Thursday, August 6, 2009

Undercover Marketing for Jesus :)

So I was sitting in an employee staffing when I felt the Holy Spirit come over me :) I started looking around the room.  I knew he was up to something. Within minutes a coworker seated right next to me mentioned she was having pain in her back.  I knew that she had been struggling with serious pain for months because at one point she had missed three weeks in a row due to a flare-up!  I leaned over to her to ask her if I could pray for her after the staffing. 

When we finally had a chance to get together later in the day, I could tell she was a little nervous and that the idea of praying for her back was quite foreign to her. I prayed two times in a row with no change.  Then the HS gave a word of knowledge about an issue of bitterness in her life.  She confirmed that this was true and I led her in a prayer of forgiveness for this individual.  I then resumed praying for her back.  The pain instantly went from a “9” out of 10 to a “3”.  Went on vacation.  Saw her about a week and a half later and asked her how her back was.  She said, “prayer really works . . . you totally messed up my ideas about God after you prayed for me”.  I asked her what she meant by this and she explained that she hated any kind of organized religion but did believe that there was a God.  She also said that after about a week her anger towards the person she had forgiven started to creep back up again.  So she decided to pray again to forgive just as I had showed her that day! 

Then this was the best part, “Margaret, why is it that when you prayed for me I felt this thing but when I prayed by myself I didn’t feel it.  I want to feel it again!"  I asked her to explain and she said that when we prayed the prayer of forgiveness that day, that she could feel a tremendous burden fall off of her. She described it as an “incredible feeling”.  I told her that this feeling was the HS working inside of her and that if she wanted to, she could have the HS too. She said that she definitely wanted to pray for the HS to come into her life so we did.  A few days later she came up to Melissa and I and said that we needed a prayer group for STAFF and that she had a few people in mind that she wanted to invite to it.  She said she couldn’t wait to pray again and feel that feeling again.  Way to go HS!  Please pray for my co-worker.  We are meeting next Thursday at lunch for our first prayer group.  I am confident that the Lord is leading her to himself!!  Also pray for other employees that he may lead to the group!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Organic Power Encounters #2

In my last post I told you how God had returned my friend Jess's wallet. This time I'll tell you about how He healed his knee!

I went to the gym Wednesday morning for a training session with Jess. We both started talking about our weekends, and Jess said that he had injured his knee. "Pulled a tendon" was how he put it. It was causing him a lot of pain, and even limiting his range of motion. He could not bring his foot up to his backside without wincing half way up. As a guy with a B.A. in Kinesiology and a pretty sharp mind, Jess was able to be very articulate in describing the pain and the limitations of his right knee caused by the injury. He said the pain was a 7 or an 8. I knew that this was another organic opportunity to pray for him. I was absolutely certain that God was going to heal him because I'd already seen God return his wallet, because I've seen a LOT of knees healed, and because I felt God encouraging me to pray for him and I felt the assurance of Him 'having my back.'

Before I could offer prayer, Jess also told me about a dream he had:

He was back at the church he attended as a kid (he stopped going as a teenager), walking through their fellowship hall where they served meals and banquets and held receptions. The whole area had been segregated into cubicles and these were being sold as condos. I asked him how he felt about that, and he said it made him vaguely sad.

I prayed that God would give me an interpretation since I thought the dream had some importance. I'm not a big dream interpreter, and I'm sure that there is more to the dream than what I got, but I gave him what I thought it meant:

That his old church wasn't what the dream was about. That it was about 'church' in general. That churches have found ways to separate people into little groups and keep them apart. That part of that is even a commercialization of faith: a whole subculture to go along with it including books, music, and all the rest of it. That churches have stopped knowing how to be about community and have stopped 'fellowshiping' because of it. I said the dream was an indictment of that failed way of doing church, but that this isn't God's plan at all. Men have made church fail, men have made fellowship hard, and it's men who are responsible for comoditizing religion and even faith.

Jess seemed to like that interpretation. After that I asked him if I could pray for his knee. He immediately agreed. I placed my hand on his knee cap, and prayed a very short prayer: "Lord please heal Jess' knee. Pain go away in Jesus name." I asked him to check it, and I have to say, I felt about 99% confident the knee would be much improved.

Jess tested out the knee. "Wow," he said. "That's really weird! The pain is almost completely gone. I can even put the knee through it's full range of motion." He was pretty surprised, and I was just sort of smiling at him, because I knew that God was just pouring out His love for Jess at that moment, that He was giving him a taste of what His version of love looks like.

