Friday, July 14, 2006

Prayer Pagers

Due to cancer, Janice’s father had a stem cell replacement. After I said a prayer for him, I dialed his prayer pager then entered my zip code and hung up. A Baptist church loaned Janice’s dad the pager.

Her dad’s pager beeped over 100 times one day, alerting him that at least that many prayers were said for him. Some churches and hospital chaplaincies offer these pagers to seriously ill patients.

Zip codes pop up in the pager digital display letting patients know where prayers originated, and if a person is gravely ill, family members are given the pager. The pagers can be set to beep or vibrate.

Born with a spinal problem, Brandon Culp from Pennsylvania became paralyzed from a high school sport injury. He recovered and again walked. But in 2005, on his way back to college in Texas, an automobile accident once more paralyzed him. The accident occurred in Mississippi, and he remained in ICU for 11 days.

His dad and mom went to his aid and strangers came to theirs’. A Mississippi Christian placed a prayer pager in their hands. Even in ICU, Brandon’s dad Jack Culp held the pager against his son’s wrist. “Brandon, every time this pager vibrates, somebody’s praying for you. It’s people that you’ve never met. And they’re just praying that God will do just the best for you that he can.”

In 2002, Cordele United Methodist Church in Asbury, Alabama began a prayer pager ministry, now spread to many other states. Joe, who received a pager, had inoperable throat and neck cancer, requiring a year of radiation and chemotherapy. Throughout setbacks and pain, his pager remained with him. Just at times of grueling trial, he would hear a gentle beep, and his spirits lifted. Someone, somewhere just prayed for him.

The apostle Paul often heartened fellow Christians by outlining his prayers for them and letting them know he prayed, but he did it through letters. Friends often carried his letters to others. To reach their destination, they traveled in boats, on donkeys, or walked — extremely slow transport to Ephesus, Corinth, and Philippi.

In one letter to the Ephesians, he sketched his prayers letting them know he gave thanks for their faith, prayed for their enlightenment about God, and that they might come to a fuller knowledge of Jesus (Ephesians 1:15-23). Notice of his prayer support took days and days and more days to reach their ears.

Now, almost as fast as God hears a prayer, activated prayer pagers can notify the ill — someone, somewhere just prayed.

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  1. Great story, Cathy. I'm going to try to refer to it next week from my encouragement blog.

  2. What an awesome idea.