‘I need to leave this place now and stop praying.’
These were the words of a new Christian from a Muslim background as two IFES staff were praying with him. This new Christian was experiencing headaches, paralysing shame and fear, and was unable to say the name of Jesus aloud. The situation was one which many of us never experience and some may find bizarre. But it was happening at this IFES conference in a sub-region of Europe.
One of the staff workers praying for this man was Paul (not his real name), the General Secretary of a movement in Europe. Paul was attending the conference in the region when he met Y, the young man who needed such deep healing.
Paul writes: ‘This was the kind of spiritual attack we’ve come to expect when someone has been deeply involved with false spiritual powers and practices. Y had agreed to meet with us for a time of prayer to break ties with the past and totally surrender to Jesus.
‘We explained that prayer was not any type of magic, but rather inviting Jesus to shine his light in every corner of his life.’
As Paul and others began to pray with this young man about curses, Y suddenly felt very uncomfortable and his headache returned. This was when he said he needed to leave. But they continued to pray, asking God to bring up any specific memories or situations that Y needed to pray about.
Paul continues: ‘Immediately he remembered a specific memory from early childhood, then another, then another. I was praying silently for him, and in this moment I felt intense darkness and heaviness in the room. I was not afraid, but it was palpable.
‘As Y named and renounced each situation, he became visibly more relaxed. And then, just as quickly, the room felt… light. We asked Y how he was doing, and with a big smile he said he felt freed and felt amazing, like he could cry with joy!’
Why am I writing to you about this incident? Because we often send staff and students to conferences. Some may think this is a waste of time and money. Some may think it is a nice luxury. But the truth is, many things happen at IFES conferences! Some are planned – like the development of leadership skills or improvement in Bible study skills or equipping with tools for evangelism.
Other things, like times of healing prayer and counsel, often are not planned. But they are still vital in the advancement of God’s work among students around the world.
Please pray for Y – and so many other new Christians like him who struggle with a massive shift in worldview. Pray as he and they move from legalism to grace, that they will devote themselves to God’s word, to prayer and to the community of faith. Pray that these new Christians may put down deep roots in Christ, and for other students who can draw alongside to help and encourage them, especially when they are assailed by doubts or loneliness.
And as you pray, give thanks for the amazing power of God at work through your prayers.