I Prayed have prayed
Lord, please help us abide in You that Your Love and Joy flow through us.  Let the very Love of God power our prayers so mountains move, the oppressed are released, and the millions upon millions saved unto eternal Life.  In Jesus’ Name.  Amen.

Years ago, my prayer mentor — a dynamic, older southern woman — asked the Lord why He honored our little prayer team with answers to the prayers and petitions we made.  The Lord spoke to her, saying in a Spirit-blown whisper,  “Because you love each other unconditionally as I love My Son and He loves you.”

How had my little group attained to this level of love?  I don’t think I would have cited love as the engine of our prayer.  Had we somehow transformed from quirky prayer people into power intercessors?  Not through any design or ambition, I can assure you.  Our little group was comprised of four women.  My mentor, limping from back surgery and overly interested in sugary treats.  Another, badly twisted from a traumatic birth, whose medical issues were complex and numerous.  The woman who led me to Jesus and who was weathering a bumpy transition from business to ministry.  And myself, filled with worldliness and only a teenager (complete with acne and mood swings) in the Lord.

It was true we loved each other deeply, caring for each other’s needs — especially spiritual and emotional issues — even while we warred for our community and the larger metropolitan area.  We spent a lot of time together, stepping in when another needed a practical hand of help.  And though aware of each other’s foibles, we somehow overlooked them in the messy, joyful business of doing life together. 

Pray with author Joyce Swingle about the top news from Headline Prayer on Pray with Others Live. Visit the watch page at IFApray.org for more details.

This word from the Lord about the love we demonstrated for each other reminded me of the gospel of John.  John was remarkably transformed by his relationship with Jesus.  Rather than a legacy of Thunder, John left — through his lyrical writings — one of Love.  Specifically, I thought of the Vine and the Branches when I heard the Lord’s whisper about our prayer group. This allegory from John 15 starting with verses 1-6 is a lesson in intercession.

 Intercessors Abide in Jesus’s Life

I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser.  Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.  Already you are clean (pruned, in the Greek) because of the word that I have spoken to you.  Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.  I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.  If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.

 In the Old Testament, the vineyard clearly refers to Israel. Here, Jesus applies the metaphor to Himself and the Church that will come from His ministry, saying He is the True Vine and the disciples are the branches.  The fruit of the Church would flow now from those who remain in the vine — in relationship with the Lord through Christ.

There are many types of fruit in view here; the fruit of the Spirit certainly.  But also the works of God’s People, including the results of intercession.  And the fruit to which Jesus refers can also be the abundant life this very gospel promises in its theme verse:   I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full (John 10: 10b).

Being a practical person, my key question was what does abide in Jesus mean?  In this metaphor, it seems that the very Life Blood…the nourishing sap of the Vine…must flow through to the branches.  Other Scripture points to the same idea:  Paul’s metaphor of the Church as a body, with Christ as head and disciples serving in various bodily capacities. One could do without an arm, perhaps, or even an eye, but hardly without the head.  Abiding seems just as it says.  Abiding is drawing upon the Life of Jesus for our own lives.

Lest this sound too ethereal, the Scriptures attest to sharing Christ’s life through the Holy Spirit’s indwelling (1 Corinthians 2:15-16) and to renewing our minds so that we can know the perfect will of God (Romans 12:2).  It is possible — and for an intercessor and a disciple, essential — to abide in Jesus’s Life.

Intercessors Abide in Jesus’s Love

If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.  By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.  As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.  If you  keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.

These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in  you, and that your joy may be full. 

This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I  have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. 

You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. These things I command you, so that you will love one another.

 I’ve highlighted some words and set paragraphs apart to illustrate the themes of this chiastic text from John 15: 7-17.   The beginning and ending verses encompass Jesus’s teaching — Abide in Me — and the result of abiding — Answered Prayer.  The middle verse — usually the main point in any Scriptural chiasm — speaks to Joy.  The verses immediately preceding and following that key verse focus on the divine Command to Love.

This part of Jesus’s discourse asserts the ultimate result and reward of abiding in Him is His Joy — a river running through the abiding disciple’s life — regardless of circumstance and ministry results.  Joy flows from remaining in — obeying —Jesus’s Love.  Jesus’s Love flows from His Life, which flows from Abiding in Him.  Love isn’t an emotion; Love is the Person of Jesus.  We receive that Love — Him — by abiding in Him and allowing His Word and His Person in the form of Holy Spirit to abide in us.  When we receive the Person of Jesus and grow in intimacy with Him, we receive His Love, His Obedience and, ultimately, His Joy.  And He also shares in that Joy, just as He shares His Life and His Love.

