Jeff Markin, a middle-aged auto mechanic, walked into the emergency room at the Palm Beach Gardens Hospital in Palm Beach Gardens, Fl., and collapsed from a massive heart attack. Forty minutes later he was declared dead. After filling out his final report, the supervising cardiologist, Dr. Chauncey Crandall, headed on to the next patient. But before he crossed the threshold, he sensed God was telling him to turn around and pray for Markin.
“Father God,” he said, under his breath, “I cry out for this man’s soul. If he does not know You as his Lord and Savior, raise him from the dead now, in Jesus’ name.” Crandall then told the emergency room doctor to give the dead man another shock with the defibrillator.
But it was the miracle-working power of God that raised Markin from the dead on that October day in 2006. Markin lived thanks to the prayers of Crandall and many others who were interceding for his life.
“I remember being in the back of a funeral home. I was mad that none of my friends and family came to visit me,” Markin says. “My next memory or recollection is, He told me everything was going to be OK. The next thing I knew I woke up in my daughter’s arms.”
Since that day, Crandall has become known as “the praying doctor.” He has witnessed many miraculous healings—and even raised others from the dead. By the power of God, he has cured a young girl with a severe blood infection, healed a missionary with multiple parasitic infections and malaria, and restored a man who was scheduled to have his leg amputated because of lesions eating through his skin. Despite science’s skeptics, Crandall has a national reputation for treating people with “the best of medicine and the best of Jesus.”
So how did a Yale-educated cardiologist whose Palm Beach, Florida, practice draws some of the most powerful people in American society, including several billionaires, come to believe in supernatural healing? How, as a scientist, can Crandall embrace God’s power to intervene in the natural order?
The Healing Dimension
Crandall began pursuing information about divine healing after he received a late-night phone call in June 2000 from the hospital lab concerning one of his patients. The patient had a white blood cell count of more than 80,000. The doctor’s immediate thought was, Whoever he is, he’s dead—he has leukemia.
It was his 11-year-old son, Chad.
When Crandall learned that his boy was suffering from a life-threatening illness, he dropped to his knees in disbelief. Then he cried out to God for every spiritual gift God would give him. Crandall also began studying healing, especially T.L. Osborn’s book Healing the Sick.
Next, he started studying the Word of God and visiting churches, looking for someone who shared his newfound belief in healing. But pastor after pastor told Crandall healing isn’t for today.
Crandall’s pursuit eventually led him to a Spirit-filled church, where he found the support he needed from a man named David Hogan of Freedom Ministries. Hogan is a missionary to the native Indians in Mexico. He prayed for Crandall and commanded healing to manifest in Chad.
Crandall was so excited to find a man of God who believed in healing that he left his medical practice for a season and traveled with Hogan to the Mexican jungles, where he witnessed miracle after miracle. The experience left no question in his mind that God’s healing power was real.
Of course, Crandall also made sure Chad received the best conventional medical care possible. He visited the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute at Harvard, Duke Children’s Hospital and finally The Howard Hughes Medical Institute in Oregon, where Dr. Brian Druker told the Crandalls about a miracle drug, Gleevec, that might soon be on the market. Partially as the result of Crandall’s advocacy, which included persuading President Bush to write a letter on Chad’s behalf, Gleevec was fast-tracked by the FDA. After keeping Chad alive with prayer and lesser drugs for a year, Crandall gave him Gleevec—and reduced his counts to normal within four days.
But three years later the leukemia returned in a form that produced tumors. One morning in a Houston hospital, Chad went home to be with the Lord.
Crandall held the boy in his arms and cried, “Lord, not now! Not now, Lord! You can heal him, Father. I have seen Your mightiness. I have seen the sick healed. You can heal this boy.”
But God did not raise him, and Crandall was faced with a decision to either abandon Christianity completely or commit himself unreservedly to God’s service. “Do I run from You today, Lord Father? Because I want to run from You,” he cried.
“But I can’t run from you, Lord. I have seen too much of Your glory. Lord, I don’t understand this, but I will not run from You. But in exchange for my son’s life, I want 1 million souls for Your kingdom.”
That’s when Crandall and his wife, Deb, felt the peace of God. Within weeks he was being invited around the globe to share his hope in Christ with ministers such as Benny Hinn and Reinhard Bonnke.
When he prayed for people at mass evangelistic meetings they were often touched by the Holy Spirit and healed of their diseases. Then, Crandall began to see miraculous healings among the patients in his practice.
A Near-Death Experience
One of those patients is Frank Baldwin. Baldwin wasn’t raised from the dead, but he was a dead man walking when he met Crandall. The 74-year-old retired pastor had cancer and was bleeding internally but didn’t know it.
One morning when he was walking his dog, the pooch ran ahead of him and pulled him off balance. Baldwin hit the street face first. He was lying in a pool of blood and couldn’t find the strength to get up. He laid in the street for an hour before anyone found him. His daughter got him an appointment with Crandall the next day.
“Here I was sitting in his office with my face all battered from the fall, and Dr. Crandall says to me, ‘Do you know what’s wrong with you? You’re just an old, beat-up preacher, but we’re going to get you well,’ ” recalls Baldwin, who lives in Stuart, Fla., with his wife, Ann.
“I told him I was about to have knee surgery, and he told me I would have died on the operating table. Then he went over and got his Bible and anointed me with oil and prayed for me. He didn’t pray a little now-I-lay-me-down-to-sleep prayer. He called on God. From that moment, I began to heal. Today I am cancer-free.”
