God is still in His healing ministry, and even what seems like ordinary healing can be miraculous. In this fascinating episode, we learn how faith and belief helped David Chotka and his wife heal her multiple sclerosis. It is a truly EPIC journey, and you will enjoy hearing this master storyteller share it. Tune in!

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EPIC Healing Journey: The Healing Power Of Faith With David Chotka

I am so excited to have David Chotka join me. We’re going to have a very interesting conversation. In fact, I would say it’s EPIC. David take a moment and introduce yourself.

Let me congratulate you on pronouncing my name correctly. You and I have both had the same struggle. In my hometown, people would call me Chakota or Choctaw. I had one time when I was working with a bunch of Presbyterians and they thought it was a Choctaw Indian because the Presbyterian Mission went to the Choctaw, but it had nothing to do with that at all. I’m thankful to be here. I’m a pastor and I have five books. I have three of them here on display. I travel. I do international conferences and events, and I’m thankful to be here.

I’m so excited. This may have some meaning to you but when I talk about epic, I get thinking about what epic means to me. I think we all have epic things that we’d like to achieve in our lives. Oftentimes, we hear ourselves saying, “Someday, I’d like to write a book or run a marathon or travel to some country.” We often talked about it but didn’t do anything about it. I found in my own life that the things I thought about doing, even though they seemed wildly impossible from where I was, I tried anyway. I achieved some amazing things like writing a book.

We all have epic things that we’d like to achieve in our life.

If you told me in college that I would be a bestselling author, I would have told you that you were drinking too much of the sacrificial wine or something. I’m a talker, not a typer. When I think about what EPIC stands for, it stands for Every Pilgrimage Includes Commitment because I think when we want to go out and achieve this big thing in our life, it is indeed a pilgrimage. For me, religious pilgrimage has a very specific meaning. It’s less of it for me, but in general, we all get pilgrimage. For you, what is some of your EPIC?

I have a lot of them. The first one was that I became a pastor. There was no faith in my family that I would become a pastor. I’m in the midst of writing two more books. I’ve written four and a half I guess. I have a little pamphlet as well. I guess you could call that five, but that was published inside the framework of my denomination so it doesn’t have the same kind of thing.


EPIC Begins With 1 Step Forward | Dr. David Chotka | Healing


To become a bestseller was one of my objectives. Hey, are you there? Speak God has a foreword by Jack Canfield. As a result, it was a Canadian bestseller. I’m a Canadian, by the way. If I say, “A” at the end of my sentence, forgive me. At any rate, he liked the book. What happened was I enrolled in the course with him to try and learn how to do storyteller writing because he’s masterful at it. Six hundred million copies of his book, The Chicken Soup for the Soul. I think you should pay attention when the guy tells you that you should improve or fix this or something. I enrolled in his course with him. There were seventeen students. I have this crazy kind of thing. I wanted him to write the foreword to my book. He fell in love with two of the stories in that book.

I’d like to tell you one of those stories if you let me do that. I’ll tell you about the moment when I realized I wanted to ask him something. I’m with a company called Bradley Communications. By the way, they’re very good at what they do and they’re teaching me about the power of story, marketing, and social media. I stepped out into this role in my 60s. Maybe you don’t think I’m in my 60s, but I am. Anyway, backing up on this, I talked to them and they said he doesn’t do forewords to books anymore. He stopped doing that about twenty years ago.

I was writing the last story in that book, sitting on my computer at night, I’m in Ontario, and California where he lives is three hours earlier in the day. I’m sitting in front of my computer and I get this profound sense that I am supposed to ask Jack Canfield if he can do the foreword from my book. He’d done an interview with me. I wrote to him and he said he would do an endorsement in three lines. A foreword is like two pages. He said, “For the endorsement, take something I said in the interview and put it into that thing and then send it to me to make sure that I can agree with it.”

