December 1, 2013 — 5 Comments

How God Is Answering One of My Most Desperate Prayers

In my fiftieth year, I almost died. One simple prayer inundated the throne of grace as thousands of friends asked God to “please let Ed live and serve.” I tell about it in my book When God Breaks Your Heart. I believe that prayer saved my life that night.

I was so impressed with the power of that prayer that I began uttering other one-sentence prayers that expressed my earnest desires. Since the doctors told me I didn’t have long to live, I searched the Scriptures for ideas that came from the lips of great men and women of faith.

Psalm 90 was precious to me during the weeks that we were begging for my life. I couldn’t help crying every time I thought about my grandchildren growing up without me. There was so much i wanted to tell them, so many truths I had learned through a life of walking with Jesus. Psalm 90:16 captured my concern:

“May your servants see your work!  

May their sons see your majesty!”

That was exactly what I wanted, so I crafted another one sentence prayer: Father, please give me influence in my grandchildren’s life. There was no medical evidence that I would live and I had no idea how God might answer. I just prayed it. And prayed it. And prayed it. I’ve prayed it every day of my life since those desperate weeks in 2000, and several times each day.

Last week was a snapshot of how God is answering that desperate prayer.

kids @cannon beach

This is a picture of my daughter Aimee’s children–Jackson, Megan, and Camryn. Camryn was born a few weeks after I almost died. Here they are, thirteen years later, at one of our favorite places on earth, Cannon Beach, Oregon.

I travel to Cannon Beach every year to teach the Bible. These three moved to Oregon a few years after I prayed that prayer. We cried when they moved away from Southern California. Now we look forward to spending awesome Thanksgivings with them every year.

We talk about their lives and spoil them without shame.


Most of our prayers go unnoticed by the world and even by us. We ask for something, move on, and ask for some more stuff. But they’re never ignored by our God. And the more desperate they are, the more He wants us to make sure we know He’s listening

So, what are you asking for today? I recommend you state it in one-sentence and just keep praying it.


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5 responses to How God Is Answering One of My Most Desperate Prayers

  1. What do you do when a desperate prayer isn’t answered? I watched young man I knew since he was a toddler die of cancer. I listened to the desperate prayers of his family and friends, I prayed. God still took him home. Prayer has become so difficult for me.

  2. I’ve had many, many unanswered prayers too, Mercene. There are theological answers to your question, but the primary one I go to is the love of God demonstrated on the Cross. If that is true, then there is a God who loves me and is listening. I would say, keep praying, keep relating, keep trusting.

  3. My wife got your recent Ed Underwood message on Facebook recently, about your opinion that,
    “… self-hatred is the main obstacle/problem for living a life filled w/ the Holy Spirit.” Can you elaborate on that theme, Ed?
    One would think it is self-idolatry or pride, … but self-hatred?
    The incredible thing about this is that a wise Christian counselor recently told my wife that “self-hatred” is her problem! Is this not just a coincidence, but confirmation that the Holy Spirit is telling leaders, that listen, the same things for the edification and building-up of the body of Christ?

  4. Self-hatred for a Christian manifests in behaviors motivated by shame rather than behaviors that are a response to Jesus’ love for us. The greatest motivation for a believer is given in Romans 12:1-2, “in view of God’s mercies, give God your life.” We tend to forget that, though sinners, we are cherished by the Father so that He sent His Son to die so that we could be rescued.

  5. I’m still praying, it just doesn’t feel the same. Maybe it will never be the same, but perhaps it will get better. You are right Ed, I need to keep praying and trusting. I don’t know if I understand relating.

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