The Blessings of Heart Problems

Having previously been through a heart cath—the procedure where they snake a tube through an artery to look at the heart and determine whether any blockages exist—before, I wasn’t eager to undergo another last month.

Yet it proved to be the most pleasant experience to date.

The Blessings of Heart Problems | Ken Walker WriterNot just because the test showed there weren’t any blockages (though that didn’t explain my mysterious bouts of tiredness and other symptoms of late). The support I felt throughout the weekend and the Monday morning of the test left me feeling blessed.

After a doctor decided I needed to be evaluated for possible heart issues and sent me to the hospital, I felt exhausted throughout my 68-hour stay.

Yet once I got home, I felt fine, and have ever since.

Prayer Support

I think a leading reason is peace of mind. Now I know there aren’t any budding blockages that caused my tiredness. Similar symptoms had preceded each of my previous journeys to the hospital for treatment.

But I also drew considerable encouragement from a network of friends and family members during the latest hospital visit.

Too tired to do much, I texted a number of friends across the country on Saturday and received a series of messages or phone calls in return.

“Word is out to the gang and they are already praying,” wrote a friend in Florida who used to edit a magazine where I had been a regular freelancer.

A client near Boston assured me he and his wife were praying; the next day he sent a second text: “You need to get better. I have lots of ideas brewing.”

A coauthor in Colorado who has also become a friend replied, “OK, we will join with you in prayer. Father God, we lift Ken before you with thanksgiving for your power and faith-filled requests for your quick healing touch on Ken’s heart and all organs that need to function properly.”

The Crowning Visit

“Praying for you.”“Praying for you,” wrote the president of an organization to which I belong. “Write down everything you are worried about. Then rip up the paper and throw it away—without talking about it.” (Good advice for any situation.)

Another friend in Florida told me he and his wife had prayed for me the day prior to the cath and for healing: “Receive the peace of the Lord, with a resting sleep.”

Besides these kind of messages, our youngest daughter and her daughter stopped by early Saturday evening to play a game of Five Crowns, with my meal tray as a makeshift card table.

Then on Sunday evening, our oldest daughter and her family stopped by for an hour. (When someone stays for more than 10 minutes on a hospital visit, it’s a sign the kind of relationship exists where neither party is anxious for the other to depart.)

Shortly after they arrived, so did a close friend. He had said he wanted to pray for me, so when the time came that he said he needed to leave, I told him I was expecting prayer.

Christian Support

It’s hard to describe that prayer, except to say that I could feel power moving through his hand as he laid it on my chest. He prayed that God do His work and heal me before the doctors even took a look at my arteries.

Can I say that prayer has a direct cause-and-effect relationship with the heart cath that revealed no problems? No. But it’s hard to argue with the benefits of Christian brotherhood and support when you go through any crisis.

Presidential Gaffe Emphasizes Need for Prayer

Presidential Gaffe Emphasizes Need for PrayerThe fact that Gary Johnson didn’t attract enough supporters in leading polls to qualify for last week’s first presidential debate is a good indication that the Libertarian candidate isn’t going to win the forthcoming election.

It didn’t help matters any that a few weeks before, while being questioned on a national TV program about the situation in Syria and what he do would about Aleppo, he asked, “What’s Aleppo?”

It was a “deer in the headlights” moment, one that reminded me of former Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s 2012 flub. During the Republican primaries, Perry named two federal agencies he would eliminate as president, then blanked out as he tried to recall the name of the third. Soon after, amid harsh criticism of the miscue, he withdrew from the race.

Our Human Leaders

Soon after his Aleppo remark, Johnson went on The View, where he discussed it. Though contending it shouldn’t disqualify him from consideration, he didn’t necessarily convince the hosts.

As always, voters will have the final say. I’m not here to pillory the former New Mexico governor or argue that no one should consider him. Instead, there is another significant issue at play that seldom gets mentioned: no matter how high the political office, government agency, or corporation, we are still choosing humans for the task.

