February / March 2018 - Vol. 96

man walking
                  away from crutches lying on the road 
There Is More:
Signs and Wonders for the Sake of the Kingdom

by Lynne May

Desperation + Expectation = Invitation for God to work.

It’s a formula I learned from Fr. Mathias Thelen, a Roman Catholic priest in the Diocese of Lansing, Michigan, USA. I didn’t know the Holy Spirit was going to have me learn it by living it, but that’s exactly what happened and how I discovered that signs and wonders are a part of the revival that is beginning to happen here in the United States.


About a year and a half ago, I was desperate for an end to the excruciating and chronic back pain I had been living with. It had been minor, dull for years. It spiked about a year and a half ago. Sleepless nights. I couldn’t eat. I couldn’t exercise. I could barely work. I was emotionally and physically at the end of myself. People around me prayed with me, but for some reason, God was not allowing for breakthrough. Doctors said they were doing what they could. I prayed for a miracle.


I went to my primary care physician for back pain medicine. She saw the tears streaming down my face. A devout Catholic, she said, “You know, there’s a priest, Fr. Mathias Thelen, who used to be at my parish. He held wonderful healing services. Very powerful stuff happened. You should call him.” Well, I was desperate. As I drove away, I looked up Fr. Mathias Thelen’s office line number off of Google and found it through the seminary’s website where he taught at the time. He picked up on the first ring, saying, “Who is this?” I said, “It’s Lynne.” We were old friends, acquaintances more so, from years earlier. He said, “What do you want? It must be the Holy Spirit, because I’m never in my office!” I said I wanted prayer ministry. So we set a time.

When we met for prayer ministry, we prayed through a set of inner healing things before even getting to the physical healing that we thought were perhaps even more urgent to cover than the physical pain. When we did get to the physical pain, I have to admit, he prayed with me, and the pain didn’t leave. Maybe it lessened slightly, but nothing much happened. Then the session ended.

But this wasn’t the end of the story of my healing journey. Around this time or a bit earlier, I had also begun to see an additional back doctor I had heard about from a friend, and his treatment began to work, rigorous as it was. I found in this doctor’s care my miracle of back pain healing was being fulfilled. And I had received much inner healing from Fr. Mathias, which, I believe, is what God wanted to address in that session that I think my back pain lessened as a result. But the real thing that struck me was Fr. Mathias’ faith. I remember thinking, “What faith he has for healing! The confidence!”

God Works

And that witness of faith haunted me. The following week, I heard that at the local Catholic high school, a documentary called Fearless was going to be shown to anyone interested. Guess who it starred: yes, Fr. Mathias. He was everywhere! So I went, curious. I left, weeping. I saw Catholics in pews who didn’t know one another laying hands on one another for healing and being healed. I saw people getting out of wheelchairs when they were prayed with and the Gospel was proclaimed. I saw recipients of healing give lively testimonies. I saw people get words knowledge about whom they should pray for out on the street that day, find the people, and the people blessed as they received prayer. It was my introduction to two things I’d never really thought of: signs and wonders and power evangelism.

Who were these Catholics walking in this power, and where did the teaching for this come from? How have I never heard of this? I had to know more. This organization that put together this film, Encounter Ministries was based in Columbus, Ohio. Their name comes from the fact that they believe that every person is just one encounter away from meeting Jesus Christ. Fr. Mathias is senior leader for Encounter, though he is in Michigan. Encounter Ministries is Catholic and exists to bring the supernatural charisms into Catholic parishes. The Holy Spirit continued to increase my desire to learn more and that spring, I found myself driving to Columbus to take a few summer classes with this group.

Demonstrate the Gospel

The mantra of the classes: Although we understand that signs, wonders, and miracles are not the whole Gospel, we are convinced that the Gospel is not whole without them. We spoke about John 14:12, where it says, “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do.” When I look at my life, I have to admit: I’m challenged by this. Am I doing the works that Jesus did
and greater? No, I am not. But I am learning both how to do and hunger for more of the works of Christ. Jesus often, even regularly, proved his claim that he is the Messiah through a demonstrationthrough a healing, a deliverance, a multiplication. His preaching was accompanied by signs and wonders. He used signs to point people to himself. If that is how our Lord ministered and demonstrated the power of his kingdom, shouldn't his disciples today seek his wisdom and learn from him and follow suit?

“Lord, help me,” is a prayer I’ve prayed many times as I’ve begun down this path. And I haven’t prayed it nearly as often as I should. I’ve been reading books and authors on healing and deliverance, signs and wonders
including Damien Stayne, Mary Healy, and videos from Bill Johnson, Randy Clark, and Todd White, plus solid teaching and help from Encounter Ministries, who run their own school of supernatural ministry. As I’ve begun to get my toes wet, God keeps trying to throw me in the deep end.

A Tire Shop Encounter

“So are you taking a class on healing prayer?” I wake up and sit up in my chair at the tire shop: an older, African American man is asking the question. I’m falling asleep after another long night of driving to/from Columbus. “Yes,” I say, “I just started.” He hobbles over, sits down, and says, “Well, God healed my soul 20 years ago. I’m still waiting for him to heal my leg. He promised he would.” And he just sits there. Oh boy: I know what’s coming. This is a Holy Spirit setup. A chance to apply what I’ve learned!

