In all the camaraderie and positive spirits there was only one very visible flicker of spiritual life - one young Muslim man followed through his prayer rituals, often able to leave the ward for prayers in the hospital chapel but occasionally praying in bed accompanied by chanting on his ipad.
I say only one flicker but, of course, I hope there were several others! On my first morning a friend, who also serves on the chaplaincy team came to visit. I was already behind curtains but his powerful prayer was certainly heard by surrounding men. He was followed within minutes by another chaplain; then by a deacon from the church and later by my own pastor, whose strong voice committed me to the healing power of Jesus Christ. I am sure some of this ministry would have been witnessed by those around.
Anyone who knows weakness and pain values kind words of friends, but when they pray for you they open up a tangible dimension of God's grace and love. I admit that I found praying by myself difficult but what a help these praying friends were not only in focusing prayer on me, but bringing signs of spiritual life into our ward.
I know many others were joining in prayer at a distance too. What difference did all these prayers make? I shall never know the full reach as Carol and I were given peace and strength but I particularly marvel about the operation itself. The surgeon warned me that the swelling was so severe that I would likely undergo two operations: the first would pin the bones in position using an external frame in order for the swelling to reduce for a second op. some 8-10 days later. Even on the morning of the op. he thought it unlikely that he would be able to do more than the first holding surgery. I was given an epidural (which allowed me two hours of live experience!) so I stayed awake for the drilling and screwing. Afterwards, with obvious delight (and some surprise) he announced he had skipped the need for the first op and completed the whole process in spite of some swollen tissue. I have no doubts that this was an answer to prayer.
Since, I have seen an Xray of the plate, 12 horizontal screws and two vertical pins holding my ankle together. I congratulated the surgeon who has brought my messed up bones within half a millimeter of their prior state. And I praise the Lord who has really been healing through it all.