The S in PIPSY stands for Sick.
In movements around the world, one way church planters are able to gain access into a new area is by asking if they can pray for the sick people in that area. When God heals someone, it gets the community’s attention & all of a sudden people are open to listening to this message about such a powerful God.
In The Kingdom Unleashed, Trousdale says:
It is impossible for any researcher to visit all 500 movements today, yet every catalyst of Kingdom movements that we know strongly affirms that the miraculous is abundantly obvious in a high percentage of the new churches being birthed — including raising the dead. Jesus told the seventy-two to heal the sick, raise the dead, and cast out demons, and Christians today are doing those same things, as the Spirit bears witness to the truth of the Gospel.
Later, Trousdale reiterated:
But over twelve years of research among hundreds of CPM, DMM, and other Kingdom Movement practitioners, and leaders, we have met and interviewed hundreds of movement catalysts. All have reported that signs and wonders are a major element in the success and rapid growth in the movements they serve. For the last six years we have polled the New Generation regional leaders to help us understand the true impact of the miraculous on church planting. The most recent analysis from each region produced a collective estimate that seventy to eighty percent of the churches planted met human needs, confirmed the truth of the Bible, and could be directly related to some sort of manifestation of the power of God. Additionally, some regions of the world report that the majority of families who become Christ Followers are influenced by some other supernatural experiences during their journey of discovering God in the Bible: dreams of Jesus, the Holy Bible, or judgment; a dramatic answer to prayer; a broken addiction. When these people discover Jesus’ command to pray for God to manifest His Kingdom in people’s life situations, they just do what Jesus said to do. And they do it a lot!
Steve Smith, author & movement catalyst in China, said:
In the first 190 churches that I could document in the movement in China, every one of them had some miracle in the early evangelism phase of their existence. God was doing it to prove His power and presence, and to reveal Himself.
David Garrison, author of Church Planting Movements, said:
The Gospels use the word “healed” 39 times, and each occurrence is associated with the work of Jesus. The post-resurrection church carried on the same practice. They healed the sick, cast out demons, and even raised the dead as they proclaimed the Good News of God’s salvation. These practices which have become alien to so many of our contemporary Christian churches, were a central part of the ministry of Jesus and the expansion of the New Testament Church. And they are well represented in today’s Church Planting Movements.
He continues later:
Church Planting Movements are born and nurtured in an atmosphere of God’s mighty acts. For some, the power comes through healing. A friend recently returned from Bihar, India.
“I interviewed about 50 believers,” he said, “Everyone of them knew Jesus as healer before they knew him as Savior.”
For some, it is God’s divine protection. A believer in a country torn by civil war observed, “In my country, Muslim fundamentalists and the government are killing each other in a war that has cost 100,000 lives. To this day, God has spared his Church; not one believer has died in the violence.”
Missionaries who are unaccustomed to signs and wonders have become converts to the notion of God’s direct intervention into the affairs of men. An American missionary who graduated top of his university class in America entered a new world when he immersed himself in China. After a few years there he confessed, “All of the Church Planting Movements I’ve seen in China are full of healings, miracles, and even resurrections.”
As this was happening in movements all over the world, our teams began to pray that it would happen here too.
One question we started asking people was, “If God could do a miracle in your life, what would you have him do?” Then we’d immediately pray for that miracle. We had heard this question from several movements resources we had read.
We taught our teams that as they “go out among the lost,” they should look for sick people to pray for & that is what many of them have done.
Some of our teams have gone to hospitals to pray for their sick.
One team started going to the waiting room in a local hospital & asking people if they could pray for their sick family member or friend who was in the hospital. Often they would announce to the whole waiting area that they’d like to pray for anyone who has a sick family member. Many people would jump up, eager to be prayed for, and so they’d form a big circle in the waiting room, hold hands, & begin praying for people.
Another team went the hospital looking for sick people as well. They would interact with family members standing outside of hospital rooms & let them know they were available to pray for their loved one if they wanted prayer. Several invited them into the room to pray.
On one occasion, while doing this, one of the teams got lost while trying to get back to the lobby. Somehow they ended up in the waiting area of the burn unit, which was a restricted area. They talked to a family sitting in the waiting area & a family member mentioned that his uncle was in the burn unit after suffering from major burn wounds in a recent accident. The family asked if our team would go & pray for him.
The area was restricted & only family were allowed to enter, but the family pressed the button to get in & the nurses allowed our team to come in to pray with him.
They knocked on the uncle’s door & more family members were sitting at his bedside. Our team mentioned that some of the other family members had sent them to pray & asked if that would be ok. They said yes.
