I have a praying wife. Lori is an intercessor by desire and by conviction. She is a warrior when it comes to waging warfare against the enemy of our souls. In the twenty nine years I have known her, she has been a formidable warrior that will not relent and fall back from an aggressive stance and posture in the Spirit as she prays for those things the Lord puts upon her heart to pray. She has prayed with me through all the seasons of life.
We developed a culture of prayer when we were engaged and married in 1983. In the early years it was as consistent and as deep as it could be. We discovered as many others due that it is in the “bad” times that we develop the true disciplines of the spiritual life we have in Christ Jesus. We seem to easily dismiss our need of His hand and favour, and companionship when things are in control, and we have a “handle on things.”
However, throw in a diagnosis of cancer for your only child, and things all of a sudden change. Carragh our first born was diagnosed at age two and a half. Carragh would live until the age of 9 and would suffer multiple relapses and each time through the ministry of prayer she was raised up from near death, until her last relapse in the fall of 1993. Carragh graduated to glory with her family by her side four days before Christmas 1993. Throughout our life together as a family up until that time, we developed a more aggressive and vibrant attitude about prayer.
Throughout the years the Lord added to our arsenal of weapons of warfare in regards to prayer, intercession, and deliverance. Each new equipping brought a new release to operate in a greater dimension of faith and the supernatural.
While in the Vineyard, four years after Carragh passed away, I broke my back, my L4/L5 suffered a compressed fracture. I was tobogganing with my daughters, and Caitlin was on the front of the eight foot toboggan when we collided with an oak tree. It broke the toboggan in two, and Caitlin merrily went down the hill to the fence without realizing that I lay beside the oak tree, with a broken back, and with a crushed right elbow (in sixteen pieces) and smashed right forearm (in seven places). I walked off the hill in a rather foolish bravado waiting for my wife to show up to take me to the hospital.
People who knew us, in the church and all over Ontario as well as across Canada and in the USA began to pray for me. It was a transition time with the kind of back injury I experienced. Barely a year before, I would have been compelled to be put in a body cast for a year. Yeah! Right! Imagine a big guy like me in a body cast! I know, I can see your grin and hear your laughter!
However, in that year of transition, instead of a body cast, I was measured to fit, in a titanium brace that was custom fitted and created. The measurements were sent to Austin, Texas, where it was manufactured, just for me! It came back in six days! I had to wear this thing in order to sit up and walk around. I walked around like Robocop or the Terminator! I could not fit in our car and as such I had to take a special cab from the Grand River Transit or the Waterloo Taxi service just to go to physio and checkups.
Our family had several key power prayer encounters during this time.
While in the hospital recovering, one of my friends from the Vineyard, Bob Dempster, came to see me. He decided he wanted to stand in my place for prayer at TACF (Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship) and to stand in the gap for me for my healing. The night Bob went I was listening to my Walkman to a live recording of worship from TACF, “Audience of One” which was really ministering to me. Around 9 pm, I felt this coursing heat and electricity going through my body, from the lower back, up my spine, around my chest and heart area, and then up to my right shoulder and down my right arm. It then reversed itself and went back up the right arm, up to my head, and down my spine all the way to my tailbone.
All this happened at the time that Bob was standing on the prayer line at TACF, in my place. He was standing in proxy for me. He was literally standing in the gap for my healing. I know that God touched me that night. Tears streamed down my face, and the glory of the Lord filled the room. I was there, but in the Spirit I was not there. It was one of the most intimate experiences I have ever had with the Lord. And, it all happened because people prayed and people stood in the gap for me.
Prayer not only changes circumstances, it changes people, from the inside out.
I began to question the Lord why I had experienced this accident, and over a period of weeks He let me know that it was so that He could have my undivided attention. He wanted to deal with my heart issues. During this time period I received much prayer and received much of what has become known as inner healing.
I well remember my friend, and senior pastor, and my “boss” a the Vineyard, Ed Wilson coming to see me with tear filled eyes. He looked at me, full of the love of the Lord and with compassion overflowing. He told me, “Sam, I have a word from the Lord for you.” I had reason to be excited as I always looked forward to the Lord speaking forth prophetically through people into my life. I looked at Ed intensely, and he took a deep breath and said, “Sam, the Lord has given me three words for you…” I looked again full of faith and anticipation. I said, “Yes….” Ed replied, “Embrace the pain.” Then he cried and apologized that he could not give me more. I slumped back a bit stunned, but I knew in my heart of hearts, the Lord had spoken through Ed directly to me. I needed to embrace not only the physical pain, but the deep inner wounds that the Lord wanted to heal me of and restore me. We prayed, and from there began a long six month journey of physical and spiritual and emotional healing that has transformed my life.
One other particular instance was with the physiotherapist who came to our home and visited with us. During conversations and small talk we got to address spiritual matters including the issue of bitterness. Lori in particular was able to address these heart issues, to the point of leading this woman to a dynamic encounter with the Lord.
Lori has had her own amazing answers to prayer, where she was diagnosed with skin cancer on her nose. It turned out to be benign and she had a skin graft done. The Lord was very present in that situation as well. A lot of prayer went up for Lori during this time.
In the late 90’s our dog, our toy poodle Gladys, was dying, and we realized we had to put her down. We drove to the vet and I took Gladys in my arms, and I banged my face into the clear glass door damaging my glasses. As a result after putting Gladys down, Lori and I and the girls decided we should get eye checkups as I needed new glasses. The long and short of it is that Lori got her eyes checked and she was diagnosed with a rare form of glaucoma that could have led to blindness very suddenly. People went to prayer. Lori got laser surgery and she completely recovered. The Lord arranged the circumstances so that Lori would have to have her eyes checked, and the diagnosis and the treatment that save her vision.
We have seen the Lord use the supernatural and as well as the wisdom of physicians to bring healing and wholeness. In each case the Lord has moved people to pray and intercede on behalf of requests for the Lord’s intervention.
Even in other situations such as the loss of employment, the Lord has constantly drawn near and answered prayers in a powerful way.
The amazing thing is that God communicates with us and desires to have open conversation with us 24/7 and wants to empower us to walk a supernatural life tapping into Heaven, so that as we pray, we will experience “heaven on earth.” God is always answering our prayers. The question is, are we listening?