Healing Line

Healing Line

His Grace is Sufficient

by Linda Strickland
Jan/Feb/Mar 2013

"But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.'" — 2 Corinthians 12:9

Several years ago I had the honor of praying with a precious woman who had been diagnosed with a very aggressive and terminal illness. Although she knew her time was short, she was one of the cheeriest people I had ever met. In talking with her she told me something I will never forget. She said, "I know this may sound crazy, but I'm alright with whatever God has for me. When I first found out I was dying I was mad, so I begged and pleaded with God to tell me why. He didn't give me any answers, just His presence and His peace. So I decided that was enough — that His grace is sufficient." I remember thinking at the time that her words and attitude were amazing. I did not, however, completely understand the truth of what she said until almost a year ago, when I unexpectedly found myself in the position of helplessly watching both of my parents go through the process of dying — just three days apart.

My parents were extraordinary people who loved and served the Lord side by side for sixty–four years. My dad was a pastor, and in their corner of the world Dick and Grace Hoover were a power couple. Together they pastored churches, planted churches, built churches and discipled people. The number of souls they brought into the Kingdom of God is countless, and the number of lives they touched is incalculable.

In December of 2011, my mother suffered a debilitating stroke. The decision to place her in a nursing home, where she could receive the special care that she needed, was a difficult one for my family, but it completely broke my dad's heart. Being separated from his sweetheart for the first time in their lives was more than he could bear. Although he had many physical issues himself, my dad would make the forty–five minute drive to visit my mom every day, and nothing or no one could stop him. After three months of doing this day in and day out he completely wore himself out, became very sick, and had to be hospitalized. With no hope for recovery, we were advised to move him to the nursing home and call Hospice. On that very same night, my mother's condition deteriorated and we were counseled to call Hospice for her as well. The next day we moved them into a room together. A week later my dad went to heaven; and three days after that my mom joined him there.

During that precious week, my siblings and I sat in my parent's room and we watched and we waited. We cried and we laughed. We slept little and prayed a lot. We questioned how this could be happening, and we were amazed that it actually was. We were in shock and we were in awe. We were shocked that we were about to lose both of our parents, and we were completely awed by the fact that neither of them would have to live on this earth without the other. All of our lives we had heard our parents say that, when it was their time to die, they wanted to go to heaven together. Watching God grant their request was nothing short of unbelievable. It was also during this sorrowful and yet beautiful time that we came to understand and accept the sufficiency of God's grace, and His mercy and love.

Death is truly one of the great mysteries of life, and we will never completely understand it until we are in the fullness of God's kingdom. In CHM's School of Healing Prayer® Level III, we teach prayer ministers how to minister to and pray for people who are terminally ill. In this important lesson we teach how prayer ministry can be extremely valuable, not only to the person who is ill, but to the family as well. Most people who are seriously ill have spiritual and emotional issues that they need to resolve before they die. Prayer ministry offers a level of prayer that can help bring a person to the point of being ready to make the transition.

The Role of a Prayer Minister

  • One of the greatest gifts a prayer minister can offer someone who is going through the transition of life into death is to listen, lovingly and compassionately, to their needs. According to Hospice, 25% of the dying are afraid of pain and 75% have spiritual and emotional needs. There may be a need for confession, repentance, forgiveness and possibly even inner healing prayer.
  • Be a compassionate, loving presence, bringing a sense of worship, joy and peace. Often the dying person may be agitated for many reasons and need comfort.
  • It is important to pray a cleansing prayer over the room itself, especially if it is a hospital room, for whatever has happened there: pain, death, despair, depression or any darkness. All of these things can have an effect on the atmosphere of the room, and people typically notice a difference after this prayer.
  • Minister to the family. Pray with them as much as you pray with the one who is dying, especially during the permission and goodbye stages, and throughout the grieving process.

Death truly is a transition, a passing from one reality to another fuller reality. During the final days of my parent's life I was privileged to witness this beautiful truth first hand. On the morning before my daddy died I walked into their room to the sound of him singing a song I had never heard before. He was singing, "Between the earth and the sky" — just those words, over and over. I asked him if that's where he was — somewhere between the earth and the sky. He answered with a big wink and huge smile. I sat down on his bed and for the next hour he and I talked and sang songs about heaven. A few hours later he was there.

