The testimony below was sent to Gateway News by Paul Raper, a marriage registration officer and pastor who lives in Port Elizabeth.
At the age of 69, when many folk you know end up in hospital having contracted Covid-19, not to make it home again, the thought of it happening to me was pushed way back, out of sight and consideration in my mind. THEN, suddenly, in mid December, I noticed something was wrong. A tightening in my chest…loss of taste and smell, but no fever or temperature increase, but inside I knew. I immediately called several family members, expressing my concern, and rallied as much prayer support as I could though online communications, etc. “I need you to pray, to lift my spirit man and my body before the Father’s throne of grace…”here’s a battle coming, and I wont be able to face it by myself. Please PRAY.”
I called my son, asked him for directions to the testing laboratory in Newton Park. He knew, if dad’s going for the test, it must be serious.
He didn’t wait for the results, immediately went and got the medication needed, and met me as I drove out from the laboratory. “Here’s your medication dad, and water to swallow the first batch of tablets, then go straight home and wait for the doctor to call you,”
I stopped at the office to put some documents away, it being on the way, just thinking it would be ok. As I got inside, I felt the whole world closing down on me. I knew I’d be unconscious in a matter of a minute or two. Thoughts of being picked up off the floor, taken…who knows to which hospital, all raced through my mind as I started losing consciousness.. I felt as if I was suffocating — anxiety gripped….
“Jesus, Lord Jesus, I need you Lord,” was all I could get out. Taking hold of the edge of the table, I sank my head into my cupped hands. “Jesus — Help.! Jesus –Lord Jesus”
And then, as if someone was pouring a big jug of ice-cold water over me, a cool breeze, (no other way to describe it) went all over me, in a moment, and the lights came back on, and I knew the Lord had heard me.
I got a call from my sister, and she asked me what had just happened? I told her of the encounter, to which she responded that they’d felt pressed to pray for me, and had done so, just before my episode. At that moment, and as they prayed, in the Spirit, she saw the River of Gods grace, a cool stream, flowing over me…,and reviving my spirit.
What a powerful confirmation of The Lords promise. –“Call, and I will answer”.
The following three weeks were tough. I was diagnosed with Covid, but God enabled me to isolate at home, where I could recover in familiar surroundings, and with loving support and care. “I AM THE LORD, THAT HEALETH THEE!”
All those intercessory prayers were working — reaching the Throne of Grace on my behalf. Glory to God. He is Faithful.
He has restored not only my body, but also my love and trust in Him. What the enemy meant for evil, God was able to turn it for good. I’ve entered into a new season in my prayer life. Praying with friends and colleagues is so different, with a deeper understanding of praying one for the other, and bearing one another’s burdens. There’s a deeper understanding to the Spirit making intercession for us (Rom8:26-28), working out Gods plan and will.
I don’t understand this Covid thing, and mourn with those who’ve lost friends and loved ones,
But I know that God is in control, and He is empowering His Church to stand strong through these times we’re in. The battle is not ours, it is the Lord’s, and He will lead His people to victory, to His glory and honour.
Through what I’ve been through, we’ve been able to help many who did not know what to do to help loved ones at home, with simple, yet clear guidelines to follow. Let’s support each other, pray for one another, encourage and be a blessing, as our Lord enables us.
Zoom prayer groups are arising all across PE, find one you can relate to, and get connected today.
Yours in Christ, Paul, a servant of The Lord Jesus, Bluewater Bay, Port Elizabeth.
May the LORD bless and keep us by His love.