Here's two little stories of the little miracles that come with prayer.
The other morning our team came out to our waiting area and asked the patients to join us in prayer. Ismael acknowledged the goodness of our God, thanked Him and asked Him to bless our work, to give us guidance, to help us bring healing. He prayed for all the patients that were there. In my church at home, we have a time at every service where our Pastor asks if anyone has any special prayer of thanks or petition that they would like to share. Often, when those prayers are said, there may be someone or many in the congregation who may be able to be an answer to that person’s prayer. So I added at the end “Does anyone have any special prayer they would like to offer or say?”
I don’t think that kind of thing is customary here so Ismael quickly said “Any of you can pray with any of us when you come back.”
So my first patient came in – a 70 year old woman with many of the infirmities that come with the reality of getting older – diabetes, arthritis, lots of aches and pains. I did my exam, gave her a pap smear, offered some medications that might help and then she said “Would you pray for me now?”
Thinking she had some particular problem in her life that needed prayer, I asked “Is there anything special you would like to pray about?” She smiled broadly and said “No, I just think that if you would pray for me, I would feel so much better. I think it would take my pain away and make me feel less worried.”
“Wow”, I thought. “you must think I’m capable of a whole lot more than I do!” I wanted to tell her that I don’t have any closer connection to the Almighty than she does….that I’m just a flawed little person trying to find some purpose in this world. I felt like her request was one of the biggest things I’ve ever been asked to do. You’re saying that just ME praying might make you better!
I’m honestly not AT ALL one of those people who is good at praying out loud. You know how some people can just go from 0 to 90 in one second and invoke all this inspiration and feeling of God’s presence in their prayers. Well I am definitely not one of those. But I just felt so much responsibility….. like she was asking me, an unworthy person, to bring her healing in a way that was so much grander than any medication or surgery.
So I said ok and closed my eyes and held her hands. I paused for a minute (another hard thing for me to do!) and just really asked God to give me the right words (in Spanish, nonetheless!). I don’t even know what I said but whatever it was, she started crying and squeezing my hands so tight. Whoever God is, I could just totally feel Him in our presence – that Spirit that we talk about was just so right there.
The prayer didn’t last very long – maybe a minute or two. At the end, she just hugged me and said she wouldn’t forget this and she was so grateful.
Maybe she thinks some Gringa doctor has some connection with our God that the average person doesn’t have! All I know is that she believed in God and she believed in me. Perhaps God sent her to me to show me the power of prayer – of how when we humble ourselves and ask with a pure heart, anything can happen.
The next day, we had a group of women come for treatments for their precancerous lesions of the cervix. Some of these lesions are pretty significant and they need a procedure done that has some risks. I’ve done it here many, many times. Sometimes it is very easy and other times, there can be some complications that make it a bit more challenging. I had been emailing Randy just 30 minutes before and telling him how the day was going so well and all the procedures were going without a hitch. Don’t I know after all these years that you should never say anything like that!!! God will surely humble you in a second if you start to feel a bit cocky! Inevitably, as soon as you say that, problems start.
So I started this procedure on this woman. There were many reason why it was more complicated but without boring my non-medical audience here, suffice it to say that it was a challenge. The next thing I know, my “loop” (connected to electricity so that it should burn as it goes thus eliminating bleeding) must have hit what Dr. Phibbs used to call the “wandering vein of hemorrhage”!
In one second, it was like I just put a hole in a major pipe and the blood came pouring out. Now at home, this is easy. The patient is asleep so you can manipulate things without them moving. You have great light, lots of assistants, any tool you want at your disposal. But here that is not the case. My heart started pounding thinking about what would happen if I couldn’t get this controlled quickly.
Now the patient had NO idea this was happening. There was a drape so she couldn’t see anything. I didn’t say a word. But a few seconds later she just started praying quietly out loud. And somehow I just knew everything would be OK. Somehow I was able to place sutures quickly in the midst of a stream of blood that blinded my visibility and everything was fine. Again, it was like the Spirit of God just swooped in, brought calm and gave me the ability to do something that was almost beyond my reach.
At home of course, the same thing would have brought a flurry of people and instruments and better light and better attention from everyone. Here, when those things don’t exist, you just invoke the power of God and prayers seem to be constantly answered.
Believe me, I’m not bashing modern technology in medicine – it is incredible. But maybe a little prayer and faith in God’s power would help a bit too! Maybe we should all offer more prayers to each other. Maybe when we say “I will pray for you…we should really do it.” That presence of the Spirit is an awfully nice thing to have around!