REDDING, Calif. -- A California church has taken prayer for the sick to a whole new level. Members head out to grocery stores, cafes, even motels to pray for people with all kinds of physical conditions -- and they have been seeing miraculous results.
What makes Bethel Church in Redding a fascinating place is that many of its members said they have come to realize that God wants to move mightily through them, not just through clergy. He wants to work outside the church walls, not just inside them.
It has led to miraculous moments where church members get to experience God using them in their city.
"What happens away from the church or outside the walls...that's who we are," said church member Bob Perry.
Perry was with his daughter just after she gave birth to baby Talyah, who was six weeks premature. They were facing disaster as the baby was born with a hole in her heart and her blood was not flowing correctly.
They got a prayer chain of Bethel people, who were praying all over the city. They also stood by the baby, desperately pleading with God for her life.
Then the doctor, an unbeliever, suddenly shouted as he was doing an endocardiogram, checking the chambers of the baby's heart.
"Would you look at that," Perry described the doctor's reaction.
"And he said, 'Look at that! This heart...it's healing right here in front of me,'" said Amy Goodall.
A doctor's report had been filed, discussing the hole in Talyah's heart. There was also another report written after the healing that does not mention the hole. It had totally disappeared.
"And the doctor and all of us got to watch it right there on the screen," Goodall added.
The Bethel church teaches its members that God wants to move with great power to back up His people's witnessing.
They believe the Great Commission was not meant to be carried out by words alone, but that the power from on high would come alongside the testimony of the saints.
Senior pastor Bill Johnson, author of the book Strengthen Yourself in the Lord, said believers just need to look at Jesus.
"He was sent to destroy the works of the devil, and then He turned to us and said, 'As the Father sent me, I send you.' So it's not that complicated," Johnson explained.
Two years ago, Chad Dedmon -- going into a Redding grocery store to buy donuts -- decided to pray for a lady with hearing aids at a checkout stand, and she was instantly healed.
"She was 90 percent deaf in one ear and about 85 percent in the other," Dedmon said. "So she had her hearing totally restored. She started crying. The checkout girl started crying."
"Attention, all shoppers, God is here and He wants to release His presence and His healing," Dedmon announced on the employee's intercom.
A crippled lady rolled up to Dedmon for prayer.
"She stands up," he said. "She begins to run around the checkout aisles, screaming 'Jesus has just healed me, Jesus has just healed me!'"
Still in the store, Dedmon also prayed for a man with horrible pain in his wrists.
"And he starts screaming 'They're on fire, they're on fire,'" Dedmon described. "I'm saying 'This is a good heat...this is good.' And he's like 'Oh my gosh,' and he starts crying and he says 'the pain is all gone.'"
"He gave his heart to the Lord and that's when I realized the Kingdom just showed up and it would probably be a good idea to introduce the King," he added.
Dedmon led seven people to the Lord that day.
"I was so excited actually that when I got home, I realized that I left my donuts at the grocery store," Dedmon said.
Chris Overstreet works frequently with other Bethel members among Redding's poor and homeless, feeding them, befriending them, and praying for them.
One day last October, he was walking past Pamela Mullikin's second floor motel room. She had been to the local hospital six times over a horrible issue of blood that doctors had diagnosed was cancer-related.
"It got to the point where it was just so scary," Mullikin said.
Cancer is a particular target of Johnson and the Bethel church, because it has been so widespread and deadly in the community.
"It's a Goliath that has been taunting the armies of the living God," Johnson said. "And we need David's to pick up their stones and to run after the thing, and stop speaking of it with respect like it's powerful. It's an inferior name to the name Jesus."
Overstreet simply reached up with his hand to pray as he walked past Mullikin's room.
"So he just put his hand out and he started praying and then everything just went away," Mullikin said.
"It stopped, and (I had) no cancer," she added.
"We see things like this happen everyday," Perry said.
"This is really what God wants to do, and this is what's available for every Christian," Dedmon said.
"The Kingdom of God is within you, the Spirit of God is within you, and He desires to be manifested," Johnson said.
Bethel members are always looking for crutches, wheelchairs, hearing aids, any sign that God's moved them next to a person they can pray for.
Last January, God used that instinct in Heidi Propst when she went out on a jogging trail to save rather than heal a hobbling Jerry Thomas.
"She looked over and gave me a wonderful smile, " Thomas said. "I'll never forget the smile that I received."
Propst was shy about asking if she could pray for Thomas' leg
"It was a bit intimidating for me, but I just decided I'd try," Propst said.
"She asked, 'Can I pray for you?,'" Thomas said of Propst.
God did not heal Thomas that day, but began wooing his heart and the 71-year-old soon ended up in Bethel's café with Heidi leading him in a prayer of salvation.
Thomas has been baptized and is entering Bethel's School of Ministry.
One of the most powerful lessons from churches like Bethel is that professional clergy can only do so much. If the Kingdom of God is going to invade the streets, the businesses, and the homes of the world, it's going to take all the Body of Christ waking up to the fact that God means for them to be His ministers, His witnesses. with His hands extended.