Finally: A Powerful Answer to Prayer That May Make You Cry for Joy!

Election ForumBiblical, Church, Culture Wars, Faith5 Comments

I rejoiced at this true story.

I think you will also.

It’s based on Isaiah 65:24 – “Before they call, I will answer.”

It’s written by a doctor who worked in Africa.

Here is the story:

One night I had worked hard to help a mother in the labor ward; but despite 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 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 verandah 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 cardboard box.

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, 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 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.”

“Before they call, I will answer.” (Isaiah 65:24)

This story originates from Helen Roseveare, a missionary from Northern Ireland. tracked her down and she told us this story is true and that she included it in her book “Living Faith.”  She has written about the revival that took place in the 1950’s in what was then the Belgian Congo. She has been associated with WEC (World Evangelization for Christ at

What do you think? Let me know at

5 Comments on “Finally: A Powerful Answer to Prayer That May Make You Cry for Joy!”

  1. This did bring me to tears. It’s a wonderful example of God being in control even when we doubt. Praise the boldness of children in their prayers. Life beats us down with many of our prayers unanswered or so it seems. I pray all of us boldy come before the Lord with renewed belief in the impossible.

  2. I have read this before, and marvel at the faith of a 10 year old child, something that we adults have trouble with. We must have the faith of a mustard seed, and trust that God will do what’s best for us, not necessarily what WE think is best for us.

  3. Yes prayers are answered many years in a job with no time to attend a church when time came to attend was at this one church for a wedding looking around lord your house needs work then I prayed about it fast forward he remembered the prayer and I ask were I should be attending of many mountain churches his answered was sierra Lutheran church so going on the 4 years refurbished things needed and supplying the funds is a truly by the lord

  4. God had saved me several time in my life so I could share the gospel with many, I will give you example. When I was 2 years old I came down with Pneumonia and the doctors said to my mother that I would not make it through the night. My grandfather heard this and said not so,
    can I see my grandson and the doctor said yes. He anointed me with oil and asked God to spare my life. The next morning the doctor said to my family, I can not believe It’s a miracle his life has been spared your child is doing fine that was 84 years ago.

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