Are you called to be an Intercessor?

Several weeks ago I asked our Intercessory Prayer Sunday School class, How many of you feel called to be an Intercessor? Some raised their hands, some didn’t.

One member said, I don’t have that gift, and I said, It’s not a gift, it’s a calling. I didn’t expand on that statement then but I’d like to do it now, with another question:

How do you know if you’re called to be an Intercessor?

In the beginning of my adventures with Jesus (1972) and the Holy Spirit (1974) I didn’t start out to be an Intercessor, or even much of a pray-er. I started out to be just a student of the Bible. And then to be a teacher of the Bible. And then to be a better student, and a better teacher.

Along the way I began to make prayer lists. After all, I figured that was what every good Christian did. Occasionally I wrote those prayers down in notebooks, which I still have today.

Reading back through those lists it’s easy to see that some prayers were answered, some weren’t. Some answers were almost instant and some were gradual, but some never came. Why?

Discouragement began to plague my prayer time as I tried to understand – What had I done wrong? What had I prayed wrong? So I went back to being a student of the Bible, seeking answers to those questions.

After a while I realized that my interests were changing. I wasn’t interested in reading the same sort of books (murder mysteries and spy novels), or watching the same sort of television programs (cop shows) as I had been. Now, that wasn’t intentional, but gradually the use of my time shifted.

More and more of my time was being spent in seeking the Lord, studying the Bible, asking the Holy Spirit for wisdom, understanding, and information – answers to those “What” questions.

And then I discovered I John 5:14-15… “This is the confidence that we have in him, that if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.”

Over a span of some years I discovered more and more of my time was being spent in praying for other people. Family, friends, and strangers. Believers yes, but many non-believers. Prayers for Mercy! My focus was shifting.

More time was being spent online reading reports of the Lord’s work around the globe. News from missionaries, revivalists, ordinary Christian people in Turkey, Libya, Egypt, Israel, Australia, Philippines, Russia, China, Japan – and many others.

Also news reports from mainline media, some Christian, some secular, in the United States and overseas. Reports of events, happenings, situations, chaos, conflicts, disasters, often accompanied by prayer requests from Christians and non-Christians. Many requests for prayer kept showing up in my emails and news feeds.

Pretty much automatically, I found myself praying and praying and praying as I read. Asking the Lord to inspire my prayers, to pray His will through my prayers!

Eventually it became evident that He had answered that particular prayer. He had implanted his desires right in the middle of my desires. Like, other drivers being annoying? Unsafe? “Pray mercy for them,” says the Holy Spirit. “You may be the only person on earth who will pray for them.”

Hitchhikers, bike riders, pedestrians along the road? “Pray they will encounter my presence, my compassion, my mercy,” says the Holy Spirit. Snarky people on Facebook? “Pray mercy for them,” says the Holy Spirit again. “They need Me, not a holier-than-thou attitude.”

A name suddenly pops into your mind? “Pray for them,” says the Holy Spirit. “They need a prayer right now.”

I began researching intercession and the authority of the believer in prayer, and what the scriptures have to say about all that. Wow. Prophetic intercession, prophetic worship, intercessory worship, there’s still a lot to learn! I’m still learning.

Well, being an Intercessor wasn’t what I started out to be. But it’s what the Lord started: an additional assignment. A calling.

Could I tell him No, I don’t want to do this? Certainly. I could refuse to spend my time this way, he wouldn’t send me to hell because of it. He might make me miserable… because my joy is to do what the Lord wants! To go where he wants, do what he wants, say what he wants, and pray what he wants.

See, some years ago I did say No to the Lord. In an unhappy state, I decided that if I just quit teaching the Bible things would get better. I would be happier. So I quit teaching and I quit reading my Bible and I quit praying.

Guess what happened? “Then I said, I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more in his name. But his word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay.” (Jer. 20:9) I was miserable!

Thankfully that phase didn’t last long and soon I returned to what I knew He wanted for me. Now this is what he wants for me.

