by Bob Rognlien
All my Christian life the people of the churches I was part of had regularly prayed for people to be healed of disease, injury, and various ailments. In spite of these well-intentioned prayers I had never seen an immediate or unmistakably miraculous physical healing until I visited St. Thomas Church in Sheffield, England where 3DMovements was born.
The first night I was there we gathered in small groups around those who indicated a need for physical healing and prayed. It was not sensationalist (these were Brits, after all!), but there was an unmistakable spiritual authority behind the simple words spoken, declaring healing and calling forth wholeness in Jesus’ name. My friend experienced a dramatic healing of his shoulder right in front of my eyes. I knew him well enough to know he would never make it up or exaggerate. My worldview was starting to change…
In the ten years since that night I have seen countless people dramatically healed of physical, spiritual, emotional, mental, and relational brokenness. After seven years of constant pain from two collapsed disks in my lower back, I was instantly healed a year and a half ago simply by listening to the testimony of another friend who had been miraculously healed of her Lupus earlier at one of our 3DM Learning Communities.
Jesus spent a significant amount of his time and energy healing people physically and spiritually as an act of compassion and sign of God’s Kingdom. He didn’t ask God to heal them, but rather functioned as an authorized representative of his Father the King and declared healing directly over those to whom he ministered.
Jesus explicitly passed on his authority and power to his followers along with the command to heal and cast out demons. He taught us that persistence is to be our approach. Jesus said apart from him we can do nothing and Paul testified that in Christ all things are possible. Jesus made the outrageous statement that we would do even greater things than he did.
After Jesus’ death, resurrection, and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit the followers of Jesus followed his example and instruction by continuing to heal those who were broken. This naturally supernatural way of life evoked a faith in the hearts of those who experienced it that led to massive evangelistic breakthrough.
This is the reason that when we train church leaders in discipleship and mission we also model and teach them to heal people the way Jesus did. Of course we pray for God to heal people as the Bible commands, but we also exercise faith by stepping into our role as representatives of our Father the King and declare healing directly in Jesus’ name. If we are going to live a more Jesus-shaped life it is critical that we learn to live in Jesus’ supernatural authority and power as naturally as he did.
In our recent 3DM Learning Community Immersions we experienced a number of physical and inner healings in three different cities. Adrian deLange is a young pastor in one of those Learning Communities and he had an experience last week that is changing his worldview. He emailed me this testimony after one of our evening gatherings where we spent some time engaging in healing ministry with one another. I share it with his permission:
The invitation and challenge was given by Bob Rognlien, toward the end of our gathering tonight, that we should pray for specific people in the Learning Community Immersion who needed healing. People needed only raise a hand. Others would gather around them to pray.
I did a quick inventory of my life and my body and came to the conclusion that there wasn’t anything seriously wrong with me. Nothing seriously in need of healing.
Bob said, [paraphrase] “We as a team received a word of prophecy this morning from a friend back in California who was praying for our Learning Community here. Pat said that he saw the image of a delicate flower, gently opening up its petals to the sun. Being vulnerable in that it opened up, but also needing the life that the sun offered it. And I think this may be a word of prophecy for this moment.”
I was immediately drawn back to earlier this week, several mornings in a row, as Kaylee and I sat in our bay window, early morning sun filling our kitchen, and we observed these amazing and miraculous flowers: yellow and white delicate nameless blossoms, sprouting out of green rushes. They weren’t there last year, but only showed up after the pruning, cutting, and prolonged yard work of the spring. But we were amazed at their gentle beauty, the way in which they opened up in the early morning to receive the sun in the east, and followed it through the sky toward the west, before closing again in the evening and hiding their colors. Somehow, though, every morning, they returned to face east once again and wait for the morning sun.
In that moment, the Holy Spirit stirred me and I felt the pressure—a great challenge—to put up my hand and say that, yes, I needed to be healed. Those flowers were my flowers. That was my garden; that was my heart. As I battled inwardly, struggling not to put up my hand and still insisting that I have nothing to be healed of, God dropped on my heart, like twin stones, two people with whom I have incredibly difficult and painful relationships.
