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Saturday, August 1, 2009

Power of Prayer

Had the opportunity to hear Don Piper speak at my church last Sunday. His story has made me think a lot about the power of prayer this week. Prayer is truly powerful! It can change things!

Don Piper was in a horrific car accident and was dead for 90 minutes before he came back to life. He was going back to his church from a minister's workshop and was literally run over by an 18-wheeler. Every bone in his body was broken except for his right forearm and he was impaled on the steering wheel. The paramedics worked on him for a long time but eventually determined there was nothing they could do to bring him back to life.

One of the other preachers at the conference came up to the scene and heard God tell him to pray for the man in the car. After much discussion with a police officer, he crawled into the car, placed his hand on Don's right forearm, and began praying for him. In the meantime, the police had called Don's church looking for his wife. (This was in the days before cell phones.) The police told them Don was in a bad accident but would not tell them anything more than that. They immediately began praying for him. They also called other churches in the area, who called even more churches. Soon there were people all over the world praying for a man they had never even heard of, much less knew. After 90 minutes, the preacher in the car began singing What a Friend We Have in Jesus and Don joined him. The preacher got out of the car and told the remaining paramedics, "The dead man is singing!"

You might be thinking, I've heard this story before. That's because Don Piper wrote a book about the ordeal called 90 Minutes in Heaven. If you have not read it, I highly recommend it. He talks about how he went to Heaven during that time. He also talks about his struggle to recover from the accident after he came back. It's very powerful and inspirational.

Anyway, hearing him speak Sunday made me think about other miracles I've seen and heard about as a result of prayer.

Would like to share one example I witnessed:

Several years ago, there was couple in our Sunday school class who was pregnant. She went to the doctor, who ran some test and told her the baby would most likely not make it. Naturally, this news upset her. When she announced it to the class, the teacher said we were going to pray for her. At that time, we all gathered around her and began to pray. After her next doctor's visit, the doctor told her she had had a dramatic turnaround and it looked like everything would be OK. She went on to deliver a healthy baby.

Now, some folks may say it's all a coincidence. My answer would be the same as the Latter Day Saints have for a miracle which happened for them. If you've ever been to Salt Lake City, you may have seen a monument to seagulls. When the Latter Day Saints first relocated to Utah, their crops were attacked by locusts. They prayed for a miracle. Shortly thereafter a huge flock of seagulls appeared and ate the locusts. Scientists have explained it happened because the offshore winds in California have been known to blow seagulls into Utah before. The LDS response is: yes, that might be true, but you can't argue with the timing of it coming after they had prayed.

There are many stories in the Bible where miracles have happened as the result of prayer. Jesus says if you have the faith of a mustard seed, you can move mountains (Matthew 17:20-21). I truly believe that. The Bible also has several stories where God has changed his plans after talking with people (see Genesis 18 just to name one example). That's all prayer really is: us having a discussion with God.

I also believe God answers all prayers. Sometimes the answer is not what we want. But, we get an answer. It's hard for us to understand that God's plans are not always the same as ours. There've been several times when my prayers have not been answered like I wanted them to. But, when everything was said and done, things turned out better than I expected and/or I received a new inspiration for my life.

Now, I'm not one of those people who thinks we should put prayer back in public schools. If it was, the prayers would be so watered down there would be no reason for it. (Will say I believe the old axiom: prayer will never be removed from schools as long as there are tests.) But, do believe in its power and feel great comfort knowing God cares enough to listen to what I have to say. It's up to me to listen for His answer and accept whatever it may be. God will listen to your prayers, too, whether they are long, eloquent, Billy Graham-type prayers, or one that's not so much. Encourage you to try it out.

Thanks for listening.

1 comment:

  1. Excellent post! I have read Don's book and saw an extensive interview with him on t.v. His story is nothing short of amazing.

    I think we ought to start an "answered prayer" blog. I could fill pages!

    ReplyDelete