How about you? Are you called to be an Intercessor? If you are, the Lord will show you. It may or may not be an instant revelation, but your focus will shift, your interests will change, and your use of time will be different.

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Say goodbye

Go say goodbye to your yard, He said. My yard? Okay.

cannaeisen002I stopped what I was doing and walked out into my back yard. I looked at the grass, the mixture of Centipede and Charleston grass that had taken so long to grow. I looked around at the peach trees and the pear trees, the azalea bushes, the Eisenhower cannas, the pine trees and the dogwoods.

As I turned my head this way and that, I said goodbye to them all in my mind, noticing the bark, the color of the leaves, the needles, even the rows of weed and dirt in the side garden. The willow tree – telling that goodbye was especially hard.

I walked back and forth around the back yard and the front yard, all the way to the edge of the far driveway where a solitary quince bush grew. I walked and talked in my mind to the yard, saying goodbye to each thing I saw.

I told the remnants of flowers and shrubs in the flower beds near the house goodbye. I told the place where the baby magnolia tree had once been, mowed down “by accident,” goodbye.

Even the storage shed where the garden tools were kept, even the carport utility room with the deep freeze full of frozen meats and vegetables, even the paved driveway from carport to the street, I told them all goodbye.

For so long I had yearned for things to be calm and peaceful in my household. I had quit trying to be right all the time, even when I was right. I had tried to quit worrying about money, how to make ends meet on my salary alone when my husband’s paycheck was spent on pinball, poker games and beer before he ever got home after payday.

I had done everything I knew to do to cook country-style meals, cooked long and seasoned like my mother-in-law’s. I had gotten up early and stayed up late, working in the garden picking vegetables, then shelling, freezing and canning, plus kept up with the laundry, ironing, vacuuming, mopping, scrubbing and dusting.

All those things that have to be done in a house, I did, since that was a “woman’s job,” even though I worked in an office all day. After all, my husband kept up the seven acres of yards and garden, planted, weeded, fertilized, plowed, fed the hogs, broke the corn, did all those things after working on a city truck all day. When he came home after work, that is.

But nothing I did was ever enough, nothing was ever right enough, or fast enough, or something else enough to suit him. Actually, ever since I’d given my life to the Lord, nothing about me suited him any more.

That winter I had fasted and prayed for my marriage, my unsaved husband and my young teenage children. Weekends my husband seldom came home at all any more. I took the children to Sunday School and church on Sundays, came home and fixed dinner, then rested and read until time to eat a sandwich, then went back to church on Sunday nights.

As a church musician I needed to be there. As a Christian at the end of my rope, I needed to be there.

Then I heard that voice deep in my heart, Go say goodbye to your yard, and I did. As I completed my circle of the yard and garden, He spoke again. Say goodbye to your house.

The house and land had been purchased with my mother’s life insurance money as down payment. A lot of the furniture, dishes and other stuff had been my mother’s or grandmother’s. Was I supposed to tell it all goodbye? Yes, tell it goodbye.

So I walked from room to room saying goodbye, to the piano, cuckoo clock and linen chest that had been my mother’s. To the beds and dressers and chests of drawers, even the sheets and pillows, blankets and bedspreads on the beds.

I said goodbye to all the stored boxes in the attic, all the books on the shelves, the living room drapes, the bedroom and dining room curtains, the dishes, pots and pans, refrigerator and stove. I said goodbye to the electric mixer, the mops and brooms, the detergents and bleach, the roach spray, the mouse traps, even the floor wax.

I said goodbye to all the jars of tomatoes I had canned, all the home-made pickles, the groceries in the pantry and in the refrigerator. I said goodbye to my washer and dryer.

I told the lamps, the ottoman, the platform rocker that had been my grandfather’s, the french provincial armchair and sofa that had been my mother’s, the china cabinet that had been my grandmother’s, I told them all goodbye.