I wrote it and it turned into pages. I’m sitting in this office right here at this desk and I pray, “God. What should I do? I was told that he won’t do that anymore.” As I prayed, an interior sense of joy rose up inside of me. I wrote him a note and it was at 1:00 in the morning Ontario time, 10:00 in the evening in California. I thought. “He’s not going to see this and so I said this little note said, “Dear Jack, you said these things in this interview. Isn’t this nice? I wonder if you’d prayerfully consider turning this into a foreword rather than an endorsement,” and I pressed send. Five minutes later, I had it back and he signed it. It was the first one he did in a long time and now he started to write forewords again.

A Story To Fall In Love With

That’s an amazing thing. The story he fell in love with was the very first story in that book. Here’s how it goes. I was a pastor in Northern Alberta. For those who live in the United States and don’t know what I’m talking about, if you drive to the Montana border and get to the Canadian Montana border, and then you get your car, and you drive straight North for eight hours at 60 miles an hour and don’t stop for coffee or the call of nature or anything like that. You’ll come to Edmonton. To the side of Edmonton is a city called Spruce Grove and I lived in that City for about ten years.

Here’s what happened. My daughter always had milk for her breakfast. She always had milk on her Cheerios, She wouldn’t eat her Cheerios unless she had milk. I made a bad mistake. About 20 minutes to 10:00 at night or something like that, I’m using up the last few milks. As I poured it into my coffee, “My daughter doesn’t have milk for breakfast.” The grocery store is ten minutes away. It’s open until 10:00. I’ll jump in the car. I’ll get the milk. I told my wife I’d do it. I get in the car.

Now, I’m in a church that sings these modern songs. They repeat “Jesus I love you” and it sounds like converted bars. I like the old stuff where people thought when they said it. I get in the car. I closed the door. I turned the radio on and on came my favorite old-time 19th-century Irish Anglican hymn. I’m listening to this hymn and I am moved to my toenails because that hymn healed my soul fifteen years before. We talked a little bit about the loss of my brother. My brother took his life and that hymn healed my soul. I am in the car and when nobody is looking at me, I’ll sing at the top of my lungs with the door closed driving in the car. It’s dark and I’m driving along.

We all sing at the top of our lungs in our car. Maybe not a 19th-century Irish Anglican thing, but I think everyone is like, “Sure, I’ve been singing in the car.”

Anyway, it was Before the Throne of God. Maybe those songs. I’m driving around and the song is penetrating my being and I’m so caught up with the beauty and the majesty of the lyrics and the music. I drive right past the grocery store. I realized, “I got to get milk for my daughter,” and I turned the car around and my dad had passed. He was a terrible singer, but he loved an old hymn What a Friend We Have in Jesus and that song came out. Of course, everybody knows that song. I’m thinking about my dad and I’m starting to cry because I’m missing my dad and he passed.

I drive right past the grocery store again. By then, it’s too late. It’s already 10:00 and I thought I was just going to enjoy these hymns. I haven’t sung these hymns in a long time. I started driving around listening to these songs, and I was so moved by the experience of singing those songs. I’ve got to have an accident. I want to close my eyes and I want to listen to this music and I want it to penetrate my soul.

I pulled in somewhere and I listened and it was this beautiful song that was ending. I turned the car off as I thought about it and without thinking I got out of the car and I walked toward the door of a strange house and I knocked on the door and came to myself and realized it was quarter after 10:00 at night. Here I was banging on some stranger’s door. I didn’t even know whose house it was. We have a game up here called Nicky Nine Doors. It’s where you knock on the door late at night and run away.

I believe that’s what we call ring dash.

How wish you will. I was seriously thinking that I should do that and I heard sounds behind the door. The door opens and there is a couple that I know. They’ve been visiting my church. It was Tim and Sarah. I’ll tell you how I knew their name. Tim had tattoos from the top of his head all the way down to his fingernails, and he had these ear gauge expander earrings. He was a biker guy who was going to hit you. He was married to this beautiful little churchmouse. She’s a cute little tiny lady, the sweetest sweet can be and they look like an odd couple.

