“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” – Acts 1:8
This is one of the most well known Bible verses in the world, and with good reason most people preach about the power of the Holy Spirit when referring to it. However the Lord spoke to me recently about an equally important part of this passage. “You will be my witnesses.”
One of the first miracles I saw God do through my own two hands was on an outreach in Guatemala over a decade ago. My wife was going through her missionary training in Youth With a Mission and my job for those few months was to watch our son Elias. I had been through my training about four years before and had been a missionary since in several countries. I was happy my new wife was partnering with me in this amazing journey.
During one of those days on her outreach in Huehuetenango, Guatemala, we went to one of the local hospitals to bring diapers and other things for babies that had been abandoned by their mothers. But when we got there the tiny room for the babies wasn’t big enough for our whole team to play with the kids all together, and since I wasn’t technically part of the team I decided to wander around and see what I could find to do.
I found myself walking down a hallway toward a man in a wheelchair and the Holy Spirit told me to stop and pray for him to be healed. I had seen a few people healed of some minor things at that point, but to be honest when you are at that stage of growth where most of your prayers don’t seem to work, it’s hard to have expectation of something as big as someone in a wheelchair getting healed. I spoke with him a bit and found out he had been hurt in an accident and hadn’t walked in about four years.
I asked if I could pray for him, and of course he agreed, most people will. I grabbed his feet and started praying. What was amazing, was that absolutely nothing happened! Haha! Not so amazing actually. That tends to be the statistical probability, right? Embarrassed I gave him a pat on the shoulder and walked down the rest of the hall and into the lobby where I found myself facing another man in a wheelchair being checked out by one of the doctors.
The Holy Spirit told me to pray again. Not exactly a moment full of faith for me! However nobody knew me, nobody on the team was with me to watch me fail, and I would probably never see the guy in the wheelchair again, so I figured why not?
I went and talked to the guy, who had a raging fever and a lot of pain. The doctor was taking his temperature, shaking his head in concern all the while. I found out this second guy fell and broken his back, and hadn’t walked in seven years. Oh boy. Here we go I guess, right? Gotta build that faith up. Tell myself over and over again in my head I believe even though I just watched zero happen with the other guy a few minutes before.
The thing is though, what we see with our eyes should never dictate our actions. Even if they are five minutes later. Holy Spirit dictates our actions.
He agreed to let me pray, and I wrapped my hands around his incredibly thin calves. Not walking for so long has a tendency to shrink muscles. I didn’t have any eloquent words or King James prayers, all I said was, “In Jesus name,” and my friends, that man gasped in shock and I felt his calf muscles writhe in my hands.
“Ah! Ah! Ah!” He started saying, and my eyes bugged out like a roadkill lizard.
I asked him, “What’s happening?!”
“I can feel my muscles moving!”
At the same time, while this was happening, the doctor was standing beside him, eyes also popping, because as I had started to pray, the temperature on the thermometer instantly lowered right in front of him. Without a word to me the doctor grabbed the wheelchair handles, rolled the guy away and disappeared.
About fifteen minutes later he returned with a pastor they knew who ministered often in the hospital. The doctor told me to follow him and we went down a hallway in the back where people weren’t allowed outside visiting hours, and brought me to the very end. He opened the door and motioned for me to go inside. “Do what you did,” he said.
I looked at the pastor, who just mimicked the motion and followed me inside. It was one of those awkward situations. Because it was an all women room, and let’s just say they were not prepared to have a visitor come walking in while they are in pain and in their jammies!
It was amazing how Holy Spirit didn’t care at all that they weren’t dressed up, in the right frame of mind, or believing for anything. They had no idea what I was there for, and the truth is, neither did I. Not knowing what the doctor was expecting me to do, I simply quoted a verse from Scripture, and there was a Spirit explosion of power that I had never seen in my life before. Holy Spirit hit everyone and those women started howling. They bawled, cried out for forgiveness, tried to grab me and shouted, “Tell us about Jesus!” It was crazy!
