Mark 16:17b In my name they will drive out demons; Proverbs 16:22a Understanding is a fountain of life to those who have it,
About six weeks after meeting the Lord (my thunderous encounter with Him), I went up to Minneapolis for what I thought was going to be a youth retreat for high school and college age over Thanksgiving weekend. I had just turned 21 and hitched a ride up there with 3 other Western Michigan college students in a VW Bug. I was in the back seat with a large suitcase and another large person. That was a ride to remember!
When they dropped me off, I discovered the retreat had been cancelled. The folks at the ministry center there were then wondering what to do with me – probably not the first time in my life that’s happened. They had a Christian community / retreat center in northern Minnesota and one of the families was going up there for the weekend so they decided to take me along. It turned out to be one of the most critically important times of my entire life. I didn’t know it but I had a date with destiny.
The people at the community where we went were wonderful and very gracious to me. The worship and ministry times were wonderful. In my joy as a new Christian I was struggling with a serious issue that was warring within me. It was only after meeting the Lord that I discovered it was a sinful issue. During one of the services, the leader called me up to the front. The Lord had divinely given him discernment of my sinful struggle and its demonic component. He had me renounce it and confess it as sin and then he took authority over the demonic spirit in Jesus’ name and commanded it to leave me. I was set free!! My war with this issue was over!!
What followed next was profoundly important. He said to me, “Don. You cannot afford dating either spiritually or financially. Seek Christian fellowship.” Then he said, “I want you to pray for your wife – but don’t pray, ‘God, send me a wife’. I want you to pray for her like this. Lord Jesus, I thank you that you have the girl I am going to marry. I pray that she will come to know you – that you will protect her and bless her. Thank you that you are preparing us for one another. I acknowledge that in your time and in your way, you will bring us together. I commit her and our relationship to you.”
So I regularly began praying in this way for the unknown girl who would be my wife. This enabled me to really release this whole area to the Lord. Later the next spring I read an article by Billy Graham where he wrote about his children playing on a hillside. He realized that on some other hillside were the children who would one day be the spouses of his kids. So he prayed for their future spouses in the very same way. We should do so as well.