Many consider prayer to be a powerful force, but it can only go so far.
Following the unexpected death of 2 year-old Olive Alayne Heiligentahl, her parents called up their megachurch to resurrect her through the power of unified prayer.
The girl’s grieving mother, Kalley Heiligenthal, is a worship leader at controversial megachurch Bethel. Via Instagram she asked people to join her in praying that God would resurrect her daughter Olive.— Peter Montgomery (@petemont) December 19, 2019
In an Instagram post, Olive’s mother wrote:
“We’re asking for prayer. We believe in a Jesus who died and conclusively defeated every grave, holding the keys to resurrection power.”
“We need it for our little Olive Alayne, who stopped breathing yesterday and has been pronounced dead by doctors. We are asking for bold, unified prayers from the global church to stand with us in belief that He will raise this little girl back to life.”
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We’re asking for prayer. We believe in a Jesus who died and conclusively defeated every grave, holding the keys to resurrection power. We need it for our little Olive Alayne, who stopped breathing yesterday and has been pronounced dead by doctors. We are asking for bold, unified prayers from the global church to stand with us in belief that He will raise this little girl back to life. Her time here is not done, and it is our time to believe boldly, and with confidence wield what King Jesus paid for. It’s time for her to come to life.
Olive reportedly stopped breathing on the evening of Saturday, December 14, after which her parents took her to a hospital in nearby Redding, California.
When doctors could not revive her, Olive was relocated to the Shasta County Coroner’s Office, but no cause of death has yet been determined.
Kalley Heiligenthal from bethel music’s child was declared dead by doctors. they're still to let the girl go. quite weird how they're asking people to pray for her physical resurrection but i hope their faith works— Vars Molta (@D_Kahinga) December 18, 2019
The parents’ church, Bethel Church, issued a statement the following Wednesday, calling upon its attendees to “gather to pray for a miracle of resurrection,” the basis for which should be modeled by Jesus resurrecting Lazarus in the New Testament of the Bible, but the church reportedly compared the child to the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
The statement went on to say:
“Bethel Church believes in the stories of healing and physical resurrection found in the Bible (Matthew 10:8), and that the miracles they portray are possible today.”
I have to make one thing clear: I'm not here to snark on the Heiligenthal family and don't think that anyone should. They are experiencing despair that I can only imagine.— ayana gabrielle lage (@AyanaLage) December 17, 2019
But Bethel's miracle-focused theology has always been problematic. And now we're seeing the consequences.
The church now meets daily in “prayer and worship gatherings which consist of singing and prayer” aimed at bringing Olive back to life.
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Day 4 is a really good day for resurrection. All hail, make way for King Jesus! Thank you so much for joining your faith to ours, we feel your strength and radical belief. Keep declaring life over Olive Alayne with us. “It is finished” were His last words before bursting back in resurrection life, so we’re not done. It is finished, so we’re not done. This is awakening. Come alive, Olive!
Though the power of a unified community can’t be understated, Olive has sadly not returned from the other side.
But her mother still holds out hope that her daughter can be brought back.
A GoFundMe page was started by the church and is attempting to raise $100,000 to help support Olive’s family with any funeral costs, medical bills and other expenses.
So far, nearly $47,000 has been collected.
The page claims all the money will eventually go to the family.
Twitter is sending love towards Olive’s family.
But they are also doubtful the power of Bethel Church’s prayer will be able to bring her back to life.
i hope the Heiligenthal family finds comfort and peace.— Raquel (@RockyWasHere) December 19, 2019
i pray all these christians love and support the Heiligenthal's once this devastating news is allowed to be accepted. I pray all these christians love and support this immensely should they deconstruct from their religion and find themselves no longer sharing the same faith. https://t.co/BhU6qCw9FT— The Spirit of Jezebel (@TheSpiritofJez1) December 18, 2019
Kalley Heiligenthal from bethel music’s child passed away at the age of 2. Super sad and horrible. Everyone there is praying for a physical resurrection and claiming it’s gonna happen despite her being declared dead on the 14th. Just gives me spiritual/emotional abuse vibes.— Samuel Arias (@imsamarias) December 17, 2019
My weird vibes with things like this is idolizing miracles and seeing (unconsciously and maybe consciously) them as markers of your *higher* faith. I don’t know the story though to speak to if I see it as abuse. Is it parent led? Church leader led? Death and grieving is so messy.— Sarah (@SaMicula) December 18, 2019
While I have hope my heart breaks for Heiligenthal Family. I can so relate. Prayers up! 🙏🏾🙏🏾— 𝙻𝚊𝚞𝚛𝚎𝚗 𝙽𝚒𝚌𝚎𝚕𝚢 (@LoNicely) December 16, 2019
Hopefully, the Heiligenthal family finds whatever peace it’s searching for.