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Woman says prayer saved her from plane crash

Dr. Jim Denison is a cultural apologist who helps people respond biblically and redemptively to the vital issues of our day. He is also the co-founder and Chief Vision Officer of the Denison Forum, a Dallas-based nonprofit that comments on current issues through a biblical lens.

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South Bend police and fire officials examine a home where a a plane crash occurred near the South Bend Regional Airport Sunday March 17, 2013 in South Bend, Ind (Credit: WSBT)

Diana McKeown was on her knees in her living room, reciting her daily prayers.  She normally doesn’t allow anything or anyone to interrupt this time with God.  However, on this morning she felt compelled to answer her phone when it began to ring.  The phone was located on the other side of the room, so she got up, walked to it, and sat down in a chair to talk.  The caller was a friend she hadn’t heard from in more than a year.

“The next thing I know there was a huge explosion,” she says.  “The roof was gone from the house as well as the walls.  The firemen came in and they had their masks on and the oxygen and tanks on and everything.”  A small jet had crashed into her house.  The only part of the room that was left was the area where she was sitting.  She says that if she hadn’t been prompted while praying to answer the phone, she likely would have died.  After spending a week in the hospital, she spoke to media for the first time yesterday.

McKeown credits prayer with saving her life.  However, what about those who died in the jet?  Isn’t it likely that they were praying as their plane went down?

One of them was Steve Davis, a former University of Oklahoma quarterback who gave his testimony at a Billy Graham crusade and spoke often for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.  A friend said at his funeral, “Steve’s priorities were always his faith and family and friends, and living what Jesus described as an abundant life.”  Billy Sims, who played with Davis and eventually won the Heisman Trophy, said of him, “First preacher I ever had for a quarterback.  You couldn’t get him off his beliefs.  Amazing.  Especially in the ’70s, for a guy like that, being true to the Lord.”

Today is Silent Wednesday in Holy Week.  The Gospels do not record a single event in the life of Jesus on this day.  He spent this day in quiet with his disciples at the home of his friends, Mary, Martha, and Lazarus (Matthew 21:17).  As he so often sought his Father in prayer (cf. Mark 1:35), he spent Silent Wednesday in prayerful preparation for all that would soon come.

Sometimes people pray and God spares their lives.  Sometimes people pray but their plane crashes anyway.  I don’t understand the mystery of prayer and divine providence.  But I know that God loves us, and that praying positions us to experience his grace.

On this Silent Wednesday, it may be that you sense God’s presence in a wonderful way.  Or it may be that your world has fallen in and you wonder where he is.  In The Count of Monte Cristo, the lead character, for many years an unfairly condemned prisoner, says to a priest, “I don’t believe in God.”  The priest, himself a prisoner for even longer, replies, “It doesn’t matter.  He believes in you.”