Topic 1. Who is the God who answers prayer?

(Please scroll down to the end of this topic if you’d like to add your own testimony. Ivan hopes you will.)

Greg Alvord, Florida USA

I was on a Florida State sponsored Biology Teachers workshop on marine biology in the Florida Keys in June 1989. I had a really bad migraine-like headache for a day and a half and had been popping pills.

The following day I was to go to sea on the research vessel RV Suncoaster which was going to be exciting. I woke at 2.00am with my head bouncing off the pillow with pain. I prayed “Please Lord take this headache away as I am going to sea on the Suncoaster tomorrow and this headache is going to really spoil this trip”.

The headache was gone in an instant and I have not had headaches like that again.

I tell folk that this experience is my ‘prayer blanket’ and helps me to remember that the Lord answers prayer.

Greg’s testimony shows that:

  1. GOD can relate to worthwhile things we want to do, and help to make them possible.
  2. GOD’s answers to prayer can extend into the future, like having no more bad headaches.
  3. GOD’s answers to prayer give us confidence in Him when we reflect on them.

Ivan recalling young Chris visiting Liwonde Safari Camp, Malawi. 

Chris was a young lad sent out from England to us, the Rudolphs, in the 1980s for a holiday in Malawi. Amongst other outings, we decided to go to Liwonde Game Reserve for a camping weekend. 

Chris found our family practice of daily evening prayers a little confusing, so we did not suggest he pray along with us but simply sat there. Just before we were due to set out for Mvuu Camp, I asked Chris whether there was anything he would like to pray about. 

After a bit of prodding, he prayed aloud, “Lord, please may I see some lions.” This was his first prayer aloud with us and perhaps his first ever. 

I went hot and cold all over. We had been to Liwonde before and had been assured there were no lions in the park. There had been lions there years before, but they had all left. How could we break the bad news to Chris?

I spoke to a knowledgeable naturalist with whom I taught. “Any chance of seeing lions in Liwonde Game Park?” I asked. 

“No, there are no lions there anymore. All gone.” My heart sank.

We set out at first light on our first morning there to drive around the reserve and spot animals, when the most amazing thing happened. A mother lion was in the road ahead checking us out suspiciously, and to the side of our car we saw her cubs!! They were frolicking, including climbing up the trunks of small trees, something we thought lions never did. With mummy lion nearby, we stayed in the car – but still managed a few photos out the window. Then we saw in the distance a huge daddy lion with a stunning mane lying languidly under a tree. Besides a flick of the tail while we watched, he didn’t move.

Entranced and with the car engine off, we took in the whole scene for some time before the female lion mock charged the car, which she did twice, causing the kids to squeal. Then the lioness slunk off beside the road and continued simply to watch us. 

Had we really seen lions in Liwonde? The next morning early the experience was repeated!!

This testimony shows that: 

  1. God cared about a little non-Christian boy’s desire to see lions.
  2. God can answer “impossible” prayers and also do so exceedingly abundantly “more than we might ask or think!” (Ephesians 3:20).
  3. God appears to have known Christopher’s desire in advance such that He brought lions back to Liwonde (Matthew 6:8).
  4. God’s timing is impeccable, and His organisation of events is mind-blowing.
  5. God can make a nonsense of “expert opinion”, such as that of the naturalist who did not believe me when I later related our experience of lions in Liwonde to him. I wonder what he thought when others later on began reporting seeing lions in Liwonde, which was even announced in the news? Our paths no longer crossed so I don’t know what he thought.

Katy Robertson, Brisbane, Australia

My friend struggled with infertility for many years.  One day, at the point where she had lost all hope, she asked me to pray for her because she was desperate to have a baby. 

Afterwards, I opened my Bible and every verse I randomly turned to in the Bible was about a barren woman having a son! 

Shortly afterwards she fell pregnant (through IVF) and now has a son whom she named Isaac.

I wouldn’t recommend randomly openly the Bible to hear from God, but those verses gave her so much encouragement and hope and they came true. God works in mysterious ways. (She has attempted IVF several times since with no further success).

Katy’s testimony shows that: 

  1. God can encourage us from Bible readings in advance of important events in our lives.
  2. God can give us children when all hope appears to be lost, and did so a number of times in the Bible.

Ivan and Brenda Rudolph when in Toowoomba, Australia.

My darling wife Brenda fell and damaged her neck in our twenties. Years later, when she was a primary school teacher with me watching her discomfort, I felt that she would have to stop teaching soon because of neck discomfort and pain when report writing or prolonged marking – but our family needed her salary! Visits to doctors, chiropractors and others brought no cure.

I prayed for God to heal her neck. Nothing happened. I prayed a number of times with increasing fervour. Nothing.

Then we attended a Full Gospel Businessmen’s Fellowship International dinner in Toowoomba with a guest speaker Allan Jones from England. At the end of his talk he began to pray aloud, then said the Lord had impressed on him that there was a woman sitting on that side of the room (our side) with a painful neck, and if she stood up, he would pray for her and Jesus would heal her.

“That’s you,” I said to Brenda. “Stand up for prayer.”

She whispered back, “But I am not in pain right now, it must be someone else.”

No-one else responded.

She waited for a short while longer, but Allan persisted that the unknown (to him) lady should stand up.

Finally, Brenda stood up, was prayed for, and was miraculously healed. She could again write reports and mark work for hours without the previous pain and discomfort. She continued teaching for years.

In Brenda’s words, “For me, that prayer had results and I have always been grateful for that watershed moment. Before that, I had so appreciated how other teachers had offered to help with my report writing at school. But in the end – no need, and no future problem with such a task either.”

