"Heal Me, O Lord"

In this Guideposts classic story, a woman suffering from a rash and blinding headaches discovers there is only one cure.

By Marilyn Ludolf, Winston-Salem, North Carolina

As appeared in

I woke up with the same tormenting headache I had gone to bed with, and struggled to the bathroom. I grasped the sink with both hands and reluctantly raised my pounding head to the mirror.

The face reflected in the glass was a fiery red mask of tiny bumps and large acnelike sores. Hundreds of them. The horrible rash covered my face like the Egyptian plague of boils in the Bible. The unending headache and rash comprised the mysterious condition I had lived with for 12 long, unbearable years.

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Here I was, a middle-aged woman with two teenage sons and a husband, and I could hardly bear to raise my head and look in the mirror.

Tears blurred my vision as I tried to remember the smooth, milk-white complexion I used to have. My fingers twitched, longing to claw at the fiercely itching skin on my face.

I had tried everything—special diets, oatmeal soap, baby oil, vitamins and enough creams and ointments to fill a small drugstore. And the long line of doctors I had seen had passed by like a dwindling parade of hope. The rash had only grown worse, and my face swelled, itched and turned tomato-red at the slightest stimulus.

Suddenly the pain behind my eyes tightened as if someone were packing cotton into my sinuses. I reached for a bottle of pain medication and quickly swallowed a couple of pills. I took the maximum of eight pills a day. But they only forestalled the worst of it—when the pain crept down my neck, making clear thinking nearly impossible.

I felt consumed by despair, by the long years of this strange affliction. I had prayed so many times for it to go away. "Oh, God, why don't you help me?"

I dabbed at my eyes and dressed for work. My head ached so much I could hardly pull a comb through my hair. I thought about crawling back into bed. But, of course, I couldn't. I liked my work as a third grade schoolteacher. I had to keep going.

As I entered school that morning a little girl peered up at me, her eyes wide with surprise and dismay. "How come your face looks like that?" she asked.

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I raised my hands over my cheeks and tried to explain. But I fell silent. I had no answer.

Not long after, someone told me about a dermatologist. I had seen half a dozen specialists already, but I made an appointment, ready to grasp at anything. I sat slumped on his examining table after a long series of allergy tests.

"Well, maybe we have an answer," the doctor said. "It appears you are allergic to yourself."

I stared at him disbelievingly. "You must be kidding!"

"I know it sounds strange, but these allergy tests show you are allergic to your own bacteria."

Hope blew away like the last autumn leaf. Allergic to myself. How could I escape that?

"We'll make a special serum, using your saliva," said the doctor, "and teach you how to inject it."

And so began the next three years of giving myself shots. The headaches were not quite as severe, nor the rash quite as red—partial relief. The doctor did everything he could, prescribing medicines, creams and consultations. Still, the ever-present plague was agonizing, embarrassing.

So I followed my old, exhausted pattern and found yet another doctor. This time an outstanding allergist. More tests. More money. He decided I was allergic to a long list of foods, and put me on a diet. For a year I existed on nothing but peas, potatoes, carrots, lettuce and lean meat. My weight plummeted to 102 pounds.

"You're wasting away, Mama," said my son one morning as I packed my lunch of canned peas. He was right. Something dreadful was happening to me. And despite it all the daily headaches persisted, and the humiliating rash and acne were splashed across my face as big and red as ever.

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This is no way to live, I thought dismally as I draped a scarf across my head and left for work.

Then one Sunday as I struggled to teach my Sunday school class, I heard myself saying, "God is the answer." I paused, the echo of my words thundering in my head. As the class continued, the words burrowed inside me like a splinter.

At home after church I lay on the sofa with a warm cloth across my forehead. I gazed out the windows at the silent woods across the road. The words I had spoken that morning nudged at me.

I am a Christian, I thought. I tell other people God is the answer, that they can find wholeness through him. Yet I've been a prisoner of this condition for nearly 16 years.

Suddenly the familiar old story of the woman in Mark 5:25-34 focused in my mind. The woman who touched the hem of Jesus' robe and was healed. I was so much like her. I too had suffered a condition for many years, gone to countless physicians, spent nearly all I had and was not better, but worse.