"How is it now on a scale of 1-10?"

"It's a 1. Just a little bit of soreness left."

"Can I pray for that as well?"


"Lord, please take away all of the pain. Not even a little pain. No more pain in Jesus name."

He checked it again--and by check, keep in mind this guy's a physical trainer who knows how to poke, prod, and otherwise fully examine muscles, ligaments, etc--and it was still a little bit sore, but nothing even remotely close to where it had been earlier. Jess kept thanking me, and I kept telling him that it wasn't me at all. That I can't heal anyone, but that Jesus can and does and that he should thank Jesus instead.

I then got to talk to him again about who God is, and How much He loves people and cares for them. How He wants them to know He loves them and wants them to choose to be in relationship with Him. Jess listened to everything I said, and I could tell he was really processing through what had just happened and relating it to what I was telling him. I left him with a healed knee, and a head full of new ideas about Jesus: The King of Kings, Lord of Lords, and especially, Jesus the healer.

Organic Power Encounters

I've been guilty of ignoring this blog for far too long. Mostly that's because I've been reevaluating how I want to pursue a lifestyle of miracles and seeing God's goodness impact this world. The model of doing treasure hunts is fun and encouraging and something I still plan to pursue. However, it feels like God's been leading me towards a more 'organic' approach to praying for people. I'd define organic as praying for those people that I come into contact with in daily life, not going out with the specific purpose of finding 'treasures.' It's been a real paradigm shift for me to start looking at my daily routine as the jumping off point for seeking to see the Kingdom come to earth. Instead of going out to seek out treasures, I'm instead finding them right under my very nose in daily life!

God's been doing some really great stuff. As I've relaxed and just let Him direct me to pray for people as the situation calls for, I've seen a couple really neat things happen. Here are a few, both of which involve a physical trainer at the gym I work out at. His name is Jess, and I've been building a friendship with him for the last 6 months.

Back in June, Jess told me that he had lost his wallet which included his credit cards, bank card, CTA pass, etc. He was pretty upset about this as it meant he had to go through the process of canceling all of them. Even worse was the loss of his monthly CTA pass which you cannot replace without buying another one. As he told me about this, I knew i should pray for the return of his wallet, but felt a bit awkward asking him for permission.

It took most of an hour to get up the courage to ask. Finally I asked him and he agreed to let me pray. I prayed briefly that God would return his wallet to him and that he wouldn't lose anything important from it. He thanked me and I left the gym.

The next day, this is the e-mail I received from him:

Not that God works to give us what we want, when we want it and how we want it. HOWEVER, this morning @ 7:30 AM, he saw fit that my wallet was returned. Thank you for your prayers!

I was blown away and really excited that God had answered my prayer that quickly! When I check with him about how this had happened, he said that one of the other trainers just happened to be cleaning up the employee locker-room that morning and had found it underneath the netting of a soccer goal. Jess was thrilled to have the wallet back, and this opened up a conversation about who God is, and how He loves people enough to get involved even in the 'little things.' Seeing God return his wallet was great, but having the opportunity to talk about the Lord's goodness and love for him was even better!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

This happened about a month ago so I am so sorry I am sitting down to write you just now.

I came home in the middle of the day to find my neighbor Jerry (in his 50/60s) raking leaves. I said "hello" and we started chatting when at some point during the conversation he told me that he was in pain because of an old rotator cuff injury. He was hoping that the physical exercise might help since he is a trucker and never really uses his arm. I asked him if I could pray for him and he agreed. His pain was at a "10". I barely got "Holy spirit come ..." out of my mouth when he asked me what religion I was. I told him I was a Christian and then he joked that he was converting to Islam because "they cut your hands off if you steal something". He then told me that he grew up Catholic but didn't really have any kind of faith. I replied, "Catholic? Oh good, then you have heard of the Holy Spirit". I started praying and you could see a look of surprise begin to emerge on his face. When I checked in with him he said he no longer felt any pain. I pressed him because I wanted to make sure the pain was completely gone. He said he could feel some stiffness so I prayed again. Before I could finish my prayer he said, "Margaret . . . you are freaking me out!" He said he was at a "0". At this point he started moving his arm around and wondering out loud if the exercise/raking had in fact helped him. You could tell he was in amazement and disbelief. At that point I pressed him again and he said, "there is absolutely no pain. I still don't have full mobility or rotation but that will never go away". I told him that God wasn't done with him yet and prayed again. Then he said, "Margaret! If this works, I am going to give you my Porsche!" "What church did you say you go to?" "Margaret, I think I need to go to church with you!"

