She came in with a walker which she parked behind her chair. She explained she had multiple problems due to various pains and illnesses.
Her right foot was currently the most painful. I offered to pray in the name of Jesus. She wasn’t sure who that was, so I gave her a short explanation of who he was and what he did. She agreed to prayer and allowed me to place my hand on her foot.
After a minute or so I asked how it felt. She said the pain level had gone down by 50% and there was a noticeable tingling feeling in her foot. I prayed some more, at which point I became aware – in my body – of the power of the Holy Spirit at work. (Normally when people experience healing I don’t feel anything happening, even if they do). I suggested she thank Jesus tonight before she goes to bed. She said she would.
I prayed for another lady with ongoing problems in her life. She had Muslim parents, but was happy to be prayed for in the name of Jesus. We talked about prayer and she noticed the “Footprints” poem on the wall opposite, saying “that’s Jesus isn’t it?” I lifted it off the wall and read it to her. As we came near the end I found myself getting emotional about the content, and I could see she was too.
Lastly, I was introduced to a guy from Eastern Europe who was in a bad way. As his life story unfolded, I learned that both his parents had been really cruel to himself and his twin brother growing up. He was now estranged from his twin, although he only lived 30 miles away. Worst of all, this man had lost his wife to cancer two years ago and he was still suffering badly the effects. He had also been sexually assaulted by a man whom the police couldn’t trace and this was eating him up inside too. He is an alcoholic and the doctors have told him he is likely to be dead within a year.
At intervals he kept crying his eyes out, saying he had nothing to live for. He had already tried to kill himself. I told him God was his only hope, as he would not abandon him. He told me he went into the local Catholic church to pray most days. I prayed for him and that his relationship with his brother might be restored.
As an 8 year old child his father showed him how to clean and assemble a handgun. As you can imagine, from then on things went from bad to worse and he ended up addicted to drink, drugs and violence. He told me he had served 20 years altogether in his 47 years of life.
Amazingly, he has come out the other end and is now going round schools warning children of the dangers – and consequences – they face if they go down a similar route. He told me doesn’t hold back when he describes prison life in all its messy details.
What brought about this remarkable change? He met Jesus in prison and is now a born again Christian. Needless to say his father is at a loss to understand him and has rejected him. He told me that God had never let him down and, although he has never had a lot, he has always had enough.
I was really touched by his story. I gave him my website URL and invited him to send me his testimony, setting out what he was like before he became a Christian and the change that happened in his life afterwards. We discussed local churches and I suggested one he might like to try out. Finally I prayed for him that God might use him powerfully to reach others.
We were on the street doing outreach when a guy with lots of face piercings came up and said: “I need prayer!!”. He explained he was a drug addict, had enough of the life of addiction and wanted free.
He was severely agitated and, despite what he said, would then keep drawing away, changing his mind and saying “no”.
He had about 10 or 12 piercings on his face, lips, chin and ears. But there was nothing menacing about him, only sadness. The fact he was a drug addict tied in with his repeated pulling of his arms close to his chest and scratching his arms.
I asked him: “do you want to be free?” He said he did, then he would pull away, being constantly in two minds. I said: “Jesus can set you free – do you want him to do it?” He said he did so I led him in a prayer of deliverance. After this I asked him: “do you want your sins to be forgiven?” He said he did, so I then led him in a prayer of repentance. He then seemed to change, having lost his agitation and acting like a different person. He suddenly put his arms round me, hugged me and said “I love you!” I reminded him Jesus was the one who sets people free. He didn’t have a bible, but we gave him the “Why Jesus?” and I also gave him a tract about salvation. Exciting stuff!
He said he had come with a friend who was still being prayed for by others in our team. Afterwards they left together. It transpired that they had some local church connection through a drop in free lunch outreach.
Met a woman I knew some years back on the street as an addict. She still had a can in her hand, but she certainly needed it. Several days previously both her parents were killed as a result of a car crash. Dad died first, them Mum 24 hours later. She wasn’t sure how they’d pay for the funeral, but an uncle could probably help. Poor woman, I really felt for her! We shared with each other news of some other street folk we both knew who had died from drink or drugs this year.
