Healing Line

Healing Line

Do You Believe in Miracles?

by Judith MacNutt
Fall 2016

So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
— John 8:36 (ESV)

We received very positive feedback on the article entitled “Addiction and Surrender” in our Spring/Summer issue of Healing Line. One friend of CHM wrote: “I just read your article on Addiction and Surrender and needed to confirm that it is an excellent article on the big problem of addictions. Unfortunately, the spiritual aspects of recovery are being excluded now by most recovery programs. This past year I was an invited guest speaker at a national program, and it was suggested that the speakers refrain from any spiritual discussion in their talks!”

Many in this field would like to treat all addictions as purely biological and completely omit the spiritual dimension of the disease.

The following testimony was submitted by one of our Healing Line readers. His hope is that his story will help someone else who might be struggling with an addiction to cigarettes.

Dan’s Story

My miracle occurred when I was 34 years old. I had been smoking cigarettes since my sophomore year in high school. I had tried to quit time and time again, but an urge — physical and emotional — would overwhelm me, my resolve would melt, and I was back at it.

By May 1977, I had been smoking for nineteen years and had simply given up any hope of quitting. It was then that we learned that my brother–in–law Paul, who was my age, had been diagnosed with cancer. It seemed like a cruel irony: Paul, a once strong, physically fit man who had never smoked, was dying of cancer while I, who was too weak to quit smoking, was in relatively good health.

I attended a charismatic prayer meeting at St. Dominic church near where I worked. After the meeting, I stayed behind and asked Tony, one of the leaders, to pray for Paul. After we prayed, Tony asked me, “Have you ever tried to quit smoking cigarettes?”

He asked if I believed that God could take away the habit. I said that I believed that, but my weakness always got in the way. Tony said, “Turn the healing and the doubt over to God.”

Tony prayed with me and afterwards I felt no different. Perhaps I was expecting to suddenly be free of the urge to smoke. But no, the same cravings were there. Later that day, I found a note on my desk that said, “The next time you feel the need for a cigarette remember that Jesus loves you. From, Tony.” He wrote down his contact information and a P.S., “God is greater than any problem we have.”

During the next twenty–four hours I read Tony’s note over and over and focused on the words, Jesus loves you. The reminder prompted me to thank God and pray to Him. I also remembered the claim that one could do anything for a minute. So, while I was praying, I watched the second hand sweep the face of my watch. A minute passed, the craving was still there. I watched the second hand again, the craving lessened. After the third time — all the while asking Jesus to help me — my craving weakened and then was gone.

Whenever a craving resurfaced, I followed the same sequence: I read Tony’s reminder that Jesus loves me, prayed to Him for help, and remembered that, with God’s help, I can do anything for a minute, or two, or three. A day of not smoking turned into two, and two days turned into a week, a week turned into a month.

After three months, I noticed that the continual, irresistible cravings were weakened, and I started to make choices not to smoke. The difference in my appearance and attitude was apparent to others.

Three months became six months, and finally I shared with the prayer group at St. Dominic that I had one full year of victory. I was powerless over a habit that had bullied me for nearly twenty years, and I acknowledged that a Power greater than myself, Jesus Christ, had rescued me.

When I prayed to Jesus, I felt His presence, and found strength that wasn’t mine. The Lord carried me through each craving. So, I would say that I do believe in miracles!

— Dan S.

As I read Dan’s testimony, a deep sense of gratitude rose up in me, for you see, I too was addicted to cigarettes. I started smoking when I was 16. I remember I just wanted to “fit in” with whom I thought were the popular kids. Before long I was totally addicted to cigarettes. Much like Dan, my efforts to stop failed numerous times. Finally, God in His great mercy sent someone all the way from Jerusalem to my home in Kentucky to pray with me to be set free.

In Paul’s letter to the church in Rome he cries out to God from the depths of his being — a desperate plea that anyone struggling with addiction or sin can certainly identify with:

  I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God — through Jesus Christ our Lord! (Romans 7)  

I realize many of you reading this will struggle with embracing this glorious good news of freedom from addiction — you too might have tried and failed. I have heard Francis say hundreds of times, “Why isn’t the church saying anything about smoking addiction? It is time for Christians to proclaim the “Good News” that Jesus is a bondage–breaker — a healer and not just a good teacher!”

People are dying at an alarming rate, because they don’t know the power of God can set them free! Six million people worldwide die annually from tobacco–related diseases. Cigarette smoking is responsible for more than 480,000 deaths per year in the United States, including nearly 42,000 deaths resulting from secondhand smoke exposure. This is about 1300 deaths every day. On average, smokers die 10 years earlier than nonsmokers. Unless somethings changes, 8 million people worldwide will die annually by 2030.

Sadly, cigarette smoking accounts for more deaths each year than murder, car accidents, alcohol use, or illegal drug use combined. More than ten times as many U.S. citizens have died prematurely from cigarette smoking than have died in all the wars fought by the U.S. during its history.1 The American Cancer Society (Cancer Facts and Figures) states that all cancers caused by tobacco use and heavy alcohol consumption could be prevented completely.2 Smoking is the largest most common preventable cause of death and disease worldwide.

These numbers are staggering, so much so that it is tempting to ignore them, until we lose a parent, child, spouse or best friend to a premature death caused by tobacco. I have lost two very dear friends whose early, painful deaths were caused by a smoking–related disease. In both, I offered numerous times to pray with them. I certainly prayed for them, but was always brushed off with a smile and some humorous quip. In the final days of their lives they both asked for prayer.