Just think of stepping on shore, and finding it heaven
Of touching a hand, and finding it God's
Of breathing new air, and finding it celestial
Of waking up in Glory, and finding it home
Finally Home, by Don Wyrtzen)

My mama said her final words that same day, but waited three days to complete her journey to heaven. Her last words were not directed at anyone in particular, but were the simple words of a promise from Jesus she had believed her whole life. Words I believe were confirmed by what (or who) she was seeing and hearing while she was "between the earth and the sky." Although the stroke had robbed her of the ability to speak clearly, in a moment of extraordinary clarity she simply said, "Whosoever will may come."

  "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose…For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." — Romans 8:28, 38  

Linda Strickland Linda Strickland is CHM's Associate Director of Ministry and Assistant to Judith MacNutt. Jan/Feb/Mar 2013

Joy Beyond the Circumstances: Island of Fear Not

by Kathi Smith
Jan/Feb/Mar 2013

Just eight weeks ago on a Wednesday morning, I was getting prayer from a woman when she softly said, "I know this sounds random, but I think I heard the Lord say that on your thirtieth wedding anniversary, you are going to have a big celebration." I then laughed — I was glad it wasn't a prophetic word from the Lord such as, "Hey, God has this ark He wants you to build!" Nevertheless, I wrote down her words that night, wondering if the prayer minister had been tuned in to God when she had prayed for me.

Several days later my husband and I went away to Cumberland Island for a week, and I put the prophetic words out of my mind. While there, I received a phone call from my doctor's assistant to discuss the results of a pathology report from what was supposed to have been a routine biopsy. "You have breast cancer," she said gently and somewhat timidly, expecting the normal reaction.

My first response — not my second, third or fourth, but my first — was to smile, look up into the sky and say, "Oh, that's why I got the word about the thirtieth wedding anniversary!" You see, my thirtieth wedding anniversary is not until five years from now. No worries and not one ounce of fear accompanied the cancer diagnosis. The doctor's assistant was shocked by my lack of negativity and wanted to make sure that I had heard her words correctly. I had indeed understood her and yet was basking in the wonderful comfort of the Lord's assurance He had given me the week before. I also did not know that the medical community refers to "five–year survival probabilities" when grading cancer, but I had already been given a 100% survival guarantee by the prophetic word from the Lord — before I even had a diagnosis!

I have continued to talk about it and tell people, "I am in this crazy place with God, kind of like an other–worldly realm. It is as though I'm walking on water, but it is a permanent state." I have begun to describe this wonderful place as "the Island of Fear Not." I propose that God has made this Island of Fear Not available to everyone, and He wants us to live in this "other–worldly" place all the time. Why would angels in the Bible continually say, "Fear not!" if it weren't a possibility? Jesus invited people to walk on water with Him. He multiplied food during shortages and encouraged His friends to do the same. He brought healing to many, some of whom didn't even ask for His help. What if Jesus' words and actions are not merely history, but can actually happen today? What if we started to act upon these expectations and then started to see them come to fruition?

I happen to be living in this supernatural dimension right now. I believe and have seen for myself that His promises are indeed truths for today and not just wishful thinking. Instead of accepting all the limitations the doctors have put on me, I have posed the "what if" questions to my life, and they have led to living in His truths. For the pathology report that came back cancer "positive," I asked friends to pray that it was reversed in the next test. I had even delayed a major surgery so that I could go on a pre–planned trip to Belgium to teach healing prayer. At this conference I invited the audience to join me on the Island of Fear Not. The result: many people received inner healing that night from lifelong fears, sickness and traumas. I was also incredibly blessed to pray in a group for a young paraplegic man confined to a wheelchair. We experienced God's miracles as he first received feeling in his legs, then proceeded to move his legs for the first time in his life, and finally, to the awe and wonder of the entire group, he was able to stand up and take his first twenty or so steps. There was no fear that night in that room in Belgium. So God does offer power and healing, and they are available today. "Ask and it will be given to you." (Matthew 7:7)

My Story

If healings were measured in miles, I have already traveled a lifetime's distance. I have received healing from multiple life–altering conditions: PTSD; clinical depression and rampant fear caused by years of living in war conditions and from being abducted while living in Lebanon; a debilitating viral auto immune disorder that left me unable to walk; and from childhood abuse that occurred outside of my home. I had so much fear in my life that it actually controlled me. Throughout my youth "scaredy–cat" and "worry–wart" were normal nicknames for me, and nightmares were the norm. I was very sensitive, and my fear sensors worked only too well and were often on high alert, so fearful thinking and negative expectations hijacked my being. Fear became my co–pilot. At one point, the sound of a toilet flushing would send me into a full panic attack.

