The following article is the fourth in a series called “Casting Nets.” The posts are written by “John,” a student in one of Ralph Martin’s New Evangelization classes, and document several evangelization opportunities he has performed in his various ministries. He writes, “Each ministry is unique with various situations, circumstances, and needs; but the one constant is broken and injured people. It is my experience that there is no greater potential for miracles to occur than when desperate people meet Jesus. I have been blessed to have seen many people come to Jesus—often in surprising or unexpected ways—and quite often, it is I who is the most surprised.”
The following occurrence happened when I was holding a prayer service for about thirteen women prisoners. Since it was an unusually large crowd, I curtailed the service a bit so we would have time to pray and evangelize afterwards, since there were many new women present that week. Two of the women were Catholic and most were of other Christian denominations, but the remainder were unchurched and showed up primarily because there was nothing else for them to do. I spoke of God’s goodness and explained that I was part of a healing prayer ministry. I asked if anyone had any aches and pains.
Immediately, Lorraine, one of the Catholics, raised her hand and said her hip hurt. The other prison minister and I prayed for her. I prayed slowly and deliberately and explained what I was doing at each step of the process in careful detail. (I was planning that the next healing would be done through one of the inmates, so my intent was to teach, and then to let them heal and evangelize each other.) Lorraine reported tingling in her hip. I told the group, “Now she needs to step out in faith and try it out.” She got up, walked around, and said she was pain free. She said, “My sciatica doesn’t even hurt any more.” “Sciatica?” I said. Hmmm. I asked Lorraine, “This may be an odd question, but do you happen to have one leg that is shorter than the other?” “Yes, I do,” she said. I told the group to gather around and watch carefully. We prayed, and to make a long story short, we all watched as Jesus grew her leg out before all that were present.
I challenged them to explain what just happened. I asked, “How could bone just grow on its own?” I then explained this was what I meant during the service when I said God was generous. I wanted them to pause and really soak in that the Lord was present among us and that He had just caused this woman’s leg to grow. They were speechless (especially the unchurched inmates), but the Holy Spirit was not done yet. I asked for more aches and pains.
Another woman, Shelly, said she had back pain as well. I asked her to sit down. I then asked Lorraine to bring herself (and her newly stretched leg) over to pray for her. I told Lorraine she was going to pray for the healing, not me. I walked her through a basic prayer method, but I did not directly participate. Shelly said she felt heat in her back, and she started to well up with tears. After a short while, she reported healing. The Holy Spirit was still not done, so I asked for more aches and pains.
Next up was a woman with shoulder pain. She sat down, and this time I told Shelly to dry her tears and come over because now it was her turn to pray for the healing (she looked surprised). But before we could even start, one of the other ladies sitting at the table interrupted and said, “When I came in here, my foot was hurting, and now it doesn’t.”
“Praise You, Holy Spirit, for spontaneous healings!” I exclaimed.
I said, “This is how generous God is! He is healing things we didn’t even know were broken and haven’t even prayed for yet!” I asked if anyone else had similar healings, and I asked them all to try out their various aches and pains. Two more reported that they were healed. Praise Jesus! We then turned our attention to the woman with the shoulder pain. This time, I walked Shelly through the prayer process, starting with putting her hand where the pain was. She prayed (again, I did not participate) and the woman said she felt heat and tingling and reported that she was healed. She kept saying to the others, “No . . . really guys . . . it’s completely healed! This is real!”
Indeed, it is real. We all sat and talked about how God—the creator of everything in the universe—took time out of His schedule, just to come into a small, rural jail and pour His love and affections out upon a little group of people that society had labeled as worthless. “Never forget,” I said, “no one is worthless in the eyes of God.”