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Ephphatha: A Prayer to Heal Stuttering

Whenever I come in contact with an individual born with a speech impediment or stuttering, I cringe.  When encountering a stranger or someone I know who struggles to get words out of their mouths, I feel utterly helpless.  As a former stutterer, every condition and degree varies from person to person.  While I want everyone to be healed, I have been unable to intervene until know.

They brought to Him a man who was deaf and had difficulty speaking, and they begged Jesus to place His hand on him, Mark 7:32.

Prior to completing his gospel, John Mark a member of the apostle Paul’s ministry team either interviewed or spoke with an eyewitness to one of Jesus’ many miracles.  Known as Mark to avoid being confused with the disciple with the same name, this gospel contains a prayer spoken by Jesus.  Although the man in this passage was deaf and mute, the word Ephphatha can be used as to prayer to heal stuttering.

Jesus, taking him aside by himself, away from the crowd, put His fingers into the man’s ears, and after spitting, He touched the man’s tongue [with the saliva]; 34 and looking up to heaven, He sighed deeply and said to the man, “Ephphatha,” which [in Aramaic] means, “Be opened and released!” 35 And his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he began speaking plainly, Mark 7:33-35.

To avoid setting desperate people up for failure, there are multiple variables that cause people to stutter.  For some its a medical condition, others stutter due to nerves or a lack of air that lead to shortness of breath.  According to the Bible, demons and unclean spirits have the power to cease or constrict one’s ability to verbalize thoughts or feelings.  Meanwhile, doubt, a lack of faith and unbelief cause many to stammer and stutter for a lifetime.

Jesus replied to them, “I assure you and most solenly say to you, if you have faith [personal trust and confidence in Me] and do not doubt or allow yourself to be drawn in two directions, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ it will happen [if God wills it]. 22 And whatever you ask for in prayer, believing, you will receive,” Matthew 21:21-22.

Prior to being healed of stuttering during my final full year of college, Christian friends questioned my faith whenever I stuttered.  While my roommates and a church friend laid hands on me, claiming Ephphatha, my healing was gradual, not immediate.  Even now when I stray from God, spouts of stuttering return until I draw near the Lord again.  I want to share my testimony to give the defeated a glimpse of hope for the future.  I’m not sure why God choose to heal me, but I believe faith, godly friends and the power of God to open and release tongues via the Holy Spirit can serve as a prayer to heal stuttering.

by Jay Mankus

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