It was clear to me this abiding was beyond me.  So I prayed to Abide; I prayed for Jesus’s Life; I prayed for His Love; I prayed for His Obedience.  And I surrendered myself to the Lord.  Surrender was difficult at first and still is sometimes.  But as the prayer of John the Baptizer took hold in my life (“He must become greater; I must become less.” John 3:30), I began to experience joy in the obedience rather than grudging resignation.

Years ago, one of my prayer team was undergoing such a difficult emotional time that she had developed the stress-related condition of shingles.  I went to the Lord and told Him I wanted Him to relieve the stress upon my beloved friend; I was desperate for her.

He answered my prayer.

I developed shingles.

Her symptoms disappeared.

As I lay in bed with pain stabbing my back along the thoracic nerve, I remember thinking my discomfort was not even a fraction as painful as the whips Jesus endured.  The Lord allowed me to eavesdrop on a heavenly conversation; I heard in whisper words, “Gift follows gift as Joyce lays down her life for the Lord.”

Come, Intercessors, Abide in the deep lovely places with the Lord.  Abide in His Life, His Love, His Obedience.  And watch with Wondrous Joy as He answers your prayers for yourselves, your families, your community and your beloved America.

 

Lord, we come in humble expectation that Your Word is true.  Everything promised in John 15 can be true for us.  Help us abide.  As the Baptizer prayed, release us of ourselves that Jesus become greater and we less.  We desire to receive His Life, His Love and His Obedience.  We desire to be so filled with Holy Spirit that we hear from Him the needful prayers and pray them back to You, sharing in the Joy of bringing the Kingdom to earth.  In Jesus’s Name.  Amen and Amen.

 

Share your prayer below.

 

Author Joyce Swingle is an intercessor and contributing writer for Intercessors for America. With her husband Drama Evangelist Rich, Joyce shares the Gospel of Jesus Christ around the world through theatre and speaking.  Joyce also has performed on screen.  Prior to going into full-time ministry, Joyce worked for about 20 major magazines and now works in pastoral ministry and Christian counseling.  She and Rich live in New York City. Photo by Jordan Wozniak on Unsplash

 

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Jennie Jimenez
January 15, 2022

This was a wonderful read! I have an aversion to long reads online because my eyes tire and my mind wanders. My mind does also when people talk too long or too monotone without attention getters to keep me attuned. Anyway I read all this with full attention and am really grateful. Great message and prayers. I connected. Great writing skills and I found out why at the end with the bio. I also love engaging in writing and theatre.

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Nadine Lutrick
January 12, 2022

Oh to live such a surrendered life to our dear Heavenly Father like this!! To truly abide in Him in this way!! What Joyce has written has brought tears of longing in me for this kind of relationship with my dear Lord!!! So, so good Joyce!! Thank you for your powerful words of truth!!!

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Ann Anonymous
January 12, 2022

Please email me privately a prayer number for personal requests. I pray a lot, but really could use some help in doing so. Also, I need to defeat a corrupt system that continues to bring up, trivial things by my account, some kind of report, but yet they will not let me see it. When I can clear all this up, I can have my husband back. This is the guardianship system. They have basically kept my husband hostage in a “nursing home” , not in our hometown. I and a friend have passed all background checks and classes, yet they continue to stonewall us. Pray the 91st Psalm over my husband, and also favor for me in getting him home to our house. Thank you very much.

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Debbie
January 12, 2022

She prayed for a friend to have her shingles healed, and she got shingles. It seems you are saying that when we pray for a healing for a loved one, we get the sickness in place of them. I can’t believe this is how God works.

    Joyce Swingle
    January 12, 2022

    Dear Debbie,
    You are so right that the Lord means good for us and not ill. I have prayed for healing for many people. Some have been healed miraculously. Some medically. Some not. I have not necessarily experienced the symptoms in every case.

    I believe it is our privilege to ask for healing and His to determine how and when.
    I can’t speak to why the Lord chooses certain paths of healing though I have puzzled on this so often. Certainly Is. 53 points to the difficult path Jesus would need to take to heal the world.

