This past week, my mother sent an email to my wife, Becky, asking her to pray about an upcoming financial decision.

I stared at the email in dismay for a moment, thinking, I’m her son, the one employed in professional ministry. Shouldn’t I be the first person she asks for prayer?

In the military, this is a serious infraction called bypassing the chain of command. Since she is my mom, however, I cut her some slack, and we both prayed for her.

I suppose my mom’s request shouldn’t have surprised me. She knows Mrs. Chaplain has a bit of a reputation as a prayer warrior. I use that term warrior because her prayers sometimes result in people getting hurt.

Several years ago, she prayed that our college daughter, Sara,would find a way to get more rest. Sara was a world traveler, an avid lacrosse player, and she was majoring in three subjects.

Prayer outcome: A week later, Sara broke her thumb, and it wasn’t just an ordinary break. It required surgery and rehab. I guess the prayer worked. Sara dropped several extracurricular activities and lived a much slower life.

Simultaneously, my wife prayed to find more quality time with our then 12-year-old daughter, Nicole. The day after Sara returned from thumb surgery, Nicole broke her foot. The doctor prescribed no walking, and Nicole spent many hours with Becky during the next two months. Prayer request granted.

Then, about the same time, she started praying for me. Like my oldest daughter, I, too, had been keeping a hectic schedule.

Becky prayed I’d slow my writing schedule to spend quality time with family. Her prayer established a “target lock” on me sometime Saturday afternoon as I finished one writing project and was assembling my entry for a writing contest, all the while multitasking on a sermon in the midst of making travel arrangements for another cross-country speaking tour.

I grabbed my chest. Breathing hurt and the pain stretched from
my navel to my throat. I was thinking, heartburn, I’ll be OK. But as a former hospital chaplain, I’d heard too many people sing the heartburn tune of denial, which later turned out to be their funeral dirge.

With the calm demeanor of a drowning rat, I asked my little prayer warrior to take me to the emergency room. Within a few minutes of arrival, I took my first nitroglycerin tablet and the pain subsided.

The short version of this story is I spent 23 hours of observation in the hospital cardiac ward. Diagnosis: heartburn from hell.

The prayer hit its mark with accurate precision, but fortunately it was only a warning shot over the bow intended just to wing me. My busy schedule slowed significantly, and my wife put another notch in her prayer belt.

Now my mom seems to be asking for a piece of this action.

Well OK, mom, I’ve forwarded your request, but first I must give you something medical folks like to call informed consent.

Becky’s prayers sometimes take a circuitous route, and occasionally people have been slightly injured. But, so far, everyone’s been OK in the end.

At this point, I should say to all of my readers that if you’ve read all of this, and you’d still like me to pass her your prayer request, be forewarned, I’ll be asking you to sign a release form.