I even said goodbye to the dirty clothes in the closet, the wet washcloths, the soap and shampoo, and all of my children’s belongings. I said goodbye to the pictures on the walls, the carpet and linoleum, the pink bedroom reading lamp that had been my grandmother’s, even the ceiling light fixtures.

I walked from room to room, looking from floor to ceiling, wall to wall, leaving nothing out. I opened every bedroom closet door and said goodbye to the hanging clothes, the dresses, shirts, skirts, winter coats and jackets, folded sweaters and assorted stored stuff on the top shelves.

I opened the hall linen closet and said goodbye to the folded sheets and towels, the extra quilts and blankets, my knitting supplies, yarn and needles.

I said goodbye to the gold and tan sheet-size afghan on the back of the sofa, the one I’d spent countless hours knitting, and to the heavy orange and tan lap afghan I had spent countless more hours knitting.

I said goodbye to the sewing machine and the box of patterns I’d used to make my Easter dresses and my children’s school clothes, even the smoked-up sewing box full of needles and thread that had gone through a house fire at my mother’s home.

When I was finally finished, I thought I would be leaving that place immediately, but there were no more instructions that day, just a through-and-through peace in my soul that I had done what was necessary.

Further instructions would come several months later that year (1978), when it was the right time. I didn’t realize until then that He had not told me to say goodbye to my station wagon… I didn’t have to relinquish that; I was going to need it.

 

Led by the Spirit, how does that work?

Those who are led by the Spirit of God are the sons – mature children – of God. (Romans 8:14)

What does that look like, really? someone asked me recently. How does it work?

Here’s an example... Last Wednesday evening I left a class at church to drive home. Nearing West Palmetto Street, I began “knowing that I knew what I knew” – I wasn’t supposed to go home yet.

But if not home, then where? I wondered. I didn’t know anyone I could just drop in on, without prior notice. I had eaten supper before going to class, but perhaps the McDonald’s at I-95? Or the Huddle House near there?

No, not there, I felt in my gut. So I turned left on Palmetto, waiting for some sort of direction from the Holy Spirit. I live just three minutes from church so it didn’t take long to reach the driveway to my condo, but I knew I was supposed to keep going on towards town.

When I recognized Celebration Boulevard just ahead, I sensed in my spirit that I should turn right, and so I did. And suddenly I knew my destination – another McDonald’s, the one at South Cashua.

I was familiar with that place. During the week after Hurricane Matthew I had spent quite a bit of time there praying with people: folks whose electricity was out, exhausted hospital workers, linemen coming to and from repairing downed power lines, not to mention the weary McDonald’s staff themselves. Although my own power was also out for some days, I had plenty of food and water at home, I wasn’t there for that.

No, the Lord had sent me to that McDonald’s, one of the few places still with electricity and water, to encourage and pray for tired, worried, needy people. The lines were always long, the faces usually long too – there were plenty of opportunities to pray.

And Wednesday evening I had a gut feeling that I would find a needy person to pray for at McDonald’s. While the drive-through was busy, there were no other customers inside. Wondering if the cashiers and cooks were the reason for my visit, I took an order of french fries to a table and sat down.

I prayed as I nibbled, asking the Lord to bless everyone in the building and drive-through, to draw them to himself and meet every need, body, soul and spirit. Several other customers came in as I sat there but none seemed to be a specific prayer target.

I was down to my last few fries when a young man came from behind the counter out into the restaurant, talking on a cell phone. Going by the uniform he was wearing I thought he was probably the assistant manager. Around and around he walked, all the while talking on his phone. Then the voice of the Holy Spirit spoke plainly, “He’s the one.”

The next time he came near enough, I motioned for him to come sit with me. Putting his phone call on hold, he slipped into the booth with a polite, questioning expression on his face. He probably expected a complaint of some kind. I explained that I would like to pray for him, and asked if he believed in Jesus. He said yes, and told me his name.

I asked if there was anything specific he needed prayer for, and he became quiet and thoughtful for a moment or two. Then in a few sentences he shared a worrisome situation that had arisen about his job and his concern for his future with the company. I extended my hand, he took it and we prayed together about all that.

