In 1977, I was a partner in an insurance agency named Sweet and Associates. I had been with the agency for years, and thoroughly enjoyed my great friendships with Al Sweet and Roger Crownover. Both men were committed Christians and we not only shared friendships but also our walks with the Lord.
One day I received a request from the vice president of a manufacturing company who was interested in discussing their business insurance needs. When opportunities like this would present themselves, I would jump on them as soon as possible. So with a little finagling I was able to meet the same day in his office. During our time together, it became apparent that my potential future client was severely suffering from back pains as he kept adjusting his position in the chair. Eventually I raised the issue, “I’m sorry, but it seems like you’re having some difficulty with your back.”
He then shared he was scheduled for surgery the next week but wished it was today because of the pain.
“Was it caused by an injury?” I inquired.
“No,” he said, “I played tennis in high school and college. After graduating I continued playing, sometimes up to three times a week… until my back hurt so much I that had to stop.”
He described the condition as a degenerative spinal disease with spinal tumors. The disease had infected his spine from the cervical (neck) to the lumbar (lower back) regions. He knew that after the surgery his playing days would be over. Not surprisingly, relief from his constant pain was utmost on his mind. He told me he was taking twenty aspirins a day.
As we talked the following words were impressed on my mind, “If you pray for him, I will heal him.”
I can honestly say that these words, His words, took my breath away. I had heard the Lord’s “voice” before. I had no doubt, from whom that message was sent. As a Christian, I absolutely believed in divine healing.
First, because of Christ’s words spoken in The Great Commission:
“He said to them, Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.”
Second, because my belief in divine healing had been strengthened from witnessing a number of amazing physical healings in the past. This period of the 1970’s was a time when many miraculous events occurred, yet was rarely if ever reported by the news. The Holy Spirit was moving freely across the United States healing and delivering many from bondage, while hundreds of thousands were giving their lives to Christ. Both the Jesus Movement and Charismatic Movements were sweeping the nation. One of the most miraculous healings I witnessed was the restoration of a middle age woman’s sight who had been blinded as an infant. The Holy Spirit is God’s mystery. He moves when He chooses, and many of us were changed in a beautiful way for the rest of our lives because of Him.
But back to the story… For some reason I began looking around the office and noticed his college diploma on the wall. I read that he had graduated from a Christian University. “Good!” I thought. “He must be a Christian… but not all Christians believe in divine healing.” Doubt set in and I wondered if I would offend by asking to pray for healing for him. Sadly, I left his office without sharing what I knew the Lord had told me.
Two days later, I was on the phone with him discussing insurance. Again, I heard the Lord say to me a second time, “If you pray for him, I will heal him.” That was it. It was now or never. I knew that I must obey God’s offer. So, in faith I stepped out, “I have a question I would like to ask you.” I paused, “Do you believe in divine healing?”
There was silence on the other end for a few moments, and then he replied, “Yes… Yes, I do.”
“Really?!” my heart began to beat faster, “Would you be willing to expand on that?”
“Sure,” he answered, “two years ago I was in a hospital with bleeding ulcers. Three men, I did not know, came into my room and asked if I would like them to pray for me. I told them I would. The next day I was released from the hospital, following an examination that confirmed my bleeding ulcers were healed… Wes, why are you asking about this?” he asked.
“Because I believe the Lord also wants to heal your back. Would you like the elders of your church to be involved?”
“No,” he replied, “prayer for physical healing is not a practice in our church. So, what am I supposed to do?” he added.
“Would you like me to come to your office after you close so I can pray for you?” I asked.
He thought for a moment, “I’d rather come to your office if I could.”
“No problem,” I replied, “I’ll see you at 5:00 PM”
Both of my partners, Al and Roger, were in the office when I hung up. I shared my conversation with them and asked if they would like to join us for prayer. “Of course,” they said.
It would not be the first time we prayed together for others. Although we were a successful and growing insurance agency, we always made time to pray for those in need. In this particular situation, I also felt impressed by God to invite my pastor, Bob Davis, to join with us. Having learned there is more power in numbers,
“For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”
We were all gathered together when our new friend arrived. Walking into the office, he was bent over, and had caught his toe on a tiny threshold at the entrance; because he struggled, even to lift his legs for every step. I ran to the door to assist him but he managed to break free.
Our chairs were placed in a circle and after introductions were finished; our guest was the first one to speak. “Have any of you men ever heard of being filled with the Holy Spirit?” he asked. We all smiled and nodded yes. He continued, “The three men who prayed for me in the hospital spoke about the work of the Holy Spirit. I just want to say that, as hurting as I am and, as much as I want to be healed, if I had to choose between my back being healed or being filled with the Holy Spirit, I would choose the latter.”
