This I Believe

John - Oconomowoc, Wisconsin
Entered on October 10, 2006
Age Group: 30 - 50

I believe in the power of prayer.

Eleven years ago I learned about the power of prayer. I had prayed before; little things like exams in school, and for big things like when my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. And I had prayed when our first child, Torrin was born.

But nothing compares to the weeks after Torrin was born.

You see, when Torrin was 5 days old, my wife, Heidi, knew something wasn’t right. He wasn’t nursing well. He kept falling asleep. We took him back to the hospital that evening and ended up in the emergency room.

The room was full of people working on Torrin, but I felt so alone. I prayed. I called Heidi’s parents and they came from Illinois. I still felt alone. Something was wrong with Torrin’s heart and he needed to be transported to Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. I prayed as I drove, following Torrin and Heidi in the ambulance. At 4 am the cardiologist told us that Torrin had a heart defect and would require a series of heart surgeries or a heart transplant. I prayed. I still felt alone.

There was a sign above the sink in the Neonatal intensive care unit that said “sometimes all you have left to do is pray”.

Mid morning a familiar face from my past walked into the intensive care unit. My childhood pastor had arrived. Pastor Frank had baptized me and was there at my confirmation. My father, while driving from Minneapolis had called Pastor Frank, who lived near the hospital now. We prayed together. I didn’t feel quite so alone.

My mother was a parish nurse in Arizona. She arrived that night and told me that her church was praying for Torrin. I wasn’t alone.

We waited and prayed for a week while they stabilized Torrin for surgery. Our neighbors prayed and tied yellow ribbons on the trees. We prayed that the doctors would do their best; that Torrin would have the top nurses, that his ventilator would work and that his breathing tube wouldn’t plug. We prayed that we would be able to stay awake and not miss a single minute with our new son.

Pastor Frank baptized Torrin and the nurses gave us a lock of his hair and a plaster print of his foot. They took Torrin to surgery.

“sometimes all you have left to do is pray”.

The surgery went well and we continued to pray over the next three weeks in intensive care. We joined a church and they prayed with us.

Torrin has had three more heart surgeries since then. I have never felt alone going back for these surgeries, knowing that so many people were praying with us. He is now finished with his surgeries and he plays football and basketball, and Heidi and I have a hard time keeping up with him.

I thank God and I thank everyone who prayed with us. I believe in the power of prayer.