by Cheri Fuller
The missionary rose and prepared to leave the campsite where he had spent the night en route to the city for medical supplies. He extinguished his small campfire, pulled on his canvas backpack, and hopped on his motorcycle to continue his ride through the African jungle. Every two weeks he made this two‐day journey to collect money from a bank and purchase medicine and supplies for the small field hospital where he served. When he completed those errands, he hopped on his bike again for the two‐day return trip.
When the missionary arrived in the city, he collected his money and medical supplies and was just about to leave for home when he saw two men fighting in the street. Since one of the men was seriously injured, the missionary stopped, treated him for his injuries, and shared the love of Christ with him. Then the missionary began his two‐day trek home, stopping in the jungle again to camp overnight.
Two weeks later, as was his custom, the missionary again made the journey to the city. As he ran his various errands, a young man approached him—the same man the missionary had ministered to during his previous trip. “I knew you carried money and medicine with you,” the man said, “so my friends and I followed you to your campsite in the jungle after you helped me in the street. We planned to kill you and take all the money and drugs. But just as we were about to move in and attack you, we saw twenty‐six armed guards surround and protect you.”
“You must be mistaken,” said the missionary. “I was all alone when I spent the night in the jungle. There were no guards or anyone else with me.”
“But sir, I wasn’t the only one who saw the guards. My five companions saw them, too. We counted them! There were twenty‐six bodyguards, too many for us to handle. Their presence stopped us from killing you.”
Months later, the missionary related this story to the congregation gathered at his home church in Michigan. As he spoke, one of the men listening stood up and interrupted him to ask the exact day the incident in the jungle had occurred. When the missionary identified the specific month and day of the week, the man told him “the rest of the story.”
“On the exact night of your incident in Africa, it was morning here in Michigan, and I was on the golf course. I was about to putt when I felt a strong urge to pray for you. The urge was so strong that I left the golf course and called some men of our church right here in this sanctuary to join me in praying for you. Would all you men who prayed with me that day stand up?”
The missionary wasn’t concerned with who the men were; he was too busy counting them, one by one. Finally he reached the last one. There were twenty‐six men—the exact number of “armed guards” the thwarted attacker had seen.
Do you ever find yourself so caught up in the busyness of life that you forget about or postpone a time of prayer? I’m sure the missionary in the story above is one man who was grateful his congregation took seriously the urge to pray!
My father, James Dobson Sr., also took his prayer life seriously. He was known to spend hours at a time on his knees in conversation with the Lord. At Dad’s request, the words “He Prayed” are written on the footstone of his grave. Through his example, and through God’s response, I learned firsthand the power and privilege of prayer. In the week to come let’s take a closer look at this awesome opportunity.
-James C Dobson