent reason, severely beat his bride. It formed a painful cycle their children witnessed on multiple occasions.
Betty called out to God many times in those years, as she sat at the window, watching, waiting, knowing what would occur when her husband returned. Even in the midst of brutal attacks, Jesus was always there!
What kept her in the marriage?
She knew Bob never liked what he did. She also knew he was never unfaithful to her. Lastly, in spite of the violence, Betty knew somehow he loved her. Yet, he didn’t seem to have any control over his conduct.
“But in my distress
I cried out to the LORD;
yes, I prayed to my God for help. He heard me from his sanctuary; my cry to him reached his ears.” Psalm 18:6
Early in marriage, Betty also carried the responsibility for her brother-in-law’s four children, when their mother abandoned them. The basic comforts and conveniences of running water or central heating were unavailable. It was a difficult life — physically, emotionally and spiritually.
After 17 years, Bob fell to his knees at the hitch of the farm tractor. He said, “God if you are real, there has to be more to life than this.”
“He reached down from on high
and took hold of me;
he drew me out of deep waters.
He rescued me from my powerful enemy.”
Instantly God healed, saved and delivered him from all his addictionsand violent behaviour. Bob began to experience the freedom of letting God lead!
He didn’t disclose to Betty what had happened until two years later. He came in from the tractor and announced, “Things are going to change!”
Betty’s first thought was, “How?”
A dramatic and welcome change occurred, however!
In the remainder of their 21 years together, he never drank, smoked, threw food or beat his wife. Bob became a powerful man of God, praying his family into the kingdom.
“As for God, his way is perfect:
The LORD’s word is flawless;
he shields all who take refuge in him.
For who is God besides the LORD?
And who is the Rock except our God?”
Together they started watching Christian television. Many times Betty recommitted her life to Christ watching 100 Huntley Street. Betty began to walk hand in hand with her husband, letting God lead them together.
They read the bible believing all that was promised. Miracles were the norm. They saw God do many things during those years. They knew they just had to ask and God would provide.
Though Bob’s transformation and deliverance was instant, it took about 10 years for Jesus to heal their marriage. Betty never hated her husband. However after years of abuse, she did not love him.
Many who live in abusive situations experience this reality, because the love of God available for them is consistently undermined.
Betty knew in her head God loved her. “The space between God and I was no problem! The space between my head and my heart was!” she confesses.
One weekend, Betty travelled to Medicine Hat to their son’s hockey tournament. Bob stayed at home. While reading in the bedroom, he saw a vivid vision of Betty standing in the doorway. She appeared more beautiful than ever before.
Amazed by her beauty, he said, “God, I don’t see her that way.”
“Well, I do!” God’s voice boomed so loud it cracked the window in the bedroom.
“Ok! Ok!” Bob fearfully said.
As he later related the vision to Betty, the realization of the God’s great love for her shifted from her head to her heart. Such love has never left her!
Through the power of God, the family grew and became strong. Betty completed a university degree while her children were in school. She became a rural municipality secretary, a notary of public, and served on the hospital board and a school board for many years.
Letting God lead in a new way, Betty started a home based business which grew over the next 35 years. For nine years she owned her own kitchen supply store in the Swift Current mall.
Bob went to be with the Lord in 1997 as a result of cancer.
Ordained with two Pentecostal organizations, Betty was launched into ministry with a heart for evangelism and bringing hope to the abused. After experiencing healing and the baptism of the Holy Spirit, she ministers the same at every opportunity.
“It is God who arms me with strength
and keeps my way secure.
He makes my feet like the feet of a deer;
he causes me to stand on the heights.”
Speaking opportunities soon opened for Betty from Vancouver Island to New Brunswick. Betty’s motto, “If you’re not a missionary, you’re a mission field.”
Pursuing itinerant ministry, she had no intention of marrying again. She was single, happy and fulfilled!
While staying with mutual friends between ministry engagements, Betty was introduced to Dennis. In spite of there being little time for interaction, one night God laid Dennis on her heart.
