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What Prayer Can Do: Faith at 30,000 Feet

A worried woman unexpectedly finds eager prayer partners on a cross-country flight.

Susan Orneck

San Diego to Tampa—a long flight. I was on my way home from a real-estate agent workshop. If only I could relax, I thought as I shifted in my seat. Even a lucky upgrade to first class wasn’t enough to calm me down. My nephew had been diagnosed with melanoma.

Jordan was in his early twenties, just starting a career as a songwriter. He faced his disease with incredible courage, believing in God’s plans for his life, whatever they were. Lord, I am so worried about him, I thought.

I noticed the man sitting next to me—long hair, ratty T-shirt, headphones and tattoos. He looked like a rocker dude from the seventies. “I’m traveling with my band,” he confirmed as the flight attendant served us a beverage.

“Really? My nephew wants to be a songwriter.”

He pulled off his headphones and asked me more about Jordan. I talked about his cancer, how much I feared losing him. Usually I was good at keeping my feelings in check. But here, with a complete stranger, I suddenly felt free to share how anxious I was.

“I see him fighting so hard,” I said, starting to cry. “Chemotherapy is so difficult. I don’t know where he finds the strength to bear it.”

“I had cancer myself a few years ago,” my seatmate said after a moment. “I know how hard it can be.” A tear streaked down his cheek. He grabbed my hand and held it tight. “You can pray for your nephew,” he said. “I’ll pray with you.”

A woman spoke up from across the aisle. “I’d like to pray for him too.”

“Me too,” said the man behind me. I hadn’t known everyone was listening!

The next thing I knew our entire cabin was on its feet and holding hands—including the two flight attendants. I didn’t know anything about leading a prayer circle so I just spoke from the heart about Jordan. For the first time since his diagnosis I didn’t feel so alone in my fear.

God was with me 30,000 feet above the earth, and so were these people who were praying—and would continue to pray—for my nephew.

Jordan’s cancer went into remission. He is still writing songs. And I am still lifted by what I learned about the power of prayer.


Download your FREE ebook, A Prayer for Every Need, by Dr. Norman Vincent Peale

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