Grey, overcast skies opened up to a bright and sunny and deep blue over this mountain town this past weekend. The air was chilly, but the atmosphere cheery, as we welcomed folks from different parts of France to the first ministry event of this new year. The Healing Retreat dates back to the very beginning of Ellel Minstries in England in the mid-eighties. Always offered free of charge, at the various Ellel centers around the world, Healing Retreats generally come with a waiting list.
Saturday we had room for sixteen, eight for the morning, eight for the afternoon. Each attendee has two ninety-minute individual prayer ministry sessions, meeting privately with a pair of team members. Of course in view of the ongoing worldwide health crisis, certain adaptations and precautions only make sense. For example, the teaching component was prerecorded for attendees to watch prior to arriving here. Local regulations here also demand social distancing and frequent ventilation. Anyone who tested positive, of course, stayed home. Of the sixteen only two or three couldn’t make it, and many guests stayed over either Friday or Saturday night.
On the one hand, then, the two of us looked after the hospitality aspect, for the guest rooms here in Le Refuge. And each of us served on a ministry team and were able to see the Lord do his work in the lives of the precious people who came to this time and place with hearts full of expectation.
Everything is done in complete confidentiality, as you would expect. What we can testify to is the way things typically go from a prayer minister’s perspective. You wake up to meet the day not knowing what issues your guests will bring. Will your training, your experience be sufficient? Well, of course not! “Who is sufficient for these things?” (2 Cor 2:16b) The Lord is gracious and kind, however, and He is more than happy to guide us in the process.
So, you sit down with your ministry partner and with your guest, and one way or another the question is “what do you want the Lord to do for you?” Here’s what you can expect as the person begins to describe his or her need: oh, help, Lord. I don’t have a clue how to respond, not the least idea what to say. Sooner or later, however, the Lord provides the key, that detail, that experience, that tangle where the whole things gets knotted up and has kept the person bound up for so long.
The word says “let us lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely” (Heb 12:1). Great! But how? More often than not it’s a matter of repentance or forgiveness or typically both. And the Lord is faithful and just to forgive us our sins (1 John 1:9). He loves to “grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth [so that] they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will” (2 Tim 2:25-26). A prayer minister you get to watch as people un-learn the lies that have held them in bondage for so long. That’s why you invest your time and energy, because the Lord brings His healing touch and changes lives for the better.
Anyway, that’s what the two of us were able to see this past weekend. And we made some new friends and spent special times together over meals and breaks and moments of fellowship. The enemy has long had a strong grip on much of this country, but the Lord is on the move, and people are aware things are changing. The two of us are happy to have arrived like a couple of paratroopers into the doings. Here we are, send us, and now he has. Praise Him.