I ate supper at home before I came, I told him, but the Lord loves you very much, he wants the best for you, and he sent me here just to pray for you. He thanked me, I said you’re very welcome, and came home.

That’s how it works, being led by the Holy Spirit. Sometimes it’s words, sometimes it’s knowing that you know what you know, sometimes it’s a gut feeling. The Lord can get his directions across to you in a variety of ways – if you’re listening, and if you’re willing to obey him. It may take some practice.

Also see https://estherspetition.wordpress.com/2015/05/07/encounters/

When you’re a hammer, everything looks like a nail…

hammeringnailThe first time I heard God speak to me, I was 6 years old. I was sitting in my first grade class, admiring the teacher. I thought she was really pretty, really smart, and I liked her a lot. Suddenly that voice said to me, One day you will be a teacher.

I didn’t know that other people didn’t hear God speak to them like that, I didn’t think it was unusual or strange at all. It wasn’t a common occurrence for me, though. Just that one statement was all he said for a long, long time.

As the years went by God occasionally said other things to me, like Don’t go there, or You should read this. Stuff like that. Just once in a while, nothing spectacular, no big deal. But I tried to pay attention, because I figured God knew what was going on a lot better than I did.

See, all during those years my family attended church, one that stressed the importance of studying the Bible. I admired my Sunday School teacher the same way I had admired my grammar school teacher. I liked her, and because she said knowing the scripture was important, I read and I studied. It was interesting, some of it actually fascinating, and because I enjoyed history of all kinds I enjoyed the Bible too. I just didn’t consider that it might be more than a history book and a rule book.

I wasn’t even born again in those days, at least as I understood that to mean. I had never asked Jesus to come save me, to be my Lord. I just knew that I knew that I knew — Jesus was God. Didn’t everybody know that? I suspect someone was praying for me, because God knew me. He was with me long before I ever knew him.

Then, as the teenage years rolled around, things I knew I should do, I didn’t do. And vice versa. I DID go there, where I shouldn’t go. I started doing things because I wanted to, whether my parents or my Sunday School teacher or the preacher thought they were okay or not. And believe me, I instinctively knew what they would think about some of it. NO-NO’s.

I had actually told God one day that yes, I understood how to be saved, and yes, I wanted to be saved some day, and okay, I’ll accept Jesus as my “saver.” Not really serious about it, I just said it and promptly forgot it. Gradually his voice stopped speaking to me, but by then I didn’t even notice.

Thinking I could run my life just fine all by myself, I dropped out of college and married a man my family didn’t approve of. A man who turned out to be exactly the kind of person they had warned me he was. We had two children, and bit by bit our marriage fell apart.

At age 29 when I finally acknowledged that doing my own thing my own way wasn’t working out too well, I seriously asked Jesus to save me and to manage my life. In other words, to be my Lord.

What happened next was spectacularly sudden, and supernatural.* Everything changed in a flash, and I knew that the Bible was actually, literally true. Not just a history book, but a living Word, filled with the words of God addressed to me personally. Wow! His voice returned, full of laughter and life! I was so glad, so very glad.

Well, before you know it, I was a teacher. I was teaching Sunday School, and a few years later teaching Bible college classes. One day it dawned on me – God’s statement to that 6 year old girl was the literal truth. One day I would be a teacher, and that day is today.

And I have recognized and come to accept that “When you’re a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” Even when you’re just 6 years old. Some folks know what that means…

Looking back I have realized that throughout my life, everything I’ve ever learned, I have thought of it as a teacher would, in terms of how to tell it to somebody else. How to explain it in ways they could understand, whether it was to my own children, friends, coworkers, stranger, whoever.

Whether meditating, speaking, writing, even emailing, my point of view has always been as a teacher. My focus has always been, How can I help somebody else understand this? Math? English? History? Science? Current events? Politics? Those certainly, but most importantly, Jesus. Father God. Holy Spirit.

