Luann Prater: Needed to Forgive
By Gorman Woodfin
The 700 Club
“I loved my church,” Luann said. “My dad had made us go to church every single time the doors were open.”
Luann Prater always had an innocent view of God. She lost it, though, when she was 13. She was alone backstage in a church production when her youth pastor did the unthinkable.
“We were in the dark room together—he kissed me. I was 13. It scared me,” Luann said.
Then three months later the youth pastor’s wife called to ask Luann to babysit.
“I could feel my heart racing; I did not want to say yes. And she said, ‘Luann, I don’t want anybody else. If you don’t babysit then we won’t go out.’ Well I adored her, so I did. And when they pulled into the driveway when the evening was over I ran to the phone to call my mom. I was on the phone and he walked in the door and took the phone from my hand and said, ‘Wilma, you don’t need to get out tonight. I’ll bring Luann home.’ He didn’t take me home. He didn’t take me straight home,” Luann said.
The youth pastor took advantage of Luann. That night changed her life forever.
“When he did take me home, I stood frozen and forever changed, outside my home. Everything I knew about God had shifted. This man I had trusted betrayed my trust. And now I had no value,” Luann said. “I never sought God’s will from that point on. I just made decisions on my own.”
As an adult, Luann moved from one husband to another, always searching for someone to fill the pain in her heart.
“After being married so many times and feeling like you had not just become a two time loser, but several time loser. And you just get to the point where you think, am I ever going to get it right?” Luann said.
Her 4th marriage was to Dwight, a successful businessman who had a Christian background.
At that time her brother, Lon, challenged her to read a specific book of the Bible.
“I was 40-years-old and my brother, who had absolutely given his heart back to God, told me, ‘Luann, read the book of John and discover the real human side of Jesus.’ And I started doing that,” Luann said.
One story pierced her heart. It was of the adulterous woman whose life was changed when Jesus met her at the well.
“And when I hit chapter 4, I left skid marks. Because when I read the woman at the well this time, I saw Luann standing at the well. Right there, John preserved that story between baptism and healing, just for me. And for all the women out there who have broken lives and broken dreams and broken homes,” Luann said.
On December 6th, 1998, Luann says God spoke directly to her heart.
“God woke me up at 2:00 a.m. and said, ‘Today is the day. I don’t want you waiting around anymore; today is the day,” Luann said. “I was so excited. I got to church that day and guess what our pastor said? ‘Today is the day of salvation. Don’t wait.”
“And what was beautiful, I went home that afternoon and I called my dad. And my mom put the phone down by his ear and I said, ‘Dad, I’m back. Christ found this lost sheep today and I gave my heart back to Christ. I am a new creation.’ And she said he laid there and cried and smiled. Eight days later, he went home to see Jesus and rejoice with Him.
My dad promised us that he never stopped praying for his children. Not one day,” Luann said.
Her husband Dwight saw a complete change in Luann and it changed his life as well.
“After that day and that period of time she became a different person in her faith in the Lord. Through prayer, through the things that she did, it drew me,” Dwight said.
Luann is now a well known Christian writer for Proverbs 31 Ministries. Her web emails reach about 250,000 readers. She and Dwight live in the rolling hills of North Carolina.
“My favorite times, I’ve got to tell you, are when I’m on the big red tractor driving through the yard. And that’s when I can really be still and know that He is God. And He whispers to my heart and says, ‘Luann, when you started seeking me I started giving you all of this. I gave you the desires of your heart when you first got your priorities straight and sought me,’” Luann said. Can God change your life?
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