and had the sense that someone needed to hear it today for an important reason. The story is about prayer and a question I had for God.
My question was "God, why do you need a lot of people to pray? Isn’t the prayer of a single person as important to you as the prayer of many? Why do we need to ask a lot of people to pray when there’s a crisis?" The answer to that question/prayer came a few days later.
I had a couple of friends that had waited a long time and were finally pregnant. Billy was in his mid-forties and this baby was to be his first. He was so excited that he just beamed every time I saw him at the yogurt shop he owned near my home. Watching Robin’s tummy grow was such a joy and soon the day of delivery was getting close.
Billy and Robin were a really sweet Christian couple. Billy was new to the faith. He had come to the Lord late in life and had married Robin a few years earlier. At the time I was the California State Prayer Coordinator for a National Ministry, so they knew that I loved to pray. We had prayed frequently for their business and personal issues that arose. I was invited to speak at the ministries National Conference in Washington DC that year and they had generously used their shop to help me raise the funds necessary to go. I had grown to love them both very much.
One morning, I was awakened by an urgent phone call. It was Billy letting me know that Robin had gone into labor over night and that her water had broken at the hospital. When it did, the doctors noted that it was badly meconium-stained (meaning that the baby had had a bowel movement in the amniotic fluid, which is often a sign of distress). They were rushing her in for an emergency C-section. There was great concern about the baby’s lungs and the possibility of infection. Babies lungs "inhale" the amniotic fluid as a practice for breathing and to develop their lungs, so if fecal material were inhaled infection was strongly likely to follow.
I immediately began to make calls to people I knew all around the country from my ministry network. I not only asked them to pray, but each time we stopped and prayed together over the phone. The people I called were all volunteers in the ministry and had wide-ranging careers, educational levels and maturity in following Christ, but one thing they shared and that was that they all knew how to pray fervently. I prayed with a farmer in the midwest, an east-coast lawyer, Pastors, stay-at-home-moms like me and even a doctor. During the course of that day, not one, but two prayers were answered — the desperate need of my friend’s baby and my need to understand why a volume of prayer is as important to God as the cry of a single heart.
You see, I probably prayed with about 25-30 different people over the course of that day and not one of those people prayed the same thing! Each had a little different understanding of the situation and prayed for a different portion of the need. The doctor and the farmer both understood birth and prayed about different aspects of the baby’s health and recovery. The stay-at-home-mom wept for the mother’s anxiety and fear. She identified with the emotions she was probably experiencing.as a Mom and prayed for her special needs in the midst of the crisis. Each prayed for something that I hadn’t even thought to pray.
It was as though I was listening to an intricate symphony of prayer that came together in a powerful crescendo that was far greater than the sum of its parts. It was as though in the voices of the many came a completeness that I as one individual could never have prayed.
Billy, Robin and their baby girl felt loved and supported in a way that they had never experienced before, Billy’s faith grew in a special way and their baby recovered miraculously. She suffered no infection and was able to come home from the hospital just a few days later.
At the end of that amazing day of prayer, I learned a very important lesson — one that 25 years later I am sharing with you. God cares enough to answer a single cry of a desperate heart, but He also cares enough to know that we need each other’s love and support even as we seek Him for answers to our crisis and dilemmas. In the whole body of Christ is found completion, and that completion also happens as the whole body of Christ joins together to pray.
If you have a special need for prayer, please don’t hesitate to call your local church prayer chain or a couple of special friends to join with you in seeking God’s intervention. God hears the cry of a single heart, but sometimes WE need to hear the comfort of a loving human voice, feel the hugs of human arms and be touched by the caring of a human heart as we seek Him together.