I experienced a full-blown miracle last week. My friend, Terrie not only survived the surgery on her brain, she is making a remarkable recovery!
When I heard about Terrie’s sudden illness, I felt she needed the forces of the Divine behind her and her family. There was no time to make phone calls or announce the procedure at her women’s group or during church services the following Sunday. She needed prayer power, lots of it, and she needed it yesterday.
Terrie and I are involved in several online groups. With permission from her husband I got the word out on the internet with enough details to impress upon everyone the graveness of the situation without overstepping on privacy matters. The result was electric.
I know people who know how to call on the authority of prayer. I felt it the minute I hit “send”. The replies were instant, inspirational, and far-reaching. Dozens and dozens of people from all over the country began praying for Terrie. In my church, we have a prayer roll in the local Temples and her name was placed on at least a half a dozen prayer rolls. Finally, we decided to set up a fast for her—abstaining from two meals while increasing our prayers for Terrie and her family.
The outpouring of support began immediately the moment I found out about her illness. The miracle was beginning. The next day I was able to visit Terrie in the hospital before her surgery. She was in good spirits and we had a wonderful conversation. I will never forget the feeling I had while driving to Philly (it was a ninety minute drive) and back, as if the spirit of God was lifting my spirits too, protecting me in my travels and comforting me in this ordeal as well. I wasn’t the one going through major surgery in twenty-four hours, but I felt the power of the many prayers as a residual effect! That was an intense moment!
It took longer than we all expected to hear the news after the surgery—operating on the brain is delicate business. They wouldn't know very much until they had a look inside, and the odds were not good. People kept sending online messages, asking for updates, continuing their prayers, even reaching out to others to join in the fast. All I could do was pray, fast, and keep typing for others to do the same.
Her husband finally called two days after the surgery and said, “We have our Terrie back! She recognizes me, she knows names, people, and she knows where she is!” We were shouting for joy at each other over the phone! She has a long road of rehabilitation ahead of her, but the likelihood of a full cognitive recovery is great. Even the doctors said she came out of the surgery well above average. That’s Terrie, for you! She’ll probably teach the doctors a thing or two before they release her!
I've been in situations before where the power of prayer, taken on by regular faithful followers of Christ, makes miracles happen. It is difficult to describe, but it is like an energy wave that lifts you and carries you through the emotional burden. I felt it come on the moment I began the prayer chain—I knew God was listening, sending love and strength, comforting those who were in need. And not just Terrie and her family, but those of us who were praying as well. The power of prayer is real—we may not be able to describe it in earthly terms but there is no denying the forces behind it when you are spiritually in tune to its effects.
But what if the outcome had not been so pleasant? I've experienced this as well. When my father was dying of cancer, prayer did not heal him. But the power of God surrounded him and gave him comfort when it was his time to pass through the veil. I've also felt the spirit of God fill the hospital room of a critically injured teenager on life support. While we prayed for a miraculous recovery, we received a higher response—the will of God. I felt God’s spirit intensify when the clergy surrounding the boy’s bed laid their hands on his head to give him a blessing and an ordination before he passed away. He held onto life long enough to receive these blessings necessary to complete his salvation and to continue his work as a servant to our Heavenly Father on the other side of the veil. It was an immense power that I will never forget, nor can I explain it away in any earthly terms.
Seeing spiritual matters like this may not come often. Whether we choose to see them is one thing, whether we choose to recognize their source is another. But if we turn our hearts to see these moments for what they are—the manifestation of God’s power on earth—we will recognize them more often the next time they do come.
Can it be said that God answers some prayers and not others? Why was Terrie given a second chance while others are not? Prayer is a tricky thing. It’s hard to remember that Heavenly Father sees the grand picture when we cannot. He has things working on both sides of the veil—again something we might imagine but we cannot see. When we remember that His plan is to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of all mankind, we can understand that the greater picture has parts we are not aware of. In the end, everything works out for a reason, and when we sit down with God in heaven, we can ask Him the hard questions.
Brigham Young spoke of this and gave these comforting words. “Suppose that you could see yourselves thousands and millions of years after you have proved faithful to your religion during the few short years in this time, and have obtained eternal salvation and a crown of glory in the presence of God? Then look back upon your lives here, and see the losses, crosses, and disappointments, the sorrows …; you would be constrained to exclaim, “but what of all that? Those things were but for a moment, and we are now here. We have been faithful during a few moments in our mortality, and now we enjoy eternal life and glory, with power to progress in all the boundless knowledge and through the countless stages of progression, enjoying the smiles and approbation of our Father and God, and of Jesus Christ our elder brother” (DNW, 9 Nov. 1859, 1).
I try to remember this whenever I pray. This life is but a small moment. If I can prove faithful, then a thousand years from now I can look back and not think much of the trials I had to go through here. They won’t matter anymore. What matters is how I lived my life, how I exercised the authority of God to bring to pass His miracles, and how much forgiveness I was able to impart.
I witnessed a miracle last week—the power of prayer and the will of God. If we are in tune with Him, we can witness these miracles happening all around us, each and every day.