Life Sketches of Ellen G. White


Chapter 9—Answers to Prayer

In the spring of 1845 I made a visit to Topsham, Maine. On one occasion quite a number of us were assembled at the house of Brother Stockbridge Howland. His eldest daughter, Miss Frances Howland, a very dear friend of mine, was sick with rheumatic fever, and under the doctor's care. Her hands were so badly swollen that the joints could not be distinguished. As we sat together speaking of her case, Brother Howland was asked if he had faith that his daughter could be healed in answer to prayer. He answered that he would try to believe that she might, and presently declared that he did believe it possible. LS 74.1

We all knelt in earnest prayer to God in her behalf. We claimed the promise, “Ask, and ye shall receive,” John 16:24. The blessing of God attended our prayers, and we had the assurance that God was willing to heal the afflicted one. One of the brethren present cried out, “Is there a sister here who has the faith to go and take her by the hand, and bid her arise in the name of the Lord?” LS 74.2

Sister Frances was lying in the chamber above, and before he ceased speaking Sister Curtis was on her way to the stairs. She entered the sickroom with the Spirit of God upon her, and taking the invalid by the hand, said, “Sister Frances, in the name of the Lord arise, and be whole.” New life shot through the veins of the sick girl, a holy faith took possession of her, and obeying its impulse, she rose from her bed, stood upon her feet, and walked the room, praising God for her recovery. She was soon dressed, and came down into the room where we were assembled, her countenance lighted up with unspeakable joy and gratitude. LS 74.3

The next morning she took breakfast with us. Soon after, as Elder White was reading from the fifth chapter of James for family worship, the doctor came into the hall, and, as usual, went upstairs to visit his patient. Not finding her there, he hurried down, and with a look of alarm opened the door of the large kitchen where we were all sitting, his patient with us. He gazed upon her with astonishment, and at length ejaculated, “So Frances is better!” LS 75.1

Brother Howland answered, “The Lord has healed her,” and the reader resumed his chapter where he had been interrupted: “Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him.” James 5:14. The doctor listened with a curious expression of mingled wonder and incredulity upon his face, nodded, and hastily left the room. LS 75.2

The same day Sister Frances rode three miles, returning home in the evening, and although it was rainy, she sustained no injury, and continued to improve rapidly in health. In a few days, at her request, she was led down into the water and baptized. Although the weather and the water were very cold, she received no injury, but from that time was free from the disease, and in the enjoyment of her usual health. LS 75.3

At this time Brother Wm. H. Hyde was very sick with dysentery. His symptoms were alarming, and the physician pronounced his case almost hopeless. We visited him and prayed with him, but he had come under the influence of certain fanatical persons, who were bringing dishonor upon our cause. We wished to remove him from among them, and petitioned the Lord to give him strength to leave that place. He was strengthened and blessed in answer to our prayers, and rode four miles to the house of Brother Patten, but after arriving there he seemed to be rapidly sinking. LS 75.4

The fanaticism and errors into which he had fallen through an evil influence seemed to hinder the exercise of his faith, but he gratefully received the plain testimony borne him, made humble confession of his fault, and took his position firmly for the truth. LS 76.1

Only a few who were strong in faith were permitted to enter the sickroom. The fanatics whose influence over him had been so injurious, and who had persistently followed him to Brother Patten's, were positively forbidden to come into his presence, while we prayed fervently for his restoration to health. I have seldom known such a reaching out to claim the promises of God. The salvation of the Holy Spirit was revealed, and power from on high rested upon our sick brother and upon all present. LS 76.2

Brother Hyde immediately dressed and walked out of the room, praising God, and with the light of heaven shining upon his countenance. A farmer's dinner was ready upon the table. Said he, “If I were well, I should partake of this food; and as I believe God has healed me, I shall carry out my faith.” He sat down to dinner with the rest, and ate heartily without injury. His recovery was complete and permanent. LS 76.3