    I did not ask to receive shingles but that my dear friend have relief. I don’t know why the intercession happened this way, I can only report what happened and that I did have great joy in knowing that my friend was healed. I was also grateful to have had this experience because I drew so close to the Lord throughout the intercession. I did sense the Love and the Joy and a tiny, tiny, tiny glimpse of what it may have been like for Jesus to see through the cross to the joy that was before Him (Heb. 12:2).

    Thanks, Debbie, for asking and may the Lord bless and keep you.

    In Him, Joyce

    1
ANNIE LOPEZ
January 12, 2022

Amazing and so encouraging. I feel the same way so now I have a specific example of how to pray for greater results in my prayer life. Thank you for sharing.

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NanJohnson
January 12, 2022

Praise God dear ones !! I have been practicing the teachings presented on John 15. Realized a couple of years ago I was not completely surrendered to God’s perfect will. Took steps to completely submit. Joy incredible!

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S J Johnston
January 11, 2022

Thank you so much…I have been so sadly lacking in this type of love. I surely will learn to abide from now on. Thorns and punches I will endure and dwell in His secret place of abiding love. I needed this good shaking awake. Bless you.

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Ellen Hoffman
January 11, 2022

Wow! This is the first time I’ve seen someone say that God answered her prayer for her friend with shingles. Then she came down with them. This has happened to me several times over the years. I thought I was crazy, because it didn’t make sense to me. I do not understand everything about our Precious Lord, but I am so grateful He is Lord of my life!! Thank you for writing this down. Blessings!

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Bettye F. Davis
January 11, 2022

Praises for this beautiful message.

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Barbara Janicki
January 11, 2022

since I read this earlier today, I can’t stop thinking about “abiding” – abiding is personal, just like Jesus, who knows every hair of our heads and the way that we take. When Jesus says He will come in and eat with us in Revelation 3:20, that’s deeply personal, the breaking of bread together – which He did often when He was here, ending with the Last Supper. abiding – living, moving, being with, residing in, resting in, rejoicing in, relating to, playing, working, worshiping, learning, growing, feasting, mourning, trusting, obeying, following, belonging, crying out, being still – abiding is knowing and being fully known – (1 Corinthians 13:12) – abiding in the shelter of His wings – abiding – we were created for abiding with our Creator – “I take oh cross, thy shadow for my abiding place”

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    Joyce Swingle
    January 11, 2022

    Beautiful reflection, Barbara. Thank you. Blessings, Joyce

Roxanne Rice
January 11, 2022

I just finished listening to the webcast. It was, without a doubt, the most uplifting and encouraging session I’ve ever listened to. God bless you for your wisdom and your willingness to share!

Your comment about being a “teenager in the Lord, complete with mood swings” resonated with me. I have been a faithful, growing believer for 50 years, but because I have bipolar disorder, it is very difficult for me to focus and to feel love, and I get discouraged easily. I’ve been taking communion every day since January 1, and finding it to be a great blessing. The Lord is correcting me in a number of things, and I treasure that!

Please pray for me! Thank you! And God bless you all!

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    Joyce Swingle
    January 11, 2022

    Dear Roxanne,
    I will pray for you. Thank you for giving me that opportunity. I can understand the distraction and ups/downs of a mood disorder. Please know that the Lord will give you grace to carry you through.
    Rich and I have found taking communion to be a lovely way to connect with the Lord, remembering what He has done for us. I pray your times with Him to be especially tender and precious. In Jesus’ Name.

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    Mrs D
    January 11, 2022

    Roxanne,
    We continue to speak life and health to you in JESUS’ Name. We speak to any imbalance in the chemical functions and processes in your body and we command them to line up with the design and purpose of each and every one of them that has been created by GOD. We command the adverse effects and any lingering “debris” of the Johnson & Johnson shot to be completely gone and reversal of function wherever malfunction has occurred. Father, we thank You that Your desire is not only for Roxanne to enjoy abundant LIFE but that also includes joy and peace. We speak “silence” to the emotional chatter and clarity of focus as she encounters You in the secret place. We continue to speak complete restoration to her mental and emotional capacities so that she gains the stability that Your love provides. Remind her that love is not a feeling but was demonstrated on the Cross. I know that she knows this but like many of us can lose sight of that amazing sacrifice from time to time, especially when situations and/or pain seem overwhelming. Thank You for leading her into the wonderful times of taking communion to bring the comfort and strength that comes with the tangible evidence of Your presence. May joy rise up in her even now as she hears You rejoicing and singing over her. In JESUS’ Name we pray.

