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By Elaine Morris
I was born in Montego Bay, Jamaica, West Indies, the youngest of six children. I was raised in a Christian home where attending church was not an option but a lifestyle. When I was two years old, my father suffered a stroke that left him paralyzed. He passed away when I was eight. Consequently, I was raised by my mother, who was a consummate prayer warrior, and my siblings. Mom instilled in me a love for God, family, and others.

I migrated to the United States in 1979, a single mother. I got married, rededicated my life to Jesus Christ, and became an active member of Living Word Open Bible Church in Cooper City, Florida, pastored by Revs. Karl and Dyrie Francis. Working hard, I became a licensed cosmetologist and eventually opened a full-service beauty salon, which I managed for 18 years.

My daily devotional time with the Lord always ended with me singing the song “Where He Leads Me I Will Follow.” One morning in 1994 after singing that song, I experienced a passionate desire to serve God and people. (Be careful what you promise God!) I was preparing for work one morning when I heard an audible voice saying in an authoritative tone, “You must go to Trinity.”

I responded, “Trinity? What’s that?”

This command was repeated three times.

I argued that I had no time for that because I had a lucrative business. However, by the third time I recognized this was the voice of God and began to cry. I had never heard about Trinity. I ran from the room, grabbed the phone book, and anxiously scanned the pages. There it was: Trinity College. Subsequent research revealed that it was a Christian college.

Frantically I dialed the number and a man answered. My voice shaking, I stuttered, “Sir, please don’t think I’m crazy, but where are you?”

He said, “We’re in Miami.” (This was a regional campus for Trinity University out of Deerfield, Illinois.) We spoke for a brief moment, and he invited me to take a tour of the college, located about 45 minutes from my residence. I shared my experience with my husband, David, and Pastor Dyrie.

Pastor Dyrie laughed and said, “Oh, you are going to go to college!”

I convulsed with laughter and said, “No, I’m not!”

Nonetheless, the thought was embedded in my mind.

One morning on my way to work, the Holy Spirit quietly said, “Why don’t you go now?”

I started driving toward Miami and suddenly remembered that I did not have the address. Nevertheless, I continued on and exited the expressway. I drove down some local streets and looked around. To my utter and complete amazement, there was Trinity!

Elaine's sons, Andre (left) and Darion

Elaine’s sons, Andre (left) and Darion

I parked, got out of my vehicle, and walked slowly, apprehensively toward the building. I asked the receptionist if I could speak to the same person who had invited me for the tour. I was told he was unavailable because he was in chapel, but just as I turned to depart, he entered the office. He had decided not to attend chapel on that day. (Oh, how marvelous are His ways!)

I shared with him my recent experience with the Lord. When he asked me what I planned to study, I told him that subject had never crossed my mind. I knew only that I had to be there.

He prayed with me and I completed the required enrollment forms. A few months later while driving I heard a still, small voice say, “Study psychology.”

I had earned my GED but resisted the idea of attending college, hoping that I would not receive final acceptance. Yet finally I received a phone call and heard the words: “Welcome to Trinity.”

My first day in class was overwhelming. I went home crying and told my husband I was not going back. The large textbook was intimidating, and I did not understand anything the professor said. David listened and then said, “You must go back.”

God illuminated my understanding. I started earning As, received scholarships, and was named Psychology Student of the Year. I graduated in four years with a B.A. in psychology and two years later with a master’s in counseling psychology with honors in both. I completed my courses without indebtedness. To God alone be the glory! Two years later I became a licensed mental health counselor.

Even though I excelled as a student, my life during my years at Trinity became nearly unbearable because two close family members had become involved with addictive substances. During that troubling time, I was transformed into the “persistent woman” of Luke 18. Prayer became my lifeline, my strength, my comfort and hope. I trusted God because He was and is my only source of strength and deliverance.