I get up and begin talking to the man. He confessed to me that he was a former heroin addict, who gave his life to Jesus but still had the symptoms of illness that resulted because of the addiction, including a leg that was emaciated and a dropped foot.

I asked if I could lay hands on his leg for healing. He agreed. I knelt down and began to pray, “In the name of Jesus, I command you, pain, get out, right now. Leg, be restored. Be healed, in the name of Jesus. Bones, ligaments, muscles, be healed, be made well, in the name of Jesus.”

We pray a couple more times, and I keep checking in to see if there’s some progress. There is a bit, maybe. Suddenly the man pauses me, looks into my eyes, and asks, “Do you really think that God would heal the effects of a sin that I committed, heroin addiction?”

I looked at him, and my heart melted. “Yes!” I cried. I preached to him the parable of the prodigal son. I said the Father had welcomed him back. There is a robe upon his back. Sandals on his feet. A ring on his finger. Yes, not only would he; he wants to, I said.

The man said, “Okay, then I guess we have to take off the brace and find out!” So the man took off the brace, and I held my breath as he walked about the tire shop (among all the people doing what you would normally do in a tire shop). I would later learn that often, the healing takes place as the person tries to do what they could not do before. Testing it out is key. And that it can take time after receiving prayer; it doesn’t always happen instantly.

The man did not experience total healing, but pain relief and some strength entered back into his leg that day. He could walk around the shop, and he hadn’t taken off his brace to walk for years. Better yet, he knew his sins were forgiven! Hallelujah. It reads like something from the Bible. The man knew his sins were forgiven and began to walk. We exchanged contact information. As I went to hug him goodbye, the Holy Spirit whispered, “And offer to pay his bill!” So I blurted out, “And I want to pay your bill!” He laughed, “But you don’t even know how much it is!” I said, “Okay, fair, tell me, and then I will chip in an amount.” The man was poor. I was glad for the chance to help.

As I sat there, back in my chair, not sleepy anymore, it hit me: “Wow, okay, I am now officially that ‘wacko.’ I am that healing-praying nut in a public place. And this stuff is for real. You want me in this, Lord. You set me up. And look how it blessed that man. And how it blessed me! Praise you, Lord!”

There Is More

There is so much more I could share. I’ve seen and heard of many miraculous healings. Sometimes, I pray over myself, or my housemates pray over me, or we pray over each other, and we receive physical healing. We have a household culture of prayer ministry, I would say. It is normative for us to see one another healed on a regular, nearly daily basis. Or to have a sense or a prophetic word for another household member. All because of a few simple teachings we have received and that, coupled with childlike faith. I pray with my Uber drivers, my waiters in restaurants, friends, people over the phone. It’s a beautiful way to live.

In this darkening, suffering, and post-Christian world, God is raising up signs and wonders and more of his power, so that his disciples can demonstrate his power effectively as they preach the Gospel. This is the in-breaking of the kingdom! Bringing heaven to earth is what the world desperately needs. It is what Jesus came to give. He commissioned us to do what we saw him do
and more. One of my favorite things is to pray with non-believers, to ask them if they would be open to hearing from a higher power. In my next article, I want to share more about that.

Revealing the Heart of Jesus – with Compassion and Humility

In conclusion, let me say a word about motives and remaining grounded in all this. First, motives: What should be our motive for seeking signs and wonders, more power? To prove to others that Jesus is real? Yes, of course. But deeper than that even: wanting to reveal the heart of Jesus to another out of a genuine sense of compassion for them. Jesus looked with compassion upon those he ministered to. Our motive of compassion will keep us focused on love first, not gifting or power, per Paul’s caution in 1 Corinthians 13.

And second, remaining grounded, humble. Humility goes hand-in-hand with authority. We have to know who we are to walk with this greater measure of power, that we sons and daughters of the Father. Jesus ministered out of his identity, and this identity also gave him the confidence to minister boldly. So signs and wonders aren’t about proving an atheist wrong, or trying to win conversions. They’re not about getting cool prophetic words or glory stories to share. They are about giving Jesus Christ all the glory, and it’s wonderful that he allows his beloved children to be a part of it, even a critical part of it, to touch a hurting world.

I thank God, and probably not often enough, for the year I was not healed, my year of desperation. He emptied me, and that reminded me of my identity: I am his daughter. When I couldn’t do anything for anyone, give anything, he was still there. But! I am so grateful that God broke into this desperate time, which had created a hunger, an expectation, and then, before I almost could blink, swept me up into this new thing he is about, one which even I feel as if I am just beginning to learn of.

I have no idea what our Lord has in mind, but I pray I can be open to whatever that is.

[Lynne May is a member of the Work of Christ Community in Lansing, Michigan, USA]

top illustration of man walking away from crutches left on the road, by HarveyMade at Lightstock.com

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