El Dorado News-Times
May 01 2016
by U.S. Senator John Boozman
The National Prayer Breakfast brings together leaders from all over the world under the name of Jesus. This annual event is a special time to reflect on God’s impact on our world, country and our lives. In 2008, Ward Brehm, a Minnesota businessman, delivered the keynote address. Brehm has served as a member of the United States African Development Foundation under President George Bush and President Barack Obama. He shared the transformation he experienced on his first trip to Africa, a trip he didn’t even want to take. He witnessed poverty, starvation and deplorable living conditions. The trip opened his eyes to God’s calling and mission for him to help. Having traveled to Africa more than 30 times, the number one question he is asked by his African friends is ‘What do you pray for?’
This is an important question because the answer offers a unique perspective on what is important to us. While it’s just as important to pray for our thankfulness and gratitude for the things we have, it’s easiest to lean on prayer in difficult times. This is often in times of trial when we are looking for hope.
Aside from a football injury in high school that led to the removal of my spleen I’ve been in good health, but I knew something was wrong when I started having pain in my side as I tried to fall asleep one April night two years ago. I took my blood pressure. It was very low. So low that I had my wife, Cathy, take her blood pressure to make sure the machine was working. When it came back normal, we drove to the hospital down the street from our home.
I chatted with the nurses and the doctors who were administering my tests, confident they would cure what was wrong and send me back home that night. However, the MRI scan showed that I was lucky to be alive. A tiny tear in the inner wall of my aorta was rapidly developing into a huge tear. I needed immediate surgery. My doctors told me most people diagnosed with an aortic dissection don’t make it to the hospital and among those who do, few survive the surgery.
My faith in Jesus Christ prepared me for the moment I heard that prognosis. Prayer has always played a role in my life, and there was nothing more I could do in that instant than to pray. I prayed with Cathy and prayed that the Lord would take care of my family if I didn’t make it.
I understand how difficult that time was for Cathy and my family. I know how helpless they felt. There was nothing more they could do than to turn to God and ask for comfort for what followed.
As news of my surgery spread, the well-wishes started pouring into my family and my office. Cathy says she could feel the prayers of Arkansans and people we’ve met from all over the world.
Our prayers were answered with a successful surgery. Prayers continued to be an important part of my recovery. I spent several weeks recouping before returning to work in Washington. Today I feel great, through the Lord’s blessing and my doctors who do such a good job caring for so many.
I know that God led me to the that hospital that night because I would typically tough out the pain. Had I waited much longer to see a doctor I wouldn’t have survived.
In the last two years, I have included my thankfulness for my health in prayer. I’m grateful each and every day that the Lord mended me and provided me with more time to spend with my family.
It’s often when we lose control that we rely on prayer most. This sense of powerlessness is something poverty-stricken Africans live with everyday so prayers for health, healing and survival are something they are familiar with. Now I am too.
Originally posted: http://media.arkansasonline.com/static/eldorado/pdfs/digital/2016OnThePath.May01/files/basic-html/page8.html