"For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate." (Romans 7:15) When I became a Christian, I could relate so well to Paul's struggle. I could not get rid of fear! I renounced any agreement with fear; I gave it to Jesus again and again. I felt guilty all the time, and I even got anxious about trying not to be anxious. Yet, fear did not leave nor abandon me.

But then twelve years ago when I ended up in a wheelchair with viral arthritis, I started to receive inner healing from the traumas of my childhood. As I received inner healing, the physical healing followed. I finally started to see the light at the end of the tunnel! I even dreamed about being fear free, and started to look forward to "the other side of this mountain." Over the past twelve years, the Lord has led me out of the tunnel of panic, over the mountain of negative expectations and then, over the past two years, across seas of fear to the Island of Fear Not.

Two years ago, the Lord gave me a vision. I am not one to shout out "God gave me a vision!" so please know that I share this with an incredible sense of humility. I still get teary–eyed thinking that my Jesus would present Himself to me in this way:

The Vision

I am walking in front of Niagara Falls with Jesus. He turns to me, smiles, and asks, "What do you think, Kathi?"

I smile back at Him because I know He has a lesson for me. If anyone knows me, I am often impatient and want the bottom line, so of course my response is, "What is it you want to teach me, Jesus?"

He chuckles at my inability to just be and my "need to know." He asks me, "What do you see out there?"

My answer: "Beauty, majesty, power, strength?" I end my statement as a question. He smiles. He knows that I am wondering if my opinion is compliant. I am grading my own answer, wanting to please, but also wanting to be free to answer spontaneously. I have a hard time not responding critically. A life full of fear has shaped me to evoke judgmental responses, which I have pretended to label as discernment.

Jesus looks at me and smiles, nodding in agreement. He then takes His hand and swipes Niagara Falls away — like an iphone swipe — to a different screen. The scene is the same, but the actual falls have disappeared. In their place are the craggy, muddy, ugly, brown sides of a rock face that have no beauty, no majesty, no power, nor any strength. Superimposed on top of the absent falls is a gigantic faucet. The faucet is emitting a steady drip of enormous water droplets. We see and hear the constant dripping of the leaky faucet. I feel an overwhelming sense of confusion at this transformed scene. A frown spreads across my brow. "What are you trying to teach me?" I ask.

He smiles, and His smile soaks right into me as liquid love. "This," He says above the thunderous sound as He swipes the scene back to the original Niagara Falls, "This is my power in you without fear. And this," He says as he once again sweeps away an invisible heavy curtain with his extended arm, "is my power in you with fear." Again I am standing in awe as the scene changes back to the drippy faucet overhanging ugly barren cliffs with wet clumpy mud.

I am stunned. With astonishing visual effects, His message to me has broken into the core of my being and has clamped itself onto my heart. I hear my heart pounding, and then I realize I am in my bed and that this was a vision, similar to a dream, but I was awake the entire time. I swallow a lump in my throat and enter into prayer. "Lord, take away whatever fear is left in me; I want Niagara and I want You. I don't want the deficient drippy faucet. I give you permission to do whatever it takes to get me to Niagara."

Before that vision, I had tried again and again to put down fear, cast out fear, get prayer for fear, envision fear as an entity to hand over. Inner healing had been enormous in unpeeling fear's vice–like grip and had changed a lifelong mindset of panic and negative expectations. But fear itself had somehow remained. The vision gave me assurance that a place existed in which fear was absent.

As this new vision soaked in and permeated my senses over time, I began to come often to the Lord with it, asking Him about it. I told Him I didn't want to worship the fear–free life or put it on a pedestal, but I also didn't have clear direction on how to attain that place that He had revealed to me in the vision. I did a word study on fear in the Bible, and one verse in particular spoke very loudly to me. "Perfect love casts out all fear," (I John 4:18) rang like a reverberating gong. If He is love, then inviting His presence was sure to help. I found myself invoking "Perfect Love" whenever fear came, and when this became a habit, I had to laugh when I realized I was actually calling on Jesus Himself. Perfect Love is just one of the many characteristics of His personality — it's a strong and solid presence — a "Jesus with skin on" presence!!