They were new to the church and I had a system of meeting people at the door and trying to remember their names. That kind of thing. I knew he was Tim and I knew she was Sarah. I see them and they look at me and they say, “Pastor Dave, you’re here.” I said, “Tim, Sarah, how are you doing?” She gave him an enormous elbow and she said, “You see, Tim. You see. It’s true. It’s true. God hears our prayers.” He starts to laugh and then he starts to cry, and she starts to laugh and she starts to cry and they invite me in.

They sit me down and here’s the background of the story. Tim met the pretty Christian girl. He liked the pretty Christian girl and he said, “I’d like to take you out,” and she said, “Are you a Christian?” He said, “No,” and she said, “I won’t date one. If you want to come to church, you can sit with me.” Anyway, he shows up. Of course, Dad’ is there and she’s there and he has to sit between Dad and his girl.

They invited him over for lunch. In the course of time over several weeks, he says yes to the claims of Christ, and eventually, they fall in love and marry. The trouble is he brought his background with him. He had an enormous knife collection that would cover the whole room and she was one of these sweet non-violent gentle sweet girls who would always give you Peach Cobbler if you were sick or something like that. Anyway, the point was they married and they moved to my town because it was quite a bit cheaper to live in that city than it was in the center of Edmonton. There were lots of young families because it was about $80,000 to $100,000 cheaper to buy the same house and a few minutes drive in.

Lots of families were in that church, young families. Anyway, here’s what happened. Tim’s background followed him and he and Sarah had this terrible fight about something that had to do with the background. They started saying things that were hurting each other. In the middle of the argument, while they were hurting each other, they both realized they were hurting each other and they stopped. They asked each other’s forgiveness.

They hugged each other and they hit the ground and they started to pray and they said, “God, we’re in trouble. We’re in trouble. We need help. Send Pastor David. Send him to our house. Send him now.” I showed up and I’m knocking on the door. I was the answer to their prayer. God directed me by distracting me with my favorite music so that I wouldn’t pay attention to what I was doing and I got myself in a cloudy zone where all that I could do was think about the beauty and the majesty of those, and then the memory of my Dad’s passing. It became a side door to be with them and then we went on to become great friends.

That’s awesome. That is such a great story.

That’s the story that Jack Canfield wanted to put into another Chicken Soup for the Soul book, but he stopped doing that. He’s written a book called Success Principles and he sold the rights to Chicken Soup to somebody else. Regardless, it bonded our friendships. Jack and I talked every now and then.

I’ve gotten to meet Jack many years ago at the National Speakers Association. I was at a conference. I was glad to meet him and that was great.

He likes stories like that.

The Power Of God

You got it. I’ve got lots of stories too. I too am a storyteller and stuff. One thing that you shared, we both lost siblings, and one of my experiences I remember was after my sister was killed, I was driving from my parents’ house and was all consumed with “Why did this happen? It’s not fair.” It’s having that constantly on my mind and wanted to understand why this had happened. I think we all have those moments of clarity. We all define them differently whether it’s God speaking to you or a higher power or whatever. I’m not a very religious person.

I don’t want to say I’m not religious but I’ve got my own feeling on that. Anyway, I had a moment of clarity on Massachusetts Turnpike in Brighton Mass. I said, “While I’m here on this mortal coil, I will never understand why this happened. I need to let go of that because I could spend the rest of my life like a dog chasing its tail, and I won’t have that answer, and I have to be okay that I don’t have that answer,” and I am. I think about it, but I go, “That’s not something that I can know.”

The tangent I was going to go off was I’ve been around some people who are very enthusiastic about their religion, “You got to come to church. You got to go.” I’ve studied the Bible enough to say, “God is everywhere.” I believe the Old Testament says, “On the seventh day he rested.” We also know that when God got mad at man, there were the seven plagues. God is everywhere and we know what his wrath is and he’s resting, why am I disturbing him? God is as much in my bedroom as he is in that uncomfortable pew on Sunday morning. I’ve shared that and some people are like, “No.” I haven’t been anything. You agree with everything.

