"From a prayer that was written on a brick, all those years before..."

30th Mar 2022

Answered Prayer #16618

My family is from Lancaster but they moved to Sydney in 1987.  I followed a few years later on Christmas Eve 1990.  Anyway, I grew up going to church - St Thomas’ in Lancaster and although my mum was/is very faithful my dad never went to church.  He didn’t even go to church for Christmas and Easter, he was literally a Weddings and Funerals person.  He was an Academic, a Linguist. Very well known and respected in his field.

Fast forward quite a few years.  My church in Sydney has an annual Build to Reach offering once a year where we focus our giving on Mission around the world, including churches we support in incredibly difficult to reach areas of the world (like Baghdad and Syria) as well as putting some aside to pay off our own miracle building.  Each Build to Reach offering has a theme and on the year we moved into our building, the theme was “each brick represents a soul”.  One of the upstairs hallways was temporary wallpapered in brick wallpaper and during each of our services we had the opportunity to write the name of the person we were praying salvation for.  I wrote my dad’s name on one of the bricks. 

Fast forward about 5 more years to 2015.  My dad had been previously diagnosed with cancer and it had returned and by Christmas 2014 the medical team had said the chemo wasn’t working.  By the end of January he was in hospital and the medical team said there was nothing they could do.  I was away for work that weekend and so I flew into Sydney as we taxi’d in, my mum rang me and said she and my brother and sister in law had been planning dad’s funeral with him that day and he wanted me to sing at his funeral.

I raced up to the hospital to see dad and we had a some time together which was nice and I was able to express my sadness at the news.  My dad said it’s ok I’ll be with Halina (my sister who had died in 1987 from cancer, full of faith). The next day I went to see dad after work and my brother and sister in law were there so we had a nice time chatting away with dad and then we all got up to leave but dad managed to manipulate me into staying to “sort out” something or other with his laptop.  Anyway we were there alone and as I said earlier, given dad had nothing to do with church at all, what came out of my mouth next was pretty unexpected and I said oh dad, would you like me to say a prayer with you before I go?  He said yes so I said a little prayer of thanks for dad and for the medical staff etc and that he would have a good night’s sleep.  So then I went up the next night and he said he wanted me to sing at the funeral so I said I didn’t think I could pull off Eric Clapton but I was happy to give something else a go so I started to run through singing some songs for dad and then I asked him again if he would like me to pray and he said yes so I prayed a slightly longer prayer and then left.  And then the next night we did the same thing again and in my suite of songs I happened to sing the Hillsong version of Amazing Grace (not usually my dad’s cup of tea at all) but he leapt and said that’s it, that’s the one I want you to sing.  So then every night I came up after work and we had a routine of chatting and then me singing and praying with him.  In the back of my mind was this comment he’d made about being with my sister when he died and I thought I don’t think it really works like that so I had a chat with my Pastor and she messaged me her salvation prayer and Romans 10: 9-10.  She said even though I know them. I’d forget in the moment.  She said she would pray for the right time for me to have the conversation with dad.  A good friend of mine said she would pray that I would know that dad’s eternity was taken care of. I continued singing to and praying with dad every evening after work.

Dad was moved into a palliative care unit and on the 12th Feb I got a call from mum to say dad had had a tough day.  I hadn’t been to see him after work because the doctors were with him so I asked mum if I should go and she said yes.  I knew today was the day.  So at 8pm I drove to the hospital and snuck in, down the darkened corridors to dad’s room and snuck him.  Dad was surprised but grateful to see me.  I said mum told me he’d had a bad day and that I’d come because I had a job to do.  He said really?  I said yes, my job is to make sure you know and I know that you are going to go to Heaven after you die.  I said I was going to read him a passage from the bible and then say a prayer and if he agreed with me, he just had to say Amen.  So I read the Romans 10 passage and he said Amen amen, I said hang on I haven’t prayed yet. So then I prayed and he said Amen.  And then I had this little thought in the back of my head, surely it can’t be that easy and then he looked at me and said I do you know.  I really do believe that.  What a miracle and what an answer to both prayers.  I surely knew that dad’s eternity was taken care of.

After that dad lived for much longer than anyone expected and on the 8th May I went to see him.  He was very close to dying and so we rang his sister in the UK so they could say goodbye and then I prayed and sang some more to him and when I stopped and leaned in to kiss him goodnight he said “keep singing”.  That was the last thing he said.  He slipped into unconsciousness and he died on the 10th May 2015, holding mum’s hand.  He’s now in eternity with my sister, his eldest daughter and I know I will be seeing both of them again in time.  The biggest miracle of all, from a prayer that was written on a brick, all those years before.

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