Armed with Prayer


Jesus was on His way to Jerusalem. He walked along the border between Galilee and Samaria. Just before He entered a village, ten lepers stood at a distance and begged in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” Jesus told them to go and see their priests. They obeyed and while they went, they were healed. When one of the lepers saw what was happening to him, he returned to Jesus praising God in a loud voice; he threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked Him. I am troubled, by the question, Jesus raised and what He said to the person who returned to bring thanks to Jesus as a man, “Ten of you were healed, where are the nine? Was this Samarian the only one that needed to return and praise God? Get up, go home; it is your faith that has healed you” (Luke 17:11-18).

I have, in person, experienced periods of healing in my life with nothing, but prayer to lean on. Prayer is awesome and God, in Christ, did answer the prayers of the Ten Lepers, but only one was completely healed. The other nine saw their skin cleared and their appearance restored, but not their hearts and their minds. They went back to their previous life without Christ. They did not return to thank the One, God had sent to heal their infirmities and iniquities (Isaiah 53:4-5). They, like so many others, neglected to consider the necessity of healing the inside with the outside. People, who think they are children of God, have a tendency to dwell on their outward appearance and not on their hearts (I Samuel 16:7). The man, in question, was David and he had this assessment about himself, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and endow me with a willing spirit” (Psalms 51:10-12). 

This was what the Samaritan experienced on the inside and on the outside. His faith brought him back to Jesus for the healing of his inner self. This also was the way I experienced healing. After my accident in a fire at twenty-one and with cancer in my sixties, my innermost self was in disarray. At twenty-one, I was indebted to four clergymen and a host of people to bring me back to Jesus because I, too, had to be carried for eighteen months. Dr. Farmer, the burned specialist, repaired my externals with twenty skin grafts at Toronto General Hospital. All the others, with the help of prayer, put confidence back into my faith, so that I could assist my body in healing. These people did not just give me a will to live; but, a will to serve in God’s kingdom on earth. Healing took place on the inside, before it affected my outside. Otherwise, like the nine cured lepers; I, too, would have gone back to the old world. Only for me, the old world no longer had much use for me. In fact, I had become a financial burden for the old world, but Christ freed the old world from that burden by enabling me to make a living on my own. That was what total healing did to me.

I sailed through my ministry and did accomplish things that were materially visible, but spiritually lacking. I never felt that I reached my full potential, and I had learned to make the best with what was handed to me. The ministry was just as competitive as any other job in the world. The Churches that were looking for ministers were not run by saints, but by humans with earthly eyesight. When cancer attacked me after I had retired, I felt being punished for not having done enough for the kingdom of Christ and for not having provided material security for my wife. I was struck with a tremendous feeling of defeat. Imagine, I had earned three post-graduate degrees in theology, past college, and I did not understand my reason for being in this world. We began to cry and pray why the Lord let this happen to me and He did answer with Ephesians 1:4-5, “God chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him. In line with His purpose and will, He predetermined in His love for us to become His sons (children) through Jesus Christ.”

Paul’s idea was an eye opener. It was the first answer to our prayers. I knew that God did not make me sick (Luke 13:16) and that no one was at fault and that He had a purpose for me (John 9:2-3). My physician informed me that I had a 129 PSA count, the urologist could no longer operate, and the oncologist could kill the source, but he no longer could retrieve the bad cells, which had spread all over my body. I was more than demoralized. I sat in the urologist’s office and in walked a man, in his nineties. He lit up the place with his heavenly cheerful attitude. I definitely was not showing any trust in God. There was no difference the way I behaved from the other cancer patience. With Paul, as our guide, we began to pray and my PSA began to dropped from 129 to the nineties before any treatment began. My attitude lit up like an electric bulb. I requested in church that the common people, not just the pastor and the leaders, lay their hands on me and it was a remarkable experience for them. I walked into the oncologist’s office with joy for over thirty treatments. These technicians were waiting for me because I felt I was not walking into the concrete chamber alone. The machine stopped several times and the technicians outside the chamber called in, “Don’t worry Mr. Kolke, we are working on it.”  I had to encourage them, while I was strapped to the bed inside the radiation chamber. 

How did it all turn out? First, the oncologist sent me home, with my wife present, “We cannot cure you. The cancer cells are microscopic, not even the machine cannot identify them, but I would not die instantly.” There was sadness in our hearts, but I walked out smiling. Ultimately, cancer will take my body, but it certainly boosted my spirit. Most definitely, God had brought the right people into my life; the medical staff and prayer partners were simply superb. The victory belongs to God, who has extended my life to nearly twenty more years. This healing experience led me to look at my life and the reason for being here with different insight and visions. God opened a Blog for me, where I can share with more people than I ever did. And God allows me to see things I had never seen before nor understood what God has in store for us. My illness was a reawakening to praise and work for God at a time when we settle in and expect a call from heaven. My call was from the people, who need a wake up call; like I did, who have taken grace for granted and slumber into eternity in leaky boats. Remember, nine took healing for granted; except one, who was a Samaritan. You can be the one, but you may have to separate from the nine.