Grandma’s Prayers

Grandma’s Prayers

From Chicken Soup for the Grandma's Soul

Grandma’s Prayers

Prayer should be the key of the day and the lock of the night.

Thomas Fuller

It was a very hot July evening in Illinois, and our family was enjoying ice cream on the porch together. I was only eight years old, and my father was teasing me when I jumped backwards off the railing and caught my leg on the porch step. The deep cut required stitches and a trip to the hospital.

My doctor was out boating, and since it was 1947 and there were no cell phones or other means of communication, we had a three-hour wait in the emergency room. Finally, he arrived and began stitching with my mother’s help. With my leg fully bandaged, I was sent home to recover. By Friday, something was terribly wrong. My temperature climbed to 103, and a quick call to the doctor revealed I had gangrene. On Sunday morning I had my second dose of antibiotics, but by afternoon I had a violent reaction, leaving me with a very high fever, delirious and completely covered with hives.

The doctor met us at his office and, after a brief exam, looked very grim. Taking my parents into the other room I heard him say there was nothing more he could do and no other drugs available for him to use. He further informed them that I had not received enough penicillin to fight the gangrene that had already eaten away the stitches, leaving a gaping hole in my leg. The only way to save my life was to amputate my leg, and he immediately scheduled surgery for the following morning.

Needless to say, all of us were in shock. No one wanted to face this. My father was especially devastated and called for the church members to come over and pray. Even though I was burning up with a fever, in pain, itching and delirious, I cried out, “I just want Grandma to come and anoint me with oil and pray for me! I know if she prays everything will be just fine.”

Grandma and Grandpa Ozee lived just around the corner from us, and I spent many hours at their house. Grandma lived what she believed, and I had absolute confidence that her prayer on my behalf would certainly touch the heart of God. Whenever I visited her at 9:30 in the morning, I always found her sitting in her rocking chair with her Bible in her lap. At 10:30, I knew she would be on her knees in prayer. I often sat quietly as she shared the Bible with me. I watched as she prepared meals for the transients who rode the boxcars into our town and somehow knew their way to her door. While she cooked, they were required to read a chapter in the Bible before they could eat. While they were eating, she would gently present the salvation message and they always left with a prayer and a New Testament. I have no idea what happened to any of them, but I am confident many left knowing they had met a very special lady who not only gave them physical food but “living water” and hope for a better life.

I knew Grandma prayed for everything from a sick parakeet to the terminally ill. I remember being amused when some of the ladies from the church came to her house complaining about the church problems and the preacher. Very few words had been spoken when Grandma had them on their knees and praying for the preacher and all the problems involved. She had great faith and believed God answered prayers. She taught me the Lord was faithful and interested in even the smallest details of life.

Grandma never missed an opportunity to take any situation and turn it into a learning session. I vividly remember the time we visited the old, rickety, smelly outhouse at Great-Grandma’s farm. There, in that most unlikely place, was one beautiful flower blooming through a crack in the floor. Grandma quickly explained that no matter how bad the situation or how dark and dismal things might look, there was always hope. Just as the flower could bloom in the most difficult circumstances, so could we, because God was faithful and could make something beautiful from the ashes of our lives.

That is why I was calling for my grandma in my hour of need. Soon she appeared at my door with the bottle of anointing oil in her hands. I had no doubt God would hear her simple prayer for my healing and grant her request for a miracle to save my leg. When Grandma finished praying, I knew I had been healed, and I fell into a beautiful, peaceful sleep, not at all worried about tomorrow. I had a deep abiding peace that my life would be spared and I would always walk on two legs.

The next morning at the doctor’s office, my parents anxiously waited while the doctor unwrapped the bandage. All eyes were on him as he stood in obvious amazement. Slowly he shook his head and said, “I have seen a miracle. There is no way the small dose of penicillin could have done this. There had to be a power higher than me working on this leg.”

The surgery was cancelled, my leg rebandaged, and I went home to recover without need for further antibiotics.

Today, I still have the ugly scar to remind me of this very traumatic time in my life. But I also still have two legs, which reminds me of God’s healing power, a praying grandma, and that flowers bloom in the most difficult circumstances.

Sharon Ozee Siweck

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