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I am not sure where to write this but this feels right:
This is my prayer
God my heavenly father,
I come to you a man defeated. I come to you weakened. My way of living is in turmoil. My head and heart is hard to lift. I try to be strong for my wife, my son Aiden and my son Evan who is on the way, but our struggle is imminent. Our finances are low and we are struggling to provide. I know it is you who can save us, I know you can answer. God please heal me, fix my heart and take my doubt. Guide me and encourage me, forgive me for my impatiants and the actions and words that followed when I began to stray. Hear me Lord and allow me to wait and hear from you, for I know the life I live is set forth on path you laid for me. I do not know what will come before me but I will embrace it so long as it comes from you. All I ask God is that when you lead me that you always continue to do so.
In Jesus name I pray. Amen

Your story is same as mind I can't watch my face into the mirror sometime kept going and coming sometimes I so ashamed, I have faith my lord will heal me and make me whole and beautiful and renew my youth.

God must have, in His plan, a reason that I am still here. All the Drs.(except for two - one being my brother-in-law) told everyone it was Very UNLIKELY I would 'survive' the next few hours to morning. Unlikely I could 'make it through' the extensive surgery ahead. Unlikely I would 'come out of’ coma. Unlikely the dialysis would work quickly enough to 'cleanse' my septic ‘blood’ to 'save' my rapidly failing kidneys. The prognosis was not ‘hopeful’.
WRONG! ALL those things that should NOT have happened – DID happen.
Later they gave little hope I could ‘overcome’ the nearly total paralysis below my neck. At the best I would likely ‘be bound’ to a wheelchair.
WRONG AGAIN! In fact, my PT and OT were ‘amazed’ at my progress and how hard I pushed toward recovery. They didn’t understand it was not I alone who accomplished these things … It was by Prayer and Praise to GOD! By Christ’s ‘stripes’ I was healed!

I'm inspired by this story even though my sickness is different chf. I feel that Jesus has all power to heal anything and will restore my faith in The Lord with these bible versus thank you for your story

my nasty rash is on my arms I am a believer in god i'm like you I have so much ach and muscle twitching and believe it or not i'm told i'm crazy it is the most humiliating thing I have to wear long sleeves at work in the summer I feel like i'm going to pass out my muscles are so tight my large leg muscles just roll when I put pressure on them on the chair just to sit here I've had to go on medical leave cause I feel something crawling all over my face and many other areas, I don't want to get out of bed or face another doctor they are no help I feel like I could get better care in another country I did write down these 36 scriptures to read my son has it too and I begged him to see a dr but he said it is a waste of money he said its the end of the world and every body has it I can't accept this and want to end this torture I believe god has to heal my whole household from this creepy crawling biting beast, did you ever feel like you were contagious too!

Hi i am 15 years old and i have recently received gods healing! I had a uti and I am not sexually active I prayed to god in his name to heal me over night and I woke up in the morning with no pain in using the restroom and I didn't feel like I had to pee all the time! God neared my prayer and I worship and praise him!! I love him so much and I thank him each and every day!!

Please contact me. Thanks, Marilyn.

Did you recite these in the order you've listed them?

Thank you

Wow!! an unbelievable story on what God is capable of doing...last year i went thru my episode of anxiety and depression once more for 4 months and the only thing that held me together and comforted me were God's promises, his scriptures...at one time my husband and brought a little pup home and within two weeks time he had something called dystemper and it broke my heart to see that even the vets couldnt do anything becuz he was beyond help and once again i called out to God and said, Lord...i dont know how to help this pup but i know ur the creator of all things...help my unbelief and heal this dog and show me ur still in control.....and He Did!!!! that dog is big now and out at my sisters, i shouldve named him miracle becuz he is...thank u Marilyn for sharing that story....means so much to those that are looking for hope..God Bless..:)

Wow I was feeling down and about, about my health... Ironically partly due to a rash! I was praying God please heal me of any virus, infection etc... that may be causing this! And to also remove the tumor that I have too (I have no insurance right now) and then I was this. I pray that God that through strengthening my faith and getting ingraved in my mind that I will be healed!