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      Roxanne Rice
      January 12, 2022

      Thank you, Joyce and Mrs. D. Your prayers have greatly encouraged me. What a blessing to have sisters in Christ whom I have never met who love me enough to lift my needs to the Lord. God bless you.

Herb Johnston
January 11, 2022

Quite a few years ago I read in the notes of a Bible-that the word ‘abide’.. meant “to live in”. I’m pretty sure it was the Jack Hayford Spirit-filled Life Bible- in the section that they call ‘word wealth’. Maybe it has two definitions.

Lord, thank you for the wisdom-, Your wisdom- article. I am always so inspired by her writing. My observation today-, at this point.. is,,I would have to say- the same as usual -when it comes to challenges in growth. And that is-

” Lord have mercy on me- a sinner.. as I struggle to stay on the path, and travail- and learn to travail -more deeply, in prayer.. being supported by the crutch of your Mercy-,and the depth of your Grace-, in my feeble attempt to be a conduit ..through which you can work- and hopefully in the process my own healing will allow me to slowly, incrementally, be more of the prayer Warrior and more of the disciple who represents You,.. in this fallen World. Thank you so much for this- Lord, in Jesus Mighty Name, Amen

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    Joyce Swingle
    January 11, 2022

    Dear Herb,
    Beautiful prayer. I join you in this for myself.
    Shalom, Joyce

    3
Mark
January 11, 2022

Abide is an agricultural term roughly meaning “the roots go deep”

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    Joyce Swingle
    January 11, 2022

    Dear Mark,
    Love this insight!
    Blessings, Joyce

    1
Margaret Pittman
January 11, 2022

YES LORD HELP US TO BECOME MORE LIKE YOU…

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Barbara Janicki
January 11, 2022

abiding – “For in Him we live and move and have our being.” (Acts 17:28) and “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly . . .” (Colossians 3:16) The Word became flesh and made His home/dwelling with us! the same Word we are told to let “dwell in us richly.” and Jesus wants to dwell with us – that’s pretty miraculous, actually – but He says, “I stand at the door and knock” and if I open the door He promises “I will come in and eat with you, and you with Me.” (Rev. 3:20) eating, that’s personal, that’s abiding – the only way to live. blog address – http://www.mtothe5th.wordpress.com

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Heather
January 11, 2022

I believe in Jesus. I know he sets people free. I am a long term cannabis smoker and would love to be able to be set free of this addiction. Please pray for not just me but others who have this same burden

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    Joyce Swingle
    January 11, 2022

    Yes, Lord. We come humbly with Heather before the Throne of Grace and agree with her that her use and overuse of this substance is harmful to her and not pleasing to You. As she admits, she is helpless before the power of this substance but You O Lord enable all things in Christ. So in the Name of Jesus, we cover any permissions granted to satan to afflict Heather with the Blood of Jesus. We renounce such permissions and we bind and cast away from Heather any demonic influences that are granting a permission to afflict her. Fill any spaces left empty by Holy Spirit. Break this bondage off of Heather and grant her the new way of relieving stress — praise and worship — to replace the old substance usage. Grant Heather and all who so suffer the Hope of the Healing Helmet of Salvation. Set her free in the Spirit of the Lord. Amen and Amen.

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      Herb Johnston
      January 11, 2022

      Thanks for blessing us all with your glorious gift of prayer Joyce!!

      2
    Phyllis A Josleyn
    January 11, 2022

    Heather, my sister in Christ 💞 we have that in common. I have used cannabis since age of 24, I just celebrated my 3 score and 10, September 21, 2021. It’s been less than one month but all is GOOD! He KNOWS! Stay in daily prayer, confess all that you can remember & then ask Him to refresh your memory so you may lay those also at His Holy Feet 💜

    So for 46 years I used. If I had it, and I usually always DID, then I used. It is true that cannabis lessens arthritic pain, my ball of six hernias have caused much distress which it did relieve. I am sure as time goes by, I won’t even think of it. Same can happen for you dear Heather 👍🏻 Faint not in your petitions to Our Father. He always wants our success 🙏

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      Sharon
      January 11, 2022

      Amen Phyllis. Confession was a huge piece to my own freedom!

