BY LAURA HOKANSON
Thud, thud, thud. The ground below Srey Pheak’s feet left a hollow echo behind her as she ran. Without consciousness and oblivious to direction or destination, she ran with determination, farther and farther away from home. No one could stop her. No one dared try. A demon controlled her actions. Her mind and her spirit were numb.
Nineteen years old and a graduate of Takong Adventist School (TAS), Srey Pheak is beloved by her parents. Her father suffers from a chronic illness requiring her mother’s constant physical care. This situation renders both parents unemployable and dependent on Srey Pheak and other family members for their daily needs. The day Srey Pheak ran away, they were beside themselves with worry. Finally, a call came from relatives in a neighboring village that Srey Pheak was there. For two days the villagers kept their distance as they watched her swing between fits of uncontrollable laughter, then crying, then argumentative fighting, all the while a blank stare filling her eyes where intelligence once resided.
When a visit from her mother failed to convince her to return home, her parents called upon the staff at TAS. “Please come and help us! Please pray for our daughter!” The school’s principal, Pr. Seng Makara, came to pray with Srey Pheak. Miraculously she calmed down and agreed to come home. The battle, however, was far from over.
Realizing the serious nature of the situation, Pr. Makara called all the teachers from TAS together to pray. Gathering around Srey Pheak in her home they prayed diligently for deliverance from the demonic presence. She sat silent, eyes glazed over and filled with defiance. Suddenly a bloodcurdling shriek rang through the room and Srey Pheak began to rock violently up and down. The praying teachers prayed all the louder and with increased earnestness. The more they prayed, the louder her screams became. When the prayer ended Srey Pheak became silent and seemed conscious, but not completely herself.
The next morning the prayer team returned to the Srey Pheak’s home. Her condition had worsened. This time, during the prayer vigil, she seemed to calm down and be relieved of the evil spirit, but she would return to her possessed condition when the prayers ended. The team came back that afternoon, and again prayer calmed her, giving her some temporary relief. Yet again, her condition worsened when the prayers ended.
Not willing to give up on her, the teachers came again the following morning to pray. When they arrived, they were met by Srey Pheak’s distraught parents. “It’s hopeless!” they cried. “Nothing is getting better! We don’t know what to do!”
“Don’t be afraid,” the teachers told them. “Our God is all-powerful. What we cannot do, He always does. Just keep believing!” As they prayed, those on their knees felt that the power of God was stayed upon them and Srey Pheak seemed to be getting better with each prayer. The teachers encouraged the parents to continue praying themselves and not to depend on the prayer visits of the teachers alone. “Humble yourselves before God,” they told them. “Depend wholly on our powerful God.”
That night Srey Pheak’s father spent the whole night in prayer. The next morning Srey Pheak was markedly improved. The teachers came again to pray, and this time they boldly asked the Holy Spirit to heal her completely and cast out the demon. A few hours later, Srey Pheak became herself again. A look of intelligence replaced her blank stare. Her raucous laughing, crying, and screaming ceased. She asked for food, for she had refused to eat for several days during her ordeal.
Since that day, Srey Pheak has been herself, completely healed from the possession of the evil spirit. She attends church every Sabbath and stays afterward for united prayer. Her parents have come to understand the power of prayer and the love of God, and her teachers have learned the importance of persevering prayer. After witnessing this miracle their testimony was, “Even though it takes a long time to pray for the miracle, it is important that we don’t give up and that we keep having faith. In the end, God will always answer!”
Do the answers to your prayers seem delayed? Do you feel like giving up? Take courage. The same God that answered the prayers for Srey Pheak will answer yours, too.