Thoughts on answered prayer
May 16 2003 by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor

Thoughts on answered prayer | Friday, May 16, 2003

Friday, May 16, 2003

Thoughts on answered prayer

By Tony W. Cartledge BR Editor

Unless you have spent the past two weeks in a shoebox, you have probably heard about the hiker who saved his life by hacking off his right hand with a dull pocketknife.


On April 26, an "extreme outdoor explorer" named Aron Ralston made the mistake of venturing alone into the rarely visited Bluejohn Canyon, just outside Utah's Canyonlands National Park.

While clambering down the rocky face of the canyon, an 800-pound chockstone boulder dislodged, crushing and pinning his right hand.

Because no one knew where to look, and because Ralston was stuck in a hidden slot within the remote canyon, airborne search teams couldn't find him.

For three days, Ralston tried to move the big rock, but even a pulley system cobbled from his climbing ropes and harness failed to budge it.

On the fourth day, April 29, Ralston concluded that his only recourse was to amputate his hand at the wrist, but his knife was so dull that he could hardly break the skin. During that day and the next he managed to cut through some of the muscle and tissue, but couldn't sever the bones.

After 48 hours without water, on May 1 - which he noted was the National Day of Prayer - Ralston said he had a revelation. It came to him that he could break the bones against the rock by using his body for leverage. This he did, snapping first the radius, then the ulna, just above the wrist.

After applying tourniquets made of climbing cord and then sawing through the remaining tissue, Ralston wrapped the stump of his arm in a plastic bag and a small canvas backpack. He then rappelled 60 feet down the rock face one-handed, drank and filled his water bottles at a pool on the valley floor, and started the seven-mile hike back to his truck.

When a rescue helicopter finally picked him up, he was just over a mile from the parking lot.

In an interview published in the Denver Post on May 9, Ralston said he prayed often during his five-day ordeal, and felt that "there was a greater presence than me in that canyon."

He prayed that he could think clearly and make good decisions as he considered his plight.

And then he cut off his hand.

Which suggests an important insight regarding prayer. The evidence of answered prayer is not always perfect healing or a miraculous rescue.

The simple fact that God hears and is present with us is a response to our deepest prayer, a yearning for connection with the Eternal, the Almighty.

Sometimes, just the strength to face the day and do what we need to do is a magnificent answer to prayer, and worthy of praise.

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5/16/2003 12:00:00 AM by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor | with 0 comments
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