We have updated our Privacy Policy to provide you a better online experience.

More Than a Sermon -- a Heart's Cry

What if God doesn't answer our most desperate and earnest prayer the way we are convinced He will?

When Alexis Gauthier (Go-Tee-Ay) took the stage to give her award-winning short sermon during the Assemblies of God 2015 National Fine Arts Festival Celebration Service, few had any idea what they were about to experience.

Her passionate presentation of the faith of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego who committed to love God -- even if they were not delivered from the fiery furnace -- quickly captivated the audience.

Then the powerful and poetic rhythm of Gauthier's message, emphasizing extreme faith no matter the outcome, veered unexpectedly, transitioning from a triumphal biblical account to present-day application.

Yet it wasn't a simple "what if" application -- it was literally her life . . . that very week. She shared how her father was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer in July, but she was convinced that when she presented her short sermon earlier in the week, her father would be miraculously healed as a testimony to God's greatness -- just as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego had been delivered.

It didn't happen.

In fact, Gauthier shared, immediately after her sermon she learned her father had taken a turn for the worse and doctors gave him just a week to live. And now she stood on the very threshold of embracing her commitment of "even if they were not delivered." Challenging the audience to do the same, no matter what they faced, she closed.

Tears flowed as applause and prayer erupted. Heath Adamson, senior director of National Youth Ministries, then joined Gauthier on stage and led the approximately 20,000 in attendance in a powerful and extended time of prayer for her dying father.

Six days later, on Aug. 13, at 1:22 in the afternoon, Gauthier's father was miraculously fully restored . . . only not in the way she was convinced it would happen. Her father had passed from this world and into the presence of God.

Although grieving, Gauthier remains steadfast. "I've never been more convinced of God's love or in His will," she says. "I've been able to witness to a lot of unsaved family that I have. He didn't die in vain. He is still healed and my story got to impact 20,000 people's lives - I thought that was just beautiful."

With a major in church ministry, and a double minor in journalism and English, Gauthier is currently completing her final semester at Southeastern University (AG) in Lakeland, Florida. She was introduced to the Assemblies of God by her stepfather when she was 10. But it was a woman in ministry who helped her understand and embrace God's calling on her life.

"Sonia Figueroa is the college/young adult minister at Faith Assembly in Orlando where I attended church and school," Gauthier says. "She would come speak at our chapel services and I started to see that women could be ministers. It was during those services I got called to ministry and got serious about my life with God."

Figueroa, who has been ministering through Faith Assembly for the past 14 years, and directing the college/young adult program since 2006, says she has watched Gauthier grow from a first generation Christian into very smart, highly active, and committed young woman with an uncompromising faith in God. In fact, Gauthier performed her internship at Faith Assembly under Figueroa's mentorship.

"Alexis is a first generation Christian, but she just gravitated to God, to His truth, to His peace and He just provided everything she needed," Figueroa says. "Alexis has a passion to speak and a message to share."

During her senior year of high school, Gauthier visited Southeastern University with her at-the-time unsaved father. She loved SEU and felt that's where God was calling her to go - even her father told her that was the college for her. She received further confirmation that weekend when a speaker at a Florida District youth event said, "We're all called, but only some of us are chosen," explaining, "People are chosen because they respond to the call." She committed to go to SEU.

Gauthier, who participated throughout high school in Fine Arts, continued on in the Kappa Tau (collegiate age) level of the Fine Arts Festival. She says that the idea for her sermon came as she was in the hospital reading her Bible to her father. "I would read the Bible to him all the time," she says. "He wasn't in a coma, but he also wasn't awake enough to interact."

She says she felt like she needed to write about her father and then the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego came to mind. "I pitched the idea to Pastor Sonia, and she was excited about it, telling me it was crazy timing as that's what she was preaching about that weekend!" That was all the confirmation Gauthier needed.

But the reason her story has an "eternal" happy ending is because of Gauthier's sister, Jessica, who is a licensed AG minister. "My father was admitted July 5 and that's when we learned he had a mass in his brain," Alexis says. "We didn't know any details. My sister came in and looked at my father and asked, 'Do you know why I do what I do? I do it because I love God and He changed my life. Do you want God to move in your life?'"

The conversation progressed and a few minutes later, Jessica was leading their father in the sinner's prayer. "The only times he fully understood what was going on were the times that we prayed with him," Alexis says.

Following her FAF Celebration Service message on Aug. 7th, Gauthier says she received a lot of positive feedback from teens she inspired and families she encouraged as well as prayers from people she had never met before.

On Aug. 13th, she tweeted, "Today, I stand on the difficult end of the 'BUT EVEN IF HE DOESN'T' commitment I made. I will never stop serving my God."

On Saturday, Aug. 15th, Gauthier received a package in the mail -- her AG ministerial credentials.

"She has a million opportunities before her, whether it's preaching or writing," Figueroa says. "She has a beautiful relationship with Christ. He gives her modern-day psalms. God is going to use that in her because we need it, the Church needs it."

Although Gauthier is unsure whether she'll take a semester off or go straight into a masters program following graduation, it's clear that she isn't worried about future decisions. "That's five steps away," she says, referring to both graduation as well as in grieving the loss of her father. "I'm at step one. I'll just follow God's will every step of the way."

Dan Van Veen

Dan Van Veen is news editor of AG News. Prior to transitioning to AG News in 2001, Van Veen served as managing editor of AG U.S. Missions American Horizon magazine for five years. He attends Central Assembly of God in Springfield, Missouri, where he and his wife, Lori, teach preschool Sunday School and 4- and 5-year-old Rainbows boys and girls on Wednesdays.