“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Rom. 10:17)
A few months after accepting Christ into my heart and being born again, a local minister who had a night-time radio broadcast began a teaching series on being baptized in the Holy Ghost.
I had begun listening to his program while I was driving and servicing my route as a newspaper contractor.
Each night for a week he had read and expounded from the Scriptures about receiving this miraculous experience from God. After work I would go home and read the Scriptures to study and see for myself the meaning and context of these Biblical passages.
I had decided that if it was a Scriptural gift from God and it was His will that I receive it, then I wanted to have it.
On that Friday night’s broadcast he shared the Scripture from the Book of Acts chapter two and verse 39 which says, “For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.”
I knew that God had called me, so that meant this promise was for me also, and then he said how to receive it. I turned the radio up louder and leaned close to listen as he said, “Just ask and believe.”
Luke chapter 11 and verse 13 declares, “…how much more shall your Heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him?”
You mean it was that simple? Just ask?
I believed that the words of Jesus were true, so I asked in prayer for Him to baptize me with the Holy Ghost.
After I had prayed, I didn’t feel any different and nothing unusual happened, but God’s Word said that if I believed, then I would receive. Acts chapter one verse eight says, “But ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you…”
So I believed. I believed even though I didn’t feel or see anything. I believed because God said so.
I didn’t realize that the faith of the Son of God had come alive in my heart because of the Word of God that I had heard.
“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Rom. 10:17)
I hadn’t realized that by believing I was fulfilling the Scripture found in Mark chapter 11 and verse 24,
“Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.” (Mark 11:24)
God was about to show me in a very remarkable way the reality of His answer to my prayer.
Not many days later, on a cold winter’s night at approximately 3:00 in the morning, I was servicing my newspaper vending machine located in the front of a little convenience store just off a highway in old east Dallas.
As I was about to get back into my warm truck, I noticed smoke coming from an upstairs window at the back of an old rundown 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, then 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, 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 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, took it back outside, beat out the fire that was on it, 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 as I had seen Oral Roberts do and began to pray out loud. I don’t even remember everything that I said. All I remember, I was 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 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 this couldn’t be, I had felt the power of God go through my arm and into her body. I had seen her reaction to it.
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 as she opened hers and looked straight into mine. They slammed the doors of the ambulance and drove off with 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 the 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 newspaper 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” and 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 that it had to have been the supernatural hand of God or an angel to exert that much force because my shoulder wasn’t even sore. I also knew from that moment on, God’s anointing was upon me and that my life would never be the same.
The Bible says that there are “gifts of the Spirit” that He gives to his children.
“But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;” (1Cor. 12:7-9)
“To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.” (1Cor. 12:10-11)
Because I had heard the Word of God and believed it to be true, it had caused the faith of the Son of God to be manifested in my heart.
Because I had chosen to believe God’s promise was for me, He had baptized me with the Holy Ghost even though there was no evidence of it at the time.
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Heb. 11:1)
And because He had baptized me with the Holy Ghost then He was able to manifest the working of miracles through His Spirit in me when it was needed.
This great Biblical truth of hearing, believing, and receiving is a foundational principle of Christ through which we are allowed to behold the manifested glory of God in our lives.
There is found no greater evidence of this than when we begin to understand the mystery of “Christ in you, the hope of glory.”
“To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:” (Col. 1:27)