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-- © GodSpeak International 2003 --
-- Do not republish without written permission from <copyright@godspeak.org> --

Author: Teresa Seputis <ts@godspeak.net>
Editor: Elvi Glass

Prayer-School Course #22

Creating A Culture For Answered Prayer

Lesson 11

The Power Of Testimony
(part 1 of 2)

By Teresa Seputis

Testimonies are very powerful things, regardless of the subject being covered. That is why a lot of commercials and infomercials use "personal testimonies" of people who have had success with their product. They try to choose people who the audience can relate to, people who represent a common problem. Then the representative person shares their testimony about their problem and gets the audience to relate to them. Then they tell how this product solved their problem. The hope is that people will think, "if it worked for them, it will work for me" and they will purchase that product.

Testimonies often go past our mental processes and stir us at a heart level -- they are experiential, not academic. Testimonies are a way of taking someone else's experience with God answering prayer and making it our own. And just as the world uses testimonies to advertise their products, so we should use our testimonies to declare God's glory. We need to tell others what God has done for us. That is part of what Jesus was thinking in the great commission when He said, "But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth" (Acts 1:8-9, NKJV).

Testimonies can open doors for us as we share our faith. I remember once I was visiting an evangelist friend in Mobile Alabama. She took her group out "street witnessing" at a Wal-Mart parking lot and I went with them. The group witnessed there often and was a bit on the aggressive side in sharing their faith. They tended to corner people and make them listen whether they were interested or not. That is not my style of evangelism, but I tried to participate.

I went to a lady who was coming out of the store surrounded by five children, ranging in age from 10 to 17 years. I started with the opening line they instructed us to use: "Hi. I am out here today sharing the Good News of how you can enter into a personal relationship with God. Would you like to hear more?" She said "No thank you." I said "OK, have a good evening" and started to walk off. She called me back and said, "You're not from around here, are you?" (I guess my lack of southern accent was a dead giveaway.)

She wanted to know why I was there and if I travel much, etc. So I shared a bit about my travels to various countries. Moscow was one of the places I mentioned and that fascinated her. So I told her about some of my experiences in Moscow, including when God healed a teenage girl who's kneecaps had been burned off in a fire. I developed the story in some detail and the mother and all five of her kids were captivated. After I finished, they shared that the oldest girl has a fatal and incurable disease. Since God had done a miracle by growing back the Russian girl's kneecaps, they wondered if maybe He would be willing to do a miracle for her 17 year old daughter.

They asked me to please pray for her. The same people who were not willing to listen to the gospel wanted me to pray for the teen right there in the parking lot! Why? Because they had a need similar to the need of the girl in Moscow. They needed God's healing touch. The testimony had created the expectation that if God did this for the Russian girl, He might do it for them as well. The power of God came on her while I prayed. I don't know if she was healed or not.. she had an appointment to see the doctor the next morning -- and only the doctor could order tests to determine if the disease was gone. But the girl definitely felt God's touch on her body. The mother told me, "If the doctor tells me that God has healed my girl, then I and my entire family will receive Christ." She was not ready to make the commitment before she heard from the doctor, but she asked me to explain to her how to do it just in case the doctor gave them a good report.

Testimony is bragging on God or boasting about Him. It causes His name to be lifted up and glorified. Rev 19:10 says, "For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy." In other words, just as prophecy has the ability to speak into existence that which was not, so testimony has the ability to create an atmosphere to release God's power. Testimony of what God has already done (or testimony of prayers that God has answered) creates or releases the potential for that miracle to be duplicated.

Did you know that root of the Hebrew word that "testimony" comes from literally means, "do it again"? Testimonies create an atmosphere for God to repeat the miracle that the testimony is sharing about. E.g., contained within the true story is the power to "do it again."

I went to Brazil as part of Randy Clark's ministry team in September of 2002. Bill Johnson was accompanying Randy on this trip. I had never heard Bill Johnson speak or teach before. During the day they held training and equipping sessions for the pastors and leaders and at night they held evangelistic and healing outreach meetings. The first time I ever heard Bill Johnson speak was at one of the afternoon training meetings for the Brazilian pastors and leaders. During his teaching, Bill told the story of a lady who had an atrophied calf muscle in her right leg. God healed the lady, her calf muscle grew back and she gave a testimony about it in the next meeting. There was another lady who had a similar condition. As she listened she thought to herself, if God can heal her, He can heal me, too. So she came up and asked for prayer. Bill had the lady who had been healed pray for this lady, along with the pastor's wife. This lady was also healed and gave a testimony immediately afterwards. Another lady saw what had happened, heard her testimony and also had the same condition. So she came up for prayer as well, and she was also healed! In all of these cases, the ladies had atrophy of the calf muscle in their right leg and God regenerated the missing muscle, He grew it back.

Bill said that he went to another set of meetings in another state. He shared what God had done in the last set of meetings. As shared, a man came up to him. He was a medical doctor who had severed his achilles tendon in his right leg. Despite medical treatment it had not healed right and among other things, he had muscle atrophy in his right calf. (I could relate to the doctor because I had a similar thing happen to me. After months of physical therapy, I had gained back most of my functionality, so I did not consider it something that I needed healing for, but the big dent in my right calf was a source of embarrassment, so I seldom wore shorts or skirts that were not long enough to cover it.) The doctor listened to the testimony of the ladies healed at the other meetings, and it sparked faith in him. He felt heat in his leg, so he interrupted Bill Johnson's story to come up for prayer -- and God healed him as well.

As I listened to Bill Johnson share this story, I heard God tell me, "Teresa, I am healing your leg as well." I did not feel any heat and I did not feel any tingling. The leg had not been hurting before God said that to me. I was surprised because I did not tend to think of this as a condition that needed physical healing. I was on the platform along with the rest of the ministry team, so I could not check out my leg. There was no way to tell if I'd heard right or not. I decided it was probably just my imagination and discounted what I'd heard. Bill taught for a while longer and then the ministry team was released to pray for people -- and the ministry time lasted about an hour. As it was winding down, God told me to go check my leg. So I went to the lady's room and looked at my calf muscle. I could not find the dent anywhere! God had healed it while I listened to the testimonies of God healing others with a similar condition.

Testimonies are powerful things. They really do create an atmosphere for God to "do it again." This is not limited to physical healing. We need to share testimonies about all types of answered prayer and encourage people that God will indeed "do it again" in their own lives.

The next lesson will share more on testimony, giving a solid scriptural explanation of why it is important to share with others what God has done for you in answer to your prayers.

-- © GodSpeak International 2003 --
-- Do not republish without written permission from copyright@godspeak.org --

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