When I was in college, I led a small group Bible study.
A freshman group member had a degenerative spinal condition that caused her severe pain after excessive walking.
Since she was a resident on campus without a car, walking was the only means to get to and from classes in the various buildings scattered up and down some hills on our campus.
She was beginning to miss class. The pain in her back was not going away.
One night, she took the risk and asked my co-leader and I to pray for her and anoint her with oil.
We didn’t have any oil, just water.
We gathered around her, laid hands on her (after asking permission), anointed her, and asked God to bring a healing or relief to the pain around her back.
After a few minutes of quietly praying, we asked, how do you feel?
The pain had left.
Follow up x-rays not only showed the pain had left, but the effects of the degenerative disease had been reversed.
Her back was restored and the disease was no longer present.
Healing leads to conversations
It didn’t take long for word to travel through the social grapevines and networks on the college campus.
This girl had been healed when some Christians prayed for her.
People were amazed at the change in this girl — a powerful life transformation. They started talking with her and she had plenty of opportunities to talk about following Jesus.
Other people started seeking me out, as if I had a special power or something. This gave me a remarkable opportunity to see the spiritual thirst in people. (Read more about thirst that opens the doors).
Pretty soon, in God’s sovereignty, other physical healings started happening on campus.
Other Christians took the risk to pray for the sick and sometimes we saw immediate results of physical healing.
Students giving testimony about this kind of touch from Jesus led to all sorts of conversations and a buzz started happening.
During the next 2 years of my college experience, this student movement grew as more people began trusting in Jesus.
Conversations lead to Conversions
Many of these conversations eventually led to people placing their faith in Christ.
I remember watching people seeking us out in private, asking questions, attending our meetings, listening to the teaching, and even singing with us in worship.
They were belonging to the community of faith before their belief became their own..
Some of my friends became Christians.
A few have gone on to become pastors, church planters, missionaries, and trainers of pastors and church planters. Not just in the US, but around the world. Others have gone to serve their local churches in various leadership capacities.
Healing results in evangelism
This is one aspect of healing in evangelism.
In God’s sovereignty, a physical healing is used as trigger event, a catalyst that leads to lots of evangelism conversations.
Not all Christians believe this is still possible today. It’s not part of their theology, but that is a different story.
Others believe its possible, but don’t know how to pray for people, or feel comfortable doing this. That’s a different article.
Likewise, we know that God doesn’t choose to heal all the time, but that too is a different article.
In this case, God’s sovereignty in giving this healing seems to have been part of God’s plan to reach a group of students at a particular college, with the 20 year fruit of bringing many more people to faith around the world.
The Christian girl benefited in the short term, but the kingdom of God was drastically expanded in the long run.
This healing triggered
- multiple evangelism conversations
- confidence that other students could pray for healing
- testimonies of physical and emotional healing
- conversions of future church planters, missionaries and church leaders.
When Peter and John encountered a lame man at the Gate called Beautiful, that physical healing triggered an evangelism outpouring — people were amazed and astonished.
Let me ask you this?
If healing is part of your theology and experience, how have you seen it impact your evangelism?