(Reading Psalm 45)
Before there was “Eat, Pray, Love”, there was “Praise, Pray, Fast”.
It is December 2004, a year and two months after I received the Lord Jesus in my life. I’m lying on a foldable cot inside a makeshift cubicle made of the backside of two standing bulletin boards and curtains hung around them in one corner of the chapel near the main door. With the capiz windows and side doors wide open, the chapel is airy.
The chapel of the prayer and fasting house in San Fernando, Pampanga is surrounded by trees, and at 3 o’clock in the afternoon when the morning praise and worship has ended and the workers and the brethren who are praying and fasting return to their quarters, all I can hear is the chirping of birds and the gentle whisper of the December breeze.
On a monoblock chair beside my cot are my water jug, food, folded towels, and some extra clothes. I get soaked in excessive perspiration due to my illness, hence, the towels and extra clothes. Beside me is my cell phone and on my abdomen is a small Bible. I have chosen to spend time in this place hoping for a miraculous healing from the Lord.
(Earlier, a cardiologist of the Philippine Heart Center had checked me up, given me five kinds of pills, and wanted to do a complete workup. But after my body rejected the pills, I had chosen to trust in the Lord completely and never went back to the hospital to the doctor’s great horror, for he believed that my illness was an “emergency” case and without proper medical care, I wouldn’t live long. But I was through with hospitals and medicines.
Our beloved pastor had kindly instructed a worker to prepare the spacious room adjoined to the chapel, and this was where our family stayed for weeks until New Year of 2005).
In the mornings, even before the sun’s rays cover the fasting house with their golden glow, I wake up to lively praising in the chapel. After breakfast, my beloved husband wheels me to my cubicle in the chapel. I let one curtain open so I can see the brothers and sisters who are singing praises. They alternately sing joyful and solemn songs to the music of the electronic keyboard.
During praise and worship, the chapel is divided into two sections, separating the brothers from the sisters with a curtain. While singing joyful songs, they dance and leap and clap their hands. And when singing solemn songs, they bend their knees and bow their heads and weep and pray.
Now and then, the Holy Spirit descends upon the praising, praying and fasting brethren and I hear the mighty sound of His moving: speaking in tongues and great trembling. Most of the brothers and sisters that are here have very important petitions: healing of an incurable disease, solution to a heartbreaking problem, salvation of loved ones, etc. The others are preachers, workers, and elderly prayer warriors who regularly fast and pray.
My heart is at peace in this place. It’s like putting myself right into the hands of the Lord Jesus without depending on any medical instruments or gadgets to help me or make my breathing easier or my suffering lighter, but only His love and mercy. Now, that is TRUST.
After the morning and evening praise and worship, the prayer warriors who are offering prayers with long fasting (some up to 40 days and 40 nights absolutely without food except water), come to my cubicle and pray over me and lay their hands on me.
On New Year’s Day, while lying in my bed in our room beside the chapel, the Lord Jesus whispered into my ear, “Go home, my child. Wherever you go, I’m there with you.”
We went home that same day. As my sick and weary body touched my bed, I felt warmth enveloping me, and again that gentle whisper, “Now I’m going to heal you.”
Your throne, O God, is forever and ever;
A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom.
I will make Your name to be remembered in all generations;
Therefore the people shall praise You forever and ever. (Ps. 45:6, 17)