It’s been a while since I was 29. I’m still reading, still studying, still finding the Bible interesting and fascinating, but one thing is for sure — it’s way better with the author right there with you. The extraordinary Teacher, Holy Spirit, Explainer-in-Chief, who always puts how best to share this with other people uppermost in our study sessions.

* Also see https://estherspetition.wordpress.com/2011/03/04/all-things-became-new/

Healing Testimony, 26 July, 2014

blood-lambWednesday evening July 23, 2014, Keith called to say several musicians would be away on Sunday, they would be shorthanded, and to ask if I could play the piano for Sunday’s worship service.

Sure, I agreed, and promised to be there for practice Sunday morning. No problem.

Saturday morning I awoke as usual to the playful antics of Friday and Baby (cats), insisting not too patiently that I arise and feed them. As usual I sat up a moment before sliding on bedroom slippers, and immediately was struck with back pain.

A deep throbbing ache in my right hip extended down my right leg. I could lie flat or stand okay, but sitting was a definite problem.

Since I had done nothing out of the ordinary physically the days preceding that – no heavy lifting, no twisting –  I suspected this was a “fit of pique,” designed by the enemy to keep me from playing the piano at church the next day. Naturally, playing the piano requires sitting on the piano bench.

Not that the church couldn’t worship perfectly fine without me. They could and would. But I had looked forward to joining the praise team in praise and worship. Hmmm. (I did wonder if the fact that I’d recently prayed for some other people with back pain had anything to do with it.)

Making my way to the kitchen to tend to kitty food and coffee I began praying about the situation, thanking God and praising Jesus the Healer. John 10:10, I reminded myself. I Peter 2:24, by the stripes of Jesus I am healed.

While standing at the kitchen counter I laid hands on every achy spot I could reach, taking authority in the name of Jesus over my own body and commanding spine and hips to be normal. I specifically mentioned spinal vertebrae, foramina, discs, muscles, tendons, nerves and blood vessels, demanding them to be completely healed, healthy, whole, strong and pain-free.

After breakfast, my Saturday housework plans underwent an amendment. No vacuuming, no dusting, no mopping. Instead, I put on an old DVD, lay flat on the living room sofa, and began a day of prayer and praise amid the antics of Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin, A&E’s 2001 television series.

Why the old familiar TV shows? Unlike watching the news, they required no mental attention, but they did distract my thoughts from the physical attention achy bones and muscles and nerves seemed to require.

They drowned out all the “you’re sick,” “you can’t do anything,” “you need a doctor,” “playing piano for church is out,” messages coming against my mind. I could more easily focus on praying in the spirit, praising and thanking the Lord for his word. For “sozo.” For healing.

Laying flat on the sofa with feet propped up and head on a cushion, all morning I prayed in the spirit, praised the Lord and recited healing scriptures while videos played in the background. I rebuked any enemy spirits that were “crunching, twisting or pounding” back muscles and nerves in my body. Occasionally I got up to refill my coffee cup. The kitties kept me company, probably puzzled at this change in routine.

Lunch came and went. More prayer in the spirit, more praise, more commands to places that hurt.

Then, mid-afternoon I switched gears. I began talking about the blood of Jesus to myself and to the enemy. About the cross, the nails, and the blood that flowed from Jesus’ back for my healing. I didn’t just mention “His stripes,” I discussed the result of those stripes.

Blood. Lots of blood, covering His head, arms, hands and feet — especially his back, hips, and legs. I began to describe the blood of Jesus.

“And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.” (Rev. 12:11)

In an instant all the pain disappeared. Not gradually, not an improvement, there was suddenly no pain in my back, right hip and leg. The enemy simply couldn’t stand the blood of Jesus.

This was an important lesson to me. Prayer, praise, quoting scriptures, taking authority, laying hands on our own bodies, commanding and demanding health — they’re all important. I’m confident that eventually my body would respond.

But the most essential weapon in spiritual warfare is the blood of Jesus. Without His blood, there isn’t anything else.

 

What I believe and why

(Reprinted from March 6, 2011.)

