John Tesh says immersing himself in Scripture played key role in cancer recovery: 'The devil is after your mind'

John Tesh, six-time Emmy Award winning journalist, Grammy-nominated composer and concert pianist, and nationally-syndicated broadcaster.
John Tesh, six-time Emmy Award winning journalist, Grammy-nominated composer and concert pianist, and nationally-syndicated broadcaster. | Teshmedia inc.

John Tesh believes “renewing your mind” is one of the most important biblical mandates — yet one of the most overlooked in modern society.

“I have found that many people don't truly understand that there are dark forces, that the devil is after your mind,” the 71-year-old pianist, author and radio host told The Christian Post. “They don't understand that. It's hard to believe because there are so many movies about it and all that. Many people think that when a thought comes into their mind, it comes from them, and it's not. It’s put there by some other force.”

“If you have so much unbelief and doubt in your heart, it's like two pickup trucks that are chained together going in opposite directions, and you can't get anywhere. A consistent prayer life is like a muscle; you have to work on it. And then, you'll read a Scripture in the Bible and all of the sudden, you face a different challenge, and that Scripture comes alive in a different way.”

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Tesh knows firsthand the power of prayer: In 2015, the Emmy Award-winning host was diagnosed with a rare form of prostate cancer and given just 18 months to live.

“I was told to get my affairs in order. I became a cancer patient,” he recalled. 

Connie Sellecca
Connie Sellecca

During this time, Tesh, with the encouragement of his wife, Connie, leaned into the power of prayer and explored what the Bible says about healing. Despite his upbringing in the Methodist Church and early exposure to Scripture, like many young adults, Tesh strayed from his faith during college, only to return to it later in life. 

His journey through cancer, he said, deepened his faith greatly. He credits a CD from preacher Andrew Wommack, which emphasized Mark 11:23, for providing a breakthrough moment.

“He said that the Bible says, ‘Whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says,’ and ‘For whatever you ask when you pray, believe that you receive it, and you will have,’” he said. “I thought, ‘Wow, my mountain right now is cancer.’ My wife and I started digging deeper to understand the true nature of God.”

“I've read the Bible for years, but I never really truly landed on those Scriptures. And that really started a journey of dual-modality for me, science and doctors, and also, what does the Bible say about health and healing?”

Today, the Grammy-nominated composer and concert pianist is cancer-free — a miracle he attributes to his Christian faith, the support of his wife and the wisdom of doctors. 

“There are some churches that teach healing and only healing through faith, but that's not what worked for me,” Tesh said. “What worked for me was using what God did for medicine, and then also being able to renew my mind and have a focus of what God really wanted for me and be able to visualize my future.”

Tesh has leveraged his experiences to create an online course, "The Secret to Answered Prayers," aimed at teaching individuals how to pray with authority and combine faith with science for a more holistic approach to healing and well-being. 

The impetus for "The Secrets to Answered Prayers" online course came after a survey of his nearly 2 million social media followers who expressed a desire to learn how to create a deeper prayer life.

“Don't talk to God about sickness; talk to sickness about God,” he said. 

He emphasized that the course is not about dismissing medical science but rather integrating it with faith, with a focus on emphasizing the impact of negative self-talk and the importance of adopting a positive and faith-filled mindset.

“When I first discovered these Scriptures, I prayed throughout my day and I believed, but I made a mistake — after my first round of three years of treatments, I decided not to get any more scans and the cancer came back with a vengeance. And I understood then truly that faith and medicine needed to work together. And I think it's a dangerous thing that some churches do, where some of them don't teach this at all.”

Tesh, whose radio show, "Intelligence for Your Life," airs on 350 stations and reaches 14 million people each week, said he’s heard countless stories from those who have been transformed by the course. 

“I think renewing your mind has become more revelatory for people than just hey, how do I pray?” he said. “When you’re finally able to consistently renew your mind, then then you can start you can start with belief and not unbelief. That's really one of the biggest things that people say is, ‘Oh my gosh, I've been able to renew my mind, and I can see more clearly what God wants from me.’”

Reflecting on his health today, Tesh said he’s cancer-free and continues to perform and maintain a busy schedule: “ I'm 71 years old, and I just did six concerts in a row, and each concert is three hours long,” he said, adding that at each of his shows, he shares the Gospel and how it changed his life onstage. 

“I've been looking for ministry my whole life, and it was it was right there and in front of me,” he said. “There are a lot of people that are hurting, and COVID made it worse. That’s really where I feel like I'm meant to be, sharing this testimony.”

The radio host revealed he has another cancer scan coming up next week — “and I believe it’s going to be clear,” he said. 

“But if it’s not, I'll go after it,” he said. “I feel like I have so many weapons at my disposal that fear is entirely absent. And once you understand where you're going after this life, you just don't have any fear. I had a lot of fear when I was going through all those treatments; it was really scary for all of us. But I don't have that anymore.”

Leah M. Klett is a reporter for The Christian Post. She can be reached at:

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