Miracles in the womb
God is answering the prayers of couples desiring children.
By Scott Harrup
A decade ago, Pastor Joseph Fuiten and Cedar Park Assembly of God in
Bothell, Wash., began dedicating a Sunday to pray for couples desiring
children. Since then more than 100 couples have seen God answer their
prayers, and some have experienced undeniable miracles.
Every year the special service has grown and expanded to other churches.
Next Sunday more than 20 churches in the area, including Cedar Park
Assembly, will hold special services.
During the service, Pastor Joseph Fuiten dedicates babies born to parents
who were prayed for last year. These parents share testimonies of Gods
faithfulness and provision (see sidebar) and bolster the faith of other
couples who have come from across America to receive special prayer.
The services and miracles have captured the attention of the news media.
"Weve had calls from Sweden and Norway on the story, and
on Sunday morning all of Seattles media ABC, NBC and CBS
have been in the service," Fuiten says.
Whether it is a broadcast of Bothells Evening Magazine or a nationally
aired segment of Inside Edition, the images are equally compelling.
Couples stream to the altars and unashamedly cry out to God for His
Cedar Park observes Presentation Sunday on the last Sunday in January,
a day that traditionally recognizes when Jesus was presented in Jerusalems
temple 40 days after His birth.
"It started when I set aside a year to follow the life of Christ
and use it for my personal devotions, attaching any event that I could
to the calendar," Fuiten says. He integrated his findings into
his sermons. "On a Sunday night in January, Epiphany Sunday,
I preached on Jesus water baptism and anointing by the Holy Spirit.
I invited people to come forward and be anointed with the Holy Spirit
like Jesus was. Quite a few people received the baptism in the Holy
Spirit that night."
Three weeks later, Fuiten focused on Christs presentation by
Joseph and Mary at the temple. "I invited couples to come forward
to be prayed for concerning issues of infertility," he says. "Two
couples came forward and braved the public attention. A few months later,
one of the couples came back and said, By the way, were
Since then the number of couples requesting prayer has grown. In 2000,
Cedar Park coordinated a multichurch emphasis across Bothell. About
150 couples came to be prayed for; another 150 couples received prayer
at other churches in the area.
"Its a wonderful opportunity for the church to demonstrate
unity and for God to demonstrate the miraculous," says Pastor Norm
Willis of Christ Church of Kirkland, a nondenominational congregation.
Willis and his wife believe their second child is a direct result of
answered prayer, so they have prayed for couples in their church for
years. When Willis heard about Cedar Parks ministry, he enthusiastically
became involved. Joining with other churches and with Cedar Park allows
for a powerful focus of faith on this need, Willis says. Christ Church
will again participate on Presentation Sunday 2001.
Word has spread so dramatically in the past few years that people of
many faiths have entered a Christian church for prayer. "We have
had Muslims and Buddhists come to be prayed for," Fuiten says.
Cedar Park does not categorize the answers to would-be parents
prayers. Any child is a gift from God, regardless of how that child
came into a home. Many couples have become pregnant naturally, others
have had children through medical assistance and a number have successfully
adopted after attending the prayer service.
"Some doubters have told me this is all just coincidence,"
he says. "But Ive discovered that the more I pray, the more
Rich and Christy Haugo know they experienced a miracle. "No
egg, no baby, were the exact words my doctor used to drive home
the point that I did not ovulate and was not going to get pregnant without
medical help," says Christy.
Christy and Rich dont discourage other couples from seeking medical
help, but they sensed God wanted to work another kind of miracle. They
were prayed for on Presentation Sunday. On June 21, 1996, their first
miracle daughter, Richelle Christine, was born. They were prayed for
again at 1999s Presentation Sunday service. They conceived two
months later and recently welcomed their second daughter, Bethany, into
Some couples, like Bryce and Denise Wagner, were prayed for at several
Presentation Sunday services before they saw results. "Denise reached
a point where she didnt want to go forward anymore," says
Bryce. They had been prayed for in 1998, gotten pregnant, then miscarried
"My sister and I both had the same physicians, and my sister went
into labor the same time that I knew that I was miscarrying," Denise
says. "We both went into the hospital at the same time. While she
was giving birth to her son, I was having a miscarriage. That was probably
the breaking point for me."
Despite Denises hesitation, the Wagners again went forward for
prayer in 1999. Today, their daughter Amber is the answer to their prayers.
The miscarriages and Ambers birth have drawn them closer to God.
"Needing a child brought us to the Lord," Denise says.
Steve and Shelley McKenzie, who experienced 12 miscarriages, see their
sons, Justin and Nathan, as answers to prayer. The fact both boys were
conceived with medical assistance does not diminish the McKenzies
sense of divine intervention.
"Mine is a 20-year story," Shelley says. "I would be
losing a baby while one of my best friends was having a baby. I finally
had two test-tube babies; thats what these are, miracle
babies gifts from the Lord."
Spiritual struggles are a common thread among couples who come forward
at Cedar Park, according to Sue Timpe, director of the churchs
bereavement ministry, which includes offering ministry support to couples
wanting children. Their discouragement in the wake of childless years
can overwhelm their faith, she says.
The ministry staff at Cedar Park are personally connected with the
pain of childless couples. Fuiten and his wife have four children, but
they endured numerous miscarriages early in their marriage. He speaks
from experience when he says, "One of the most painful things for
a couple is to want to have children but to be unable to." He remembers
his own cries to God when he stands before new couples each year and
prays, "Lord, I ask You to bless these couples with a child."
"When I miscarried," Timpe says, "I was not allowed
to grieve because those around me didnt acknowledge that child.
I grew up in a non-Christian home, and to my family my miscarriage was
never a child. So beyond our ministry to couples praying for children,
we also want to reach out to those who have lost children. I would like
to see an area at churches where people could put a brick or a stepping
stone as a remembrance of their child."
Fuiten emphasizes that any church can begin this kind of ministry and
that couples wanting children should bring that need to their pastor.
"They should ask their pastor to call the church to pray for them
just as anyone would who had some other medical need," he says.
"This is not something to be ashamed of. There are hundreds of
thousands of couples facing this pain. In the past, this has been a
silent agony for too many couples. They need to let the body of Christ
know of their need, gather around them in faith, and then share in the
joy of thanking God for new life."
Scott Harrup is general editor of the Pentecostal