As I write I am overflowing with joy, as I think about another recent picture that the Lord gave to me as confirmation to the truth that He revealed to me in my "Niagara vision." On the way to Belgium, I saw a picture of gorgeous clouds outside the window of the airplane. There was a layer of cottonballish clouds appearing as ground cover with another set of higher clouds above that were bigger and more full, appearing as another sky. I took a picture of them with my iphone. When I looked at the picture, I did a double–take. I looked back to the view outside the window, but my eyes couldn't see what had appeared on my iphone. In the picture, as though moving like a waterfall from the higher clouds was a rainbow — the symbol of God's covenant — looking like Niagara in the sky flowing down to the earth.

I am finally experiencing the power of God without fear, the Niagara that God has given me and offers each of us. I pray that all of you who are looking to shed fear might receive God's Niagara for yourselves, in Jesus' name:"Do not be anxious about anything…" (Philippians 4:6).

Kathi Smith Kathi Smith is the Senior Editor of Healing Line and an active CHM prayer minister. Jan/Feb/Mar 2013

The Word of Their Testimony...

Jan/Feb/Mar 2013

CHM Women's Conference 2012 Participant

"I brought thirteen ladies to the conference (Captivate Women’s Conference) — double the number from last year. Everyone of us had a life–changing encounter with the Lord Jesus. We send a heart–felt thank you for the great work you are doing for the kingdom."

Two Powerful Healings

Margie H. — went to CHM's Captivate conference last year

Margie’s husband had Stage 4 esophageal cancer this year. Margie reported that her husband was completely healed this summer and the cancer has disappeared! A CAT scan and biopsy confirmed the report.

J.D. Smith — stroke

Two years ago, J.D. had a major stroke which left him mostly paralyzed and unable to talk. His wife put him in a wheelchair and faithfully brought him for communion every Sunday and to healing services, led by a priest trained at CHM. Month after month he improved, but medically speaking this is a mystery. J.D. has a picture of his brain scan — half of his brain tissue is completely dead, yet now he is not only talking and walking and laughing, he is a youth leader. In June, J.D. was climbing mountains in Virginia with the high school students.

Healing of the Retina

Today I received confirmation via a test from my doctor that my virtually blind left eye has been healed. Of course I knew this had happened but I wanted to wait until receiving medical proof before saying anything. The scan taken in April 2012 showed what almost looks like a hole blown through the macula in my retina. (The macula is in the center part of the retina where focusing takes place) Last March/April the vision in my left eye became extremely blurry to where I could not read or see much beyond 10 feet with my left eye (not even the big E on eye chart). There is no known cause of this in my case. It was a real discouragement to me at the time.

The only way to repair a hole in the macula, at my progression, is surgically with a success rate of 80% or so if one is capable of lying face down for an entire week. At that time I felt I should not have surgery for the foreseeable future, but have people pray for me while only having full sight in one eye. A friend prayed for me and anointed my left eye with oil and I received prayer at my church’s healing prayer group, at Christian Healing Ministries, and with another group.

Anyway, today is a joyful day in that I can report and confirm to you that the hole has been healed over! The new scan shows only a small bump, which is normal. I can read perfectly again.

My retina physician seems to be a real nice man and was very happy as well as surprised when he saw the scan results. He said I was one of the few lucky ones he had ever seen, where a macular hole of this size had healed itself without surgery. I told him I had received prayer for physical healing but his response was skeptical. He said these things do heal although it happens less than 5% of the time.

This is the second major physical healing I have received from the Lord, the first being two discs in my lower back in September 2007 at a CHM conference. Through it all, the healing in my marriage and family has been even greater and more important. I believe God works supernaturally for most people at various times in their lives as a demonstration of His love and power. — Bruce