Smoking harms nearly every organ in the body and causes many diseases. I realize the average smoker knows the dangers of smoking and elects to ignore them — I certainly did when I smoked. Our ability to live in denial is extraordinary.

Nicotine, the drug that is found naturally in tobacco, is as addictive as alcohol, cocaine or heroin. Many tools are available for someone who wants to stop smoking — individual or group counseling, 12–step programs, prescription medications: Bupropion (Wellbutrin or Zyban) Varenicline tartrate (Chantix), behavioral therapies, and nicotine replacement products, such as nicotine patch, gum, or lozenges.

Fortunately, these tools can be very beneficial and should be incorporated. However, the majority of truly addicted smokers relapse repeatedly, and then the shame and deep sense of failure sets in.

Addiction is a spiritual disease and needs to be dealt with in spiritual ways, utilizing the weapons and tools given to us as children of God. Addictions, whether they be to nicotine, drugs, alcohol, food, sex, or work, serve as windows into the inner working of the psyche, in its attempt to resolve intense emotional pain. Inner healing is the place to start!

Returning to Paul’s cry for help — I am powerless. Paul understood that trying to overcome sin with human willpower would always fail; the awesome power of Jesus Christ is what brings freedom. This is ultimate surrender — the place we need to be where His power takes over our weakness. A place of deep grace and unimaginable mercy — a place of enduring hope.

In CHM’s School of Healing Prayer® Level 3 we offer two teachings that go into greater depth on the nature of addiction and the various types of prayer necessary to bring freedom. Rarely is one prayer alone effective for complete healing.

These are some guidelines for praying for healing of addictions:

  • Salvation (relationship with Jesus)
  • Baptism in the Holy Spirit to equip and empower
  • Inner healing in the area of unhealed memories
  • Physical healing, especially for the brain and the relentless damage to the body
  • Deliverance (there can be several demonic spirits that can enslave an addict)
  • Generational healing for addictions that may have passed down through the generations
  • Forgiveness of self and others
  • Prayer, loving community and an accountability partner

Judith's Story

Floride, my spiritual mother in Jerusalem, sent Ralph, a young Messianic believer, to visit me in Kentucky. I remember at the time thinking that she was trying to be a shadchanit, a matchmaker. I drove to the airport, which was an hour away from my hometown, to meet Ralph and bring him to my parents’ home. I was somewhat apprehensive about meeting him; I knew nothing about him other than he was “on fire” for Jesus.

My concerns quickly evaporated when Ralph walked into the gate area carrying a guitar and looking like a young Brad Pitt — nothing shallow about me at that age! However, I was instantly intrigued by what I saw in Ralph’s countenance; he had a radiant glow from within that I had only glimpsed in a few older Christians.

As we walked to the parking area for our drive home I took a cigarette out of my purse and casually remarked, “You don’t mind if I smoke do you?” His response startled me. He said, “Yes, I do mind.” And then added, “Why haven’t you trusted Jesus enough to set you free from that addiction?” I felt like putting him back on the plane!

On the long drive home, the craving for a cigarette became unbearable. Ralph noticed my agitation and responded with such great kindness. He confided that for many years he had been addicted to illegal drugs, alcohol and cigarettes. He had also been arrested and served time in jail and juvenile detention centers several times since he was 12 years old. I listened as a life of trauma, abuse and homelessness emerged as Ralph shared his story with me. As my heart softened, I realized that because Ralph had found his freedom in Jesus’ love for him, all he wanted to do for the rest of his life was to help others be set free!

Suddenly, Ralph made a bold, courageous offer. He calmly said, “I’ll make a deal with you. Every time you want a cigarette, tell me and I’ll pray with you!”

I remember laughing and saying, “Do you have any idea how many times a day that will be?” That didn’t seem to concern him.

Ralph was staying in my brother’s room, so for three days and nights he received numerous knocks on his door. The first time Ralph prayed with me I was expecting him to quietly intercede for God’s blessing on me as I struggled — that was the type of prayer modeled in my church. I was shocked and a little overwhelmed when Ralph grabbed my hand, dropped to his knees, and began crying out of God to deliver me and heal me. With many tears and bold courage, Ralph rebuked the enemy, called on angels to battle on my behalf, and prayed for the deep healing of my memories. He also prayed to break the power of addictions in my family. As I watched Ralph battle intensely on my behalf, I remembered the scripture, During His life on earth, Jesus prayed to God, who could save him from death. He prayed and pleaded with loud crying and tears, and he was heard because of His devotion to God. — Hebrews 5:7 (GW)

Ralph was devoted to God — as a result he knew the authority of the name of Jesus over evil and he understood the power of the Holy Spirit to heal and to restore! Each time he prayed, I received a deeper level of healing. I was not only being freed from an addiction, I was being transformed by the kindness, mercy and love of God. An encounter with the living God always brings transformation!

As I drove Ralph to the airport just three days later, I was overjoyed with my newfound freedom and deeper intimacy with Jesus. As we said goodbye, we laughed thinking that Floride would be disappointed that we weren’t a “match.” But since that 3–day encounter I have never smoked another cigarette!

"Jesus came to share God's own power to transform the evil in our lives that we cannot control simply by our own unguided will power ."
Francis MacNutt, Healing, pg. 11

1Office on Smoking and Health. “Health Effects of Cigarette Smoking, 2016” www.cdc.gov. Atlanta: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; 2016.
2American Cancer Society. “Cancer Facts & Figures 2016.” www.cancer.org. Atlanta: American Cancer Society; 2016.

Judith MacNutt Judith MacNutt is author, teacher, conference speaker and co–founder of CHM. Fall 2016 Issue