We marveled at his words and lost little time in moving in that direction. Within minutes, after inviting the fullness of the Holy Spirit into his life he was on his feet, arms raised, praising the Lord first in English and then in an unknown language. We watched in awe as God bathed him in His Holy Spirit.
Shortly after, as we were preparing to pray for his physical healing, Pastor Davis received a word of knowledge from the Lord. He addressed our still ecstatic brother by saying, “The Lord has shown me your left leg is two inches shorter than your right leg.” This we had found as being common when praying for healing for those suffering from back pain.
He responded by looking at me and asked, “Did I tell you about my left leg?”
“No,” I answered, “you never mentioned that to me.”
“Well, I guess I do have a short leg,” he added, as he took his left shoe off and showed us a two-inch lift at the heel. There were smiles all around.
“Leave it out” someone said, “don’t put it back in your shoe. Now, put your shoe back on.” He did and someone said, “Pray for him Wes.”
I knelt before him, held his two feet in my hands, and asked him to stretch both legs out together. He did and the two-inch difference was clearly visible. We all gathered, and with the laying on of hands began to lift praise to God. Before our eyes we watched as his left leg, literally expand two inches.
At this point, our Christian brother had received the filling of the Holy Spirit and we had watched as his leg miraculously grew two inches. Now it was time for prayer for healing of his back. Each one of us in the room was filled with immense faith and one by one, we prayed believing in the complete healing of our brother’s back. We watched in awe as the Spirit of God moved over his body and countenance. At one point, he stood up straight, raised his arms over his head, then bend over and touched his toes. (He had been warned by his doctor never to do that.) With the time remaining we all participated in praise and thanksgiving. After an hour or so, it was time to go. Our blessed friend joyfully walked out of the office, walking without a sign of a limp.
After waiting two days for a call from our newfound friend, I could wait no longer and called his office. “Oh, Wes, I apologize, I should have called you,” he said. He apologized repeatedly, and began to tell me how much had transpired over the last couple of days. I hung on to his every word.
“When I left your office,” he continued, “my whole body, except for a tiny tinge, felt brand new. I told the Lord I felt so good He did not have to do anything else for me. When I woke up the next morning, however, even the tinge was gone.”
“What have you done since then?” I asked.
“I called my doctor the next morning and told him I wanted another x-ray. ‘You’ve already had three x-rays,’ the Doctor told me, ‘besides; your insurance will not pay for another one.’ “
He told me that he said to the doctor that he would pay for it and left immediately for the doctor’s office.
The x-ray technician was waiting for him. The fourth x-ray was completed and he returned to the waiting room. A few minutes later, he shared that it sounded like there was an argument taking place in the office. Minutes later the doctor opened the door and asked me to come to come in. The doctor’s first question was, “Has any thing happened to you in the last few days that may have healed your back?”
“Yes,” he replied, “a group of men prayed for me and I was healed.”
The doctor stared at him.
“Come over here,” he said, “I want to show you your x-ray that was taken two months ago.”
He then went on to point out the darkened, diseased areas along his spine. He also used a measuring tool showing that the diameter of his diseased spine was dangerously thin. He added, “This is why you are scheduled for surgery in just a few days.” The argument that was overheard in the waiting room was between the doctor and his x-ray technician. She was insisting the x-ray she had just brought to him was, indeed, the one she had just taken of the patient.
“Now look at this,” the doctor, said to his patient. “This is the x-ray that my technician insists was taken of your back today.” It was a picture of a perfectly healthy spinal cord and spinal nerves. The diameter of the spinal cord was also measured, on the new x-ray, and was clearly thicker than before. No pathological conditions could be found. The doctor was amazed. Before he left the doctor stated, “If I were asked to describe this x-ray I would say I it is the spinal cord of an eighteen year old male.”
A few days later, we learned that the owner of the company decided to retain their current insurance agency. Having worked in the sales end, it is all part of the territory. As I recall his decision was based on cost.
As a result, after a few months we drifted apart but not without wonderful memories of that special day for all involved. Some four years after the healing miracle, I spoke to my friend on the phone and asked for an up-date on his physical condition. He told me he his back was still in excellent condition, no pains whatsoever, and that he was able to play tennis again on a regular basis. He also gave me permission to share his story with others, and added, “If they do not believe you, give them my telephone number.” In addition, he was given the two x-rays by the doctor following his remarkable healing.
As mentioned before, four men prayed together for our brothers healing. Pastor Bob Davis and Dr. Roger Crownover, now a university professor, are still active in Christian ministry. They gave me permission to use their names in this true story. Al Sweet, a partner and close brother in the lord, was called home April 7, 2008.
– Wesley Peterson
“All hail the power of Jesus’ name!
Let angels prostrate fall.
Bring forth the royal diadem,
and crown him Lord of all.
Bring forth the royal diadem,
and crown him Lord of all!!”
– Edward Perronet, 1780