The Miracle of Prayer
The Miracle of Prayer
By Cristi Burn Koch
I went to a Saturday workshop, once, on how to make and keep a scripture journal. I learned that making a specific time (like in the morning before the kids get up) to study the scriptures and pray will literally save your life.
I went from opening the scriptures before bed and only making it through 3 verses before I was sound asleep, to waking up and studying an hour before the kids got up in the morning. I would put my scriptures/journal on a tray attached to my stationary bike and pedal and read away, always starting with a prayer. I came to really know, love, and depend on my Savior, Jesus Christ. I looked forward to the time each day, and felt it when I missed.
This prepared me for a nightmare that was coming 6 months later.
I married my high school sweetheart and we had four beautiful children together. Into our 16th year of marriage, he chose to leave me and our family. I was completely devastated. I couldn’t eat and the loneliness I felt inside was unbearable. The pain from the deep void of losing my highschool sweetheart, best friend, and love was just too great.
I did not think I could make it through the day.
I dropped to my knees and begged God to help me. Every time my heart felt like it was going to break, I pleaded for help that I could keep it together- that I could be a good, positive mother so my kids would not have to suffer from their parents mistakes. I begged for the spirit to be with me, to comfort me, and to help me be able to smile and give my children all the love they desperately needed at such a hard time.
Instead of finding comfort through chocolate bars, I turned straight to our dear Savior and He literally saved me out of the hell I was in. Instead of turning bitter and angry, He helped me to see that I was not a victim, but that I had weaknesses too- that I also had a part in the terrible destruction of our family.
And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me, for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them (Ether 12:27).
He showed me my weaknesses because I asked for His help, which brought me to an all time low. I realized I was not an innocent victim. There were things I had done that hurt my husband. This broke my heart even more, but put me on the path of repentance, healing and forgiveness. Once I could see my weaknesses, I could tap into the Lord’s power to help me overcome them and even turn them into strengths.
Through Christ, we can overcome all. We just have to go to Him in faith, and He will show us our weaknesses and help us be humble. If we really want to change, His power can then turn those weaknesses into our greatest strengths.
THE CHEESE MIRACLE
So I have a funny and almost unbelievable, but true story. One of my many weaknesses was that I was always in a hurry, a busy-bee, which caused me to miss out on some of the most important things in life. The Mary and Martha story from the bible is up-close and personal to me. I would always have to finish a task instead of taking precious time out for my children, husband and friends.
I prayed for help from the Holy Spirit to remind me to be able to break away for the important things in life. One day, I invited some people from our church over for dinner. I had to clean the house and go to the store because we were out of cheese, and our guests had requested lasagna. As I was sweeping the floor, CJ, my 4 year old, came in and asked me if we could go for a bike ride. I told him no, I was just too busy. I had to get the house ready and buy the cheese I needed for dinner.
He said, “Mom, kids are more important than cleaning.”
The Holy Spirit testified to me that this was true and that this was the exact thing I was trying to overcome.
I said, “You are so right, CJ, thank you so much for reminding me,” and we went straight out for a bike ride. Miraculously, as we road around the block, we both noticed a 2LB block of cheese in the middle of the road, completely cold, on a hot Texas day!
I just could not believe it.
We took it right home. I no longer had to go to the store, which saved time and money (something we were very short on) and together we cleaned the house and served the best tasting lasagna I ever made.
We can’t always expect blocks of cheese in the road, but what I will testify to you, is if we do all we can to follow our Savior, come unto Him, and repent and serve, He will be right there! We will be able to see His loving, guiding, and giving hand in our lives.
Through Christ I was able to forgive and turn my life over to him. I was able to realize that I just needed to do my part, and though I come short, He will make up the difference. I learned to let go of my will completely. I did not want to give up my husband and I prayed that he would come back, but I realized that God’s will is the very best for me, even when it doesn’t feel like it.
I had to let go, do my part, and turn the rest over to God.
God is real. He is a God of miracles, and He can help us overcome our weaknesses, take our pain away, and fill our souls with peace in even the worst circumstances. He knows exactly what we need and He can provide us with our 2lb block of cheese!
