Isaiah 65:24

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(This was sent to me. I have no direct knowledge of this incident but also have no reason to doubt its veracity)

This story was written by a doctor who worked in South Africa...

One night I had worked hard to help a mother in the labor ward; but in
spite of all we could do, she died leaving us with a tiny premature
baby and a crying two-year-old daughter. We would have difficulty
keeping the baby alive, as we had no incubator (we had no electricity
to run an incubator).

We also had no special feeding facilities. Although we lived on the
equator, nights were often chilly with treacherous drafts. One student
midwife went for the box we had for such babies and the cotton wool
that the baby would be wrapped in.

Another went to stoke up the fire and fill a hot water bottle. She
came back shortly in distress to tell me that in filling the bottle e,
it had burst (rubber perishes easily in tropical climates). "And it is
our last hot water bottle!" she exclaimed. As in the West, it is no
good crying over spilled milk so in Central Africa it might be
considered no good crying over burst water bottles. They do not grow
on trees, and there are no drugstores down forest pathways.

"All right," I said, "put the baby as near the fire as you safely can,
and sleep between the baby and the door to keep it free from drafts.
Your job is to keep the baby warm."

The following noon, as I did most days, I went to have prayers with
any of the orphanage children who chose to gather with me. I gave the
youngsters various suggestions of things to pray about and told them
about the tiny baby. I explained our problem about keeping the baby
warm enough, mentioning the hot water bottle, and that the baby could
so easily die if it got chills. I also told them of the two-year-old
sister, crying because her mother had died.

During prayer time, one ten-year old girl, Ruth, prayed with the usual
blunt consciousness of our African children. "Please, God" she prayed,
"send us a water bottle." It'll be no good tomorrow, God, as the baby
will be dead, so please send it this afternoon."

While I gasped inwardly at the audacity of the prayer, she added, "And
while You are about it, would You please send a dolly for the little girl
so she'll know You really love her?"

As often with children's prayers, I was put on the spot. Could I
honestly say,"Amen.." I just did not believe that God could do this.
Oh, yes, I know that He can do everything, the Bible says so. But
there are limits, aren't there? The only way God could answer this
particular prayer would be by sending me a parcel from homeland. I
had been in Africa for almost four years at that time, and I had never,
ever received a parcel from home. Anyway, if anyone did send me a
parcel, who would put in a hot water bottle? I lived on the equator!
Halfway through the afternoon, while I was teaching in the nurses'
training school, a message was sent that there was a car at my front

By the time I reached home, the car had gone, but there, on the
veranda, was a large twenty-two pound parcel. I felt tears pricking my
eyes. I could not open the parcel alone, so I sent for the orphanage

Together we pulled off the string, carefully undoing each knot. We
folded the paper, taking care not to tear it unduly. Excitement was

Some thirty or forty pairs of eyes were focused on the large cardboard
box. >From the top, I lifted d out brightly colored, knitted jerseys.
Eyes sparkled as I gave them out. Then there were the knitted bandages
for the leprosy patients, and the children looked a little bored. Then
came a box of mixed raisins and sultanas - that would make a batch of
buns for the weekend. Then, as I put my hand in again, I felt
the.....could it really be? I grasped it and pulled it out - yes, a
brand-new, rubber hot water bottle. I cried. I had not asked God to
send it; I had not truly believed that He could. Ruth was in the front
row of the children. She rushed forward, crying out, "If God has sent
the bottle, He must have sent the dolly too!"

Rummaging down to the bottom of the box, she pulled out the small,
beautifully dressed dolly. Her eyes shone! She had never doubted!

Looking up at me, she asked: "Can I go over with you and give this
dolly to that little girl, so she'll know that Jesus really loves

That parcel had been on the way for five whole months. Packed up by my
former Sunday school class, whose leader had heard and obeyed God's
prompting to send a hot water bottle, even to the equator. And one of
the girls had put in a dolly for an African child - five months
before, in answer to the believing prayer of a ten-year-old to bring
it "that afternoon."

"Before they call, I will answer" (Isaiah 65:24)> This awesome prayer
takes less than a minute. When you receive this, say the prayer,
that's all you have to do. No strings attached. Just send it on to
whomever you want - but do send it on. Prayer is one of the best free
gifts we receive. There is no cost but a lot of rewards.

Let's continue praying for one another Father, I ask you to bless my
friends reading this right now. I am asking you to minister to their
spirit at this very moment. Where there is pain, give them your peace
and mercy. Where there is self-doubting, release a renewed confidence
to work through them. Where there is tiredness or exhaustion, I ask
you to give them understanding, guidance, and strength as they learn
submission to your leading. Where there is spiritual stagnation, I ask
you to renew them by revealing Your nearness, and by drawing them into
greater intimacy with You. Where there is fear, reveal Your love, and
release to them Your courage. Where there is a sin blocking them,
reveal it, and break its hold over my friend's life.

Bless their finances, give them greater vision, and raise leaders
and friends to support and encourage them. Give each of them
discernment to recognize the evil forces around them, and reveal to
them the power they have in You to defeat it. I ask you to do these
things in Jesus' name.

P. S. Passing this on to anyone you consider a friend will bless you
both. Passing this on to one not considered a friend is something
Christ would do.

"Do not ask the Lord to guide your footsteps if you're not willing to
move your feet."


This brought tears to my eyes.

Why shouldn't we believe it? It is what our faith teaches us God does, isn't it?
Yet I am like the writer. I would have had trouble saying "Amen," fearing the child's disillusionment.

There are times though, when our prayers, and even children's prayers, are answered with "no." Sometimes this is for our own good. it because there was no one to listen to God's saying "Put in an hot water bottle."?

Susan Peterson

February 2013

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by alicia published on February 5, 2006 1:15 PM.

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