This man was in his 60s and there was some kind of grease fire in his kitchen a few days earlier that resulted in major burn wounds on his chest & arms. So much so that he couldn’t move his arms.
His wife told our team that it was the most horrifying thing she’d ever seen. She walked into the house to find her husband literally on fire. This all happened in Midland and the husband was rushed to Lubbock for treatment.
John, one of the members of that team, said, “I believe Jesus Christ has the power to heal you & we’d like to pray for you. Is that ok?” The man said it was ok.
They gently put their hands on the bandages on his arms & started praying. John said as they were praying, they had a sense that their prayers were effective & making a difference for this man.
After finishing, John asked him, “How does it feel?”
He lifted up his arms & started moving them around & the family literally gasped. He hadn’t been able to do that before. Then he raised his arms above his head & the family started crying right there in his room.
They were so thankful to the team & told them they were the best visitors they’d had.
Right after, the team had the chance to pray with more of his family in the lobby. Some of them weren’t very religious but John could tell they were very moved by the prayers.
Can you imagine how open the family would’ve been to spiritual things at this point? They just witnessed the power of God! Praying for the sick can results in open hearts eager to hear the good news about the Kingdom.
One other occasion this same team was prayer walking in a very difficult & dangerous part of town. They had decided that they wouldn’t approach anyone for prayer unless someone engaged them in conversation as they walked by. They crossed one particular house, said hello & waved, and the people in the front yard asked them what they were doing. They told them they were prayer walking & asked if there was any way they could pray for them. They said yes & were very eager to have someone pray for them.
They met a 9 year old girl at that house with horrible asthma named Jazea. She had to go to the doctor on a regular basis for breathing treatments because the asthma was so bad.
Our team said they’d like to pray for her & they did.
A few weeks later, when they went back to check on Jazea, the family was ecstatic to see them. They eagerly told our team that Jazea has not had to go back to the doctor since the team prayed for her. Jazea had told her family that she felt different ever since they prayed for her. The family definitely believed that God had touched Jazea in response to prayer.
Just down the block from this family, our team met someone else named Ron. Ron was sitting in his front yard when the team passed by & he engaged them in conversation. The team noticed that he had bandages on both legs from his knees down to his feet. The team asked what was wrong with his legs & he told them he has Diabetes & he’s developed sores all over his feet that are really bad.
They asked if they could pray for him & he said yes.
They prayed for complete healing in Jesus’ name.
When they returned to check on him a few weeks later, he walked out of his house to them with no bandages on his legs or his feet. And they noticed he wasn’t limping either, like before.
He said he was better & he believed he had been healed in answer to their prayers.
You learned about Billy & Billy Jr. in the Poor article.
One day when Billy approached our team for prayer, he told us we could pray for him because he was “hearing voices.” Based on his description of what was going on, several of our team members sensed there could be some demonic involvement here. One of my team members asked him, “Did any of them tell you their name?” He said no. We laid hands on Billy & immediately began to pray for deliverance from the “voices” & any demonic powers that had influence over him.
Honestly, I went to a Baptist seminary, so I had never been a part of anything like this before. We prayed passionately for the “voices” to leave in Jesus’ name & I sensed a battle in the spiritual realms as we prayed.
After we prayed for Billy, I asked him, “How do you feel now?”
He responded, “Much better.”
I have no idea what happened in that moment, but I’m praying that we were able to drive any demonic forces that resided in him far from that apartment complex.
When our team “goes out among the lost,” we often ask people how we can pray for them. After we pray for them, we typically ask two more questions.
1. Do you have any needs in your life right now or do you know of any needs in this area?
2. Is anyone in your family sick or do you know anyone in this area who is sick?
The reason we ask Question #1 is because we’re looking for means of access into the area. By meeting needs, we establish a reason for being there & hope that God leads us to the “person of peace.” If they tell us of needs in the area, we begin to pray about how we could possibly serve those people & meet those needs.
The reason we ask Question #2 is because we are constantly looking for opportunities to pray for the sick & see them healed. This opens a door for the gospel to be shared with a whole relational network as people are amazed by the power of God. When people tell us about the sick people in that area, we make it a point to immediately visit them to pray for the sick.
Praying for the sick has opened up many doors for us as we’ve sought to make disciples & plant churches. Jesus told his disciples to “heal the sick” when they went to the places he was about to visit, so we’re trying to do the same.
Do you know who’s sick around you? Have you gone to them & prayed for them? Perhaps Jesus would heal them in response to prayer & give you a captive audience eager to become his disciples!