I had had no experience in praying for the sick. Indeed, very little had been said or done about this great doctrine at the time. Yet in my sermons I had constantly proclaimed Jesus Christ to be the same yesterday, today and forever. I believed it, too—believed He was able to heal. I was even willing to pray for one who was sick.
But how I wished I could have begun with someone who looked a bit more mendable than this poor little thing with her gnarled and twisted fingers, swollen joints, chin pulled forward until it lay on her breast, and limbs that were drawn. Her hands were so helpless that she couldn’t lift them to comb her hair or feed herself.
But there she came, and it seemed she would never get to the front. Step, step, step. Gentle hands eased her along. I remember in the dead silence that had fallen on us how one crutch squeaked and a floorboard creaked.
Everyone looked first at the young lady, and then at me. And I, God help me, felt my face flushing more each moment. I cried out in my heart, “Oh, Lord, You are able to heal her, though I admit she seems to be a hopeless case!”
During the message, large tears had rolled down her face, and when the altar call was given, the girl, named Louise, expressed to her friends a desire to give her life to Christ. Meanwhile, I had made up my mind to have a word of prayer for her, that the Lord would strengthen her and give her faith. I intended to slip down to the front seat and quietly pray with her there. I tried to tell myself that the kinder thing to do was to make it as inconspicuous as possible.
Perhaps in the back of my mind there was a thought that if she were not completely healed, her affliction would not be so noticeable there. But I gasped as I saw she was now being brought to the altar by the strong arms of her attendants. She was unable to kneel, so they were carrying her to the central minister’s chair.
Earnestly, she prayed. Wholeheartedly, she gave her life to Jesus. Before many minutes had elapsed, she had been baptized with the Holy Spirit.
Then I prayed for her healing. I told her to lift up her hands and praise the Lord. “Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord!” rang out her clear voice. And, to the joy of all, the gnarled joints began to straighten out! She lifted her hands up, up as high as her chin, then her eyes, then the top of her head. “Oh!” She exclaimed. “This is the first time I’ve been able to lift my hands to the top of my head in so long! Praise the Lord!”
Up, up went her hands until both hands and arms were practically free. Her head began to turn now, and then her chin commenced to lift. She gazed heavenward. In a moment, she was on her feet! Clinging hand over hand to the chancel rail, she began to walk as her limbs straightened.
Whether it was because I had until this time never seen such a sight, I don’t know, but to this day the healing of that young lady seems to me one of the most mighty miracles I have ever known. She went walking out of the church that night, climbed into the car, and stepped out again at her own home. When her mother saw her walking up the garden path, and when one of her companions handed the mother the girl’s crutches, she threw up her hands and cried, “Thank God! Oh, thank God!” and then threw the crutches in the cellar to be used no more.
From that time forward, Louise became one of the constant attendants at the meeting. She declared that it seemed to her, as she sat out on the piazza or ran the sewing machine, which she now delighted in doing, that all the neighbors for blocks around passed her door to inquire whether these things were true.
A couple of years later, I had occasion to conduct a meeting in the same church. Coming down the aisle came a rosy little lady who fell upon me like a tornado. “Do you remember me?” she demanded.
Looking at the sparkling eyes, the clear complexion and the trim little figure, I shook my head and said, “It’s not … not … Louise!”
“The very same, praise the Lord! I have been sewing, cooking, doing housework, attending the meetings. Our whole family has come to Christ! Praise the Lord for His goodness to me!”
Adapted from Aimee: The Life Story of Aimee Semple McPherson by Aimee Semple McPherson, copyright 1979. Published by the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel.