Years ago when I first planted the church in Detroit, we started a prayer meeting on a Friday night. It was two ladies who prayed, one guy who just sat there and read the Bible, a demoniac who was manifesting in the corner, and me sitting there, thinking, “This is the worst prayer meeting in the nation, and if I weren’t the pastor, I wouldn’t come.”
Now these two ladies found a man on the street who had just gotten beat up the night before and had three broken ribs. They told him, “You’re going to come to our prayer meeting, and you’re going to be healed at that prayer meeting.”
So they walk in and tell me, “Pastor, we brought a man who’s going to be healed.” I thought, “Not at this prayer meeting.” On top of that, I didn’t even feel like I was good at praying for people to be healed. I felt like so many times I would lay hands on somebody, and nothing would happen. Just to cover myself, I would throw in things like, “God, let them be healed, if it’s your will.”
Not only that but the Apostle Paul backs me up! “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words” (Romans 8:26, ESV, emphasis added).
So the guy with the broken ribs says, “Yeah, I want to be healed.”
I think, “Oh, great…” I lay hands on him, so do the ladies and even the Bible reading guy. He’s groaning. I say, “God, the real healing he needs is of the heart, but if it’s your will (there’s the fine print), heal him.” It wasn’t even a good prayer.
The guy suddenly pats himself down. “I’m healed.”
I say, “No, you’re not.”
He starts tearing off bandages, saying, “I’m serious. I’m healed. Punch me!”
I’m beside myself. “Oh my gosh, it works! This is amazing.”
This is why I love what William Cowper said back in the 1700s: “Satan trembles when he sees the weakest saint upon their knees.” Prayer is not an issue of us; it’s about God praying through us. The only way I fail in prayer is to not show up.
After pastoring an inner-city congregation in Detroit for thirty years, Pastor Tim served at Brooklyn Tabernacle in NYC for five years and pastored in Lafayette, Louisiana, for five years. He became Senior Pastor of Times Square Church in May of 2020.