A pastor in the U.K. who miraculously came back to life after being dead for 15 minutes has credited the “power of prayer” and “divine providence” for saving him.
In November, Christopher Wickland, pastor of Living Word Pentecostal Church in Fareham, Hampshire, was jumping at a trampoline park with three of his youngest children when he began vomiting and collapsed, the Daily Echo reports.
Staff used a defibrillator four times to restart his heart, and he was then rushed to the intensive care unit of St Mary’s Hospital, Southampton. There, doctors informed his wife, Tracey, that he had suffered a cardiac arrest and had died for 15 minutes. They also warned her that he could suffer brain and heart damage should he survive.
Tracey told the Daily Mail that immediately after learning of her husband’s illness, she contacted members of a prayer network that they are part of to start praying for him.
“‘I put it on Facebook and it was amazing because hundreds of people from around the world contacted me and told me they were praying for Chris,” she said, adding that while the jump park staff and doctors did an “incredible job,” her husband would be dead “if it wasn’t for all these people praying.”
Wickland spent almost 48 hours in an induced coma and stayed in the hospital for three weeks before being released on a Sunday morning. Incredibly, he has made a full recovery both physically and mentally.
“This is a miracle that is all down to divine providence and the very quick actions of some people,” the pastor told the Daily Mail. “My congregation and other Christians around the world were also praying for me. All this power was harnessed to keep me alive. I’m not lucky, I’m blessed.”
Speaking about his recovery, the 47-year-old pastor said: “I’ve been checked out by the doctors several times now and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with me. They can’t believe that I died for so long and there’s no permanent damage.
“I’ve always been a bit of a keep-fit fanatic and have returned to running and lifting weights. I’ve also been very aware of my diet. So having a cardiac arrest was a bit surprising for me but dying was a far bigger shock.”
On Facebook, Wickland, who has since returned to the pulpit at Living Word Church, called the entire ordeal “nothing short of a miracle.” He revealed that he has no recollection of anything about his visit to the trampoline park or any of the events connected to his death. The reality of his situation didn’t hit him, he said, until he met the jump park staff who saved his life.
“When I saw them face to face and they told me the details of what happened, that’s when it really hit me. I almost broke down and cried,” he said.
“I kept on thanking the staff for their actions because I never fully understood that I had been dead until they and God intervened. There are no words to describe how grateful I am to them both and the staff at St Mary’s.”
The pastor also revealed that he never saw or heard anything supernatural when he died.
“I’ve only been able to piece this together from what my family and others have told me,” he said. “When I was dead, I didn’t see or hear anything, as has happened to some people. It’s as if everything has just been completely erased from my memory and my mind has completely shut it out.”
Numerous stories of medical miracles brought about by the power of prayer have made headlines in recent years.
The 2019 blockbuster “Breakthrough” told the miraculous true story of Joyce and John Smith, a mother and son who relied on the power of prayer and the Holy Spirit following an accident in which John was pronounced deceased by doctors at the hospital.
After 45 minutes, his mother's desperate supplications to God brought him back to life after the doctors lost all hope.
"I've never heard of a story where it's a medical record. It's not like a subjective thing, It's medical record: 'patient dead, mother prayed, patient came back to life,' that is medical record,” “Breakthrough” producer DeVon Franklin told CP. “So that is so amazing that I just felt compelled that it would be another story that could make a strong case for God.”