I have been invited to sign and sell my book at a Christmas craft fair, which is being hosted by the parish church for a relatively deprived urban area.

At 84,000 words and with a recommended retail price of £12.99, I’m aware that my book is likely to be beyond the means of many of those coming. (My publisher once informed me that, for a book to cost £10 or less, it needs to be 60,000 words or less … Who knew?!) But I also feel confident that I’m meant to be there, and I’ve been praying and asking God why.

A steady stream of people head into the hall and stop at my stall. Some of them want to make a purchase, but most of them simply want to chat, especially when they discover the book contains a collection of ten true modern-day miracle stories. Suddenly they start pouring out their own stories of miracles experienced, or miracles longed for, or miracles not granted – and I find myself in listening mode.

A well-dressed woman in her sixties, elegant in her demeanour, stands out from the crowd. She comes to my stall, picks up a book, digests the back cover, and then leans over, bending in towards me.

“I’m not religious at all,” she informs me in almost a whisper, “but I’m definitely spiritual.”

“Go on,” I reply, immediately sending up arrow prayers. “What do you mean by that?”

“Well, I believe in a divine force,” she says. “I just don’t know what it is or how it operates.”

“Have you had any experience of the divine?” I ask her.

“Not exactly,” she replies, “but my friend has.”

She then proceeds to tell me of an incident, not that long ago, which happened to a friend of hers, Janet*, and her husband, Mike*.

“It’s left me with lots of questions,” she says.


Mike is dying. He has terminal cancer and discussions have started about how best to provide him with end-of-life care at home. One of his symptoms is that he is regularly retching, vomiting black bile, and struggling to hold down food.

Janet is a committed Christian. She is praying for Mike every day, just as she has been since he was first diagnosed, believing in God for his healing.

On one particular night, after a lot of sickness, Mike is lying in bed, and Janet is praying. She is praying out loud, by his bed, with him and for him, in the name of Jesus. For some unknown reason, she finds herself praying throughout that evening, into the early hours of the morning, all through the night, during the dawn, and on into the morning. She feels she is being supernaturally sustained in her epic prayer vigil by the bed of her dying husband.

When Mike wakes up, he looks different. The colour in his face has returned. He sits up in bed, propped up by his pillows, and declares he no longer feels nauseous.

“I’m hungry,” he declares, and asks for some breakfast.

Janet, astounded, obliges.

“What I don’t understand,” he says, as he tucks into tea and toast, “is why you kept the light on all night at the end of the bed. Why didn’t you turn it off?”

Janet looks at him, bewildered. “What light?” she asks.

“There was a bright light shining on me all through the night,” he explains, “coming from the end of the bed.”

Even as he says it, it slowly dawns on both of them what it could be …

“Perhaps it was an angel?” he suggests, “Or maybe even Jesus?”


As she reaches the climax in her story, the elegant woman stops leaning over my stall and stands up straight.

“Mike was declared cancer-free soon after that,” she tells me. “The doctors couldn’t explain it, but Jackie and he were convinced that Jesus had healed him.”

“What do you think?” I ask her. “Do you think Jesus healed him?” I pause a moment and then follow up, “And what about the light? Do you think that was Jesus too?”

“I’m just not sure,” she says. “Like I say, it’s left me with lots of questions.”

“If you’ve got questions, there’s a course called Alpha, which provides a really safe space to ask them,” I say, before proceeding to explain how Alpha works, and suggesting she might want to see if she can find some answers to her questions there.

She isn’t convinced. But she does decide to buy my book.

“If you have anything you want to ask me after you’ve read it, then please don’t hesitate to get in touch via my website,” I tell her, as we complete the sale.

She nods, clearly deep in thought, and moves on to the next stall in the hall.


As you ponder this story, I have several things for you to think through:

Have you ever felt a burden to pray for a loved one, in the way that Janet prayed all night for Mike? If so, what were you praying for, was it in the name of Jesus, and how did you sustain your prayer vigil?

Have you ever encountered Jesus, or one of the angels of God, in the way that Mike did with the bright light that stayed at the end of his bed all through that night? If so, what happened, and how did it leave you feeling?

Have you ever had a conversation with someone who claims to be spiritual but not religious? Or maybe that’s you, reading this? If so, what do you think it will take for you, or that person, to find faith in Jesus?

As ever, constructive comments are welcome below.

*Not their real names.

You will find other encouraging stories about encounters with angels on my blog here.

Image from Rudy and Peter Skitterians via Pixabay.



  1. What an honour it must be to be able to listen to people’s stories of healing and miracles. Your stand must have had a powerful presence and I pray the elegant lady finds spiritual truths written into the pages of your book.

    • Joanna Watson Reply

      Thank you Mary! It really is an honour – and I say a hearty “Amen” to your prayer.

  2. What a beautiful story – and such a precious conversation. That one could go in your next book!!

    • Joanna Watson Reply

      You’re the second person to have suggested this, Jackie! I think I might need to do some sleuthing to track down the couple in question.

  3. What a wonderful story! I have encountered angels. One in fact joined me in my car on my way home from work one day. I was tired and fell asleep at the wheel in the fast lane. I woke up in the hard shoulder, heading for a huge ditch. There were no other cars behind me, I didn’t over correct my steering and carried on driving. The angel was gone, but had been there to wake me up and keep me safe. God is wonderful how He sends big and little things to remind us that He is with us always.

    • Joanna Watson Reply

      Thank you Janet! This sounds like a story that could be suitable for a future blog post. Would you be willing to share the details with me? It does, indeed, sound as though God sent an angel to protect you that day. He is so good!

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