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Prayer Made the Difference

It was 2004 and began as a faint uneasiness in my spirit on a Friday.  A tiny voice urging me to pray. I had a home Bible study that night and thought the spirit might be calling me to extra spiritual preparation for it. I dutifully prayed for the study and reassumed my tasks. The study came and went, and the feeling was still there on Saturday. No longer a mere faint uneasiness it had grown into a decided disquiet of spirit. The tiny voice was now an insistent urging. Again, I went to prayer, unsure of what to pray for.  I prayed diligently but was unable to ease the burden on my heart. By Saturday night the feeling had grown to a deep almost despairing feeling. I began to feel a great concern for my six-year-old daughter Reagan.

Sanguine by nature, I rarely experience feelings of doom and gloom but this was almost debilitating. “It feels like a black cloud of despair looming over me “I told our music director, Sarah Roemer. I’m filled with a great fear of Reagan being in danger”.  She told me she would help me pray. I also confided in my mother in law Sunday morning at church and confessed I was unsure if it was the Lord drawing me or if it was the enemy’s attempt to torment me. That afternoon I tearfully recounted my feelings with my mother and she told me ‘Either way, warning or torment, there is only one answer…we must  pray.”   Monday night was Daughters of Zion (now Ladies Prayer International) prayer meeting and I asked the ladies to join us in prayer over the situation. After that night’s prayer the feeling lifted at last.

Four days later on Friday night I was in my bedroom fighting the decidedly unspiritual devils of dust and clutter in the closet. My husband was out of town and the children were in the living room playing. Right in the middle of my task I felt thirsty and went down the hall towards the kitchen. Just as I passed the archway into the living room a blur of motion caught my eye. I watched in horror as my daughters body catapulted through the air jerking to a stop mid-flight and falling to the ground… a jump rope tied around her neck.

I rushed into the room and gathered her into my arms. The rope was tied in a knot so tightly I could not undo it.  She stared up into my eyes with terror, her body spasmodically jerking. I tried to put my fingers under the rope to ease it but could not. I ran and retrieved scissors and franticly began sawing on the rope surrounding Reagan purple neck.  The strands split beneath the blades and her raspy intake of breath was the sweetest sound I have ever heard. I sat there sobbing with relief while she gasped for air. I had not had time to call for help and didn’t even have the presence of mind to call out the name of Jesus. But then I didn’t need to … for seven days earlier I had started calling out for this very moment.  The call for help was anticipated and so heaven sent out its own call to me. A call to prayer.

After a story about the covered wagons of the Old West, Reagan had turned the couch into a covered wagon and hitched herself to one of its legs with a jump rope.  My guided stroll had drawn me past the living room at the very instant she leapt forward. James Houston was engrossed in his game boy and unaware of what was going on. Lincoln, at only 18 months was unable to understand either. The chances of them being able to help or get help was slim to none. I believe with all my heart that it was the prayers – mother’s, mine and the church mothers, that made the difference in life and death for us.

Rachel Coltharp
Pastor’s Wife, Aurora, IL
Illinois District Superintendent’s Wife