MSG Morris Elain church 0718-250pxI believe in warfare prayer, standing up to the enemy with the Word of God. I declared, “No weapon formed against [them] will prosper” (Isaiah 54:17). I journaled my prayers, pouring out what was in my heart. Sometimes I would rise at 2:00 or 3:00 a.m. and pray. My family’s deliverance depended on it. I would declare, “[They] will live and not die, and declare the works of the Lord” (from Psalm 118:17). I unreservedly believe God, the Creator of the world, even when He allows me to experience excruciating pain. I embrace Job’s principle, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him” (Job 13:15, NKJV). I knew that He would deliver my family because He is concerned about the things which concern us (Psalm 138:8).

On November 25, 2003, the Lord woke me up at 4:43 a.m. and led me to Isaiah 61:1 and Luke 4:18. These words have been etched on my heart and soul: “To heal the brokenhearted, to set at liberty those who are bound.”

My personal misery through the harrowing times of dealing with family members’ addictions led me to my life’s mission. I dedicated myself to the Lord to be His voice of grace to those who find themselves in the grip of addiction. My pain ignited and fueled my passion. My mantra became “trust God, pray without ceasing, and never give up.”

My circumstances led me to work in a female prison and a local jail for a number of years. (Many who are incarcerated are substance addicted.) My ministry extended to my clients’ families as well. One young woman’s mother began to cry when I spoke with her. She was a deaconess, and as soon as it was made public that her daughter was in jail, church members removed their children from her Sunday school class. The Lord enabled me to minister to her.

I currently supervise a substance abuse detoxification unit. God has been so merciful. I am thankful my family members have been delivered, but my passion has not waned nor have I wavered in my commitment.

Wherever I travel, I encounter people who struggle with addiction. Indeed, this problem has become a national dilemma. My singular objective is to impact as many lives as possible, to abound in the task to which I have been assigned, knowing that Jesus’ return is imminent. People are dying daily due to addictive substances, most without Christ. I have seen addictive substances destroy lives and families, irrespective of socio-economic background, education, profession, nationality, color, or religious beliefs. It is truly an “equal opportunity killer” that stems from many sources.

Currently drug overdose from prescription medication has soared, seemingly unabated. I want to help as the Lord enables me. Even though I am not allowed to freely share Jesus in my work environment, the Lord provides doors of opportunity to minister. I am able to inquire about a person’s spiritual beliefs. I also maintain a supply of Bibles I can give out if asked.

How to Pray for Those bound by Substance Abuse:

Persist and persevere in prayer.

You may feel like you are alone and that no one cares about your pain. Jesus does! Don’t become co-dependent, but pray through the pain. “Men always ought to pray and not to lose heart” (Luke 18:1, NKJV). Also be reminded, “The effective, fervent prayer of the righteous avails much” (James 5:16).

Apply and arm yourself with the Word.

Set clear boundaries. Pray Scriptures; they are powerful. God’s Word will not return empty. The Lord said His Word will “accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:11).  

Intercede for and serve others.

Pray passionately for them as you would for your own family. We are commanded to “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:31).

Exalt Him and expect the answer.

Remember, only God can change an addict’s heart and desire. Therefore, pray with an expectation that God will touch the person. Faith is not what we see, so praise the Lord consistently even when no change is evidenced. This has helped me greatly on my journey from pain to passion.

Working with addicts is challenging. They can be volatile, unpredictable, and discouraging; and they have a high relapse rate. Candidly, if God had not changed my focus, I would never have chosen this profession. Before God’s call my focus was the enhancement of an individual’s outward beauty. Now He has anointed me to help an individual’s beauty emerge from within. He has assuaged the pain of my past and set me on a trajectory to lead addicts to Him.

About The Author

MSG Morris Elaine-webElaine Morris is the supervisor of a substance abuse detoxification unit in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. She and her husband, David, are the founders and pastors of Bread of Life Ministries, an Open Bible church in Pembroke Pines, Florida. The Morrises have been married for 36 years and have two adult sons.

About The Author

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Since 1920, Message of the Open Bible has been a medium to celebrate all the wonderful things God is doing through His people in Open Bible Churches – from personal testimonies, to news-related stories, to inspirational articles by quality authors.