PASTOR MICHAEL ATANDA OKE, NATIONAL EVANGELIST THE APOSTOLIC CHURCH NIGERIA spoke with journalists at the monthly IREDE REVIVAL PROGRAMME AT THE OSHODI AREA HEADQUARTERS, BOLADE OSHODI ON 6TH APRIL, 2019. Below are excerpts from the interview
What has been your experience in the healing ministry?
It’s been awesome. I thank God for his great hand on my life. God still heals today in the church. So many people believe that divine healing no longer exists. They believe you can just apply some other means of therapy to heal the sick without inviting God to do the healing. But glory be to God that in the church through the power of Jesus, through the blood of Jesus, people still get healed. Since God has given me healing anointing He has been proving Himself. In fact I cannot count the number of people who have been healed through preaching of the word and praying for them. As you can witness it, at least two people confirmed publicly that their fibroid disappeared. In our crusade we had so many blinds that have received their sight, the deaf are able to hear, and so many more. I cannot enumerate them.
Does it matter if I use drug and am healed, or I pray and am healed; is it not the same God that heals?
There is a difference between care and healing. Let me say there is a difference between care and cure. You know you need to take care of your body; that is what drug can do. The drug we take only takes care of our body. But God is the one who heals the body. God cures but we care. Doctors even agree that what they do is to care for the sick and not to cure the disease of the sick.
No drug can cure; it is only God that can cure. No matter the drug you used it can only care for the body. Jesus remains the curer of every disease.
There are many people claiming to be healing the sick, but you find them to be otherwise fake: how will you react to this?
Yes the Bible has said it that in the end time you will see different things. Let me call it ignorance, because if you have faith and pray for people, just like what I said that healing can only be determined by God. Bartimeaus the blind said, Jesus have mercy on me; meaning that Jesus can choose to heal him or not. But so many pastors do not know that, they want healing to be done at all cost thinking that they are the one doing it.
You see, I called people out, I prayed for them; those whom God wanted to heal He healed them instantly. The others who were not healed they were not forced to come and give fake testimonies. And some have been healed but the healing has not manifested. But there are pastors who want to manipulate things. When they pray and nothing happens they arrange fake miracles to give their ministry some credibility.
They do so because they want to take the glory. They think that people will say this man is highly anointed, he has prayed for somebody and the person was healed. Whereas it is not so. Healing comes from God; no pastor has the power to heal. That is why I narrated the story of the man who had been prayed for by several pastors but nothing happened until he got to India when he prayed by himself and God wrought wonder. That is to say that no pastor should claim the glory of healing. The glory belongs to God.
You were asking for the blind, the lame and the sick to come forth, that was quite bold, I mean audacious of you? Have you ever had the experience that you prayed and nothing happened?
Yes that is a good question. A day that I can never forget in my life, in the course of my evangelistic outreach was in 2006 or 2007; I went to a place for revival: I have been hearing that so many pastors prayed for the sick and they were healed. By then God has not been using me in that aspect. He has been using me in other areas, I didn’t know what came upon me that day; as I was praying I announced that people should bring the blind, bring the lame, and people brought them, and I rose up to pray, and I prayed nothing happened; no single one was healed. Oh I was embarrassed; I said wao! Revival of seven days people have been excited with the move of God, deliverance, people fell under the anointing…I said what fell on me that I announced that people should come?! I was really embarrassed. However, I managed myself I left the place. I never knew that God has reason for doing everything.
When I was ordained as Area evangelist in Oshodi here 2012, I never thought that there was still a level in evangelistic ministry that I had not attained. So I was ordained, and few weeks after God appeared to me in my dream. He said I should go and pray and fast for some days that He wanted to give me the gift of instant miracle. When I woke up from the dream, I said this is wonderful. I quickly understood because I knew God was about to do something. So, I followed the injunction quite well, and after it God appeared to me again, and said ‘be bold enough now to pray for the sick, because I have given you the power to heal the sick.
It was in this Irede programme 2013, people here can testify, when I announced people should bring the sick; there was an 8-year-old who was unable to walk; here on this altar, I prayed, I prayed: it was at Irede programme the boy rose up, he started to walk and people started shouting hallelujah to the Lord. Right from that day God has been using me for the work of healing. Then the same year 2013, at our open air crusade in Ewenla compound, Oshodi here that was the first time I prayed the totally blind girl received her sight.
When I got home I could not eat: I said this is wonderful! This is wonderful! I could not eat, my wife too could not eat. We were just thinking, how? How? A totally blind girl?! And my wife dreamt overnight, and God appeared to her in the dream, saying ‘I have raised your husband as a great evangelist in Africa; God told her. Ah, when He told her that I was happy because I knew something greater was still ahead. So it has been that in so many crusade, so many revival, glory be to God, glory be to God, any time am called upon to pray for the sick am so confident, because I know God will definitely work.
But at times when it doesn’t happen, do you feel bad?
No, no that is why I will prepare the heart of the people, that is why I said the choice of healing belongs to God o!, that in case it doesn’t happen! If every pastor knows that, they will not go for diabolical power. One thing that is very important to note is that all the sick cannot be healed, but all the sick can be saved, so what pastors should be trying to do is to ensure their salvation, once they are saved they are okay.