God is everywhere.

I laughed but I didn’t agree with everything.

I think it’s safe to say that Christians will take the Bible and say, “This is what it’s saying.

I don’t want you to go to church. I want you to be the church. The church that I’m in is Windsor Christian Fellowship. They always say, “You have been equipped. Now go be the church.” They send us out to meet people, love people, care for people, stand alongside people, etc. I love the place because it’s a multi-racial place. We have a couple of opera singers on the platform and the music is to die for. It’s a good place to be. I don’t go there because I’m looking to participate in a Church fellowship. I go there to encounter God in the process. I find myself in fellowship with other believers. That’s where I land. Straight up here, what you’re saying about the Sabbath day is interesting. I would love to have a substantive conversation with you about the nature of God’s resting hours.

I will fully admit that I am justifying not going to church.

As long as you don’t justify not being the church. Here’s what I say to people when they say, “I don’t want to go because God doesn’t need me there. He’s busy on a Sunday,” and that kind of thing. My grandfather used to say that to my grandmother. She used to pray three hours a day every day. He was a Ukrainian guy and she was a Ukrainian girl. He would speak to her in this slang Ukrainian laced with all kinds of profanity. He’d say, “You’re going to talk to God for three hours. Don’t you think he’s got better things to do than listen to you?”

The goal is not to invite people to the institution or not to invite people to a particular motor expression of doing this. The goal is to encounter the power of God. I wrote the healing prayer book because of that very thing. My wife was dramatically healed from muscular dystrophy and it happened when we gave up all hope. It was this incredible kind of thing. I had made a commitment to help Uganda in the north rebuild after the madness of Joseph Kony.

I was in Canada. There were two American congregations in my denomination that were asking my church to partner with them to go and help. We would go there and there was no education for twenty years. The person who could read wound up being the town counselor, the mayor, or something. They would become the church pastor or the school teacher, even though they didn’t have much. They had to rebuild from scratch because they had not had anything. One of the areas that I went to was a place called Arua. I met people whose arms were cut off, whose tongues were cut out, or whose nose was gone because Kony had done that to them. Horrible and nasty.

My church felt committed to trying to help them. I went three years to the north and one year to Kampala. The three years in the north were the defining ones. We would take teams with us and we would build projects in that place. That EPIC journey was astonishing. Here’s what happened. I wound up meeting these guys in Atlanta and this Pastor said, “David, would you come and help us?” I went back to my church and they said, “Yes, we’ll help you,” and they’ve committed initially $5,000 to pay for my way there to see if they can participate as well.

By the time we made the commitment, we put $500,000 into that over about three years. It was a lot of money and it was very generous. You know what? The elders looked at me one day and they said, “That’s a lot of money.” I said, “Yeah.” Can we meet the guy who organized this? That Pastor came to my church and I was scared because he was an African tribal who barked orders at people. He was a great leader. He’s one of these guys who expects if you’re not shining his shoes and paying attention to every word he says, he doesn’t like the way you’re going at things. Anyway, it was this crazy culture clash thing.

I said, “You want me to bring this guy? He’s going to insult our women. He’s going to treat them like they’re nothing. He’s going to be loud and obnoxious.” They said to me, “He shakes us up.” I said, “Yeah, he does that.” They said, “Pastor, invite him.” I said, “What am I going to do if he says something odd in the congregation?” They said, “Three Sundays in a row before he comes. You tell the congregation how Tribal Society Africa operates like, and ask him to forgive them, and then ask him for his leadership principles,” because he was organizing a thousand pastors. I was going over there to teach and this one that I wrote is called Power Praying.

