They’re singing now with uplifted hands: “But drops of grief could ne’er repay / The debt of love I owe / Here, Lord, I give myself to Thee / ’Tis all that I can do.”
They have resumed their seats. Now we are to pray for the sick. They are flowing over the platform in a steady line. Ministers of many denominations are standing by our side, assisting us in the anointing and prayer for the sick.
Such faith as that possessed by those coming for prayer for healing, we have rarely seen. The 1 o’clock preparation services of the Bible study certainly have been worthwhile.
A deaf brother cries out, “Oh, I can hear!” A mute woman speaks distinctly and is heard by the multitude to say, “Praise the Lord!” and to name that unspeakably precious name of Jesus. A neighbor who has known her for 15 years declares this to be the first word that she has ever heard her utter.
A little child that has come in braces is prayed for. Catholic parents who have just been converted declare that their doctors had advised them to bring him to the meetings. Proudly they place in our hands a new pair of shoes, which they say the little boy is to wear as soon as he is prayed for and the braces removed.
Suddenly, we find ourselves on our knees with the little boy clasped tightly in our arms, his little wet pale cheek pressed tightly against ours as we pray:
“O Lord Jesus, when You were upon Earth, You took the little children in Your arms and blessed them. You said to all who were heavy laden, ‘Come unto me, and I will give you rest.’ You gave strength to the weak. You restored the man with the withered arm. You made the rough places smooth and the crooked to be straight.
“Lord Jesus, if Thou wert here in person this afternoon, it would not take You a moment to stretch forth Thy gentle healing hand and make this little laddie able to walk and run and play like other boys. And oh, we know that You are here by the power of the Spirit and pray that it will please Thee to heal him, just now.”
“Laddie,” we hold him off by the shoulders for a moment. “Laddie, don’t you cry.” We find a dry handkerchief somewhere in our pocket and wipe a little zigzag river of tears away.
“Smile a little, that’s the boy: We anoint you now with oil according to the Word of God and lay our hands upon you, with simple faith believing, praying with submission to the will of God. We believe that the Lord hears and answers prayers and that just now the work will be done. Be thou made whole in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and live and work and witness for Him. Amen.”
“The braces are forgotten, left to join the pile of crutches and canes and other contraptions that have been left behind.”
—Aimee Semple McPherson, founder of The Foursquare Church
They have gone down from the platform now. They are sitting in the front row. The father, a young man, is down on his knees in front of the boy, unlacing the shoes, unstrapping the braces. They must be going to put on the new shoes right now.
But we must not stop. Scores of others are waiting in line to be prayed for. A lady with a fearsome cancer, which gnaws just over her heart, whose baby will soon be left without a mother unless the Lord hears and answers prayer, here and now.
A brother with tuberculosis, a sister who—but suddenly, a glad little cry diverts our attention. We have been so occupied that we had for a moment forgotten the little boy, but it is he.
He is walking—he is running. His little limbs seem straight and strong. The mother and father are clasped in each other’s arms. They are going to their own seats now, back in the audience. The braces are forgotten, left to join the pile of crutches and canes and other contraptions that have been left behind.
Hallelujah! The Lord liveth, and His mercy endureth forever.
Adapted from an article written by Aimee Semple McPherson in April 1923