I've been in a lot of pain. Since I read this on july 12th it Renewed my faith ..and I'm very hopeful for total healing.. Thanks Lord in advance for a Mracle..!?? for me and my familys needs too .
The painful. issue has been almost unbearable at times.. and I pray for everyone who reads this for your healing touch dear lord..! in the name of your son jesus amen

I have not been feeling well lately because I was worried sick about my daughter. She has alopecia and was told 2 days ago that the rashes in her arms could be psoriasis, stemming from her auto immune condition. I was looking for ways to help my daughter. I keep praying for her but somehow know my prayers are not enough. How can I reach God? Then I read Heal me, O Lord. I am now busy collecting the bible verses Marilyn used. I even found one for myself in Matthew 15:25,28. Then Jesus answered, "Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted". And her daughter was healed from that very hour.
Thank you Guideposts for such inspirational stories.

Oh My God, ultra-Inspiring. I have never heard anything like this before. But I did believe it will happen. now you have given evidence. Thanks for sharing this wonderful amazing story of your life.

I was wondering if you can send me the verses listed in this article - as my brother has been struggling with chronic lymphocitic leukemia for the last 6 years and nothing seems to be helping him - he has become very depressed and maybe these versus will be the miracle we need. I love my brother very much and want for him to be healed.

Thank You
Lorraine Wolfe

Also can you include him in your pryaers

Hello Lorraine. I'm sorry to hear of the health struggles your brother has been facing. I encourage you also to post your prayer request at OurPrayer.org, where a Guideposts staffer or volunteer will be pleased to raised up your concerns in prayer. As for the list of verses, you'll find it at the end of the story above.

I read the original article in 1998 at a time when I was really struggling with fibromyalgia. I copied the 36 scriptures from my Bible onto 5X8 paper that I used in my journal (still do!). There is something very special about looking up the scripture passage, reading it, and then copying it manually that you don't get with cut and paste. I took those sheets everywhere I went and read them over and over and over. Gradually, I began to improve, and the worst of the symptoms receded. I've rewritten the scriptures several times as pages wore out. I firmly believe that my faith grew to the point that God was able to give me the victory. Since then, I've shared those scriptures with several others. Thank you, Guideposts, for being the tool God has used so amazingly!

Concerning the verse listed Jeremiah 17:14 1 I believe that this is a misprint however Jeremiah 17:14 which is

Heal me, O Lord, and I will be healed;

save me and I will be saved,

for you are the one I praise.

Excellent...I reread the story, and found the scriptures!

In the April 1998 issue of Guideposts, Marilyn Ludolf referred to the scriptures that promoted her healing. Can you please cite the scriptures to which she referred. As Sandra Guthrie wrote, she was able to put them on index cards. Sounds like a wonderful idea!

I wonder if Marilyn Ludolf has any idea of the lives she has touched and the impact she has made by sharing her story. Bless you, Marilyn.

I was just reading the back cover of my Guidepost this month and the story of healing stood out. I was not aware of why until later that same evening, I received a call stating that one of my cousins had discovered she had stage 1 lymphoma cancer. She is young and has two young girls. I immediately went back to the magazine and looked up the month and date. I have now copied the scripture verses and will be sending it to my sister to give to my cousin. Thank you for providing the scripture verses.

Could I also have the list of the healing scriptures?
Thanks so much!

I have been taking Guideposts for a long time, but maybe not as long as I thought. I read Sandra S. Guthrie's article under "How a Story Made a Difference," in the March 2012 issue of Guideposts. Sandra's article was titled, The Great Healer. In her article she mentions the name of Marilyn Ludolf who wrote an article titled, "Heal Me, O Lord." In this article Marilyn includes healing Biblical scriptures. Would it be possible for me to receive these healing scriptures? Thank you.

Ann, the story you're asking about is this one, the one that you've added your comment to. And at the end of that story is the list of verses.

Could I have a copy of the 36 scriptures that Marilyn read daily for healing?

Thank you Guideposts for listing the 36 scriptures along with the article by Marilyn Ludolf. I recall reading the article in 1998, and have even thought about it from time to time. The article reminds us that God is still our healer, even in today's fast paced world, and that faith is still the key to our relationship with Him.

