No one knows more about the power of prayer than the Osteen Family. Experiencing medical scares, a pipe bomb explosion, and the sudden passing of John Osteen, this family has carried the torch of prayer through good times and bad – and no one more so than the family’s beloved matriarch, Dodie Osteen. After being diagnosed with cancer and given no hope, she turned to the Bible and began to pray and declare the Word over her life. Miraculously, she was healed and remains healed today. So we sat down with Dodie to find out the wisdom she learned about prayer, faith, and standing on God’s Word:
Q: Tell us about your bout with cancer, and what was the hardest part that you faced?
A: The hardest part was the fear and just believing God’s Word. It wasn’t my heart as much as it was my head that struggled. I knew on the day that he healed me, December 11, after getting out of the hospital, I knew Jesus would heal me. But in the middle of the night, the devil would say, “Well, you say you’re healed, but what are you going to wear to the funeral?” And so I had to fight there, but I’m telling you Jesus healed me. They had only given me a few weeks to live. I was 48 then, I’m 82 now. So that’s a lot more than a few weeks!
Q: During that season of battling cancer, how did the power of prayer impact your life?
A: If I hadn’t known how to pray, especially in tongues, I couldn’t have made it. And I made my list of Scriptures. I wrote them down, and I read them every morning. I still read them every morning. Those Scriptures have just been medicine to me. I take them every day and don’t leave home without them.
Q: In that moment when the doctor mentioned you have cancer, what went through your mind?
A: I had told the children for years that when you pray, just say, “Thank you, Father, I never have cancer, I never have tuberculosis, I never have any kind of plague or anything.” Then all of a sudden, at age 48 when I was perfectly healthy, it hit me. I was just shocked. I just couldn’t believe it. I thought, “No. This isn’t really real.” It was right at Christmas time, and my son who is a doctor was doing some work down the block. His daddy called and said, “Paul, mother needs you.” So he rushed down there, and I heard the sobbing in the hall outside my hospital room. I said, “What in the world is going on?” It was Paul. He knew at that time how hard [liver cancer] was to be treated. It was a blow to me, I’m telling you; and I knew I had to depend on Jesus. That’s the only way I could live because they said chemo wouldn’t help me to live any longer than a few weeks. That few weeks has turned out to be from 48 to 82 years old, and I plan to keep on living!
Q: What was your initial response to the cancer, because some people go through a fog of just not knowing what to do?
A: Yes, and that’s when I feel sorry for them. When they don’t know that they can go to Jesus, and that Jesus hadn’t changed. He’s the same yesterday, today and forever. You see, I knew that. It’s so important to have the Word of God. John use to say, “Store up the Word of God in your heart for use when needed.” And for years, I stored it in my heart from Brother Haggin and all those great men, and from John. But I didn’t need it until I was 48 years old, and then all of a sudden it hit me. And I’m telling you, I am so thankful to Jesus that I had it in my heart, and that I prayed in tongues and could pray in the perfect will of God.
Q: We know that when we apply God’s Word to prayer it’s powerful. Are there any particular Scriptures that you apply more often when you pray?
A: Every day of the world I read Hebrews 13:8. At first, I started reading it once, then several years ago, I began to read it five times. Now every day when I read my list of Scriptures on my iPad, I read Hebrews 13:8, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.” And then “He will restore health unto you… He will heal you of your wounds.” And Jesus was “wounded for our transgressions.” And Isaiah says, “By His stripes we are healed,” and 1 Peter says, “By His stripes we were healed.” So get the Word of God in! I forgave people. That was a main thing. I wrote letters to people asking if I had done anything, even the children.
Q: When you were going through cancer, I’m sure a lot of people said something to you – some of which were encouraging while others were not. Tell us about that, and what would you say to someone going through something similar today?
A: I would say that nothing is too hard for God. I get reports all the time about miracles, and it thrills me so much. One person told me their aunt had cancer of the liver and was healed, and I said, “Thank God! That’s so wonderful for me to hear.” And then she said, “But she died a few weeks later.” See people don’t need that. They need to be encouraged. God can do anything but fail! Jesus hadn’t changed. So just encourage people when they have cancer. Say, “Jesus loves you, Jesus hasn’t changed, and we’re going to believe with you for a miracle.”
Q: Now you have this almost legendary list of healing Scriptures that you stand on every day. For someone who is going through something similar, explain how you put together this list. Did you just start seeking out healing Scriptures?
A: I did. John said, “Store up the Word of God in your heart,” so I knew I had to have some healing Scriptures to encourage me. I just began to write them out, and then I’d think of more. And that’s how that happened. Now I think there are 53 or 58 passages. But it was just in my heart to do. Everybody doesn’t have to do it exactly that way, and not everybody is as familiar with the Bible. But get a few Scriptures. Just find some on healing, and stand on those every day. You don’t have to have a whole list like I do. That’s my medication. That’s what God led me to do, but not everybody has the same leading.
Q: You have a new book out entitled, If My Heart Could Talk. What inspired you to write this book, and what do you hope people take away from it?
A: Well, what inspired the book was, after John went to Heaven 17 years ago, I had had such a wonderful life that Jesus had allowed me to live and healed me. But it came into my heart that I wish I could tell about John Osteen and the children and what all they’re into. I wished I could tell people how I felt in my heart. Then God said, “I want you to write a book,” and He gave me the title – If My Heart Could Talk. So, I told my children about it, and they said they’d pray about it. So it took about 14 years to come to pass. We’ve been working on it for about three years now. I just got on my little iPad and started writing stories. And that’s how it started. And so it became the book that was in my heart. And that shows you that if God puts something in your heart, He’ll always help. It shows you too that it doesn’t always come to pass right away. See it didn’t come to pass when I wanted it to, but when we pray for things, God knows the timing of it. It’s taken 17 years, but it’s worth it. It’s the right timing for it to come out.
Q: What do you hope people take away from it?
A: I hope they take the message that Jesus hasn’t changed. He loves everyone the same. He has no favorites. What He did for me, He will do for anybody. I just want them to know that God’s Word is the same. That Jesus loves us with an everlasting love.