Baldwin is an example of a minister who was run down when he met Crandall. Baldwin preached the gospel for 53 years before walking away from the pulpit with medical issues. Crandall reports that many prominent men and women of God visit his practice looking for a doctor who prays and believes. Though patient confidentiality precludes him from releasing their names, he says these well-known international ministers often come in with multiple health issues after not taking care of themselves for years.
“I see a lot of ministers who have beat themselves up. They are in their 50s or 60s, overweight, some with diabetes, and they aren’t feeling well,” Crandall says. “We slam them with the truth that it’s not about them; it’s about Jesus.
“I tell them they need to get out of rebellion and start taking care of their body so they can finish strong for the Lord and impart wisdom to the next generation. They are grabbing hold of this and changing their lives for the glory of God.”
A Woman With Nine Lives?
Most of Crandall’s patients aren’t ministers. Most are regular people who desperately need help. Nina Sears is a five-time cancer survivor. The running joke among her friends is, “A cat has nine lives, but Nina has many more!”
Her testimony: I have a good doctor and a great God. That doctor is Chauncey Crandall. Sears met Crandall three years ago at the church they both attend, Christ Fellowship, a megachurch in Palm Beach Gardens with five campuses.
Sears’ battle with cancer began long before she met the miracle-working doctor. In 1999, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She beat it.
Two years later, she was diagnosed with colon cancer. She beat it. Four years ago, they told her she had liver cancer. She beat it.
Next, the cancer went into her lungs. She beat it. She had her right lung removed, but the disease appeared again on her left lung. She beat it again, with plenty of prayer, faith and the grace of God.
“If you saw me, you would not think there’d ever been a thing wrong with me,” says Sears. “I go to yoga class and Pilates. In fact, I just got off the treadmill.”
You might say Sears used one of her more than nine lives during a routine procedure to put a stent in her heart. Sears visited Crandall’s office because she was suffering from shortness of breath. Crandall determined she needed the stent to open a clogged artery in her heart.
While she was on the operating table, her blood pressure dropped to dangerously low levels. “I could hear the confusion all around me and people saying, ‘We are losing her. We are losing her,’ ” Sears recalls. “Then I heard Dr. Crandall tell the nurses, ‘She is going to be fine. She is a child of God.’ And he was right. I am fine.”
She is more than fine. She is healed. Sears was still battling her second bout with lung cancer when she met Crandall. When she told Crandall she had five tumors on her remaining lung, he was drawn into prayer. As Sears recounts it, Crandall anointed her head with oil, put both of his hands on her head and prayed for about 15 minutes.
“When I went back for my next PET scan, three of the lesions on my lung were gone,” she says. “That was a miracle. I am believing the other two are gone now.”
Prayer for Body and Soul
Crandall has stood on the Word of God in prayer for hundreds of patients. Ted Widmayer is a good example. Widmayer injured his leg in a dentist office and walked out with a severe wound that wouldn’t heal.
He went to doctors, surgeons and more doctors as the leg grew worse and worse. A staph infection was literally eating a hole in his leg and, after six months, Widmayer was fearful he was going to lose the leg. In fact, it was scheduled to be amputated. Then he met Crandall.
“Ted was diabetic and had an ulcer as big as a grapefruit all the way down to the bone on his leg,” Crandall says. “I told him that we could pray for him. I took the bandage off his leg, put my hand in the wound and commanded the spirit of infirmity to be bound in the name of Jesus. I pled the blood over him and commanded healing to come into his body, in Jesus’ name.”
Confident that the power of God healed him, Crandall bandaged the wound and told him to come back in two weeks with his praise report. What Crandall didn’t know at the time was what happened inside Widmayer. He felt the power of God overtake him.
“Something happened to me in that room,” Widmayer, a 75-year-old Catholic, says. “I felt a lightness—like a weight being removed from me. There was a release in my body. It was wonderful. I’ll never forget it.”
Widmayer says the bleeding he had experienced oozing from the leg for months stopped immediately in response to Crandall’s prayer. Before the two weeks were up, his wife, Arlene, called Crandall’s office in joyful hysterics. She said that the ulcer was disappearing before their eyes.
Crandall told her to cancel the surgery and come back to his office. He confirmed that the leg was healed. Now, the Widmayers are active in their local church and are known to dance a jig now and again. “I have never felt so good in my life,” Ted says.
Crandall is not afraid to ask his patients if they want prayer—no matter whether they are saved or not. However, before he prays for a person who is lost he leads him into salvation. Crandall says the Lord told him not to pray for healing before praying for salvation because the person “might go back into darkness and be worse off.”
In the case of Markin, Crandall didn’t know whether he was saved. He just knew he heard the Lord telling him to go back into the emergency room and pray.
Later, Markin told Crandall that when his heart stopped he briefly visited hell—or received a vision of it. He saw himself as someone thrown away, isolated for eternity, unloved.
Once he had sufficiently recovered, Crandall led him to Christ. Markin is now committed to sharing God’s love with others. He is one of the 1 million souls Crandall asked for in exchange for the untimely death of his son, Chad.
“I want a million souls and I want to see people healed by the power of God,” Crandall says. “The Lord told me when I speak His name, He will show up.
“Yes, some people we pray for don’t see results. But that’s not going to stop me for praying for the next guy in line. I am going to keep treating people with conventional medicine, and I am going to keep believing that God is a God of healing. When patients visit me, I tell them we are going to make them better—and I believe that.”
Jennifer LeClaire is a minister living in Hallandale Beach, Fla., and the author of two books: The Heart of the Prophetic and Doubtless.