      5
    Herb Johnston
    January 11, 2022

    Just re prayed Joyce’s glorious prayer for you Heather!!…Our Lord is healing you now..In The Mighty of Jesus!!

    4
Lori Meed
January 11, 2022

Everything else bows to Love. What a precious revelation and testimony! Father, teach us to love as You love. Teach us to abide, trusting and laying ng down our lives in You. Amen.

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    Joyce Swingle
    January 11, 2022

    Lori, I once heard the founder of MasterMedia say that Agape is the only force against which there is no adequate defense. And you put it even more eloquently, “Everything else bows to Love.” Praise the Lord, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess. Blessings and Shalom, Joyce

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Laura K
January 11, 2022

Years ago, my prayer mentor — a dynamic, older southern woman — asked the Lord why He honored our little prayer team with answers to the prayers and petitions we made.

I think this spoken by Holy Spirit says it all:
The Lord spoke to her, saying in a Spirit-blown whisper, “Because you love each other unconditionally as I love My Son and He loves you.”

And this is an interesting point:
I don’t think I would have cited love as the engine of our prayer.

Lord help us to love one another with the same unconditional love You show us

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Shelley
January 11, 2022

Lord, I surrender my son and daughter in law and 6 day old grandson to you. Please have your way in their lives. Draw them both to you and provide a place for them to live. Show me what my part in helping should be and help me trust you with this whole situation. Fill me with joy even in the midst of this trial.

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    Joyce Swingle
    January 11, 2022

    Yes, Shelley, we know that the prayers of a mother are specially heard in heaven. How powerful your dedication of your beloved ones! The Lord shall deliver them into His best for them. In Christ Alone, Joyce

Star
January 11, 2022

Interceding for my son to be free of all addictions .

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    Sharon Peterson
    January 11, 2022

    Just my own testimony of part of my healing. After being saved, and still struggling with alcohol for many years, I was led to ask Jesus for the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Never “felt” anything in the natural after praying, but was delivered from being a slave to alcohol the following day. Praise God!

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      Joyce Swingle
      January 11, 2022

      Dear Star and Sharon,
      Joining in prayer for Star’s son and wanting to share along with Sharon. My prayer mentor smoked for years before she became a believer. From the day of salvation, she rose each day and asked the Lord if “today is the day I am delivered from smoking.” One day months later, it was the day and she never smoked again! Ours to ask for the healing. His to choose the path. Praise the Lord for your deliverance! In Him Alone, Joyce

Jan
January 11, 2022

Dear Lord, I ask that I get covid and that you will take it away from my precious daughter who is 26 with a comorbidity. Please Lord if it is Your will, have her take the vitamins, and supplements I am going to give her and if that is how you want to heal her. Take away her fears and protect her from any treatment that makes her worse. You have a reason why she got it now. I trust You Lord with this. In Jesus’ precious name I ask this.

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    Debb
    January 11, 2022

    Praying with you sister i recommend Ivermectin. I’ve witnessed it’s healing

    10
Linda Rice
January 11, 2022

Faith works through love. Galatians 5:6

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Cynthia Weatherwax
January 11, 2022

This is wonderful! For approximately 20 years I have prayed John 15:1-10 for the body of Christ. To me abide is hang out with Jesus all day. In everything we do in our daily lives though sometimes we Fall in areas we have not surrendered to Him, or times of weakness. His love for us keeps us going and as we love others with His love people see Jesus. Thank you for sharing this article. Cynthia

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Jeanie Owen
January 11, 2022

Thank you for this article. It has really helped me to further recognize a proper perspective both in prayer and in life. I have never wanted to pray “Santa claus” prayers, presenting a list of demands and requests before Him but I have wondered at times what an “earnest and effective” prayer looks like.

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KIM
January 11, 2022

So blessed to read this. Very encouraging! Thanks for being faithful to share these insights, they ripple out into our spheres of influence as we share them. The seeds we plant for Him, by Him, the fruit they will bear, fruit that will last! God bless and keep you in everyway.

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Peter W Watson
January 11, 2022

Thank you. This is the deepest Way. This is the true Power of God, manifest through the Church. Pray because this alone will please The Lord and heal our broken world..

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