Next day I was in the town centre with our inter-church Healing Team. At one point this short stocky man of around 60 came up to us and started slagging off Christianity, Jesus and the Virgin Birth. We hadn’t even said anything to him!! He then, believe it or not, said: “If either of you interrupt me I’ll punch you in the face!” We let him rant on about how nonsensical the Christian faith was, then I finally said:”when do we get a chance to reply?” He then looked at my team leader and said:”you’re a disgrace; you’re unshaven and you have dandruff on your coat!” He turned to me and said:”you’re not too bad, but I’m older than both of you!” I replied: “I doubt it, I’m 71″ That surprised him, as he then said:”ok, I’m not older than you” He then ranted to us that there were Jehovah’s Witnesses along the road and we should be going to talk to them. In the end I simply walked away, annoyed he was wasting time we could be using productively to reach out to other people.
He’s now a grandfather, but his early days were horrendous. Abused physically and sexually by his father, he grew up confused, angry and feeling unloved.
No surprise therefore that he spent a total of 20 years in prison, five of them for armed robbery. He went down the drugs route, ending up on crack cocaine.
man behind bars
Now he’s moved on and slowly getting a sense of perspective and that it wasn’t all his fault. Thankfully he treated his children and grandchildren in a more loving way.
I told him that I knew someone who loves him as he is, and has always loved him. I shared about God, Jesus, sin and repentance. He told me he recently went to church. I told him about the church I attended, and he said: “that’s near where I live”. He couldn’t come this week, but might be able to come next Sunday. He took away a gospel tract.
I had a long chat with a guy who came in for food. He had been to church in Wales as a youngster, but had drifted away as he grew up. He had lost some family members in the last few years and had felt their nearness on their passing away. We discussed God and belief, and he thought there was “something there”, but he was not really interested in pursuing the question in his life. I gave him the gospel basics, and tried to encourage him to reach out to God, but didn’t get very far. Later that day I was thinking over of the phrase: “Not THY will, but MY will be done”. It’s really on that basis that we end up either in Heaven or in Hell – our eternal destination is what we ourselves choose in this life.
I also thought how many are happy to say “I believe in God”, but go no further than a mental assent. It reminds me of the evangelist’s use of the parachute as an illustration of what faith involves. I can say I believe in parachutes, but that belief means nothing until the day I’m in an out of control aircraft, reach for a parachute and put it on. It’s only when I put it on, jump and full the ripcord that I really do believe in parachutes!! It’s the application of faith that determines whether your faith in “x”means anything at all.
A younger woman came in and I recognised her as “J”, a street drinker I used to see regularly when I did mission work on the streets. At that time she was a vulnerable girl, very self-willed, who wouldn’t listen to our requests to go back home to her Mum, whom she lived with. When she walked in I could see she was intoxicated, so nothing had really changed. As we at down to chat, she told me that she’d had “a 5 month old dead baby” and started to cry. I really felt for her, poor woman. Clearly someone had taken advantage of her, and even that had had a tragic outcome. Eventually the supervisor called a local unit where she was staying for transport, as she needed to get across to the other side of town and clearly couldn’t get there under her own steam.
A young guy turned up later. He told me he had mental health issues and suffered from a type of psychosis. I asked if he’d done drugs in the past. He admitted a long use of cannabis, then latterly a serious heroin habit. He was now on a prescription for Subbutex, a heroin substitute designed to wean you off the drug. He’d been given accommodation by a local charity and was hoping to get back on his feet.
I met an “old” street friend – only 43 – who has long had addiction problems due to alcohol abuse. He’s been in and out of rehab many times. He came for food today and my heart really went out to him. He’s struggled and struggled to the extent that he’s been at rock bottom for some time. His body is totally wrecked. He told me today he’s died twice recently and been resuscitated. A lapsed cradle Catholic, he even went to Mass recently and confessed to the local priest. Unfortunately he still doesn’t have any peace. He acknowledged that Jesus is the only one who can help him. He says he is now down to 2 cans a day which, for him, is a massive reduction. I told him I believed God has a purpose for his life and he agreed with that.
He has a Bible and is reading it every day. I told him to cry out to Jesus with his whole being as he reads it. I offered to pray for him and he gladly accepted. After that I felt prompted to pray in tongues for him and poured myself out in the spirit with a great deal of passion and urgency that surprised even me. He thanked me and went off with his food parcel
Another couple of guys came in, one leaning on a stick. I thought: “I’ll check out the problem and offer to pray for his healing”.
By then he was in conversation with another team member, so I asked his accompanying friend what the leg problem was. He said “it’s been amputated”. I knew I didn’t have Smith Wigglesworth’s level of faith for a brand new leg, so I dropped the healing thought immediately!