Possessing the Gates of the Enemy
Bearing Other’s Sicknesses
Over the past years we have received a number of sad reports from pray-ers across America. One of the saddest involved an intercessory prayer group leader who had become sick. As she prayed she felt that this sickness was not hers but that she was bearing it for another friend. She said openly that this sickness could not touch her because it was not real and was only something she was carrying for the weaker person. As time went on, however, she got sicker and sicker. When finally she went to the doctor, she learned that she had an advanced case of diabetes. She was in such serious condition that the doctor could do nothing for her, and she died. This woman took on false burden-bearing and stepped into an area of presumption and deception that killed her.
In studying about this problem I reread a section in Norman Grubbs’ book on Rees Howells that shed some light as to where the idea that intercessors should actually take on another’s sickness might have developed. I share this not to attack a man whom I consider personally to be one of the greatest intercessors who ever lived but to make the point that although Rees Howells was a pioneer in the area of intercession, his explanation in writing might not convey exactly what the Lord meant when He spoke to him about “identification.”
Mr. Howells had already known something of the groanings of the Spirit in him for the needy and afflicted. . .. But what would it mean to intercede for a consumptive? As an intercessor, he must enter into the sufferings and take the place of the one prayed for. He knew that a bed- ridden consumptive could have no normal home life, was confined to one room, and was cut off from everything that once comprised the interests and pleasures of life. So during this time of “abiding” the Holy Spirit went much deeper in identifying him with the suffering of others. And as he did so, it was not just this one woman, but the consumptives and sufferers of the world whose burden came upon him.