Earlier this year Dorothy had found a lump in her breast…breast cancer. At St. Ann they have a powerful and active charismatic prayer group. In between appointments she had them pray over her for healing. At her next appointment the lump was gone and she was clear. So of course I wanted to be prayed over!
Dorothy had spoken with Leonard who leads the prayer group and they had decided they would hold a simple prayer session for me. After we were finished we told the group that I was going to be prayed over, it wasn’t mandatory, but all were welcome. Everyone that could come came. Before we started Leonard gave a beautiful explanation of what was going to happen and the power of prayer. We started with some praise and worship and Leonard was so reminiscent of Johnny Cash. When it was time Leonard called me up and his team assembled to intercede and catch me in case I rested in the spirit. He also invited others to come up and lay hands on me. Leonard asked what I wanted prayer for. I named my shoulder because I’ve been having issues and my head because I’ve had migraines since 1st grade. We prayed. Nothing. We prayed again. Leonard asked if there was a change or tingling in my head or shoulder. Nothing. But I was thankful.
Leonard then opened it up for everyone. Anyone that wanted to be prayed over could come to one of the prayer teams and receive prayer. It was powerful. Many of the teens did not have experience with charismatic prayer much less praise and worship. The visiting youth minister as well as some of the teens rested. There was even and instance of powerful spiritual battle in one of the teens. The whole group was asked to leave to remove any distractions and prayer won out. Not so simple a night. But for me, that was just the beginning.
The morning of my last day in Belcourt we had mass in the cemetery and processed around it praying
Fr. Tony called me when he was ready and we met in the chapel. He opened up our time of prayer with the most beautiful prayer asking Mary to join us and for Jesus to pour his blood over us. He then asked me, “What do you want to pray for?” I told him my head and shoulder like the other night. Again we prayed yet nothing happened. Fr. assured me he has the gift of healing but it is not him but God working through him and sometimes he does not grant the healing so we prayed that if it is his will that I would be healed later. He then asked me, “How much time do you have?” I said I wasn’t on a strict schedule. He proceeded to empty his pockets to get more comfortable. What was I in for?
“What else do you want to pray for?” Fr. Tony asked. All I could think of in the moment was our mission so I said to pray for us as a missionary family and our mission in Dickinson, TX. He proceeded to offer it up to Jesus through Mary’s hands.
“What is your desire for your ministry?” asked Fr. I thought about it and responded that it was what it always has been, to draw teens closer to Christ. “Can we offer your desire to Mary and Jesus so that their desire becomes your desire?” He always asked permission. “Of course”, I said. And during this whole time after he’d pray and we’d enter into silence I would observe him listening and saying, “Mhmm”, “Oh,” “Ok”, etc. He would later tell me that he was just listening to Mary and asking/telling me whatever she told him as she guided him through this time of prayer. What?! This was nuts! I had never experienced anything like this before!
“Did you hear anything? Did your desire strengthen, weaken, change?” “Nothing,” I replied. “But, the only thing that stood out is a certain person’s face was clear as day in my head.” We prayed again. “Are you afraid or reluctant to be a father figure to any of your teens,” Fr. asked. “No,” I replied. “But,” I continued, “it’s interesting you mentioned that because this person that popped in my head has had a hard time with God the Father due to problems with his earthly father.” He then asked me about this person and his relationship with his father. “Can we offer this person up to Jesus through Mary?” “Of course.” “Has this person truly forgiven his father?” I told him I figured he had tried but I didn’t know for sure if there was real true forgiveness and that honestly I doubted it. We prayed.
“3 things”, he said. “1, he has to forgive his father. That’s not from me, that’s scripture, that’s the Our Father, that’s straight from Jesus. 2, it’s impossible. He can’t do it on his own. He has to ask Mary to see his father through her eyes with her heart to see that no matter what he has done or will do he is loved by her and he is her son and she wants to draw him closer to her Son. He will have to ask her to allow him to forgive his father with her heart. 3, he has to forgive everything that his father has done by name. Mary has shown me what his life will be like if he is able to do this. He will flourish, his marriage and family will flourish, and his ministry will flourish.”
Woah, this was heavy. He didn’t know this person, yet he could tell me all about him. He joked that he is no Padre Pio but that they worked together, haha. I cracked up, haha. He asked what I thought about this and the fact that I needed to help this person through this. I was open to it and found it very interesting because the day before and earlier that morning I was praying and wondering why I had come. What was I supposed to leave with. Of course I was there for the novena and to lead the teens in the evening sessions, but what did God have for me? The answer I received was “prayer”. I felt a strong call to prayer and to come back home and pray with/over people. And then this session of prayer happens!
Fr. assured me that I needed to lead this guy in this prayer. “Are you nervous or unsure about this?” “Yes,” I replied. “Why?” “I don’t know,” I said. “Can we ask Mary to reveal why you are nervous to lead this person through this prayer to lead them to forgiveness?” We prayed. “Are you worried about messing up or not doing it right,” Fr. asked. “Exactly, that’s it,” I replied. Fr. continued, “Can we ask Mary to reveal to you if she will help you through this and make up for any mistakes you might make?” We prayed, and the answer I received from her was, “Of course I will.”
Then Fr. Tony dropped the bomb, “Are you mad at yourself? Is there anything you have not forgiven yourself for?” I had no idea what he was talking about or where he was going with this. I took a good bit of time to think about it. If there was anything it was the time in college I wasted and screwed around which caused me to take 7 years to graduate. It set me back and then set my marriage back. “Can we offer this up to Jesus and ask Mary to allow you to forgive yourself with her heart.” I said of course and then proceeded to weep. Wow! This is not what I signed up for. But, the overwhelming peace that came over me was relieving. “Are you at peace,” Fr. asked. I told him yes. “Can we ask Mother Mary to reveal to you who you are to her, how she sees you?” “Yes.” In that moment she spoke to me and said, “I love you, you are my son.”
Fr. told me that if I was at peace then that is how we knew we were finished. I was. He closed in prayer and we walked out of the chapel. As we made our way out of the rectory Fr. grabbed me and said he needed to tell me something. “You have the gift of healing. You have the same gift as I do. I don’t know if it’s emotional healing, physical healing, or both. But you have it or are developing it.” Totally not expecting that to come out of his mouth, I replied, “Wow that’s interesting because for the past 3 years or so I’ve been feeling called more to charismatic prayer.” With that we parted ways. (I don't share this part of the story to make myself look a certain way but to share my experience of another's gifts from the Spirit.)
I came home and I’ve been sharing this story every chance I get. I met with my spiritual director and a friend who are both spiritual directors and charismatics and they gave me great advice on how to proceed. I prayed with my friend and it was powerful. It took us two straight hours to pray through everything he needed to forgive. I asked him what it was like for him and he came to a powerful experience of peace. He also spoke about how he had never really had a strong relationship with Mary but when we prayed that she would let him know who he was to her she told him, “You are my son, I love you.” And during our whole time of prayer he felt a feminine presence in the room.
I began to realize that yeah, I went to ND to speak, but this was orchestrated so I could come back and start my new journey. God has not stopped since. He’s been bringing people into/back into my life, in my path to encounter.
|Headed home with Gandalf|