Betty wanted no part of marriage!
She challenged, “God if this is You, You are messing up my life.”
Nonetheless Betty added, “But I know that You know what is good for me better than I do, so if this is You, You are going to have to make it plain to me. If this is You, tell him to ask me to go to Ottawa tomorrow.” Never one for the “tourist thing”, the request was unusual!
The next morning as Betty was making breakfast, Dennis asked, “What are you doing today? … I am going to do the tourist thing and go to Ottawa. I wondered if you would like to come along.”
Shocked, she sat in a chair! God had given confirmation. Even while letting God lead, Betty stayed three feet away from Dennis all day, unwilling to even use the armrest in the car.
How could a relationship even develop? One from Saskatchewan, the other from Alberta! One a farmer, the other in medicine! Both from different denominations! Yet her heart was being stirred!
Though Betty knew God was speaking, it would take a little longer for Dennis to hear. And Betty was in no way willing to help the process along!
By a sovereign work of the Lord, they were married in 2004 at Thanksgiving. Together they have six sons, six daughters-in-law and 20 grandchildren. All love the Lord and are serving Him.
You have given me your shield of victory.
Your right hand supports me; your help has made me great.
You have made a wide path for my feet
to keep them from slipping.”
Today Betty touches lives at every opportunity, bringing hope and assurance that God loves and cares.
Before remarriage, Betty ministered itinerantly across Canada as an evangelist and in healing ministry. She has seen many lives changed, hearts and bodies healed. Jesus remains unquestionably her first love.
Accepting God’s change became a great blessing! Betty now says, “I would not know what it is like to be so incredibly happy.”
She counsels all ages, “If you are looking for someone in your life, let God do the choosing. Go to Him to choose your mate. Don’t go looking yourself!”
Together Dennis and Betty have ministered to the nations of Costa Rica, Guatemala, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Singapore, Spain, and the United States of America. In Canada, they continue to impact lives in eight provinces and territories, faithfully returning to Inuvik twice a year.
The impact of their ministry continues from the Arctic Circle to Virginia and from British Columbia to New Brunswick.
“The LORD lives! Praise be to my Rock! Exalted be God my Saviour!…
Therefore, I will praise you, LORD,
among the nations; I will sing the praises of your name.”
God made no mistake in bringing this couple together! Easing back is not in the Boettger’s near future!
Dennis and Betty exemplify letting God lead all the way! Supercharged and ready to go? Absolutely! Together they minister with liberty and transparency, wherever God gives opportunity.
I am writing “The Prodigal” for three reasons. First, to draw attention to the amazing grace of our Heavenly Father. Second, to honor my Christian parents and recognize their investment in my life and their prayers for Pat and I. Thirdly, to encourage parents, grandparents, family and friends to keep on praying for your loved one, no matter how hopeless things may look.
“The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.” Psalm 145:18
I was a normal kid living on a farm with honest and God following parents. Our church was a small Full Gospel work in Radville, Saskatchewan. There was nothing to inspire young people.
Two negative things marked the wonderful innocent years growing up on the farm. One was sexual molestation, another was a violation of my sexual innocence by materials that were never in our home. These are not an excuse for my behavior in my early teens but they were an introduction of evil into my mind and heart.
A Prodigal’s Rebellion
I determined to experience the things my parents had warned me about: girls, rock music, alcohol, fighting, driving too fast, dancing and movies. It sounds old fashioned, like the innocent pursuits of a teenager, but I was out of control.
I defied my parents and broke all the rules. Outwardly looking like a typical kid growing up in the 60’s, inside I was filled with conflict, self-doubt and fear. I was afraid of God, afraid of being left to perish if the Rapture occurred and ashamed of what I was doing.
As the years went by, I failed at school and was soon a high school dropout. I remember being on the verge of a sexual sin with a local girl and suddenly coming under a terrible conviction. We stopped doing what was about to happen and drove to my parents farm. They led the young woman to Christ.
