Although Jeff refers to his first aid kit as his “Jeanie-Aid Kit” for good reason, the truth is, I haven’t had an accident while hiking for years.

Well, unless you count last Sunday…

I was two miles into a quick jaunt in the mountains when suddenly, I found myself sprawled in the middle of the trail. My ankle had violently twisted and popped, causing me to tumble to the ground. Looking back, I vaguely remember stepping on a rock that seemed stable, but clearly, it was not. It flipped me over like a Saturday morning pancake. This kind of maneuver has a technical name: It’s called Hike—Over.

Immediately, I was engulfed with the familiar shaky, nauseous feeling I get when I’m in shock. My body was like, “Oh noooooo! Here we go again.”

The last time I fell over on a hiking trail with a traumatized ankle, I was twelve miles into what was supposed to be a 3-day backpacking trip in the Colorado wilderness. I’m not going to lie; the situation was awful. I had no choice but to hike another 14 miles to civilization on sheer willpower and occasional doses of Tylenol.

By the time I got to the emergency room late that evening, my ankle was so bruised and swollen that the doctor was sure it was broken. However, the x-rays confirmed what I always suspected about my bones—they are rock solid thanks to a steady intake of cheese and ice cream. (Hip, Hip, Hooray for dairy!) The ligament, sadly, didn’t fare as well. It was a long, slow recovery for my ankle and emotional agony for me as someone who loves to be active.

This time around, however, the outcome of my accident has been drastically different. Although I wrenched my ankle only four days ago, apart from a bit of swelling and an impressive bruise (enough to remind me that I suffered some physical trauma), I have been fine. I’m not in pain, nor am I worried that it will be months before I’m better. I never even bothered to go to the doctor. Instead, two days later, I went to the gym, and today, I took a 3-mile walk. Okay, it was on flat ground in the neighborhood—not on a mountain trail—but still. When this happened to me the last time, I was out of action for weeks. The difference between the two accidents has been remarkable.

So, what made the difference?

I prayed.

silhouette of kneeling man

“Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them.” (Mark 11:23)

Let me describe my prayer in a bit more detail. Within seconds of falling and while still in shock, I put both hands on my twisted ankle and commanded, “Be healed, in Jesus’ name.” I then went on to repeat that phrase at least half a dozen times, not because it would be more effective to do so, but because the repetition seemed to strengthen my faith that I indeed had the authority to heal my ankle by the power of the Holy Spirit in me. I then said, “Trauma, you are not allowed to touch me, in Jesus’ name.” I sat for a few more minutes to allow my racing heart to settle and think about my next moves. For a short second, I worried that I wouldn’t be able to get down the mountain, but I quickly forbade that thought from taking root in my spirit. This was not a time to doubt. Then I remembered the stream I had passed a few minutes earlier and knew I needed to return there. It was time to make moves.

When the stream came into view, I began to cry. It wasn’t just because I knew the ice-cold water would be good for my injured ankle. It was because every time I had passed this rushing water on previous hikes, I sensed God reminding me of the streams of living water that Jesus spoke about:

“He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’” (John 7:38)

In case you don’t know, streams of living water represent God’s Holy Spirit. As I put my foot into the freezing water, I felt God’s peace engulf me. I cried even more, not just because the water temperature was jarring. I literally felt like I had stepped into the pool of Bethesda, the site of one of Jesus’ miracles. I had the sense that whether I got healing or not, I knew I would be okay. Slowly, I made my way back down the mountain.

It’s important to note that when I had that accident in Colorado all those years ago, neither Jeff nor I prayed. I don’t think it even occurred to us to do that. Even though we believed in God, at that point in our faith journey, we didn’t understand that Jesus gave His followers the authority to do exactly what He did (heal the sick, cast out demons, etc.) Healing prayer was simply not on our radar. (Well, unless someone was diagnosed with a horrible illness. I’ve noticed that even atheists will cry out to God when a loved one is gravely sick.)

The kind of healing prayer that I utilized on the mountain last Sunday was very different than the begging God to act prayer that many of us default to. Of course, it’s not wrong to ask God to act in miraculous ways. There is a biblical precedent for that kind of prayer.

It’s also not unheard of to barter with God in prayer. In 1 Samuel chapter 1, Hannah, who was barren, told God that if He would give her a son, she would give him to the Lord for all the days of his life. Those kinds of prayers are fine, but my sense is that many (most?) of Jesus’ followers fail to utilize the spiritual power that He gave us. Are you one of those people? If so, would you like to cash in on a benefit you are missing?

a lighted sign that says this way next to it

First, let’s clarify the benefits package of discipleship in Jesus (see Mark 16:17-18 for reference):

  • Lay hands on the sick, and they will recover (this includes yourself)
  • Cast out demons
  • Speak in new tongues
  • Pick up serpents
  • Not be injured if you drink deadly poison

In full disclosure, I have not tested out the last two perks of the benefits package myself. Whenever I see a snake on a hiking trail, I run. (God gives us wisdom for a reason.) And although I’ve not knowingly drunk a deadly poison, the few times I’ve eaten questionable food, I forbid it from making me sick (in Jesus’ name, of course.)

So what about you? Are you utilizing the benefits package that comes with faith in Jesus? Perhaps this is the first time you have heard about a benefits package. If so, check your user manual (the Bible) for a deeper understanding of what it means to walk with Jesus. The following verse is a wonderful one to meditate on:

 “I pray that you will know how great His power is for those who have put their trust in Him.  It is the same power that raised Christ from the dead.” (Eph 1:19-20)

It is mind-blowing to recognize that the power that raised Jesus from the dead lives in those who call him Lord. This is why I laid my hands on my twisted ankle with the confidence that I would be healed. It is my privilege and right as God’s daughter to do so.

lion lying on green grass at daytime

If you are a follower of Jesus and are not used to operating in the power that God has given you, consider this blog an invitation to step into that authority. Below are a few suggestions to get you started:

  • Study the Bible. Note what Jesus said and did. Also, notice what Jesus’ followers did and said. That is your spiritual inheritance. Model yourself after them.
  • Meditate on verses that validate your identity in Christ. It’s vital that you understand who you are in HIM. I personally love Ephesians 1:19-20 because it encourages me to expect to do things I can’t do in my own strength.
  • Ask God to help you grow in this area. Make that a daily prayer point.
  • Practice stepping out in faith, even if it’s just with yourself. If you start to feel sickness attacking your body, instead of saying, “Oh no, I’m getting sick,” command that illness to leave your body (in Jesus’ name.)
  • If you are a parent, you have authority over any illness or injury affecting your child. This doesn’t mean you should never seek medical advice, but if you run for medicine or make a doctor’s appointment before you pray, you are forgetting to use the benefits Jesus gave you.
  • Find other people who know who they are in Christ and are walking in power and authority. Learn from them.
  • Take risks and refuse to give up. My ankle is still a bit swollen, but the fact that I am not in pain and am at complete peace tells me God intervened, and my healing is ongoing.
  • Avoid the temptation to change God’s word to fit your experience. In other words, if you pray and you aren’t healed, that doesn’t mean what the Bible says isn’t true. Sometimes, healing doesn’t happen on this side of heaven. Yes, that is disappointing! However, we need to learn to live with the tension of what happens when our experience doesn’t match up with God’s truth. This is the life of faith.

I would love to hear about times you have utilized your spiritual authority! Have you ever prayed for someone to be healed? What happened? Do you plan to do anything different after reading this post? Please share below.

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