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What Prayer Can Do: Strength in Numbers

When her young son suffered kidney failure, hundreds joined to pray for his recovery.

Beth McAllister with her son, Seth.

When my seven-year-old son, Logan, first complained of an earache, I thought he had a routine infection. Then his hands and his feet began to swell. Over the next few weeks he became desperately ill. His blood pressure and temperature shot up, reaching dangerous levels.

A team of doctors determined that his illness was the result of an unchecked strep infection and his immune system was attacking his kidneys. The therapies and drugs they were using weren’t working. They were alarmed.

My husband, Timothy, and I were panic-stricken when we heard the diagnosis: “Logan’s in acute kidney failure and in danger of cardiac arrest.” The doctors started him on dialysis.

Timothy and I clung to each other and our faith. Our family and friends placed Logan’s name on several prayer chains.

Apparently, our son overheard some of our conversations about this. As I tucked him into bed one night, Logan asked, “What’s a prayer chain?”

“That’s when a lot of people pray for the same thing,” I explained. “They tell their friends, and then those friends tell their friends, until there are hundreds–even thousands–of people praying together.”


“All of those people are praying for me?” Logan asked.

“Yes,” I said. “And God hears every prayer.”

Logan grew quiet and looked into my eyes. “Well, if thousands of people are praying for me,” he said, “maybe I should pray for myself too.”

“That would be a good idea,” I said. I kissed him goodnight and turned out the light.

“Don’t worry if you hear me talking in here, Mom,” he called to me as I left his room. “I’m just praying.”

The next day we returned to the hospital for Logan’s dialysis. But when they drew his blood, tests revealed that he no longer needed the treatment. His kidneys were suddenly working again.


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