There is a reason Paul urged that “petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness” (1 Timothy 2:1-2 NIV).

In other words, the apostle knew our leaders would need divine guidance. We are so used to criticizing people in life’s limelight that we often overlook the enormous responsibilities and pressures they live with. Most of us would quickly wilt under the strain.

We shouldn’t be surprised when people expose their frailties in an era when cameras line every street corner, often exposing our human flaws. After all, if George Washington—who owned slaves and used a considerable quantity of whiskey to buy a seat in Virginia’s House of Burgesses in pre-presidential days—were alive today, he would be just another politician.

Benefits of Intercession

Benefits of Intercession in the Presidential ElectionThere is another issue that deserves mention, which came to mind when our pastor mentioned a story he had shared previously.

Recalling the days when he used to get caught up in political controversy, he mentioned how one day in prayer, God impressed this message on his heart: “If the church had prayed for President Clinton as much as they criticized him, Monica Lewinsky might not have even happened.”

A good point. No matter which side of the political aisle a church falls on—and even if it maintains a stance of neutrality—members should be praying for leaders at the city, state and national levels, regardless of party.

In a day when we face serious financial struggles and terrorists who would love to bring down our nation, Christians should take their divine prayer mandate seriously. It’s not that our leaders should be immune from honest criticism. But, no matter who they are, they deserve our intercession. In the end, according to Paul, we are the ones who will benefit from a peaceable life.

The Need to Pray for our Leaders

Back in the last century, when CD-ROMs were still a big deal, Christianity Today reviewed a new collection of Methodism founder John Wesley’s writings.

The review noted the ease with which users could do a word search to isolate the famed English spiritual leader’s observations on a particular topic.

However, the note that sticks out in my memory was a reference to a letter Wesley had sent to a friend back home, saying that his love affair with the American people was in danger “because of their miserable leaders.”

Rose-Colored Glasses

painting-835599_1280Now, Wesley wrote those words during this nation’s Colonial days. That meant he was talking about none other than our Founding Fathers. You know, those guys who are deified by many wearing rose-colored glasses as they look at history.

My point is not to denigrate our nation. Instead, it is to point out that our country was founded by human beings, not some kind of special demi-gods or people who possessed heroic, supernatural qualities.

Indeed, years ago in reading 1776 by noted historian David McCullough, I marveled that we even won the Revolutionary War.

After all, as McCullough chronicled it, the-then loose confederation of militias featured an ill-equipped, outmanned, undisciplined fighting force. And yet we won. I see the hand of God in that triumph, as evidenced 13 years later by George Washington opening his first cabinet meeting with prayer.

Interceding for Leaders

Which brings me to the latest presidential race and the lament of millions: this is the best we can do? No matter what candidate one favors, someone else thinks he (or she) is an incompetent con artist, liar, fraudster or other nasty descriptions.

Yet what does the Bible say? In 2 Timothy 2:1-2 (NKJV), Paul wrote: “Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence” (emphasis added).

Given these words, it is quite possible that not enough Christians are praying for those who in authority, preferring instead to join the chorus of millions who love to grumble and complain about them.

Choose Prayer 

The current invective hurled at candidates across the board reminds of something our pastor once shared about former President Bill Clinton and the impeachment woes stirred by his escapades with a White House intern.

He said one day during prayer, God told him, “If the church had spent as much time praying for President Clinton as they did complaining about him, that affair might not have happened.”

PrayerNaturally, trying to draw a cause-and-effect relationship between prayer and results is nearly impossible. So who knows how prayer might have altered that infamous episode? Still, the Bible makes it clear that we are to pray, especially for our leaders.

One such group that encourages this is the Presidential Prayer Team, which prior to Super Tuesday a few weeks ago posted photos of all the major candidates on its web site.

Not only would it be a good idea to enlist in such efforts, I think it behooves people to pray regularly about the November elections. And, all candidates who will be running—at a local and state level, as well as national.

I don’t know about you, but I would like to lead a quiet and peaceable life.