PRAYER SUPPORT HELPED ME
There were moments when Matthew Murray didn’t think he would see 2015 after a near death experience in October. He told IBelieve about his remarkable recovery
A journalist who was tested for Ebola after falling ill following a mission trip to Africa believes God saved him from a deadly form of malaria.
Matthew Murray — iBelieve’s Contributions Editor — was critically ill for three weeks after the malaria spread to 50 per cent of his bloodstream and all his major organs started shutting down. Murray’s wife Becky was told by medics they could do no more and to prepare for the worst — but she turned to social media and asked friends and family to pray for his recovery. Within three hours, Murray’s malaria levels dropped and his organs began to improve. He was released from hospital two-and—a-half weeks later and given a clean bill of health.
Speaking from his South Yorkshire home, Murray said: ”l can’t believe I’m alive. lt’s a miracle for sure. They say that if you have five per cent of malaria in your bloodstream then it can be severe, so when they told my wife it had reached 50 per cent, everyone feared the worst.
My wife turned to her faith, put the message out on Facebook, and Christians all over the world started to pray. l have no doubt whatsoever that God performed a miracle. Even the doctors and nurses admitted it baffled them that I survived. l was a dead man in everyone’s eyes but Jesus saved me.
“l didn’t look at my phone for a week because I was out of it and almost unconscious, but when l logged onto Facebook l was amazed. l had about 2,000 messages, mostly from complete strangers, saying people had been praying for me. Churches cancelled their services and held special prayer meetings, and believers gathered in homes, hotels and small groups, crying out to God on my behalf. I had messages from India, Sri Lanka, Sierra Leone, Kenya, Australia, Spain, the Philippines and Germany — literally from all over the world — saying that people were praying. A worship leader in Sunderland even wrote a song about me and his church sang it and prayed for my healing.
As soon as l heard that song it gave me hope. I knew the Church had my back and it filled me with instant peace.
”I’m so humbled that so many people were touched to pray for me. It’s been quite overwhelming to hear of the response. The Church saved my life through their prayers and God heard them, reached down into that hospital room and did what only he can do. When medicine could do no more, Jesus stepped in.”
Murray, 27, was on a fundraising trip to America when he complained flu-like symptoms. Two weeks previously he had been in Kenya, where he and Becky run King’s Children’s Home as part of their Murray booked an appointment with a doctor in Daphne, Alabama, who agreed to see him again two days later if his condition worsened. On his second visit, the doctor was extremely concerned and ordered Murray straight to hospital. He had all the symptoms of Ebola and was placed in an isolation room while experts tested him.
“|t was quite traumatic,” Murray revealed. ”My wife couldn’t touch me, hold my hand or kiss my face. She had to wear a huge suit and mask just to be in the same room as me. l was at the other end of the world thinking my life was about to end. We’d been in Kenya, which is the opposite side of Africa to the Ebola outbreak, sol was never really worried about that, but I did know I was very sick. We have a three- year-old son, Josiah, and I wasn’t even allowed to see him for two weeks.
“They tested me for every disease you can think of — Ebola, HIV, rabies, hepatitis — but they came back and told me I had malaria. At first I was relieved because many of our children in Kenva get malaria but with antibiotics they’re OK within a few days. But I had no idea of the severity of the strain and that it would almost kill me.”
As the parasite levels began to rise Murray’s body rejected the antibiotics, and Becky was told that his heart was enlarged, his lungs were functioning at 40 per cent capacity and his liver and kidneys were severely damaged.
“I really did begin to think that was it,” Murray admitted. “I had my faith in Christ and I always knew he could heal me, but the news was getting worse and worse. There were times when I felt so close to death. My mind was going, I was saying strange things and I felt that I would slip into eternity at any second.
“When I started getting better, I’d have a different doctor or nurse walk into my hospital room every day. They’d simply want to congratulate me on surviving. They’d say they saw me when I was first admitted and that everyone assumed I would die.
“I’ve since had some of the doctors and nurses who treated me add me as friends on Facebook. They’ve messaged me privately and said they can’t believe I made it. One even said the turnaround had restored her faith in Jesus.
“God is a God of miracles. Jesus healed people in the Bible and if we believe the Book then we believe he’s the same yesterday, today and forever. He never changes.”
Murray’s lungs, heart and liver were all declared well by doctors, but he couldn’t ﬂy back to Britain until his kidneys had improved.
“It was so frustrating,” he added. “Everything was well other than the kidneys. My good friend Nathan Morris, who is a well- known evangelist, came to see me, and I sensed that his visit would be significant. He prayed for me, and from that day, my kidneys got better and better.
“When I got back to England and had them tested again, the consultant said the numbers were completely normal and that there’s no long—term damage.”
Becky is delighted to have her husband home and the couple are busy planning future mission ventures together. “This certainly won’t stop us,” Becky added. “God saved Matthew for a reason and ‘ we’re ready for the next chapter in our lives.”
Doc: Healing is a. miracle
Matthew Murray’s doctor, Mike Mahoney, also believes God performed a miracle.
Dr Mahoney, a committed Christian, said: “l believe in miracles as l have witnessed many throughout my life and career. My meeting Matthew was no coincidence. It is still amazing to me that he walked around for as long as he did before he became so deathly ill. My initial compassion for him and his family was that they were all alone in a foreign country with only a couple of friends and without the support system that we all have in our homes and family. l felt compelled to pray for them in this manner.
“As Matthew deteriorated, my prayers changed to simply asking that Matthew not suffer and more towards Becky to give her strength to endure what l felt would be the inevitable. When God opened the door that Matthew possibly could survive, my prayers turned to intercessory prayers for a miracle. Even though Matthew continues to have an occasional setback, not only his survival, but his profound recovery from multi—system organ failure, has been astounding and miraculous.
“Modern medicine and good doctors get credit, but as instruments of God. Matthew gets credit for his faith and determination, but as an example of God’s love. Matthew is alive and with us today and l look forward with eager anticipation to see what great things God has in store for Matthew and his family.”