I wrote this because I wanted a training manual for the Ugandans. That’s how I started writing. I wrote this and this is an examination of each of the keywords of the Lord’s Prayer and I was giving that to them by way of curriculum. The bottom line was that this guy came to my church. He was telling these amazing stories about deliverance from death when somebody was praying at night. It was like listening to one of those World War II stories and the mother would wake up and pray for her grandson, and the grandson would have the bullet missing. That kind of stuff was sure.

He’s telling these stories and my congregation is enthralled with the guy. We had three services. We had Saturday night, we had a sunny morning at 9:00, and Sunday at 11:00. Here’s what happened. Saturday night was heard and they said, “Tell different stories tomorrow. We’re coming back,” and they texted their friends. The whole congregation of Saturday night showed up Sunday morning at 9:00, which was the conservative crowd.

Saturday night is where the easygoing swing guy is. He’s together and it was an odd thing. In those 9:00, we were so amazed by the stories he was telling about these miraculous things that happened. They all pushed into the 11:00. We have this huge oversized assembly at 11:00 and I am sitting on the step next to the platform to the pulpit because there were no chairs left. People were up in the rows down the hallway and my wife was sitting there and my wife had muscular dystrophy. The kind that she had is the same kind that the founder of Lululemon has right now.

He’s donated $100 million to FSH muscular dystrophy research. It starts in your head and goes down to your face. Makes your neck kind of bad. Your shoulders are hunched over. Your shoulder blades go out of position. You have trouble with your legs being able to lift them for steps. In the course of time, you discover you cannot do steps. Muscles are hollow in the center. He’s now beginning to manifest some of the traits that my wife had. My wife, her sister, her mother, and now her niece have this affliction. She could not lift her arms higher than her shoulders. This is what happened. I am in the church.

I am looking at my wife in this huge crowd of I don’t know how many hundreds of people. The capacity of the Sanctuary was 450 and I think the number was 650 because we had overflow into the back part. Here’s what happened. This guy gets up and he’s got a thick accent. Everybody is listening to him and I don’t want to make fun of the accent, but I’ll try and give you an appreciation for it. He turned and looked at me sitting next to him and he said, “David, what is MA?” Master of Arts? I don’t know.

He puts his head in the pulpit and he waits and there’s this big crowd of people. He was in the middle of a war story. He stopped the war story to ask the question. Then he looks up about a minute later and he says this, “It’s a wasting muscle disease. It starts in your head. It goes down to your shoulders. Your shoulder blades go out of position. Between 16 and 20, you start to get chronic pain. You get scoliosis in your spine. You start having trouble being able to walk. If you damage a muscle, you lose it forever,” and he gave a perfect medical description of FSH muscular dystrophy.

Now, I am looking at my wife in the congregation and I am observing her as he is telling this story and then he says this, “Whoever has this, Jesus has healed you,” and her arms went above her head for the first time in decades. Everybody who knew us, we’ve been in that church at that point for five years. I looked at her and our jaws were all dropping.

Now, I have all three of my congregations watching that. We go to our home and we have guests in our home because they traveled to see whether or not they’re going to get involved in the work project over in Uganda. They come to hear the guy. The plan was that I would get up on the top shows and take down the heavy pots and pans that she would use to cook for lunch. She would do this and she could lift your arms this high and she could do that if I gave her room, that kind of thing. She pushed me out of the way. She stands on the step and she starts taking down heavy pots.

That’s Epic.

My heavens, was that Epic? It was this incredible kind of thing. There were people who had known her and they could not bring themselves to believe this. Our doctor had been our doctor for five years. We were going to the same one from the time that we arrived in that town. He waited three years before he wrote the note. After three years, I have the medical note. I can send it to you. He wrote me the note and he said, “This is medically impossible. All traces of FSH muscular dystrophy have vanished from this girl’s body.” It was three years later that he wrote it.

