Remarkable Healing of a Muslim

by Francis MacNutt
Jul/Aug 2003

In these days where we hear so much about conflict threatened between Christian and Muslim peoples, I thought you might like to hear about one happy experience that took place about 30 years ago. This extraordinary event involved a woman I had known for a long time. We went to the same high school. She was born Protestant, but she had become a Mohammedan and a Sufi, which is a group within the Muslim world who are serious about interior prayer. When I would return to St. Louis, we would have coffee and talk. I was always trying to reconnect her to Christianity. I gave her books by Teresa of Avila and other great spiritual authors to read. She was never too impressed, although she liked Thomas Aquinas. She became curator at a celebrated art museum, but then she decided she wanted to deal more directly with people, so she went to work at a center for disturbed adolescents. At that point, I started telling her about inner healing. She was interested but skeptical. She said if it were really all that valuable, the scientific world would have heard of it by now.

A few years later I was taking a plane out of Boston, where she was then living, so I called and asked if she would like to get together. She said she would be happy to, but that she had broken her leg and was confined to a wheelchair. I said I could take a taxi and stop on the way to the airport - which I did. We had only about an hour to talk. All the time I was thinking to myself, there she is sitting in a wheelchair; should I offer to pray with her or not? Finally, it was time to go and she rolled away in her wheel chair to phone a cab. I was asking in prayer, "Lord, should I suggest praying or not?" It seemed I should.

When she came back, I said, "You don't have to do this, of course, but I'd feel terrible if I didn't at least offer to pray for your broken leg."

She said, "You know, Francis, that is not my real problem." (By this time, she had left the Sufis.) "My leg is not my real problem," she added. "I really want to know God. I'm really searching, and I'd appreciate prayer for that." Since that truly was a much better reason to pray, I went over to her and put my hand on her head and prayed for that. I asked if it was all right to pray in tongues, because this was one of those cases where I didn't know exactly how best to pray. She said that would be fine.

I started praying for her in tongues. After about thirty seconds, she pulled my hand away and said, "My God, Francis, what are you doing?" That confused me, because she had given me permission to pray. I said, "I don't know, what am I doing?" And she said, "You really don't know, do you?" And I said, "No." And she said, "My God, that's amazing." I said, "What's amazing?" And she said, "You 're praying the Shahada." And I said, "What's that?" She said, "You don't know, do you? That's the traditional prayer we all learn, just as you learn the Lord's Prayer. It's our basic prayer." She then told me that I was praying it in Arabic. Naturally, I was very surprised. Then the cab driver was at the door - just at the worst time. I had to go to the airport. As I was going to the door, she said something else was happening. She said something was being rearranged in her body and in her leg. She said she thought she could walk. And she got out of her wheelchair and walked me to the door. She was totally healed of her broken leg.

When I got home, I wanted to find out what the Shahada was, so I called her on the phone. Later, she wrote me a letter with the Arabic on one side and the English translation on the other. It is very much like the basic Hebrew prayer, "The Lord our God is the one true God. Holy is his name." I left out - and this is interesting - "and Mohammed is his prophet" and went on down to the next line, which was about the compassion of God. It was extraordinary, a great story of God's own working out of reconciliation.

Francis MacNutt Francis MacNutt is a Founding Director and Executive Committee member of CHM. Jul/Aug 2003 Issue