However, I could not surrender. So a wild, out of control season took a dark turn into a drunken fog. After drinking all day in Westby, Montana I wrecked my car and ended up in jail in Weyburn. I was so toxic on alcohol the police took me from the cell to the hospital. My parents came in the wee hours of the morning to get me.
Mother told me years later that she asked me that night why I was running away from God. My reply was, “If I stop running I will have to be a preacher.” I do not remember!
The assistant manager at Northgate Mall Safeway, where I worked, was a godly Christian man who attended Hillsdale Alliance. God showed him I was from a Christian background. He would plead with me to give my life to Christ. I just couldn’t!
Years later while attending Bible School in Eston, I connected with Bob Kinnie my boss at the Safeway. He wept with sheer joy when he heard what God had done. He told me he prayed for me all the time.
“If you see a Christian brother or sister
sinning in a way… you should pray,
and God will give that person life.” I John 5:16
About 1967-68 I was engaged to Pat, my one and only wife. However, I drank so much everything about me was crumbling. A girl from the past came along as a distraction. In a foolish state I walked away from everything: Pat, job, and car.
I hitchhiked to Calgary to “find myself“. The prodigal didn’t find anything but a drug and alcohol mess. I hitchhiked back to Regina for Pat. She was heartbroken and angry at my behavior. She had gone to live with her grandparents in Hazenmore to find her balance. I arrived looking like the lost soul I was. She slowly let me back into her life.
While walking around Hazenmore we found a closed Anglican church. The door was unlocked so we went in. Walking up to the pulpit, I stood there gazing down at a large dusty Bible. Feeling a sudden homesick melancholy, I went and sat in a pew and quietly wept. Pat came and sat down, asking what was wrong. God was tugging at my heart. The prodigal pushed it away!
A Prodigal’s Breakdown
Shortly after, Pat and I “ran away together” beginning a new life in Calgary. There we lived in a common law relationship.
All the while, my parents prayed and prayed. From time to time they would send books, Bibles or encouragement to go to a church. But we pursued a life of drinking, partying and drugs.
“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Romans 12:12
Pat and I were married back in Regina at a United Church. I remember my parents trying hard to smile at the wedding but all the while being haunted by our dangerous lifestyle.
In 1972, Pat and I were home for Christmas on our farm near Radville . We had drugs with us, using them all the time, even while flying on the plane. Mom told me later, she felt a real “darkness” around us.
Early in 1973 a number of events and experiences shattered my prodigal world. We had put some money together with others to send someone to Beruit to buy hashish, a strong drug you smoke. The person was arrested and put in prison in Lebanon.
Our marriage began to fracture with all the drugs and the parties. I was working as an assistant manager in Loblaws. Unknown to me, I was on probation. The leadership knew I was stoned everyday at work.
We began to hang out with a motorcycle gang called the Grim Reapers. Things reached a climax with Pat back in Regina, both to escape the stress between us and to visit her folks.
I partied all night with the Grim Reapers arriving back in our apartment in the early hours of morning. I was high on “speed”. Everything in my mind and body was racing. The prodigal felt invincible!
“The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise,
as some people think.
No, he is being patient for your sake.
He does not want anyone to be destroyed,
but wants everyone to repent.” 2 Peter 3:9
A Prodigal’s Breakhrough
In the empty apartment, filled with drugs I felt a strange homesickmelancholy (sound familiar). A loving voice said, “If you continue this way you will soon die.”
Suddenly sober, scared and desperate, in anguish I said “God, please help me”.
“I call on you, my God, for you will answer me; turn your ear to me and hear my prayer.” Psalm 17:6
A deep peace came over me. Even though you never sleep on speed, I went into our kitchen, laid down on our bed and fell sound asleep. A motorcycle was in our bedroom. Don’t ask!
When I woke, there was that homesick melancholy. That evening, Sunday, Pat flew home from Regina. My sad demeanor, which I couldn’t understand, was misconstrued by Pat. She thought I had met another woman.
For about two weeks without drugs, drinking, or listening to Rock n Roll, I just sat quietly. A series of events began to happen!