The inner battle was lost. I nudged up my hand, probably near to the last moment that I could have and only after several others had first raised their hands.
I shared with those who gathered around me, how an important person in my life has abandoned me, ignored me and doesn’t care about me. The other person, meanwhile, refuses to trust me. To one, my heart has turned cold and distant. To the other, my heart has become angry: I have been refused without just cause, rejected for no reason. I confessed that I have a hard heart. That I need to forgive; even if only for my own sake.
I need to be healed.
As the group began to pray, individuals’ prayers and silences faded in and out and blended together. I hardly remember the words or the people who accompanied them, but simply the power that came with the words and with the many hands that were laid across my shoulders and literally upon my heart. And I experienced, throughout, the increasing feelings of lightness and warmth, despite the fact that heavy hands weighed down my shoulders. I became light as a feather. My heart pounded wildly, excitedly, joyfully, and freely. Like a wild horse, finally free of its restraints. Although I remember few of the specific words, who said what, or how long the prayers and silence and muttering lasted (“Come on, Jesus. Come on, Jesus.”); I know that I heard two whispered words somewhere in the middle of the prayer: “It’s okay.” Two small words. But words of promise and words of power.
As the prayer finished, the group’s leader asked me, “How do you feel?” I related the lightness and the warmth that still, three hours later, fill my heart. And then I said, “I don’t remember anything specifically that any of you said, but I heard someone say, ‘It’s okay;’ and I don’t think it was any of you.”
People looked around and at least two commented, “I didn’t hear that said.”
God spoke to me; perhaps not audibly and not to others, but my heart heard the two words that opened it up again, from the inside out, back to him: It’s okay.
Words of peace, assurance, and comfort. Words of a calm control that is not my own, a confidence that I do not possess. The knowledge of a present and future, which I have tried so unsuccessfully to determine and direct.
I was crying.
As I wiped my few tears and blew my nose, we began to pray for Larry, who suffers from a degenerative joint disease. His knee pain had been flaring up once again. My nose wiped, I knelt down and put my hand on Larry’s knee. I prayed, with others, in the confidence that God could and would heal his knee. I was just beginning to experience how he broke and softened my heart! I could not wipe the smile from my face, the joy welling up inside me; surely the Father could and would do this small thing as well!
I do not remember the words, but I felt Larry’s knee pop. Just below the kneecap. Any number of medical and naturalistic explanations might suffice, but it happened as we prayed, as the Spirit hovered over and in us in power.
As we finished praying, Larry stood up and responded that his knee felt a little better. He was not sure that it was much, but there was definitely some improvement.
We prayed again.
I prayed in eagerness and confidence, knowing that God, this time, would finish his work. As we prayed and claimed God’s healing power and promise—as I meditated and muttered—the muscle on the top of Larry’s knee, connecting to his upper leg, tightened. I felt it tighten.
He was healed. 50% improvement, he said.
Honestly, I am flabbergasted.
This is not the way that God works, I have been told my entire life. This is the kind of hoping and dreaming and “name-it-and-claim-it” baloney that people cling to who aren’t smart enough to grasp the profundity of supralapsarian predestination. Yet here I am, claiming the promises and power of a God who, moments ago I have realized is actually the sitting King of the universe and not just a cardboard cutout that I can fold up and file away when he’s done imparting information to the faithful few.
Court is in session and I am getting schooled.
I share Adrian’s powerful testimony, one among many, to encourage those of us for whom a supernatural way of life does not seem natural or even attainable. Perhaps you come from a background that has been generally suspicious of those who claim to experience and impart the power of God to heal. If so, this is an invitation to explore a more Jesus-shaped worldview.
If we are going to follow Jesus by making disciples who make disciples and live in extended spiritual families that seek and save the lost and change the world, then we will also need to learn how to live naturally in the supernatural power of Jesus. The only way we can learn this way of life is the same way the first disciples did: by spending time with those who have learned it and imitating their way of life. This is the invitation we offer: come and imitate our imperfect lives as we imitate Jesus’ perfect life!
Bob and Pam Rognlien are part of the 3DM North America Team and lead unique immersion experiences in the Footsteps of Jesus and Paul. www.footsteps-experience.com