I can think of many times I have prayed for God to help me with something, and then the miracle occurs.
I think, at some point, I need to write down a list. I know it would be long and it would remind me of
all I have to be thankful for. Maybe I will do it this New Year’s Eve so that I can go into 2009 with
the same ferocious faith of this story’s little girl who prayed for a doll…
My mom sent this for my girls to read. I’ll be printing it out and reading it to them tonight.
Subject: ISAIAH 65:24 Before they call I will answer; while they are
still speaking I will hear.
This beautiful story was written by a doctor who worked in 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,
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 conciseness of our African children. ‘Please, God’ she prayed,
‘Send us a hot water bottle today. 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 the 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
door. By the time I reached home, the car had gone, but there on the
veranda was a large 22-pound parcel. I felt tears pricking my eyes. I
could not open the parcel alone, so I sent for the orphanage children.
Together we pulled off the string, carefully undoing each knot. We
folded the paper, taking care not to tear it unduly. Excitement was
mounting. Some thirty or forty pairs of eyes were focused on the large
From the top, I lifted 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,
Rummaging down to the bottom of the box, she pulled out a 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
her?’ Of course, I replied!
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.’
This Christmas, may you have answered prayers as you focus on
expressing your gratitude and faith to our Father for the birth of His