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Don't Forget to Pray!

Have you ever forgotten to pray? Even though, in retrospect, it seems obvious you should have prayed? I have!

My neighbor Hawa was sick and had been for about two weeks. It started out as a cough, progressed to fever and headache, and went on to severe vomiting. I realized she was really sick the day we were getting ready to go to Niamey.

Now, you have to understand that getting ready for Niamey is always crazy busy. It just seems that everything happens, everybody comes, etc., not to mention all the packing and trying to remember everything. So, that’s my excuse!

Anyway, in the evening I went over to see her. She was lying on the ground on a mat under a net. In a very feeble voice she said she had gone to the dispensary that morning and they had given her medicine. She showed it to me: Tylenol and three days worth of antibiotics. We all know three days of antibiotics isn’t enough! So I rushed down to the dispensary, asked the pharmacist for a good strong malaria treatment and more antibiotics. (Believe it or not, all we have to do here is ask and they will give medicines to us! Not the best system, but then the medical system here leaves a lot to be desired!) I hurried back home, explained to her how to use the medicine, returned to my house, and went to bed. The next day we left for Niamey.

When we came back four days later, Hawa was still sick and she was so weak she could hardly talk or get up. She had been vomiting the whole time we were gone and still had a terrible headache. It seems like it was probably not malaria since the strong treatment didn’t work on her. It followed the pattern of typhoid, though we’ll never know since the dispensary didn’t do any lab work.

It was then I realized I had never prayed for her. I mean, I prayed for her during the week when I thought about it. But I never prayed for her in front of her. The next day, Sunday, my Christian friend, Safi, and I went to her house and this time I prayed for her and for her healing, while her daughters gathered around and her husband sat outside the hut.

Sunday afternoon she managed to wobble over to my yard and sit and talk for awhile. I could hardly hear her, though, since she was so weak. It was the first she had left her hut in a week. Monday I saw her sitting out in her yard, talking to her children. Tuesday morning I came out of my house and there she was, sweeping my yard just like she always does! I “yelled” at her and told her to go back to bed, but she refused claiming she was completely well. And she was!

It could be argued that she had just finished the course of antibiotics and they had done their work. It could be argued that the illness had run its course anyway. I don’t know.

What I do know is this, I forgot to pray. And God answers prayer. He definitely answered that one!