Youth Group Prayer Service Results in Miraculous Healing
When Rue Duval, 65, was diagnosed with Stage 3 cancer again in 2014, the emotional pain accompanying the reoccurrence was overwhelming. But Duval didn't want to burden others with her illness, so she didn't tell anyone about her radiation treatments or when she started chemotherapy.
"How I dreaded chemo," Rue recalls. "The day the port was put in I cried and hid from everyone the entire day."
Rue attends Ash Grove (Missouri) Assembly of God, a robust church pastored by Brent Anderson with a weekly attendance of 250 in a community of 1,400. Youth Pastor Amanda Starks says Rue is deeply loved by the church, especially the youth, as many consider her a surrogate grandmother.
Rue managed to keep her closely guarded secret for months, but then the chemotherapy began taking its toll. Finally she confessed her illness to a friend, who reprimanded her because her silence kept people from lifting her up in prayer.
And the church did begin to pray, but there was no indication of any change in Duval's condition. That is until May 20, 2015, when Duval stepped in to listen to the youth worship service.
It was a youth service, but not your "typical" AG youth group. Starks says many of the students in her youth group come from difficult family circumstances -- single-parent homes, little money, or drug issues -- but are picked up by the church bus each week. "These are not church kids; they did not grow up in the church," she says. "They come not because they have to, but because they want to."
When Starks noticed Duval step into the room, she said God spoke to her. "I felt the Holy Spirit tell me to go back and ask her if it was okay if I let the youth know of her condition and for us to pray for her," Starks says. Duvall agreed to her request. "I brought her up and explained what was going on with this woman that they love, we had her stand in the middle of us, and I began to pray and declare life over her."
Duvall remembers the moment: "They gathered around me putting their hands on me," she says. "As they prayed I lifted my hands, closed my eyes, and prayed. I felt like I was being lifted up off the floor and was floating in the air."
Although she never physically left the ground, Duvall suddenly fell to the floor, overcome by the power of the Holy Spirit. For the students with no AG church background, it was a totally new experience.
"The kids' faces were priceless," Stark says warmly. "Their faces looked like they had killed her -- they had never seen anything like that happen before. As Duval lay in the presence of God, Starks took time to explain what had happened, with the students embracing God's response to their prayers.
"When I opened my eyes, I was on the floor and my head was under the pew," Duvall says. "I was confused. I didn't know what happened or where I was. I could hear people crying and talking . . . I heard Pastor Amanda explaining to the students what had happened to me . . . and then I realized I was at church."
As Duval sat on the floor, a peace came over her. "I felt calm," she says. "When I got up to leave I didn't have pain anywhere in my body. Even my knee, which has arthritis, didn't hurt. I felt energized. I felt healed!"
Later that week Duval had blood work done - the results revealed no cancer! She immediately stopped her treatments, despite her doctor's appeal, and had her port removed. "I knew my cancer was gone, and I told him [the doctor] so!" she says. Recently she had a PET scan done, and she was declared cancer free.
"I have since invited my doctor to church so he could see and feel what so many of us have felt there," Duval says.
For Starks, Duval's healing has transformed her youth group. Now, when people need prayer, the students are the first ones to jump up, lead in prayer, and believe in God for healing. And God is answering their prayers.
"Last month we had a lady with a completely torn rotator cuff," Starks says. "We prayed for her in the Sunday morning service. Her doctor has since confirmed that the torn rotator cuff and labrum are completely healed!"
Starks says that what God is doing through the youth and others at the church has impacted and changed her as well, giving her more boldness to step out in faith as well as to be more obedient to the leading of the Holy Spirit, to allow Him to lead, even if it means the service doesn't go as planned.
"Now there is nothing the kids won't pray for, nothing they believe God can't do!" Starks says. "God has changed the culture in our church and through these kids, He is changing the culture in our community!"