In this video recording, Athanasios Rakovalis, a spiritual child of St. Paisios the Athonite from Greece, testifies how his friend was healed from cancer (by God) through the prayers of Saint Paisios.
Video source: Gus Tsin, 2020
Mr. Athanasios Rakovalis:
I want to tell you a story which, at the same time, comprises a great lesson on prayer. When I was a kid, I had a dear friend. We would read together, he would visit my house, I would visit his. Sometime during our college years, we split. Not that we argued, but he went to a different school, I followed a different road and we split. At some point, [years later], a common friend [of ours] finds me and tells me, “[The friend] is sick.”
“What’s wrong with him?” I asked.
“He is very sick, he has cancer and they won’t tell it to him. They tell him that he has got something else.”
I got sad and, whenever I had troubles, I would visit the elder [Saint Paisios]. So, I go to visit the elder, Saint Paisios [now], and I tell him, “Elder, this and that, my friend has cancer.”
He said, “What do you want?”
I said, “I want you to make him well.”
He says, “Do you want to split it between us in half?”
For a moment, I [was] stuck, I was not speaking at all.
He sees me stuck and says, “Okay, I will take 99% and you will take 1%. Is it okay with you?”
“Yes, it is,” I tell him. This [last] one seemed easy to me.
“Okay,” he says, “it’s a deal.”
Afterwards, I sat and thought about it and I say, “Elder, what is happening next? Will the cancer leave my friend and come to us?”
The elder laughed again. He says, “Look, if you want God to listen to a prayer, this prayer needs a little self-sacrifice in it. For example, you see one in a wheelchair, he cannot walk [on his own]. In case you pray and say, ‘My God, take half the strength off my legs and give it to him so that he can help himself a bit and I can still help myself…’ Such a prayer which contains self-sacrifice touches God. Let me tell you something more. Many times God sees that we will not be able to endure the sickness of the other, [so] he makes the other man healthy and he does not ‘pass on’ the disease on us. Be careful, though, you can’t play with these things. Many times, if He sees that we can bear the sickness, He [might] indeed ‘pass on’ the sickness. Therefore, if you are to pray in this way, you must mean it and be ready to bear the sickness. What God will do is a different story.”
This was a very strong lesson on prayer. For the record, let me say that my friend was healed. Not thanks to my prayers, but thanks to the prayers of the elder [Saint Paisios].