Healing Line

Healing Line

Desperate Meets Determined

by Leslie Royalty
July/Aug 2010

At the most recent Journey to Healing Retreat back in April, we met a woman desperately in need of a touch from God. In fact, in her beautiful honesty, she even told a staff member at the beginning of the retreat that this was a “make it or break it” weekend for her. What she didn’t know was that God had already ordained the outcome, and was immovably determined to see it through. Although desiring to remain anonymous, she has given us permission to share her story. Here is her account of her reason for coming.

I have been the solo pastor of a small church throughout my seminary years and for this last full year of ordained ministry. Despite my clinical pastoral education training, several especially sad cases have triggered inner feelings related to unresolved wounds from my childhood. I have found myself depleted and without the spiritual and emotional resources to go on. I decided to come to this conference, chiefly for the opportunity to rest and pray. I had given some thought to things I might want to share in the prayer appointment, but only if I believed the intercessors capable of hearing my very painful story.

This precious woman endured unspeakable pain in her life, particularly her childhood. In fact, when it came time for her prayer appointment, she chose to decline. She felt so overwhelmed herself by the depth of her pain, that she couldn’t conceive of any prayer minister being able to handle hearing her story, much less one session being enough to address it. When I heard of her predicament, I felt the Lord’s heart of compassion rise up and went to try to assure her it would be worth it. I sensed God’s unflinching determination for her to receive everything He had for her, without missing one drop. It took a good deal of convincing that both the prayer team and most importantly God were able to handle whatever she needed to unload. Finally, she agreed to give it a shot and with courage decided she was willing to take the risk of opening her soul to receive. Listen as she relates what followed.

My prayer appointment went so much better than expected. My prayer ministers were attentive and caring. They listened to a thumbnail sketch of my story and then suggested asking where the Holy Spirit might want to go in this situation. When we bowed our heads to pray, the results were astonishing. It was like pressing the play button on a tape recorder and listening to a deeply painful childhood scene. Had I not felt safe with them and had we not been praying, I’m not sure I could have listened to my own pain. The scenes that came to mind were not what I would have gone to, but were areas that very much needed God’s touch. As I relayed where I was in the situation, they asked where Jesus was, whether I could see His face and what He might be speaking there. I could not see His face in the scene, but I could hear His voice, and I felt the hot splash of tears on my hands. I looked up to see the pain in the prayer minister’s face and realized exactly how Jesus might have looked that day.

The Holy Spirit took us to one other scene, an adult scene in the funeral home a few hours after my mother died in 2001. I knew I was angry, but did not realize that I had felt responsible for her depression, illness, cancer and subsequent death. I was able to look at her and say that what I had wanted was not her death, but for my own pain to end and to ask her forgiveness. One of the prayer ministers stepped into the scene and role-played a healing response from my mother. On review, I think it was important to recognize the depth of my ongoing childhood anger, verbalize it and deal with it, and find some closure to this painful relationship. I deeply appreciated this time of prayer.

In addition to the one-hour individual prayer appointment available to each recipient, there are about seven hours of soaking prayer throughout the retreat. During this conference in particular, we received so many reports of deep healing that took place in soaking prayer especially! This woman describes her experience with refreshing honesty.

Soaking prayer was a new concept for me. I am an extremely busy person, perhaps ‘driven’ would be a better word. I have a hard time sitting still. When the first soaking prayer session was introduced, I decided to purchase some books in the bookstore and use the time to read, purchasing a prayer blanket too. When I settled in for a couple of hours of reading, the lights had been turned too low to read, so I wrapped the blanket up to my chin, interceded for everyone in my church, and gradually began to relax into the process. The first intercessor to place her hands on my shoulders startled me, but then I settled into that as well. I did not miss a minute of any soaking prayer session and gradually learned to simply receive and appreciate this time alone with God. Each time I use my blanket at home, I remember the comforting sense of God’s presence I experienced during that time and ask God to continue it.

During the Journey to Healing Retreat, we include a few different ministry services, including a Communion service for generational healing, a mother and father blessing service, and a healing service. Here is her description of the unexpected love and grace she received.

The healing service Saturday was another important prayer time. This was a relatively new concept…I was very surprised that I was able to relax into the prayer, fall to the floor, and experience a very real and vivid time of deep inner healing with God. I could sense God holding me as an infant, and I experienced wave after wave of feeling loved, welcomed, valued, and accepted. It may have been the first time in my life I have ever felt “wanted and accepted” for myself rather than what I do.

As I recount the experiences of this woman throughout the retreat, I notice a constant thread of mercy woven throughout. It seems as though everywhere she turned, she unexpectedly ran right into Jesus. Even after 16 years of therapy, prior to this weekend she had reached the point where she felt she may need to leave the ministry. Yet in her desperation, the determined force of God’s love met her right where she was. Needless to say, she was changed. I actually just got off the phone with her and she confirmed that the healing God began in Jacksonville that weekend has only continued! Praise the Lord!
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Leslie Royalty Leslie Royalty is in charge of Prayer Minister Care at CHM. Magazine Issue

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