I found a reference to this article in the current Guideposts, March 2012. I recall reading this article in 1998 and have even thought about it from time to time. Thank you Guideposts for listing the scriptures with the article!

John 4:4 must be a misprint. It's not applicable to healing though John 4:47, 49 and following is. Thank you for including the scriptures. www.biblegateway.com makes it easy to copy and paste the verses into a file.

I noticed a 1 at the end of the Jeremiah scripture above the John 4:4. I'm thinking it could be 1 John 4:4, which reads, "Greater is He that is in me, than he that is in the world." Hope this helps.

Thank you for noticing this and pointing it out!

I wasn't here when this story was first published, tchr444, so I can't speak to whether it was a misprint when it originally appeared, but this list is reproduced precisely as it was printed in the April 1998 issue of Guideposts.

Thanks for the addition of the references. My ladies group is studying "The Power of Prayer" by Stormie Omartian and this story will fit into our session perfectly...which just happens to be tomorrow!

Love you Guys.

I just read the story in the current Guidepost this morning, went to the computer to pull up the 1998 story that was mentioned and was disappointed that the verse references were not included. I came back to the computer tonight to do some further research on the story as I have a ladies study tomorrow morning that I wanted to share with since we are studying "The Power of a Praying Life" by Stormie Omartian and this article fits in perfectly and I was pleasantly suprised to see that the Bible references had now been made available...love you guys!

Just on the chance, I checked back today. Thank you so much Guideposts for adding the 36 scripture verses on healing. May God bless you for doing this and doing it so quickly. Once again, thank you.

Thanks for your interest in this story, everyone. You'll now find the 36 Bible verses listed at the end of the story.

What a wonderful story of faith and healing. Would you send me a copy of the 36 verses that Marilyn Ludolf used to pray for healing. I have a friend that has cancer and I would like to share them with her.
Thank you so much.

The article says that she used the concordance in the back of her bible to look up the verses. You could probably use any concordance to look them up.

Could you please email me the 36 scriptures she used to make herself well? Thank you so much

may i please have the 36 scriptures mentioned in this story so i may pass them along to a co-worker just recently diagnosed with cancer.

thank you very much and God bless

I really enjoy Guideposts & in fact buy yearly subscriptions for family & friends as well as for myself which I give away at a nursing home nearby after I read it. After reading this testimony, I would like to see if you could tell me the Bible verses the author prayed.

Thank you to all the contributors to the Guidepost. I look forward to every issue. I also would like a copy of the 36 scriptures for my husband and I. I also am sharing them with my sister. Thank you.

I have just finished reading March 2012 Guideposts and on page 83 it mentions The Great Healer. I went online to read the story but would like to request a copy of the 36 scriptures for healing. Guideposts is one of the most uplifting and inspriational readings that I look forward to. Thanks so much.

I would like to get the 36 scriptures that Marilyn read daily for healing. My husband has been fighting cancer for 2 years and we are praying for a healing and I have thought a lot about the woman that touched Jesus' hem!

As a long time subscriber somehow I missed The original Guidepost story "Heal Me, O Lord" by Marilyn Ludolf (4/1998). Thank you for printing Sandra Guthrie's testimony in March, 2012 Guidepost that referenced Marilyn's healing scriptures.
Please send me a list of the 36 healing scriptures referenced.
Thank you for such good work. Guidepost is truly a guide post on my faith walk. Syrtiller

I, too, would love a copy of the 36 scriptures that Marilyn prayed. Is there any way to get them? Please advise. Thank you so much.

I also would like to request a copy of the 36 Bible scriptures. Thanks for the assistance!

Could I please obtain a copy of the 36 scriptures that Marilyn used? I would be most appreciative! Thank you!

If I could obtain a copy of the Scriptures Marilyn used, I would be most appreciative. I would like to share them with a 36 year old friend with cancer who only has 6 months to live.

Is it possible to receive a list of the 36 healing Scriptures from this story by Marilyn Ludolf? Thank you.

Please forward the 36 scripture verses that Marilyn read daily for healing. We need them.

Sincerelt, Mary

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