THE PRESCHOOL MIRACLE
One day, after my husband had left, I was feeling stressed because we had very little money. I decided to do a preschool to support the kids and I. I went out in the back yard to feed the chickens, and realized our pool was a mess of tree droppings and our garden area was totally neglected. All this had to be taken care of, plus my lessons prepared, before I started my preschool that coming Monday, and it was already Friday. I was frustrated and went to gather eggs from the coop when our little stinkin rooster attacked me. My sadness turned to anger as I felt the pain of his lash. I started to hate, this home and yard I had absolutely adored and loved. I thought to myself – I should not be having these feelings. This was my dream house with a pool, garden, chickens and horses — everything I always wanted.
Again, I dropped to my knees right there in the chicken coop and prayed to my Heavenly Father. The first thing that came to my mind, and so strongly, was to count my many blessings. I ran to the house in lightning speed and grabbed my hymn book and sang
When upon life’s billows you are tempest-tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost
Count your many blessings; name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.
-Johnson Oatman Jr
I then prayed and thanked God for my many blessings. I felt the urging to write all my blessings down in a journal.
It was the best pick me up I’ve ever had.
It didn’t solve my problem, though. I still didn’t have the money or time to get ready for preschool. I asked my loving heavenly Father if He would bless me to become like Superwomen and be able to accomplish all I needed to do before my preschool started. I asked if He could strengthen my muscles and help me to not have to sleep so I could prepare my preschool lessons.
Well, God did not make me Superwoman. In fact, I slept very soundly that night. However, I woke up to find my Dad and members of my church at my door ready to trim the large trees and clean the pool. More friends arrived to fix my garden and my daughter surprised me with an organized preschool room while I was working in the yard. This was a complete total tender mercy miracle for me.
God can give us strength. But this day, and most often, He uses others to help us when we are in need so everyone gets to see His hand, His love, and His peace and joy in their lives.
Now fast forward seven years later . My ex-husband is long gone, and I’ve found my real true love that I never thought was possible. The day we were married, I found out I had cancer. I gave him the choice to leave, but James said “no way.” He was in.
Two months after we were married, I started chemotherapy, lost 15 pounds, and all my hair. Following, I had a mastectomy. James was there right by my side through it all.
The cancer came back. I had another surgery.
Then last summer, I began to worry again. My arm had swollen up and I had many cancer lumps. I found out about a formula called Protocel that had cured people from cancer. I decided to give it a try, but I had to give up all the health stuff I was doing; which in the end just spread the cancer like wildfire. I had a huge lump on my chest, under my arm, on my neck, and little ones throughout my breast. I had big round bloody cancer sores that would not heal.
One day, as I was waiting for James in the LDS temple, I felt as if the scriptures were calling me. I had the strongest urge to read them. I sat down and when I opened them up, they fell to the following verse. I put my name into the scripture and read:
Hearken unto the voice of the Lord your God, while I speak unto you, [Cristi Koch], my daughter, for verily I say unto you, all those who receive my gospel are sons and daughters in my kingdom. A revelation I give unto you concerning my will; and if thou art faithful and walk in the paths of virtue before me, I will preserve thy life (Doctrine and Covenants 25:1-2).
It was like God was speaking to me. I left the temple with hope that God was going to preserve my life and I did not need to fear.
However, things got worse for me.
I went in to see my oncologist. She said that she could give me a better quality of life and maybe 2 years if I chose to do Chemotherapy. I left thinking “she must be nuts, if she thinks chemotherapy can give me a better quality of life.” I knew what chemo did, and it definitely was not an improvement of life for me. So I said no way.
But within the next month my cancer kept spreading and my arm became as huge as a diesel truck. My back hurt like crazy and my life became a nightmare. My cancer sores were constantly bleeding all day and night.
I was ready to go. I couldn’t live like this anymore. I told James we better put his name on all my accounts. I did not think I’d make it another six months.
That scripture was always in the back of my mind, but I was giving up hope.
We moved, shortly after, and met for the first time with the leader of our new congregation. He looked me right in the eye, pointed, and said “You do not give up hope! God is with you and He has power to heal.” I felt as if it was a direct revelation from God. He told me exactly what I needed to hear.
After that, I knew God was going to preserve my life. I decided to do chemotherapy. Though I almost bled to death from it, I had faith from both of those experiences that God would preserve my life.
And He sure has.
My arm went down and in three months all my sores were completely gone.
I’ve had 4 months of total health and happiness. I really do not know how long He is going to preserve my life, so in the meantime, I am going to enjoy every hour of everyday and be so grateful to be alive.
I know God is there. I’ve seen Him through my whole life- from my Divorce, to my cheese and preschool miracles, and finally through my battle with cancer. He loves each one of us.