by Sheri Shofield
I had meant to pray. Every night that week I had tried to stay awake and pray for someone’s healing. But every night I had fallen asleep after just a few minutes. Now it was the fourth night. I opened my Bible and looked down. The words leaped off the page! “Could you … not keep watch with me for one hour?” (Matthew 26:40 NIV).
These words were wrung from Jesus’ heart the night he prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane as He awaited His arrest and crucifixion. But I felt that Jesus was asking me the same question that night.
God has chosen to pour his power out into our world through those of us who love him and who are willing to pray. One evening a few years ago, my husband and I were attending a prayer meeting at a near-by church. We did not know many people there but were friends with the pastor. Before giving a short, encouraging message, the pastor asked for prayer requests. A number of requests were given, and then a woman asked if we would pray that God would heal her shoulder. It had been injured years before and had never healed properly. The pain was difficult to bear.
In that moment, I sensed that the Lord wanted us to go to the woman, lay hands on her shoulder, and ask for healing. But the pastor simply listed the request and moved on. Afterward, I asked if he believed in laying hands on people and praying for healing. He did. I said, “That woman with the injured shoulder – I think we are supposed to do that for her.”
The pastor’s eyes twinkled and he said, “Okay, Sheri, go do it!” I felt hesitant. I told God that I had no authority! This was a job for the pastor! For the elders! But I would obey what God had asked. I went over to the lady and asked if I could pray for her. She agreed. I placed my hand on her shoulder and began to pray that God would heal her. Suddenly, a warm jolt that felt like electricity shot down my arm! I started to lift my hand up in surprise. What was this? Ah! It must be the Holy Spirit! I put my hand back and kept praying. Afterward, the woman looked at me strangely. I smiled and left. If that was indeed the Holy Spirit, and he had healed the woman, we would know by the next week.
The next Wednesday when we arrived at the meeting, the woman rushed to greet me. “God healed my shoulder when you prayed!” she exclaimed. “A warm jolt of power hit my shoulder as you prayed! I am completely free of pain!”
God does not reserve his power for the “professionals.” He pours out healing power through all who trust and obey him, whether we feel it or not. This is how God changes the world. Is it any wonder that Jesus cries out to us, “Could you not keep watch with me for one hour?”
“The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” James 5:16 NIV
About the author: Children’s ministry veteran Sheri Schofield was unexpectedly called on to save her husband’s life, a battle that took her to the Pentagon, Congress, National Security and the President of the United States. At her website, www.SheriSchofield.com, she shares this journey in her book One Step Ahead of the Devil then continues her ministry with the children’s book The Prince And The Plan.
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Join the conversation: Have you ever seen God work through the prayers of someone?