I phoned my parents, “ A friend of mine is having some struggles you should pray for him.”
Mom called everyone she knew, “Please pray! Dave and Pat are getting close.”
“Do not be anxious about anything,
but in every situation,
by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving,
present your requests to God.” Philippians 4:6
Out of the blue, a heroin addict (who claimed to be an atheist) dropped some Hal Lindsey books off. After two weeks, I came home from work for supper with Pat. I told her I knew what I had to do.
She expected me to leave her. Instead, I got down on my knees giving my life to Christ. She did the same days later. The rest is history! God has blessed our lives from March of 1973 until this very day.
Keep praying! Don’t give up! The prodigals will come home!
Pastor of Pastors
Pastor Dave Wicks not only became a pastor but is now a pastor of many pastors as the Regional Director of ACOP South Saskatchewan Region. Through his gentle, quiet, joyful nature and steadfastness, He is an inspiration to many people across denominational and generational lines.
Though I have know Pastor Dave and his beautiful wife Pat for only a short time, I come away from every meeting motivated by the great love and grace that lavishly flows from their lives.
Most of us have heard stories of redemption where someone is saved from something. The something could be a person, a destination or place, or a situation of their own or other people’s making. My name is Dawn; the story of my life is one of a daughter’s redemption.
I have been saved many times from situations, beliefs or ideas, and behaviours of my own and others. Sometimes my salvation has been quick or even instant. At other times, I have come to a slow awareness of salvation available before I could walk into it.
The Most Important Salvation
The most important salvation of my life was both instant and a slow realization: salvation from my own worst self, fears, sin, and ignorance of Jesus Christ.
“For the Son of Man came to seek
and save those who are lost.” Luke 19:10
As a young girl, my little sister, Rhonda, and I lived with my addicted dad. He was one of the few single fathers in the 70’s. I already had experienced much fear, pain and loss.
When my parent’s marriage disintegrated, my mother was separated from Rhonda and I. My father loved us deeply; he also loved the drugs he used to pacify his wounded heart and mind.
In the midst of:
stints of foster care,
multiple moves and school placements
(6 schools by grade 4)
parties, strangers, threats of violence in our home, weapons, secrets, jail visits
and lack of adult supervision and structure.
Jesus introduced Himself to me.
I was 8 years old and beginning to have an awareness of and feel frustration with my home life. My entire little-girl heart LOVED my father deeply: flaws, secrets, instability and all. I was beginning to see direct effects of his poor decision-making on Rhonda and I.
I was also beginning to be angry towards him. Questions filled my 8 year old heart and mind:
“Why can’t we see our mom? Where is mom? Has she forgotten us? Why do we have to keep secrets about guns
drugs and drinking? Why do we move all the time? Will we have to go to another foster home? Why are police always at our house? Why can’t we be like my friend’s families?”
In the midst of the darkness, danger and fear in my home and heart, the strangest, most unexpected thing occurred!
A School Bus
A school bus started coming to our home to pick Rhonda and I up for Sunday School! Not only that, the same bus came and picked us up on Wednesdays for Pioneer Girls, a fun group for girls at church. Twice a week, the yellow bus brought us to a Holy Spirit-filled church where we learned about Jesus for the first time.
During one of these groups, my teacher took me aside and shared how Jesus knows and loves ME. She asked if I’d like to know Jesus and invite Him into my heart to be with me always. I did not have to think long! I did not know much about Jesus. What I had heard so far sounded wonderful!
I chose to believe that God and Jesus were real and that they could and would help me. And He sure did help me! The change was instantaneous!
“Then you will call on me
and come and pray to me,
and I will listen to you.” Jeremiah 29:12
I was no longer alone as a small girl in a big world. I began to talk to Him and believed He heard my prayers. My father was not a believer. He made it very clear he would never set foot in church. Either he knew we needed it, or he was glad for the structured activity it gave us, so he let us attend.
Sometimes, the help Jesus offers is painful to receive, centering around earthly change and loss. This is also my story. Within a few months of being introduced to Jesus, our lives would be forever changed.
