Prayer: A Hail Mary Pass?

I have spent the last five days watching my four month old great nephew fight for his life. What happened? He got a cold. A virus. Born at 30 weeks, our premature little fighter's lungs couldn't handle it and soon had pneumonia and a partially collapsed lung.

The doctors became desperate as nothing they were doing was helping. He was moved from one ventilator to another when it became maxed out and too soon it looked inevitable that the second ventilator would do the same.

On my way to NY last Thursday they decided to transfer him to a hospital that had an ECMO machine so that they could run a bypass for his lungs, allowing them to heal. The transfer was scary. To see 5+ doctors, 6+ nurses and a few EMS working on a four month old for hours just trying to get him stable enough to transfer him from his bed to an was hard to watch.

Upon his transfer they were hoping he wouldn't need to be put on ECMO. They were hoping the transfer was just a precaution. I left the hospital that night around 10 or so only to get a call around midnight that our little fighter's heart had stopped for 25 minutes. They decided to put him on lung ECMO because they did not think his heart could handle it if it happened again.

Back to the hospital over an hour away.  I sat there in the waiting room with my two sisters, brother in law, and the baby's mom and dad listening to the doctor explain the situation, and that they were struggling to get him on ECMO because of all he had been through. He said there were no guarantees even if they got him on the machine, and even just getting him on it was looking doubtful. The doctor explained to my niece this was a "hail Mary pass."

He was able to get on the ECMO, but not without his heart stopping again. Since then his heart stopped another time and they placed him on heart ECMO as well. A machine is running his heart and lungs, a ventilator breathing for him. This situation is the definition of desperate.

As this situation has unfolded there have been so many people praying for this precious baby and his family. People for whom prayer is part of their daily lives, and others who probably couldn't remember the last time they prayed. All too often we see prayer as a "hail Mary pass" in desperate situations. That thing we do when nothing else has worked. An SOS of sorts. This has been so heavy on my heart this week because as I rejoice with so many that understand our God is the God of miracles, and that God has the power to heal, my heart aches. God is so much greater than a genie in a bottle.

God does not want to be our last resort, He wants to be our first response. It's great to go to God with our struggles, our pain, and our burdens, but He wants more. God wants a personal relationship with us, to walk with us every moment of every day. To rejoice in our triumphs, cry with us over our heartbreaks, carry us when we are too weak to stand, and yes breathe for us when our body is too weak to breathe.

Yes, I pray for a miracle for my sweet little fighter, and I pray for God to breathe life into his little lungs. To heal him like only He can do. I also pray for spiritual healing. In tragedy many go to a God they don't know, but how much better to go to the God you know intimately?

I cannot imagine going through the last few days or the next few without the comfort of Jesus Christ. I have probably prayed more in the last week than last month. Tragedy and desperation often reveal in us a  yearning for our Creator. We are created with a need for Him, a desperation for Him. While tragedy may reveal this truth, I pray that those that seek Him in their times of need, understand their greatest need...salvation. And as Christians, we need to see prayer as more than a laundry list of requests, a direct line to our own personal make a wish foundation. We need to embrace prayer as communication with the Most High God. Go to Him first, not last. Seek Him moment by moment, and not only when tragedy forces us to our knees.


  1. Oh Nicole, I will be praying and praying. Jason told me about your nephew last week and it broke my heart. hugs

    1. Thank you! He needs every prayer he can get...


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