Inner-Healing Testimony - New Wineskins 2013
It was at the end of an evening plenary session at New Wineskins Global Mission Conference in 2013 that a healing and peace came over me that was totally unexpected.
For a little background information, my father along with his 3 brothers were the product of an orphanage up-bringing that separated him from his mother and sister when he was about 8 years old. The separation happened not because his mother did not love him, but because his mother was simply too poor to raise 4 sons and a daughter on a farm that was barely scratching out a living.
As soon as my father was old enough to leave the orphanage, he joined the Navy and remained for a 21 year-long career that he loved very much. Unfortunately, during his 21st year of service, he was discharged due to severe back problems. When my father got out of the service, he had a terrible time finding a job and he was very bitter about it. His bitterness showed when he was frustrated or anxious about money in particular. Thinking back, I believe it was because of the “shame” he felt because he could not provide for my mother and brother in a way that he would have liked to if he a proper education.
When I was in the 2nd and 3rd grade, my father often took his anger out on me when we were doing homework together. He was a logical thinker and I was more of the creative thinking type. When I could not do my school work perfectly, he spoke words like “stupid” and “you are going to be a failure” to me. These words wounded my heart and my emotions so much that I vowed that I would prove to him that I could be successful in life when I grew up.
When I got out of college, my father’s words still burned deep inside my heart. Even though I was raised as a Christian, my career, making money and being successful became an idol in my life that I worshiped. My entire life centered around proving to my father that he was wrong about me. I did prove him wrong and I was reasonably successful, well beyond anything that he ever expected of me; but, none of this gave me peace…the anger and bitter spirit in me was still there and I found myself angry and sometimes treating my kids the same way my father treated me. I was aware of it, but just did not know how to remove it from my heart. Unfortunately, my Father died before I could ever discuss how he hurt me and to let him know that I had forgiven him.
One evening, following a plenary session at New Wineskins in 2013, the Rev. Mike Flynn announced that anyone that would like healing prayer, to remain behind while the rest of the conference attendees departed. I gave a brief thought about staying for prayer, but decided that I was tired and needed to go back to my room. Once I got to my room and sat down, a very restless spirit came over me and I felt compelled to return to the plenary session for prayer.
Before the prayer session started, Mike invited all the prayer ministers to line up across the front of the stage in the room. Mike also instructed us all to pray for God to direct us to the specific prayer minister that He wanted us to pray with. It was an odd request, only because I had never heard that instruction before. We all prayed and God revealed to me exactly who I was supposed to pray with. I remember saying to myself, Lord, how in the world is that going to happen? The prayer minister, a much older man, God had chosen for me was at the far end of the line to the right of me. There were at least 20 people standing in front of him, so I thought there is no way that would I get him!! Amazingly though, when Mike told us to go to our prayer minister, not one person chose him; I walked straight over to him. I believe this was the first sign that a miracle was in the making.
My prayer minister then asked me why I needed prayer and I shared my story with him. He then asked me to close my eyes to revisit in my mind the last time and place in my life that I had felt my father’s love before my father died. In my mind, I instantly saw my dad and me standing at our favorite hotdog stand together. He loved hotdogs as much as I did. “Do you see Jesus standing beside you”, the prayer minister asked?” I said yes. I could see Jesus standing with my father and me as if it were real. Then the prayer minister told me to tell my father how much he hurt me and to listen to what his response was and to share it with him. I expressed that my dad was crying and said he loved me, he was sorry and did not mean to hurt me. The prayer minister then asked me what I said in return. I shared with him the words that I said to my father, “Dad, I love you and forgive you for what you did to me.” At that moment, Jesus was embracing us both and the tears poured from my eyes. It was like a ball and chain had been removed from my shoulders. The deep bitterness and anger in my heart melted away completely that day and my personal relationship with my children, family and Jesus changed with it.
I attended the New Wineskins conference to learn more about global missions and become a better “sender.” God had something far better in store. What might He have in store for you this fall? Join me at New Wineskins 2019 and find out for yourself!
David Richardson is the President and Founder of Memorable Meetings LLC, a Meeting Planning and Meeting Consulting Services business in Charleston, SC. He is a member of St. Michael’s Church in Charleston, SC for 15 years. His spiritual life and desire to go deeper into his relationship with Jesus Christ grew out of the Healing Prayer Ministry at St. Michael’s and “on the job” Evangelism training while on Mission in Ukraine 2006-2012, India, 2014-16, and Burundi, 2017. You can contact him here.