John 10:10. Jesus said it.

I made a decision many years ago to believe the Bible, accept it as God’s truth, and base my existence on its veracity and dependability. I accepted Jesus as savior and manager (Lord) of my life, studied what he did here on earth and how he did it. What he said, to whom, and on what occasions. Instructions he gave.

These days I am re-studying the Gospel of John. It’s a fascinating book. Recently I read a statement made by someone that Jesus never claimed to be God so why did Christians think he was? That person obviously never read John’s gospel where Jesus repeatedly claimed to be God, declaring it to followers and detractors alike.

I take Jesus at his word, and these days especially John 10:10: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

Who is they? Verse 9 tells us. “I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture.” Saved is from the Greek word “sozo,” meaning healed, rescued, kept safe, made whole… a very positive word.

Jesus said he was the gate for the sheep. The sheep are “they.” I’m one of his sheep so I’m included in “they.”

I know full well that human beings have a vicious enemy. He hates all humans but especially believers. After all, if he can wipe out one Christian, he can potentially wipe out many others who might have come to Christ through their testimony.

His specific goals are listed by Jesus in this verse:

(1) Steal — your belongings. Home, car, money or peace of mind. Marriage, children. Health. Reputation. Job, savings or retirement plan. He will use economic depression, natural disaster, fire, flood, earthquake, whatever he can.

(2) Kill — you, your family and friends. With whatever weapon he can use. Cancer. Heart disease. Accidents. War. Famine. Murder. Suicide.

(3) Destroy — anything he couldn’t steal or kill. Especially your faith. Listening to his doubt and fear, gossip, rumors and uncertainty, erodes your self-confidence. He’ll try to nullify your testimony. It’s hard to witness when your mind is full of fear.

The rest of verse 10 tells us that Jesus is proactive. “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” Not just life, but full life. God-life. Not depressed, not defeated. Overflowing! Abundant!

John 16:33 says, “I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Jesus didn’t warn us about the enemy so we could worry when he attacks or blame God for the attacks, but so we could stomp the enemy in Jesus’ name. Defeat him. Destroy his works as Jesus did. (See Acts 10:38). Believe Jesus. Worship Jesus. Obey Jesus. Quote Jesus!

John 14: 12, “I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things that these, because I am going to the father.” Well, what had Jesus been doing?

“Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves.” (John 14:11) Miracles, is what he had been doing. Healing the sick.

Some well-meaning Christians think those particular verses don’t apply today or at least don’t apply to everyone today. If that was true, salvation – from the same Greek word, sozo – isn’t available today, either. But it does, and they do.

 

Testimony: Adventures with the Holy Spirit, Part I

“April 16, 1974. Last night I went to bed at about 10:00. Usually I pray while lying in bed but I needed God’s help so much just then, I got down on my knees by my side of the bed and prayed. Very simply, I said, Lord, help me. I promised to be still and to wait upon God, asking Him to speak to me if it was His will. Then I got into bed and shortly fell asleep. Paul had not come to bed at that time but did soon afterward.”

These handwritten notes from April 16, 1974 recount the events of the evening of April 15th. Today is June 19, 2011 and my memory of that night is as vivid as it was back then. A little background:

I usually prepared our family’s tax returns, and usually at the last minute. In previous years we had gotten a tax refund on both federal and state taxes and I expected the same for this year — but after calculating all the figures several times, I was dismayed to see that we would owe the government money. I don’t remember how much it was but whatever the amount, it was money we didn’t have.

I was extremely upset. Bills were piling up and as the one who wrote those checks, I knew how much debt we were in. We were supposed to be a two-income family but often Paul’s paycheck didn’t make it home on Friday. A stop-off at a local country store where beer and whiskey flowed freely, a backroom poker game might be going on and if not, several pinball machines were available, sometimes left him broke before he ever arrived home in the wee hours of Saturday morning. That is, if he came home at all during the weekend.

The financial hole we were in kept getting deeper and deeper and I didn’t know how we were ever going to get out of it. I had counted on those refunds; even small ones would help.

