Pastor’s Forum: Stories of Answered Prayer
Editor’s note: We asked several pastors to briefly recount one story in which God answered a request that was being regularly prayed for by the whole church. Below are a few answers.
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La Plata Baptist Church is a small rural church in Southern Maryland. Our history was not marked by ethnic diversity in attendance or in membership. But few years ago, during our Sunday evening service, we began asking God to grow us in ethnic diversity, for his glory. In the last 6 months, our church has grown exponentially in this way. God has transformed our congregation into a place where people of all backgrounds feel loved and welcome, and we are thrilled at the growth God has given us because only he could do this work. I know this will cause our church to pursue humility and unity even more. We pray our community will take notice at this love in our congregation so that people will come to Christ for salvation.
—Garrett Connor | La Plata Baptist Church | La Plata, MD
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After nearly three years of suffering from Eosinophilic Gastritis, my wife Marcia was near death. She had lost a significant amount of her body weight and doctors could find no medical solution. They had only succeeded at finding medication that helped some but worsened her condition.
Finally, after exhausting all local options, we made an appointment for her to be seen at Mayo Clinic, Rochester. I explained the problem to the church as we set off for Minnesota. They prayed corporately for her and in many small groups.
Something strange occurred the night before her first appointment; she awakened and said she was in absolutely no pain, for the first time in three years. She ate a little breakfast without pain. The doctors performed extensive tests and proved the disease that was destroying her life was healed. They had no explanation other than it was a miracle.
—Dennis Newkirk | Henderson Hill Baptist Church | Edmond, OK
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A father of two young children tragically lost his wife, and our congregation walked through that with him. One night the father, John, swept up his little boy and girl into his arms as they sat weeping on the bathroom floor, longing for their wife and mommy. After years of juggling a difficult schedule on his own, John stood up at one of our monthly congregational prayer meetings with tears in his eyes and hope in his heart and asked us to please pray that God would provide him a wife and his children a mom. One month later, he met Claudia, a godly widow who came to our church with children of her own. Six months later, I was closing a series on Ruth, when God provides a husband for Ruth amidst her suffering. I closed the sermon by asking John to share a testimony of crying out to God with us at that prayer meeting for a wife, and he closed by dropping to a knee and asking her to be his wife. They’ve been happily married for three years and continue to rejoice in God’s provision.
—Josh Vincent | Trinity Bible Church | Phoenix, AZ
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With thousands of students, scholars, and city-dwellers around us, the members of Evanston Baptist Church—right next to Northwestern University—have been gathering and praying Matthew 28:18–20 together, asking God to use our church to make disciples of all nations. Our congregation has become noticeably international and multi-ethnic in recent years. It’s not uncommon for Christians from more than 10 nations to be found in our worship gatherings, even though the average attendance is less than 50 each Lord’s Day.
We’re learning to love our neighbors and clearly communicate the gospel to them. And our members keep being sent out from our church as missionaries (short and long term, vocational and marketplace) to nations like China, India, Pakistan, Indonesia, Thailand, Germany, Japan, Turkey, Israel, and Nigeria. Others are being sent to start new churches in Evanston and Chicagoland. We rejoice in these answered prayers and ask God to keep using us to make disciples of all nations for his glory and our joy.
—Scott Kelly | Evanston Baptist Church | Evanston, IL
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A couple years ago we decided to pray on Sunday evenings not merely for boldness in evangelism, but fruit from evangelism. We knew many from our body had been sharing the gospel faithfully, we trusted that pleased God, but we longed to see conversions. On Easter Sunday 2015, God brought a single man to our church. He visited for a season seven years prior, but this time he stuck around. The Word drew him and the hospitality surprised him. God saved him about nine months later, and he’s now a baptized member of the body.
Around this time, a young Chinese woman working in Atlanta began to attend. She tolerated the preaching, but the book of Romans being taught in Sunday school captivated her. At different times and in different ways, members of the church called her to repent and believe. She finally did and we baptized her, too. Answered prayers.
—Aaron Menikoff | Mt. Vernon Baptist Church | Sandy Springs, GA
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A number of months ago a couple in our church discovered their unborn child had a rare birth defect that threatened the child’s life. They humbly asked the church to pray for the baby’s healing, but more importantly for them to trust God in whatever path he called them to walk through. We prayed, both publicly and privately, for the Lord to show his mercy.
The Lord allowed the child to live seven days, and then took him to be with himself. The family grieved, and the church grieved, but the Lord’s present help in such a time of trouble has been evident. The Lord does not always answer in the ways we desire, but he remains faithful and our church has seen that, even in this valley of the shadow of death. “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away, blessed be the Name of the Lord” (Job 1:21).
—Garrett Kell | Del Ray Baptist Church | Alexandria, VA