Going Public

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Do not hesitate to offer to pray with someone in need.

“Help!” The cry came from farther out in the ocean.

My class was huddled together awaiting our final dive instructions. This was a popular spot for divers. The water was full of people.

Then I spotted them—a man towing a woman into shore. I swam out to help them. The man was exhausted, but the woman was in worse shape, unconscious and pale. I swam as fast as I could back to shore.

“Call 911!” I yelled.

Other divers rushed into the water. Someone pulled out a cell phone. We laid the woman on the sand. She wasn’t breathing. EMTs arrived and tried to revive her. An ambulance took her away.

The man who’d towed her in sat on a rock, his head in his hands. He’s afraid the woman won’t make it, I thought. “Was she your dive buddy?” I asked.

“She’s my wife, Lisa,” he said.

His wife? I thought. He must have been in such shock, he’d been unable to follow the ambulance to the hospital.

Pray with him. I wondered where the urge had come from.

Prayer was something I did in private or in church. Not out on a beach with crowds of people around. Besides, what could I say in a prayer that could possibly make a difference now?

Pray with him! The urge came again. I couldn’t deny it.

I put my hand on the guy’s shoulder. “Okay if I pray with you?” I asked.

He nodded. I took a deep breath and knelt in the sand beside him.

“Lord,” I began, “You’re way bigger than any problem we face. Lisa needs you now. We are asking You to intervene. Amen.”

At class the next day my instructor told us that the injured woman, who’d had a stroke underwater, was alive, but in a coma.

“Alive!” I said. I was glad I’d prayed with her husband on the beach. Every night I prayed for them, and I put her on my church’s prayer list.

About two weeks after the rescue, Lisa woke up. She had challenges ahead, but she was going to make it.

I still do most of my praying in private, but I no longer hesitate to offer to pray with someone in need. God had opened Lisa’s eyes, and he’d opened mine as well.

Written by Troy Alvarez

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