The Power of Prayer

“I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope” Psalm 130:5

At 1:00 a.m. on 7 November, 1986, Erin Joy Jarvis was born at Park Lane Clinic in Johannesburg, South Africa. It was a fast delivery. Erin was a mottled blue colour and immediately whisked away by the medical staff because she didn’t “pink up.”

Being first time parents, Alan and Elaine didn’t know that something was wrong. No one had given them any information to the contrary. But when the 5:00 a.m. feed time came and the other mothers were given their babies and Elaine wasn’t, they realized there was a problem. It was nerve-racking. By 8:30 a.m. they still hadn’t seen Erin. Finally, the doctor arrived and told Alan and Elaine he didn’t know if Erin would live through the day. She had a pulmonary stenosis ventricular septal defect. Which, as best as I could understand, meant she had a hole in her heart.

The extended family and close friends were quickly informed. The moment we heard we started praying. They were SOS prayers. Everything was dropped as we focused on Erin’s plight and pleaded with the Father to intervene and perform a miracle.

At 10:00 a.m., still in a critical condition, Erin was transferred by ambulance to the Morningside Clinic where emergency preparations were being made for an angioplasty. The prognosis was bleak. But God answered prayer. During the ride in the ambulance Erin “pinked up.”

We learnt the rest of the story from the Christian nurse in attendance. Erin was examined on arrival and the doctor said, “I can’t understand it. I’ve never seen anything like this before!” The nurse, recognizing that God had answered prayer, said to the doctor, “It’s a miracle!” The angioplasty was cancelled. Erin was still kept under observation in the neonatal unit and finally, five days after her birth, Elaine was able to hold her newborn for the first time. Two weeks later Erin was discharged.

God had intervened to spare Erin’s life. But Erin wasn’t home free. When she was four years old, she had to have the angioplasty. The prognosis at this point was that Erin would only live to be 25 years old. But, as we well know, God numbers our days. Since then Erin has continued to grow in strength and the doctors now say she’ll live a normal and full life. It certainly seems that way. In 2001 Erin played in the ODCVI girls’ rugby team and along with her teammates won the district trophy as the best junior high side for the season.

So don’t despair in times of crisis. God knows your plight. Elaine knew that God was with her in her time of need. On the morning of Erin’s birth Elaine’s reading in the Daily Light was from James 1:2-4; “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

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