One day, many years ago, I was driving alone, probably to or from Modesto. On such occasions I looked for a Christian radio program to listen to and thus redeem the time. On this particular day I stumbled onto a regular program of a large, missionary-minded church. They were broadcasting their morning service of the previous Sunday. The guest speaker was one of their fully supported missionaries who was home on furlough. He was a Medical Doctor in charge of a missionary hospital in Africa. He was sharing with the congregation how God had supernaturally saved his life.

He began by explaining part of his routine. The church’s monthly support check for the mission was sent to a bank in a city quite a distance from the mission. This city was also the nearest place where he could pick up medicines and medical supplies that he had ordered. It was a two-day bike ride from the mission. So once a month he would make the trip on his bicycle. He would ride half way, sleep in a tent overnight, and ride the second day to the city. There he would cash the check at the bank, pick up whatever supplies were waiting at the post office, and head back for the mission.

One month he had just arrived at the city when he came upon a native man who had been in a serious accident, was unconscious and about to bleed to death. The doctor, who always carried his medical bag with him, immediately stopped to help. He was able to stop the bleeding, patch him up and bandage him so that he could be left in a nearby house. The doctor explained that he would tend to his business, and return to check the man out before he left for the mission.

When he got back, the man was awake and his friends told him the doctor who had saved his life was there to see him. As the doctor approached, the man recognized him, and immediately broke into tears of anguish. When he finally settled down, he begged the doctor to forgive him. He explained that on the doctor’s previous trip, he and several friends were lying in wait to kill him on this return trip so they could steal the mission’s money and supplies. When he stopped and made camp half way home, they approached his tent cautiously and to their surprise there were a group of husky men surrounding the good doctor, so they abandoned their plan. The doctor told him that was not possible, that he, as always, was alone. But the man insisted that they had all counted the men, and each of them came up with the same count. If I remember correctly, it was 26.

At this point in the doctor’s narrative, a member of the church’s Missions Committee interrupted and asked the doctor if he knew what date and time it was when he was camped there. The doctor told them and they were able to figure out what time it would have been in the USA at the church’s location.

The Missions Committee member got excited! He explained that just before that time he was on the golf course when a terrible burden for the safety of the doctor came upon him. He tried to go on playing, but could not. Instead he got to a phone and began to call all the church’s prayer warriors he could think of and told them to pray earnestly. So right in the middle of the morning service he asked all of those he called to stand up so they could be counted. There were 25 besides himself. For each prayer warrior God had sent an angel in the garb of a husky man to surround the doctor.

The doctor was stunned! The twenty six men were stunned! The whole congregation was stunned! I was stunned! (Tears are coming to my eyes as I type this.) Then we all engaged in an ecstatic praise offering!

God could have saved the doctor from the killer/thieves directly by Himself, but instead He made a number of people partners in the process and increased the faith of hundreds or maybe thousands of His people. The tale doesn’t end there, for the native whose life he had saved gave his life to Jesus (and I suspect his co-conspirators did also).

IS PRAYER IMPORTANT?