I wanted to pray one last time but he wanted to test it out a little so I walked my dog and then came back. He was feeling so great that He offered me his Porsche again :) I prayed one last time and then this time he said, "Margaret, this time when you prayed I could feel a short, intense throbbing and then relief" At this point I could see that my neighbor was thoroughly freaked out so I bid him goodbye and went back to work. When I got to work I knew the power was flowing so I went in search of my secretary who has deafness in one ear. She wasn't there that day. When I asked the other secretary where she was I could see that she was in pain and her eyes were teary. I asked her what was wrong and she anxiously questioned back, "Is this where your appendix is?" She had been in intense abdominal pain that morning and didn't know why. I told her that I knew I was supposed to pray for someone at work, took her into a different room and prayed for her. She said the same thing that Jerry said when God completely took the pain away, "Margaret, you are freaking me out". I went into my next appointment at work and in the middle of the hour my left upper arm started throbbing. My muscles felt spastic and like they were about to burst out my arm. It was quite uncomfortable. I asked the Lord if I was supposed to pray for someone else and he said, "No, I just wanted you to know that I am still working on Jerry's arm" It was my left arm that was throbbing, the same side as Jerry's :)

Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Currency of Heaven is Risk

It's been a while since I've been out on a Tuesday night and it was great to get back out. I don't know why there always seems to be a bit of shy-ness, human nature I guess. So the things that that I remind myself are (1)I have something valuable to offer to people that they might not have the chance to receive tonight if I don't offer it and (2) they aren't rejecting me, they are rejecting God - makes me feel sad, but is also freeing, ya know? So we went out there and started interacting with people, taking risks, being bold (and gentle) to approach and it was amazing. By the end of the night I felt alive in a way I haven't for quite a while, and was acutely aware of God's pleasure in my taking risks to show His love.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Treasure Hunt to Wal*Mart - 3-10-09

Out team consisted of Donna Napolitano, Jana Lutovsky and myself.

Many of the clues on our Treasure Maps we found including: Red Hat, Candy Isle, Violet, Yogurt, Green Shoes, Pink Scarf, Right Knee, Lower Back, and Jean.

Our clue was green shoes and this young girl with her mom and dad was wearing them. I approached the father who was named James and told him about the Treasure Hunt and that we had Green Shoes as a clue. I pointed to my list and asked if he had a knee problem (right knee was a clue on my map) or a lower back problem (another clue on my map). He said he had a lower back problem and his wife had a right knee problem. James motioned for us to pray for her but she didn't want any part of this at first. I showed her my Map and that we had the clues Green Shoes, Lower Back and Right Knee. She was then more responsive to our requests to pray for her.

Her name was Lina and it turned out she had a tumor on her right knee. She felt hot when we were praying for her but the tumor didn't dissolve. We prayed multiple times for her. Then we prayed for her husband James for his lower back problems. His pain level was at 8.5 (from a scale from 1 - 10) when we started praying for him. After our first couple of prayers he said the pain went down to about a 4. After more prayers he said the pain was down to 0.5 and he was good.

We also prayed for a young girl (Katrina) who was by the Yogurt (Jana's clue) for her shoulder and after a couple of times she said she was completely healed. It turned out we had prayed for her Grandmother two weeks earlier when we were on another Treasure Hunt here at Wal*Mart.

We prayed for Justin who had a broken arm and Donna was able to share Jesus with him. We challenged him to ask Jesus to reveal Himself to him when he goes home and prays. His mom was blessed we prayed for him.

I had Red Hat on my list and near the end of out hunt we found her. Jana spotted her and her name was Geraldine. She had bunion problems and we prayed for her to be healed and after Jana said "bunions be gone" the woman said don't you need a physician to cut them off. We said something like Jesus is the Great Physician and He can totally heal her. She said something like "that can happen"? And we said Jesus can totally heal her. We prayed for her a number of times and she said her feet felt better. A friend with her was name Jean and Jana had her name on her Map. We prayed for God's wisdom for her. They were Christians and we talked about each other's churches. It was a great time talking to Jean.

We ran into a woman with a pink scarf (on my map) as we were leaving. She was an employee who said she didn't want to get fired because of us praying for her so we prayed for her as we walked out. She was naming a number of people to pray for too as we were walking out.