Jan/Feb/Mar 2013

What I Needed to Hear

by Francis MacNutt
Jan/Feb/Mar 2013

Back when I was still a Dominican priest, I lived in an old house (built around 1904 in the time of the St. Louis World Fair) which we named Merton House. It was during the time when I was traveling and preaching about the Baptism in the Holy Spirit all over the world. Those were exciting days: for example, my team spent six weeks preaching in six different cities in Nigeria. Merton House was the place I would come back to, to rest up and pray. A team of sisters lived there and they had a ministry to our neighbors. Merton House was in an old neighborhood — four blocks north of the new Catholic Cathedral on Lindell Boulevard and was generally considered to be a dangerous neighborhood, although in the fifteen years we were there the only crime we ever knew was when a visitor stole a small radio. When we let our neighbors learn that a little radio had been stolen they put the word out in the neighborhood and the radio reappeared as mysteriously as it had disappeared. We had kept a low–key presence where neighbors felt at home and after a couple of years they told us that crime in the area had gone down by about half. Every afternoon about five o'clock we had Mass and people would stop by to receive healing prayer. On Saturday nights I would go out to the Visitation Academy, a girls' high school which had a beautiful chapel which became the place where our charismatic prayer meeting would meet with about 300 people. This became a place where many people experienced the baptism of the Spirit and received prayers for healing the sick. Many priests and sisters, especially from St. Louis University, came to the Saturday meetings and were baptized in the Spirit, which made St. Louis unusual — the number of priests in leadership was extraordinary and many priests and sisters became actively involved and most parishes had a charismatic prayer meeting. In comparison to most cities the number of parishes involved was extraordinary. For instance we held a healing service on a Palm Sunday afternoon, and 60 priests came to the Benedictine school (the Priory School) to pray for the sick. Perhaps you know how difficult it is to get a priest or minister to do something extra on Sunday afternoon after already leading a service or two on that Sunday morning, and so getting 60 priests to dedicate an afternoon to putting on an extra service shows what a dedicated cadre we had in those days.

Anyway, many priests, ministers, and sisters visited Merton House for prayer and spirited discussion. A fellow priest, Father Ralph Rogawski from my own Dominican Order, was one of them. Ralph was a missionary in Bolivia, working with the poor in Cochabamba. Like many missionaries, he felt uncomfortable coming back to the States on vacation; and Ralph and several other missionaries did not feel at home staying in a traditional parish or priory. But Ralph did feel at home at Merton House and so he would come to St. Louis and spend a week to rest at Merton House. To him it was like home.

Ralph was at Merton House this one particular time and after staying about a week, he took me aside and said, "Frank, I've got something I want to tell you and it's so important that I want to set aside a time to talk with you — it'll take about an hour to tell you what I need to say before I go back to South America."

Now, my whole experience in life has been that when someone wants to sit you down and tell you something, it's usually bad news — some kind of serious criticism.

Because I respected Ralph, I figured that I should make the appointment, but I certainly didn't look forward to it. If someone wants to sit you down, it must be pretty bad, and I couldn't help wondering what the unhappy observation could possibly be. I knew Ralph would be worth listening to, so I set aside a time one evening after dinner, when he would be a little more mellow than usual. We made time to meet in our community room; what he said to me was unforgettable.

What Ralph said was that he knew that I had become famous because of the healings that took place when I prayed.

"But, Frank," he said," I want you to hear this: your greatest gift is not praying for healing, although many people think that it is. No, your gift is really in bringing people together who usually are apart. This comes so naturally to you that you may not even notice it. But you can talk to groups that most people can't. For example, you are an American and you don't know Spanish. Most Americans with your background can't get a hearing in Latin American — even if they do know Spanish. But yet people in South America want to hear whatever you have to say. That's a really unusual God–given gift. It comes so easily to you that you probably don't even notice it."

When I heard Ralph say this, I realized he was telling me something that I really wasn't particularly aware of. (I also remembered that one of the many titles of the Pope was the "Pontifex Maximus," translated as the "great bridge–builder.") I knew that what Ralph said was true and that I should be thankful that Ralph made a special effort to let me know.

Ralph died last year and I want to thank him, hopefully in heaven, for doing something which is very rare in my experience: taking time to take a friend aside and telling him a great and true compliment, which is not just for something he had done, but for something he is — some aspect of his character. In other words, not something I did, but who he thinks I am.

What I'd like to encourage you to do is to speak up to someone you know and you tell them out loud how much you appreciate them. That's the most healing thing you can ever do for someone.

I remember back in 1972 there was a movement among some Christian leaders in the Renewal to refuse to allow applause after they gave a talk, because all praise really belongs to God. I always believed that this was too severe. The applause the speaker receives is really the only way a large group can say to a speaker, "Thank you" or "We love you."

Francis MacNutt Francis MacNutt is a Founding Director and Executive Committee member of CHM. Jan/Feb/Mar 2013