THE POWER OF PRAYER

In 1986 our son, Adam, was in Millersburg hospital. It was just a few days shy of his first birthday, and since he didn't talk yet, he couldn't tell us where it hurt or what was wrong. He just writhed in pain and threw up.

He wasn't sick when he and Lydia came home to the states. I had stayed behind in Costa Rica to help run the annual beach campout for the Young Life Club. I would come home when it was over, about ten days later.

When I called home (via ham radio in those days) Lydia said Adam didn't feel good. The next day, just before I left for the beach, I made one more call and Lydia said Adam was in the hospital and they didn't know what was wrong. Since he had just come from a tropical country, they thought it might be malaria.

And since it was Adam's first birthday, I got calls from all over:
“Hey! How's Adam? Happy birthday!”
“He's in the hospital in the states and they don't know what's wrong.”
“We'll pray.”

Our friend, Jim Scionka called. He was now a student in Dallas at Christ for the Nations School. He requested prayer in their chapel. Galen Stutzman, fellow language student and a Wycliffe worker in Columbia, alerted the Wycliffe prayer chain. Jon Showalter called. He told Rosedale Bible School. Marv Asfahl told the Young Life Headquarters about Adam. LAM missionaries all over the globe were praying. Our home church, Berlin Mennonite, got the message and Mennonites all over the county and country were praying. I can't remember who called from Wilmore, Ky., but they heard our plea and Asbury College and Seminary students were praying. Folks, only eternity will tell, but I wonder if the people praying for our little boy didn't number in the thousands- In many different states and countries!

About two days into our campout on the coast, my boss, Marv Asfahl, came in from San Jose and said, “Adam is going to have exploratory surgery and I got you a ticket to go home. Let's go.”

The trip home is a story in itself, but I got to Akron/Canton airport and they had lost my luggage. “Sign these papers.” “Keep the luggage!” I yelled, and we ran for the hospital. When I got to Akron Children's hospital I learned that Adam was in exploratory surgery with a Dr. Bachman, one of the best surgeons in the US.

Long story short: Adam had Meckle's diverticulum: a “kinked” intestine. When Dr. Bachman opened him up, he unkinked the hose and the blood started flowing into the pale intestine. If the surgery would have been several hours later, the chance of gangrene would have been high, as well as infection, sickness and...

God heard the prayers of His people. Adam still has a foot-long scar across his stomach as a reminder of God's faithfulness and the power of prayer. Some of you reading this were among the prayer warriors.

Why do I bring this up now? This April our daughter, Amelia, was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. Although that's the most “treatable” kind, it's still cancer. We trusted God, but we were still a little stressed. It's 30 years after Adam's event and now we have Facebook! When Amelia went to surgery on Friday, May 20, I put a prayer request on FB. Within an hour there were over 100 “likes,” meaning at least that many people saw the request. There were over 50 “Comments;” encouraging words and promises to pray. They were from many states and probably a dozen countries: Costa Rica, Hong Kong, Germany, Switzerland, Canada, Honduras, Guatemala,....

Long story short: God heard your prayers. He “healed” our daughter. Maybe He would have been gracious and merciful and healed Amelia without the prayers of His people, but why not obey Him?: “Is any among you sick? Let him call..for prayer... And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up.” James 5:15

God answers prayer. He is an awesome God. Would I be this happy if God had chosen not to heal Amelia? (or Adam?) No. Would I still think He is awesome? Yes. Would I still praise Him? “Though He slay me, yet will I praise Him.” Job 13:15

(Oh, I did go back for my luggage 30 years ago.)


Common Ground Ministries

John was singing in a country western band at the time of his conversion in 1972. God changed his desire for stardom in Nashville to minitstry.

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