So I’d mailed the tax returns without enclosing any checks, knowing the state and federal agencies would soon send me a notice of amounts due, fees and penalties. Maybe we could work out a payment plan, I hoped. Worry, anxiety and depression set in.

I told myself I was a Christian; why weren’t all my needs met?

I gritted my teeth and somehow got through the rest of the normal afternoon and evening routine without the kids seeing me fall apart. I don’t recall what I said to Paul about the taxes, or what his response was. Arguments about his drinking and gambling had led nowhere in the past and I don’t remember us having an argument that night about the taxes.

Thus the unusual (for me) prayer position, down on my knees beside the bed. Back to the events of that night:

Sometime later I was suddenly awakened by the sound of the window, just over my side of the bed, rattling hard. I could hear the sound of a windstorm, also loud. I raised myself up enough in the bed that I could look out of the window. There was a large weeping willow tree just outside the window in the back of the house, and although I could hear the wind blowing, not a branch on that tree was moving.

Thinking I must have been dreaming, I lay back down. The wind didn’t stop, however —  the sound seemed to move inside my head. Suddenly the inside of the bedroom lit up as though someone had turned on a floodlight, and there standing just beyond the foot of the bed was a bright shining, shimmering figure looking over at me. Jesus.

At that instant I felt as though I was floating slightly off the surface of the bed, and my whole body felt on fire.The burning sensation didn’t hurt but I could almost hear my own blood boiling in my ears. Closing my eyes I could still see flickers of light inside my eyelids.

I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that if I could only reach out and touch Paul, asleep beside me, he would be healed (lung problems). But my hand wouldn’t move. I opened my eyes again and the wind sound became quiet, the form of Jesus became invisible, the light gone and the room back to its normal darkness.

Realizing that I could move again, I sat up and laid both hands on Paul’s forehead. Looking down at him still sleeping, I prayed for him to accept Christ and to be healed by God’s power.

As I lay back down, suddenly the rushing wind sound returned, the window rattled, the brilliant light came back and Jesus stood beside the bed, smiling. The sensation of my body being on fire returned and then quietly the light dimmed, the visible presence of Jesus faded and he was gone.

I reached for Paul’s arm. He immediately woke up and I thought, how strange that he had slept through the whole event and now that it was over, he woke up. What’s wrong, he asked. And all of a sudden I was afraid. Afraid that Jesus and the Holy Spirit were completely gone. Afraid that without them there, Satan could enter my house and hurt my children. I told Paul that I’d had a dream and I was afraid to let go of his arm.

A clock in the living room began to strike midnight, marking the end of April 15. I asked Paul to please go check on the children. I began to pray for protection for Paul Jr. and Shelby, really for us all. I could almost feel an evil atmosphere out in the hallway, as if evil spirits were close by. He got up, went to the bathroom, checked on the kids and pronounced everything okay, coming back to bed and falling right back to sleep.

I couldn’t do the same, however. The strange threatening fear was still there.

Remembering how Jesus had used scripture as a weapon against the devil (Matthew 4:1-11), I began to mentally sing The Lord’s Prayer. (Matthew 6:9-13) As a pianist and organist, I had played that piece for vocalists to sing at weddings and in church for many years. That night it was the only scripture passage I could remember by heart!

Singing The Lord’s Prayer on a continuous loop in my mind, at last I sensed the atmosphere in the house changing from one of danger to one of peace and finally I fell asleep.

The next morning I wrote everything down, trying not to forget any detail. My notes say “Today I asked the Lord to use that experience for whatever purpose he has. I’m not afraid now.”

On June 30th I copied my handwritten scribbles down into a little green notebook. It contains only one set of notes — those from that time. I have carefully preserved that little notebook from that day to this, thirty-seven years later.

I realized that the events of that night were an answer to my prayer for help. I wasn’t sure exactly what had happened to me, or if anyone else on the planet had ever had a similar experience…

But I was determined to find out.