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After Rev Chris Wickland collapsed at a trampoline park, his heart stopped beating for 15 minutes. As the Southampton-based pastor was rushed to hospital, family and friends around the world began to pray. He tells Heather Preston the incredible story of what happened next
What do remember about the day you collapsed?
I went to a theme park with my kids and it was closed, so they said they wanted to go to a trampoline park instead.
I drove there, and we were jumping around, but then I felt unwell. After that, I don't remember what happened. But apparently I came off the trampoline, sat down and immediately fell asleep. My daughter came along, kicked me and woke me up!
I went to the changing room, was sick everywhere and collapsed. Someone put me in the recovery position. Suddenly I stopped breathing and my heart stopped. They had to do CPR on me for 15 minutes and give me electric shocks on the defibrillator unit. It was 15 minutes until the ambulance finally arrived, and just after the fourth shock, my heart started again. A paramedic said that in 24 years of work, he'd never seen anyone come back after the fourth shock.
People were praying for you during this time. How did that come about?
When I collapsed, my wife got a phone call from my daughter who was explaining something wasn't right. My wife thought she was joking, so she hung up! The staff had to tell her - your husband's collapsed She told the staff members - get the children to pray for him, immediately. So the guy went to the children and said "your mum is asking you pray for your dad." So they started praying for me while I was dead. My wife also put it out onto the prayer network and our churches, and then it just hit social media and went out everywhere, because we are quite well known in certain circles. There were literally hundreds of Christians all over the world praying for us.
What happened when the ambulance arrived?
They took me to hospital and I was on a breathing machine. I was put into an induced coma, and all the while, these networks and churches are praying for me. My wife went to hospital, and the doctor said, "He's been dead for 15 minutes, he's had four shocks to the heart. He's alive, but when we take the breathing machine off, he probably won't be breathing by himself, so he will probably die. Or if he does live, he's probably going to be spending the rest of his life in a resthome, because he'll have such severe mental damage." My mum said "we should just switch the machine off, he's probably gone." But my wife and her dad, who are both Christians, said "No, we're not having this." My wife made a decision and said, "I'm not going to be a grieving widow. I'm going to stand on the word of God and declare scriptures and believe God's gonna heal him." So she started praying consistently over me. And they sang songs and declared scriptures over me.
On Sunday morning, while I was still in a coma, my home church were still praying for me. And while they were praying, the call came through from my wife saying that he's just woken up. And so the church were crying and rejoicing. Within two days, I was out of ICU, all the bruising and swelling in my body just literally disappeared. I'm back home now, completely fine. I've been jogging again, in fact my mind seems better now than it was before. I've got a clean bill of health.
As I'm looking back through the rear-view mirror, I'm beginning to realise just how miraculous it all was. I spoke to a medical professional just yesterday who said, "I deal with people that go through what you've been through. And a lot of people after five minutes of CPU end up with brain damage." They said, "The fact that you came back after 15 minutes with absolutely no brain damage is nothing short of a miracle - we've never seen anything like it."
What was it that brought you back to life?
Oh, the power of prayer. That's it, you know. It's really as simple as that.
There was such a unity among church leaders, and loads of people kept telling me as soon as they heard what happened, they started crying and then they just felt this anger like "that this is not right!" And they prayed in that manner.
What effect has this experience had on those who prayed for you?
Something has shifted. Since this happened, it has raised people's faith levels. We have a testimony during every church service - and they're all saying the same thing this week. You know, so and so broke their foot and we prayed for them and it got healed. So all of this has really raised people's expectations. Also, when someone else has got sick, the church just rallies together and prays because they believe that if we get together and pray, we're going to see God move.
Rev Chris Wickland was speaking to Premier's Heather Preston. Read more on premierchristian.news
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