 Brenda’s testimony shows that:

  1. God cares about our situation at work as well as at home.
  2. God’s answers to prayer can include “Yes” “No” “Later” “Get your priorities right first” – and others.
  3. God has a timing and circumstance for answering prayer.
  4. God’s delayed answers to prayer does not mean God has not heard.
  5. God may have specially selected ministers to administer His healings, but only when and where He chooses. (1Corinthians 12:28).
  6. God’s servants include other Christians in any line of work, and their practical support builds up His community within that work situation.

Maria Onions in NSW, Australia

After being in ministry in Australia for some years, my parents in South Africa offered to bring us back there for a holiday at Christmas time. Our family of six was very excited and we all looked forward to it, praying for the holiday with great anticipation.

The last week before leaving Australia finally arrived, but then disaster! The airport baggage handlers went on strike with no solution in sight! We prayed as a family that the Lord would favour us and enable us to be with our South African family and friends once more.

Unfortunately, a backlog of passengers at the airport, all with pre-purchased tickets, were in line hoping to hear their names called out for the same flight as ourselves. My husband Vic said he was not going to join the queue, but that if God wanted us on the plane He would do it. I was tired and angry when I joined the line, where I listened to lots of heartbreaking stories of people missing weddings, funerals, visiting sick friends or relatives, not being home for Christmas, and so on.

As the lucky ones’ names were called out, I suddenly felt the urge to start congratulating them and say how happy I felt for them. A surprising thing happened. The angry atmosphere somehow changed for the better.

Finally, I heard, “the last people on the plane are the Onions family”. There was a round of applause and comments like “I’m glad that nice lady and family got on”. Little did they know but that I had been equally angry to begin with.

To cap it all, we discovered we had been given a special blessing, that we had been upgraded for free to first class! We all thoroughly enjoyed the luxury and good meals on the long flight. And despite our arrival after midnight, my parents had not given up hope that we would be on the flight and we all enjoyed a very happy reunion – a great start to what became a wonderful holiday.

Maria’s Testimony shows that:

  1. God can answer unlikely prayers and even provide us with more than we ask for, or even imagine (Ephesians 3:20).
  2. God’s can change an unpleasant crowd atmosphere and even our own angry hearts if we choose to be positive instead of negative.
  3. God expects us to rise above our natural emotions and instead to be loving despite how we may feel.
  4. God values family reunions and can open unlikely doors to facilitate them.


Rev David and Heidi Craig NSW, Australia, 2021

Heidi and I entered the doctor’s room and she invited us to sit. She looked at me straight in the eyes and said, “David, it appears that you have lung cancer.” I looked at Heidi and I saw something in her face that I had not seen before. My first thoughts were that I had been diagnosed with the death sentence. My whole life passed before me in a matter of milliseconds. It was Monday 22nd March 2021.

When my life passed before me in milliseconds, I asked God why, why me? I then remembered the mid to late teens while working in the building industry and my continued and heavy contact with pure blue asbestos fibre and processed building materials containing blue asbestos. At this point I knew that it was not the doing of God, but that He would strengthen Heidi & I and give us strength to ride this one out, no matter what.

A specialist at the Dubbo Base Hospital confirmed the diagnosis and showed Heidi and me the exact cause of the cancer. He showed the main problem being blue asbestos, secondly heavy dust contamination and thirdly some tobacco contamination from the foolish habit of smoking years ago. He outlined the options and said that it was operatable and felt that it would be successful. He referred me to a surgeon at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital (RPA).

After the surgery and recovery, I was sent to a ward. All seemed ok until just before midnight. A nurse, making final rounds before going off shift, came to check on my wellbeing. In doing so she felt an abnormality under my skin around the shoulders, chest & neck. It was likened to bubble wrap under the skin. This was due to air pockets being trapped between the skin tissues. Apparently, this can be a condition following lung surgery and can be fatal!

The panic button was activated and before I knew it there were three doctors around the bed and four nurses. Within minutes, a portable x-ray machine appeared. My throat was swelling to the point of not being able to breathe. The doctors had a brief meeting and decided to send me to ICU and within minutes I was travelling down the hallway to the elevator with several escorts around the bed.

ICU was to be for 24 hrs for close monitoring, but due to the shortage of beds in the wards I was there for three days. I spent some of this time praying for the extremely sick patients and the very overworked nurses & doctors. They are incredibly special people. 

Physio started in ICU the second day and thanks be to God I excelled the expectations for post lung surgery recovery.

At 3:34 a.m. the first morning back in the ward, I was woken by the nurse to say that I have a phone call from my son, Shaun. He was on the waiting list for a double transplant, kidney and pancreas! Heidi and I and many others held Shaun up in prayer.

The transplants were successful, but the day after Shaun had a serious cardiac arrest and his heart stopped for nine minutes. We prayed.

Shaun’s recovery was remarkable without any damage to heart or brain. His progress also exceeded all expectations.

I was discharged five days after surgery to go home. We called in to see Shaun on our way home.

I felt safe and secure throughout this whole episode.

I give thanks to Almighty God for his healing powers and answers to prayer through his Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ. I also give thanks for Heidi and for the whole medical team from start to finish, and thank God also for their skills and their profession.

David’s testimony shows that:

  1. God and medicine can make a powerful and wonderful combination.
  2. God may not remove the consequences of dangerous behaviours in youth, but He can see us through whatever the consequent medical treatments that are needed later.
  3. God can protect us from anticipated harmful outcomes during medical interventions.

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