We moved that spring to a large house outside Calgary, Alberta. The indoor pool, 4 bedrooms and 100 acres of land were welcome.
As a little girl, I had no way of knowing my dad had become deeply involved in a drug ring. The property was owned by someone in that circle. We were allowed to live there with expectations of my dad.
We finished the school year at a new school and experienced another month in foster care, before returning home to dad and country life.
Our grandparents came to take us to Regina for the summer vacation. We were excited! We loved time with grandma and grandpa! Here there was Sunday school, lots of yummy food, love, attention and care.
Within 2 weeks of kissing and hugging our dad goodbye, we received the worst news any child can hear — our dad was no longer alive. He shot and killed himself!
“The LORD is close to the brokenhearted;
he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.” Psalm 34:18
Grief, loss, tears and sadness became our companions that summer. Adults decided the best care for us. Two little girls aged 9 and 7 were required to begin a new chapter in life.
Early in this experience of loss, I came to a realization: life was not easy nor always good with my dad. We LOVED our dad and wanted him back with us, but I also had to admit we were heading down a dangerous road in life. I began to see how Jesus was intervening to save Rhonda and me.
God was not responsible for or caused my dad to take his own life. God’s will is never death or sin. I am assured that God was grieving for the loss of his son, our dad, alongside Rhonda and I grieving for our father.
After my heart healed a little, I was able to look back at life before and after losing my father. I began to learn that God sometimes allows deep pain and loss because He knows it can lead to equally deep trust and life. Can and will we surrender and trust Him to allow His tender healing of the hurts?
[bctt tweet=”God sometimes allows deep pain and loss because He knows it can lead to equally deep trust and life.” username=”MAWardAuthor”]
Life began again in July, 1980 for me. It is not the end of my story, but it was the end of that chapter of my story. I thank Jesus, Father God and Holy Spirit for walking through that season with me.
I’m also thankful to the Pioneer Girls leader, loving praying grandparents, and for the prayers and actions of others who gently circled us. When we meet Jesus face to face, He will introduce us to the many people who influenced our young lives.
And today? These many years later, how has life unfolded? Twists and turns! Lumps and bumps! Jesus continues to surprise!
The latest is a call to the woods of Tracy, New Brunswick. Here my husband and I have committed a year of our lives to volunteer. We are learning a program model for a Christ-Centered residential addiction program for men called “Village of Hope”. Some days we feel we fall short of the call, but we press forward knowing He has led us here for this time and His purpose. There’s no other place I’d rather be!
Jesus continually called my name, even after a long season of running away and denying hearing His voice. I am blessed on earth to be called “mother” “grandmother” “wife” and “friend”. The core of my identity though is knowing my name as “Daughter”.
“And, “I will be a Father to you,
and you will be my sons and daughters,
says the Lord Almighty.” 2 Corinthians 6:18
I spent many years not knowing the experience of being addressed as someone’s daughter. Now my Heavenly Daddy gave me the mind and heart-jolting revelation, “You are MY daughter”. The sweet reward of redemption!
My response is to live as a child of the King – by spreading seeds of His joy, His peace, His love and light. To do so allows me to thrive.
Thrive Dawn does! Dawn loves and cares for others passionately and genuinely. It is fitting that Dawn is the first to share her testimony, as representative of her First Nations Indigenous heritage.
Dawn’s redemption continues to influence numerous lives nationally. She effectively “mothers” multitudes, inspiring them to break free from generational and personal places of pain and addiction.
I am proud to call Dawn a friend, a sister, and partner in the work of Christ. She is a humble “daughter” of her Father God in the fullest extent of the word.
Apparently one way to age a lion is by scarring on its face. Scars show the fearless characteristic of a lion. The bible calls the righteous “as bold as a lion”. The scars of those who survive and thrive are evidence enough of their bold faith and tenacious perseverance!