It was a wonderful night and it was a blessing to pray for so many people. God is good and people felt His presence tonight. Praise God.

Bob Holzner

Friday, March 6, 2009

First night at the ERs

First stop was West Suburban Medical Center.

Our team, Dan Pietrini, Carrie Rubenking and myself (Bob Holzner), walked up the the hospital and stepped through the doors to the Emergency Room. This was way out of my comfort zone. Each of us eased our way to a seat at different parts of the Waiting Room and blended in. It was very awkward at first as to what to say. What does one say? How do you start the conversation? I sheepishly looked around for the right someone to pray with in my area.

How in the world did I get to this point?

I must say it has been a journey and God was putting the pieces together gradually for me.

I was first blessed to be able to take the three Healing Classes VOP offered. Two things radically set me on a wonderful new course in my life. The first was when we were asked to come up with a healing word for someone in the room. While the directions were being said I had a thought about a particular illness. I first thought it was just me but it turned out to be a correct word about someone's illness. This never happened to me before. This was new territory and God was laying some foundation in my life.

The second exercise was to pray for healing for someone in the group. I was amazed that while I was praying for someone during this exercise the presence of the Holy Spirit fell upon the man and he felt God's healing hand. Nothing ever happened to me like this when I prayed for someone before and it was a break through for me. More foundation work from the Father.

I learned that God does talk to us today and that He heals people today. This was a bit new for me but I was excited to move forward with this new revelation in my life. After this I had been praying for people in church off and on but God was about to take me further still.

I was hanging with Mike McGee around this time and learned about Bill Johnson and Bethel Church. They actually went out and would pray for people on the streets to be healed. If someone had a cane, walker or wheelchair they were open encounters and they would offer to pray for them to be healed. Now that was radical and way out of my comfort zone. Praying for people in church was one thing but people I don't know on the streets was another.

Nonetheless, God was doing a work in me and I saw a woman with a walker and I felt the gentle urge from God to pray for her but I didn't have the courage. I still had fears and I felt bad I didn't pray for her. God worked with me through this and I eventually started praying for people I didn't know while I was out shopping. If I saw a cane I would ask them if I could pray for them. Remarkably nearly all of them let me pray from them. It wasn't that bad either after getting over the initial fears.

The downside was I felt a bit like a lone warrior for Christ. I wanted to be part of a team.

My desire to pray for people continued to grow and to be part of a team doing this. Then I heard about the Healing Seminar at Bethel Valparaiso and I joined the Prayer Team soon after. I was able to go to that seminar and we went on a Treasure Hunt and many people were healed miraculously (See Dan's post My Power Week # 1 & 2).

Great things were happening at VOP now with many people getting healed and I was stoked. Dan talked about his encounters on one Sunday and I talked to him briefly after church. The excitement was growing. The next week Dan dropped the bomb and said on Tuesday they were going to the ER to pray for people to be healed. After church I mentioned to Dan I would like to come too. God was moving, something beautiful was starting, and I wanted to follow.

So here I am. I turned to the young man with a small baby on my left and asked if he was waiting on the doctor? Seemed like a good starting conversation. He said no and someone he was with was inside getting taken care of. That seemed to end the conversation but I stumbled further and asked what they were being treated for if you don't mind me asking. Then I felt I needed to tell him who I was and what I was trying to get at. I said something like I wanted to pray for their loved one and I believe Jesus heals today. He said yes and that she might be having problems with the pregnancy. I prayed for her to be healed and there would be no problems with the pregnancy and the doctors would be amazed at her recovery. He thanked me and seemed very blessed.

I breathed a sign of relief as I began to get a feel for how things were unfolding this night. This was new ground for me and I am still learning. I looked around and I saw there was one small boy with a white identification wrist band. I made my way over to him and his mother. He had a rash on his chest and was waiting to see the doctor. I asked his mom if I could pray for him and she said yes. I asked the rash to be supernaturally healed and gone and when he went in to see the doctor the doctor would say "what rash." He seemed very happy to receive prayer. This wasn't so bad after all and to tell you the truth it was addicting. What we have been freely given we should freely give.

We went through the room and prayed for those who wanted prayer. It was still early so we decided to go to another ER to pray for people. We decided on Loretto Hospital in the Austin neighborhood.

As we walked out of the hospital a young man called out to us. It was the young man with the baby that I prayed with. He thanked us again as we were leaving and we blessed him again. That really felt good. Praise God.

Continued in The First Night - Part Two.