We prayed for Ceci with every biblical method we knew of laying on of hands, elders anointing her with oil, the prayer of agreement, etc. No change in her condition occurred, and I realized we were going to have to obtain this healing through perseverance and laying hold by faith (see 1 Tim. 6:12). That, by the way, is the way most answers to prayer come-not as instant miracles, but through fighting the tight of faith and patience. This perseverance is part of the watchman concept of laying siege. Most of the time we need this long-term siege mentality.
For a fuller treatment of why persistence is needed in prayer, I strongly encourage you to read chapter 12 in my book Intercessory Prayer. I felt I needed to spend an hour a day praying for Ceci. I began my prayer times by stating my reason for approaching the Father. Then I referred to the Scriptures on which I was basing my petition. I would quote them, thanking the Father for His Word and Jesus for providing healing. This usually took no more than five or six minutes. I prayed in the Spirit for the remainder of the hour. This siege went on for a month.
After a couple of weeks of this, one afternoon the Lord showed me a picture as I was praying in the Spirit. I saw myself holding this cyst in my hand, squeezing the life out of it. I did not yet know that the literal meaning of "helps" in Romans 8 was "taking hold of together with against," but the Holy Spirit was teaching me a wonderful truth.
I knew, of course, that I couldn't really get my hands on the cyst; but He was showing me that as I allowed Him to pray through me, He was taking hold with me against the thing. Obviously, it was His power making the difference.
It sort of reminds me of the mouse and the elephant who were best friends. They hung out together all the time, the mouse riding on the elephant's back. One day they crossed a wooden bridge, causing it to bow, creak and sway under their combined weight. After they were across, the mouse, impressed over their ability to make such an impact, said to the elephant, "We sure shook up that bridge, didn't we?"
Kind of reminds me of some of our advertisements and testimonials. You'd think He was the mouse and we were the elephant. (Maybe that's why we don't shake many bridges.)
After seeing the picture of myself squeezing the life out of the cyst, I asked Ceci if there was any change in her condition. "Yes, the pain is decreasing," she informed me.
The doctor's response was "If the pain is decreasing, the cyst must be shrinking. Keep doing whatever it is you're doing." The siege was working.
I tried hard to make sure I wasn't conjuring up any mentalimages, but twice more the Holy Spirit showed me this same picture. Each time the cyst was smaller. The last of them, which was the third time overall, was about a month into the process. In the picture the cyst was about the size of a quarter, and as I prayed, it vanished in my hand. I knew the Lord was letting me know the work was finished. Even though Ceci said there was still a very small amount of discomfort, I could not bring myself to pray about it any further. I knew it was done. Three days later she informed me that all the pain and discomfort was gone. The subsequent ultrasound confirmed what we already knew in our hearts-no more cyst! The watchman anointing was a major part of this wonderful healing.
Watchman Prayer by Dutch Sheets, p. 151-153. Copyright 2000 Gospel Light/Regal Books, Ventura, CA 93003 Used by Permission
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