“The wicked flee though no one pursues,
but the righteous are as bold as a lion.” Proverbs 28:1
Do you notice the difference between the “wicked” and the “righteous”? One runs from harmless shadows, the other faces real and impending threat squarely. We have to admit, there isn’t much a lion will back down from.
Brave of Heart
To be lionhearted describes someone who is unflinchingly brave and courageous in the face of danger.
In the months ahead, I will be sharing stories of personal heroism demonstrated in the lives of some incredible people I know and appreciate.
Though none would consider themselves either brave or “bold as a lion”, their journey reveals a different story. Each one has faced dangers of various kinds. They have the scars to prove it!
Those who thrive hold wisdom like gold dust loosely in their hands. They willingly and with liberality reach into their experiences and share the treasures they have found in Christ, allowing the winds of the Spirit to inspire others. Their stories igniting faith, hope and courage in the rest of us.
“In this world you will have trouble.
But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
As we examine their lives, we will clearly see the difference between surviving and thriving is rooted in their faith and the unshakable love of Christ.
Love of Christ
Paul prayed for the Ephesian church,
“I pray that you, being rooted and established in love,
may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people,
to grasp how wide and long and high
and deep is the love of Christ.” Ephesians 4:17,18
“In this is love, not that we loved God
but that he loved us…
” 1 John 4:10
God’s love is unconditional! God loves, because He is love!
Courage and bravery are not necessary to somehow merit His love. He loves us as we are. He loves us completely, even in our weakness and frailty. God will never love us more; He has no capacity to love us less.
It is in the basis of this relationship of love that survivors thrive.
Thriving Against all Odds
What makes someone brave? What compels one person to face life’s toughness squarely while another turns and runs?
“Courage is not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it”
David’s bravery was tested in the pastures with his flock:
“…When a lion or a bear came
and carried off a sheep from the flock, I went after it, struck it and rescued
the sheep from its mouth.
When it turned on me,
I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed.” I Samuel 17:34-35
Acts of bravery aren’t always physically!
It takes courage to not only see your own way through difficult, but to lead others into victory as well. “Thrivers” are mothers and fathers who
love with the love of Christ,
disciple younger ones to maturity,
foster godly character,
instill hope and impart vision.
Those Who Thrive Speak
My husband still teases me about my “farmer’s call”. Being the mother of five active sons who enjoyed roaming the acres beyond our farm yard, this “momma” learned to call her young in for supper or bedtime with a distinct “Yoohoo” that could be heard far and wide. It is a non-comparison to a lions roar, however!
I have read that the spine-tingling roar of a lion is as loud as a turbo fan of an aircraft on takeoff, reaching 114 decibels. It is one of the loudest voices in the animal kingdom heard up to 8 kilometers away.
Lions roar to tell other lions their location, to show how big they are and to warn lions from other prides to keep away from their home territory.
“They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and
by the word of their testimony
they did not love their lives so much
as to shrink from death.” Revelation 12:11
As these people share their stories, it may sound more like a whisper than a roar. Truthfully though, God has given them voices that echo through generations, powerfully declaring the faithfulness of Him who is greater, Jesus Christ!
Those who Thrive Rest
I have chosen people who have discovered the power of waiting! Waiting is the womb of courageous strength!
“Wait patiently for the LORD.
Be brave and courageous.
Yes, wait patiently for the LORD.” Psalm 27:14
[bctt tweet=”Waiting is the womb of courageous strength!” username=”MAWardAuthor”]
In the natural, the most intense development and formation occurs within the concealed and protected womb. For these, waiting and trusting in the Lord has formed the foundation of their courage and strength.
Those who have studied lions say it is a boring of occupation. Lions sleep for over 20 hours every day! That is a lot of rest! In resting, a lion is able to conserve strength for when it is most needed. It is also a position of watching; the place where wisdom is gained.
I am excited to use this blogging platform to share their stories. It is my hope that we will all draw from their wisdom, be inspired by their strength, motivated to action, and invited into deeper faith.
“A final word: Be strong in the Lord
and in his mighty power.” Ephesians 6:10