“How glorious the splendour of a human heart that trusts that it is loved!”
~ Brennan Manning
Unconditional love and trust seem to be two halves of a whole. When we truly know that we are loved, self acceptance and trust naturally evolve.
When praying for strangers, I’m aware of the need to build trust with people first, by making conversation, perhaps sharing a joke, and reassuring them that I’m not trying to sell them anything.
Understandably, many people don’t want to draw attention to themselves or display their emotions in public, and I do my best to be discreet and sensitive when praying. However, sometimes the people with the toughest exteriors are visibly touched by God’s love, and fight back tears, as they encounter his presence.
Recently, we prayed for an older lady in the marketplace, who was quite reserved and a little suspicious of us at first. She told us her name was Connie, and after chatting a while, she revealed that she had pain in her neck. She then allowed us to lay hands on her to pray.
After prayer, there was no difference to the pain. Sometimes people experience healing later, so we told her this, and we also said that God loves her and cares about her.
Healed Second Time Around
Connie was sitting on a bench in the marketplace a couple of weeks or so later, drinking tea and smoking a cigarette, after finishing her shopping. We approached her and asked how her neck was doing. “No better,” she replied. We asked permission to pray again. Connie nonchalantly agreed to this.
My friend placed his hand on her shoulder and I placed my hand on the base of her neck. She told us the pain was a level four on a scale of one to ten. After praying, Connie slowly moved her head from side to side, and then we saw the first proper smile break out on her face.
The pain had completely disappeared! Connie’s delight was evident; her natural reserve and guarded manner melted away.
“Did one of you touch my head?” Connie asked, placing her hand near the top of her head, to show us the exact location. Neither of us had placed our hands there; my hand had been the closest, being at the bottom of Connie’s neck, but still quite a distance away from her head.
Something significant happened, that I have no concrete explanation for. Connie had felt a hand touch her near the top of her head, and it had affected her deeply; her whole countenance had changed. This was more than a physical healing; change occurred on the inside, too. I believe Jesus touched her with his love and power, changing her heart.
Divine healing flows out of the love of God for the person in front of us. Love and compassion can bring healing to the whole person, rather than just addressing the physical symptoms.
Connie is a strong, independent lady, and not in the habit of giving outward displays of emotion. Initially, she looked doubtful when we shared with her in words that God loves her, but when she felt his presence and received healing, I believe she felt loved. I hope to see Connie again soon, and ask her what difference this encounter has made in her life.