Peter Monroe sat on the edge of his bed counting the take from the evening service. “Cash $551.28!” A satisfied smile appeared on his face . “Lots of checks too, hope most of them aren’t rubber.”
Monroe was a phony preacher, healer, wheeler-dealer. It never failed to amaze him how while demonstrating his counterfeit discernment, the attendees of his services were duped into believing he was spiritually gifted.
One evening a thorn in his side appeared in the form of a man who jumped on stage and asked for prayer before Monroe’s heavies could stop him. He fell on his knees begging for prayer. “I need a word from you now!” Monroe was not prepared for this, but so as not to appear less than genuine, he told the man to go back to his seat and come backstage to see him after the service for a “special session.” “Special prayer for special needs, my beloved” he blared at the audience as he whisked a white handkerchief across his sopping brow. Monroe planned to be long gone before the man came to see him.
After Monroe finished counting the evening’s take he heard an unexpected knock on his hotel room door. He peered through the peep hole then let the visitor in.”Brother Monroe, it’s me. I looked for you backstage, but they told me you had gone. I guess the Lord led me here, now I’m ready for prayer.”
Monroe swallowed hard, but recovered birthing the inkling of a pastoral smile…. “What’s your name son?”
“Virgil, said the man with an eager grin equivalent to his zest for a blessing.
Monroe cleared his throat. “Er uh Virgil, once I leave the assembly, the anointing leaves with me.” I couldn’t pray for you now, even if I wanted to.” Monroe turned his palms up in tandem with a shrug.
“That’s ok. An un-annointed prayer from you is better than nothing.” Once again, Virgil went to his knees to receive his blessing.
“Anything to get rid of this chump,” thought Monroe as he began uttering his standard rehearsed monologue. Unexpectedly in the midst of his flaccid oratory, a sway of control took over his speech. On autopilot, the words he uttered and the voice that articulated them were not his.
Virgil rose, wide eyed laughing with joy. He gave Monroe a rib-busting bear hug, then reached in his pocket and pulled out a couple of dollar bills thrusting them in Monroe’s hand. “I daresay sir; if that prayer wasn’t anointed I don’t know what is. I’ll let you know as soon as it happens” Virgil turned and left the room closing the door behind him.
“Let me know what happens?” Monroe shouted in a vain attempt to catch Virgil’s ear. He had no idea what he had prayed and was further surprised that he even cared.
A month passed. As Monroe was conducting his weekly swindle he spotted Virgil, enter the auditorium. Monroe mechanically played out the con, and when it was over hurried to seek Virgil out.
Virgil greeted Monroe with his signature grin and bear hug. “Look at me my good friend; I’m rich because of your prayer!”
“What did I pray?”
“You said to telephone my Uncle in Greece about an inheritance. I was amazed by your message, but even more so that you spoke Greek in the very dialect that’s spoken where I was born and grew up. That night I handed you my last two bucks, a widow’s mite so to speak, well here is a bit more for you.”
He handed Monroe a check. “If you are ever in need call me. I’m in the phone book.” With a toothy beam, he exited.
Monroe stood flabbergasted. He had prayed often in tongues as part of his onstage act but thought of it in reality as meaningless babel. Virgil’s testimony profoundly touched him. That night in his hotel room, he fell to his knees. “Lord, you are real after all! I repent, I repent, I want to help people for real now.”
Peter Monroe gave up the sucker trail and made restitution the best he could ever thankful that God had forgiven him his years of abusing the trappings of a ministry to scam hundreds of poor souls. The Lord sent thousands to him now who were in desperate financial need. Always recalling Virgil’s gift of a flowing Holy Spirit autopilot tongue, he gladly prayed with them and they were all greatly blessed.
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