2 Corinthians 3:16-18 (ESV) But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.
We were young, married, were starting a family. We had recently moved away from our, I mean, my drug friends, rented a house, got a new job and was still going to school. Oh yes, we also had a new baby; a baby girl, 9 pounds, 13 ounces full of life and whole. What a joy. What a responsibility. It was late 1972.
We also were going to a mainline church in which I had gotten very involved. I was working with the Junior and Senior High Youth. We were growing forward, beginning again and well, I was still having a hard time with it all. I mean over all we were doing great. However, things were happening that were not good. Drugs were fading further and further away but were not yet gone.
In our church there were a few individuals who were part of a prayer group, a Charismatic Prayer group. This group also was moving in inner healing and deliverance ministry. One day I was talking to one of the ladies involved in this group, describing to her what my wife and I were wrestling with. She suggested that we needed deliverance. As she spoke I just got more and more agitated and finally told her that I wasn’t interested in anything like this. In fact I believe I told her that I didn’t believe in these things and quickly made an exit.
A week or so later, I had a complete meltdown. I hurt my wife and freaked myself out with what I was feeling, thinking and seeing, let alone with how I was acting. So, in absolute desperation guess who I finally called? Yes, I called that Charismatic Prayer group and asked for their help, no matter what I believed or thought about all of this.
They set up a time for me and off I went for prayer and much-needed deliverance. Now, I will not go into all of the details of why this was important for me at this time, but suffice it to say, that I was in desperate need of some kind of genuine healing and evidently, deliverance. I had gone to Psycho-Therapists, Hypno-therapists, Psychiatrists. I had made the rounds trying to get help, but these avenues did not help and things in my life and marriage were only getting worse. Therefore, finally I had to try something else. The something else was this prayer group and whatever it was that they were offering.
I must confess to you that as anxious and nervous as I was about all of this, they were great. They were not weird or loud or secretive. They were gentle, patient, honest and straight forward. They met me where I was and simply helped me along. I will be forever grateful to these people for their ministry to my wife and I.
As they quietly prayed and waited upon the Lord, sometimes we would just wait upon the Lord, or one of the group might get a picture, another may get a word, a spontaneous thought, scripture or ask me a pointed question, like, what is going on within you right now. I often was hesitant to tell them. I did not want to admit these things to anyone, myself included. As they did this there would become a clearer sense of discernment within this ministry team of what the Lord was revealing and how then they were to proceed. They would then simply ask me to confess and renounce whatever sin was exposed, or ask me to forgive whomever I needed to, renounce whatever vow was exposed, and so on. I would pray as they asked and then they would come against firmly but simply the necessary issue in prayer. Their voices hardly ever were raised above a normal conversational tone. They just quietly, firmly and steadily moved forward.
It was great but not always pleasant. The ministry team met with me for a couple of hours each time. We met, three or so times and with each one I became freer and freer. I cannot express to you in words the freedom and much-needed peace and rest that began to come into my life. Through their ministry, under the direction and leading of the Lord, a major season of healing began in my life. During this season, I not only finally got completely free of drugs, but also of many significant self-destructive and destructive issues regarding others within my life as well.
What I learned through these brothers and sisters in the Lord has served me well through the years. I would continue to grow into the freedom of the Lord and would in time lead others increasingly into this same freedom. The principles of quiet grace and a firm faith, of a knowing of the enemies defeat and the assurance of God’s favor and commitment to see his children be set free, all serve me to this day. I learned that the enemy was real, but defeated. I learned a quiet voice of firm faith in Christ Jesus and his authority goes a long way in seeing the enemy removed from the lives of his people.
I learned about vows, family curses, generational sins, sexual bondages, vain imaginations, of infected hurts and woundedness, of belief systems and value systems, the power of God’s written and spoken prophetic Word, and other significant gifts and Workings of God the Holy Spirit. Some of which I learned through these faithful saints and other things I learned as the Lord continued to teach me in ministry to others and yes even myself.
The most vital reality I discovered was that of the Fathers heart and of his love for me his son. His revelation of Grace would eventually come into my life in a powerful way down the road. I suppose when I look back to this time and season of life, what began in and through this simple charismatic prayer group in the still early years of the Charismatic movement, was one of the most crucial turning points in my life, marriage and eventual ministry. I do not know where these people are and in fact, I do not even remember their names. Our time with them was all too brief and all too long ago. I do however, remember and appreciate their faithfulness to the Lord Jesus Christ and their servant hearts. I am thankful unto the Lord for leading us into their midst for that brief but just long enough season. It was genuinely a life changing time.