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Agnes Sanford: Apostle of Healing and First Theologian of the Charismatic Renewal, Part 1, by William L. De Arteaga

Fr. Colwell continued to urge Agnes to move out in faith and pray for the healing of others. Her first attempt was a failure; she had prayed for a young man who had gone insane. Years later she recognized that type of illness is among the most difficult to heal, involving much prayer, deliverance and intercession.22 Her second attempt was totally successful. This case was one of a young child dying of a severe infection that stirred in her a special compassion, for it was infection that almost killed her youngest child. Agnes described that case in Sealed Orders:

But the time came when I felt strongly urged to march myself to a hospital and offer to pray for a child desperately ill with a streptococcus infection. This was in the days before the miracle drugs, and the child had the infection in the heart, the kidneys, and the blood stream…

I was terrified. I would as soon have walked up to the mouth of a cannon, or so I thought. But the urge of compassion was strong, for I knew the child would die unless something intervened… Strange to say, as soon as I sat down beside the bed and began to talk to the child, I had no fear at all! The venture seemed as simple and as natural as if I had been doing it all my life… I laid hands on the region of the heart and simply asked Jesus to make him well, and then thanked Jesus because I knew he was doing it. The next day the child’s blood stream and heart were free of infection. The kidneys took one more day.23

We should notice that already she was praying in the “moderate idealist’ style, thanking God for the healing even though no evidence was manifest. This case greatly encouraged her, and she began praying for others. Soon she formed a lady’s Bible study and prayer group, which met in the parish chapel once a week. This group developed great power in intercessory prayer and soon Mrs. Sanford was building up case upon case in effective healing prayer. She also began acquiring a reputation as an expert in healing and began receiving invitations to speak publicly on the topic. At first she would be invited by women’s groups, as ministers would be deathly afraid of anything to do with healing, especially from a woman, but gradually she began to receive a few direct invitations to speak in the churches.

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Category: Church History, Pneuma Review, Spring 2006

About the Author: William L. De Arteaga, Ph.D., is known internationally as a Christian historian and expert on revivals and the rebirth and renewal of the Christian healing movement. His major works include Quenching the Spirit: Discover the Real Spirit Behind the Charismatic Controversy (Creation House, 1992, 1996), Forgotten Power: The Significance of the Lord’s Supper in Revival (Zondervan, 2002), Agnes Sanford and Her Companions: The Assault on Cessationism and the Coming of the Charismatic Renewal (Wipf & Stock, 2015), and The Public Prayer Station: Taking Healing Prayer to the Streets and Evangelizing the Nones (Emeth Press, 2018). Bill pastored two Hispanic Anglican congregations in the Marietta, Georgia area, and is semi-retired. He continues in his healing, teaching and writing ministry and is the state chaplain of the Order of St. Luke, encouraging the ministry of healing in all Christian denominations. Facebook

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