Prayer Week: Does God Answer Prayer?

You be the judge . . .

On February 26, 1968, 21-year-old Jim Stegall was serving in Vietnam. After two years of watching his friends get cut down in battle, he couldn’t take it anymore.

Jim always carried a small New Testament in his pocket. But on this day, he couldn’t bring himself to read it. Instead, he prayed for it all to end.

That very day, Jim’s unit came under attack and soon he heard a missile heading straight for him. Three seconds until I’m dead, he thought to himself. Three, two, one . . .    

Someone suddenly shoved him into a grease pit. They sat there huddled in fright, waiting for the missile to explode. But nothing happened. Miraculously, the missile malfunctioned.

After several hours of terrified waiting in the hole, Jim finally reached for his Bible. He flipped it open to Matthew and read through the first 18 chapters. “When I got to Matthew 18:19-20,” he said, “I somehow knew things would be all right.”

Years later, Jim was visiting his wife’s grandmother. She told him about a night while he was in Vietnam when she had woken up in a panic. Sensing that Jim was in danger, she asked God to protect him. She stayed up all night, alternating between praying and reading her Bible.

Just before sunrise, she read Matthew 18:19-20, which says:

I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.

She immediately called a friend, who got out of bed and came racing over. They prayed together until finally they felt comforted by God’s peace.

After she finished telling Jim the story, she opened her Bible and showed it to him. Right next to the above verses she had written: Jim, February 26, 1968.

(Source: Nelson’s Complete Book of Stories, Illustrations & Quotes)


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