That is one of the reasons why I wrote the Healing Prayer book. I want people to know that Jesus is still in the healing ministry today. By the way, he doesn’t care if you’re a Baptist or a Pentecostal or an Anglican, or who fed up with church and left. He doesn’t care. What he cares about is that you engage with him, that you talk with him, and that you love him. When you were talking about how you don’t want people to invite you to that church, that’s not my issue. My issue is don’t write off Jesus because the church is bad.


EPIC Begins With 1 Step Forward | Dr. David Chotka | Healing


Examine the scripture to find out what the church can do to improve. What would you find in the scripture? There are other stories in that book that are as epic as that one. That one impacts me personally and I have a medical doctor’s note. It was an eight-year project. He knew us five years before and three years after before he wrote that.

That is an incredibly epic story and I am happy that your wife is doing better.

Better is not the word. One of the things I say in that book is that ordinary healing is miraculous too and I’ll tell you why I said it. Before when she damaged a muscle, it would never heal. After she was healed, she would damage a muscle because she slept on it or she poked something or she was doing whatever, and it would heal. It would recover. When I watched the muscles recover, that’s when I knew that she was healed. It wasn’t a one-off. It was now an ordinary means by which people lived and restored to her. I regard natural healing as miraculous as much as the rest.

Ordinary healing is miraculous too.

That is incredible. Somehow our time is up here, David.

We can do this again if you want to.

You’re up in Canada so I don’t know if you ever heard of a guy named Fred Rogers who had a children’s television show.

I love the movie by the way. People told me I was supposed to dress like him because I’m a pastor.

He did his whole show because he was not going to remember what denomination, but it was part of his work to get his Doctorate or whatever. One that I loved about Fred Rogers is what he was sharing was great. This is very appropriate. What Fred Rogers would say is, “We’ll have more things to talk about. I will and so will you.”


EPIC Begins With 1 Step Forward | Dr. David Chotka | Healing


Welcome to the neighborhood.

We have more things to say, David, so in the future or perhaps you come back and there will be more exciting stories to share.

I wanted to tell you more healing prayer stories because that’s why I wanted to get on this interview. The book is new. It’s been put up by Whitaker House.

Let’s see what we can do to get you back on. Very interesting. I want to remind all of my listeners that if you want help start your epic journey, you go to EpicBegins.com, you go over to my courses and you put in “epic begins” as a code, You’ll get $50 off the price of the course. It’s a home study course. If there’s anything I can do to help you on your epic journey, you can reach out at EpicBegins.com to get a hold of me. David, I want to thank you so much for being my guest. Super fascinating. There is more to be said and I’ll remind everybody that epic choices lead to the epic life that you want to lead.


Important Links


About Dr. David Chotka

EPIC Begins With 1 Step Forward | Dr. David Chotka | HealingDr. David Chotka has taught nationally and internationally on prayer principles and equipped for more than twenty-five years. He is the founder and director of Spirit-Equip Ministries, an organization designed to help people grow in the spiritual disciplines one small step at a time (www.spiritequip.com).

He serves as the co-chair of the Alliance Pray! Team (APT—the prayer mobilization team of Christian and Missionary Alliance Canada). In his role with APT, Dr. Chotka was the principal author of the Transform Prayer! Course—a resource that has been translated into French, Mandarin, and Cantonese (www.alliancepray.ca).

In addition, he has been a lead pastor for more than thirty years and has preached in seventeen countries to crowds large and small, teaching on such topics as “Healing Prayer,” “Prayerful Discernment,” “Spiritual Gifts and their Use,” and “Unearthing the Depths of the Lord’s Prayer.” He is the author of Power Praying, Sifting Our Discerning, and 50 Days of Prayer: Discerning the Voice.

Dr. Chotka has four earned degrees, including a master’s degree in biblical studies from Regent College in Vancouver and a doctoral degree from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. He lives in southwestern Ontario, Canada, is married to Elizabeth, has two adult children, plays the piano for fun, and lets his fourteen-pound dog take him for a walk occasionally.