After that the doctor took me into every single room in the hospital. It felt like we were there forever praying for people. But every room we went into the Holy Spirit did powerful miracles. I watched them get healed right in front of me over and over again. Halfway through I came to the room of the wheelchair guy with the fever. He was surrounded by family and showing them how he could move his legs with the biggest smile on his face!
A few rooms later was the first man in the wheelchair. People were all around him in a buzz, and when he saw me he pointed me out to them. I asked him what everyone was so excited about, and he told me that not long after I left he started to feel tingling in his legs, and then could feel the blood circulating again. When I went back a week later, he had been healed and could walk just fine. That goes to show healing sometimes hits after we pray, and many times we may never see it ourselves.
It was such an awesome day. I’ve seen a lot more since then, including another hospital wing in a children’s hospital here in Panama cleared out and healed. We’ve seen so many horrible sicknesses healed, and many of them doctor verified. Leukemia several times, AIDs, tumors, diabetes, other types of cancer, and many other issues.
Why bring all of this up? I do so because the Holy Spirit in our lives brings awesome power if we position ourselves to release it, but beyond that it makes us witnesses. God calls us to be witnesses, he says it right there in Acts 1:8.
The definition of a witness is this:
a. a person who sees something (such as a crime) happen.
b. a person who is present at an event (such as a wedding) and can say that it happened
It is impossible to be a witness if you haven’t actually seen something happen. It is wonderful to testify of our salvation and the inner workings God has done in us, but in this verse being a witness is clearly linked to Dunamis (dynamite) power, which is the Greek word used. God wasn’t saying we would be a witness to the quiet whisperings of the Holy Spirit, although that is certainly part of it, He specifically, and on purpose, said we would be witnesses to explosive, visible, fire-wrought power.
We are citizens of heaven, and will walk and talk in heaven seeing the glory and power of God for all eternity after we leave this incredibly short time on earth. According to Scripture that is all part of our inheritance. Most sons of a rich man, although they don’t own the money yet, they have every right to use it, enjoy the big house, the beautiful land and Jacuzzi. When dad dies they get it all, but even before that they have full access to enjoy what is rightfully theirs. Why would God give us an inheritance through Jesus, only to say we can’t actually taste, touch, smell, hear, or even get a glimpse of it in this lifetime?
It is your destiny, your calling to witness His power, and I mean in the open. A witness also testifies openly. If a witness withholds his testimony in court, people can be falsely imprisoned, or wrongfully set free. Our testimony does the same in the spirit.
I want to set you free right now, and tell you it is okay to witness the power of God in your life. Not only is it acceptable, it is expected of us in God’s own command to be a witness. You cannot be a witness if you don’t experience something yourself.
My story is awesome for me. I am so grateful for what God has let me be part of. I am a witness for God, I have a testimony, a story to tell, and I will continue to have more. But now it is time for you to have your own story. Let me challenge you right now.
Make a decision to get our there and get your own story. God has already given you permission. It isn’t some special calling or anointing, it is right there in Scripture. We all have permission to be witnesses. Decide to go out this week, maybe even today. Pray and ask God where you should go and who you should pray for, and take a risk!
“What if nothing happens?” people always ask.
So what? If nothing happens they will still appreciate that you prayed for them. I have been in full time ministry for over fifteen years, and have prayed for countless people, and to this day I have never once had a person get mad at me because they didn’t get healed. They always appreciate that I was willing to try. If you read my previous article, “Skeleton in a Diaper,” you will see exactly this happen to me not long ago. The key is to get past a lack of healing and keep going. I’m telling you, the number one reason people don’t see the sick healed is because they never pray for them out of fear. I have never met a person who kept pushing forward and consistently prays for the sick that has never seen miracles happen.
God is always faithful, and He wants to heal and do miracles through you. He is calling you just by your reading this article.
Do me a big favor. Go out and try it, and then send me your testimony. I would love to hear what God has done through you and will happily share it here for others to read and be encouraged and inspired. Send this article to your friends and family, and challenge them to do the same. If you are worried about doing this on your own, take someone with you. Jesus is alive, and what you have been longing for, the Kingdom of God, is literally at hand. You just have to reach out and take it.
Once you have your testimony, send it to: firstname.lastname@example.org
I look forward to hearing how God has done amazing things through you!