“But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)
It was a cold winter’s night, about 3:00 AM, and I was servicing my newspaper vending machine located in front of a little convenience store just off the highway in east Dallas, Texas USA.
As I was about to get back into my warm truck, I noticed smoke coming from an upstairs window at the back of a cheap run-down motel. My heart went up into my throat as I drove around to the front of the motel and talked to the night clerk.
“Unless you have a boiler in the back upstairs and that’s steam coming out of the window, you’ve got a room on fire.” I said.
“We don’t have a boiler.” he replied.
I shouted, “Then there’s a fire! Call 911 and I’ll start waking people up!”
I ran up the stairs to the area where I thought the smoke was coming from, and began knocking on doors and yelling “Fire!” when suddenly I heard a faint “Help” coming from one of the rooms.
I noticed smoke coming out from under the door and I tried to open it, but it was locked!
I hit the door as hard as I could with my shoulder: once, then twice, and suddenly the door flew open!
A billow of smoke rushed out of the room and into my face, driving me back to the balcony railing! As I tried to see through the smoke, all I could see was a red glow coming from the back of the room and I heard what sounded like a whimper.
I tried to go in but the smoke was too thick! It was then that I remembered seeing a public service announcement about crawling on your stomach if you are ever in a room filled with smoke.
I lay down, and sure enough, I could see clearly for about six inches off the floor. I could make out the legs of the bed frame, and that was where the red glow was coming from.
I crawled on my belly to the bed, and reaching up, I could feel someone’s leg. I pulled as hard as I could, and an elderly woman rolled off onto the floor, along with some empty liquor bottles.
I dragged her out onto the balcony as people began to come out of their rooms. Because of the cold, I crawled back into the room, reached up onto the bed and felt for a blanket.
I found one that was partially on fire, pulled it off the bed and took it back outside, where I put out the fire and covered her up.
As I knelt beside her, a crowd was beginning to gather on the balcony and the fire truck was pulling up. It was then that I first heard the Voice of the LORD.
“Lay your hand on her and pray.” the Voice said.
I had never done anything like that in my life!
The closest thing that I had ever seen to that was when I was little and I would listen to my Dad laugh and make fun of Oral Roberts praying for people on television.
Shaking, I lay my hand on her forehead in the same way that I had seen Oral Roberts do, and began to pray out loud. I don’t even remember what all that I said.
I just remember rambling, asking God to heal her, and let her live, and let her be a testimony, and to know that God did it…
When suddenly, it felt like a bolt of electricity hit me in the back of my head, went down my arm, and through my hand!
The woman began to shake as if she was being electrocuted: and then as suddenly as it began, it stopped.
The firemen and paramedics had made it up the stairs and I stepped back out of the way as they began to tend to her and hose down the fire in the room.
I went down the stairs and out to my truck. I was shaking and exhausted. I watched as they brought the woman down the stairs on a stretcher and put her in the ambulance that was parked in front of my truck.
It was then that I heard someone say, “Hey Raymond, is that you?”
It was Terry, a fireman that worked part-time down at the newspaper.
“Are you the one that pulled her out of the room?” he asked. “Yeah”, I replied, “How is she?” “It doesn’t look good.” Terry said.
I thought, “This can’t be.”
I knew that God had done something through me while I was praying on that balcony. I had heard the Voice of God! I had felt the power of God go through my arm and into her body!
I walked to the back of the ambulance. The doors were open and they had a resuscitator over her face as one of the paramedics was slapping her.
“Come on lady, breathe.” said the paramedic who was slapping her face.
Her color was ashen gray and she appeared dead. I knew that she had to live. I had felt the power of God!
I closed my eyes and prayed, “Dear Lord, I know you touched her. Please let her live. Amen.”
The moment I said “Amen”, I opened my eyes and she opened hers and looked straight into mine! They slammed the doors of the ambulance and drove off with the lights and sirens blaring.
I couldn’t believe what had just happened! I was so excited that I had to tell someone, so I stopped at the next pay phone and called a local Christian radio station that I had been listening to.
The DJ would often take prayer requests from listeners and share them in-between songs. After I had told him what happened, he asked me if I would go on the air and tell my story.
He patched me in and I shared what God had just done.
The next morning, I stopped by the motel to service my vending machine and the manager stopped me.
“Are you the one that pulled the lady out of the burning room last night?” he asked. I said, “Yes”.
He replied, “What did you use to knock down the door? You didn’t just knock the door down, you pulled the whole metal door frame out of the brick wall!”
I knew it wasn’t me that had done it, but the Hand of God. My shoulder wasn’t even sore!
I also knew from that moment on, God’s hand was upon me, and that my life would never be the same.
The next day, someone asked me if I had called the hospital to see if she made it. I said there was no need. I knew the Lord had performed a miracle and that she was going to survive and turn her life around for the glory of God.
But before I can any go further with my story, I need to go back to how it all began.