Prayer Changes Things
It was a hot day in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Baseball practice was in full swing. Sixteen-year-old Jonathan Aldy had just run to second base, when suddenly , he collapsed. His father Dennis, who was also his coach, stood just steps away.
“I glanced over towards shortstop for no apparent reason, was just looking around the bases, and I noticed Jonathan lying on the field there motionless,” Dennis said.
Spectators thought Jonathan had fainted from the heat. One of the player’s moms, who was a nurse, walked over to check out the situation.
“He’s lying on the ground there, and she begins to do mouth to mouth. She was instructing me in chest compressions.”
Jonathon’s heart had stopped beating. Many people, including his brothers, started praying. Prayer changes things !
“My sons were kneeling there on the baseball field around him, crying out to the Lord [to] heal Jonathan.”
Dennis was also praying. “’Bring him back, Lord, bring him back.’ So my heart was just devastated.”
The paramedics arrived about 10 minutes into the ordeal.
“The ambulance is there, and they’re shocking him. The first shock, there’s no response. A second shock, there’s no response. So on the third shock, I think a heartbeat of about 30 beats per minute, and they instantly put him in the ambulance and were rushed to the hospital. It was a 28-minute period of time there that he had no oxygen.”
Jonathan’s mother, Dara, met them at the emergency room. She recalls, “I’m a mother of seven. What was on the altar first was, ‘Will I be a mom of six? Will I be the mom whose son collapsed and died?’”
The doctors prepared Dennis and Dara for the worst.
“Twenty-eight minutes without breathing,” Dennis says. “There are no statistics past 20 minutes of CPR in an out of hospital cardiac arrest. If you survive at the 20-minute mark, you’re a vegetable. You’re sustained with life support and you may or may not go home. It was the next day after he was in the intensive care that a neurologist came by. Her story was actually, we’ll believe that God can do something, but you need to know that he has very little chance at all to have a brain. It’s basically impossible that someone could go this long without oxygen and their brain ever function.”
Dennis and Dara run a prayer ministry called the International House of Prayer of Hattiesburg. People across the city prayed around the clock for their son.
“Every three hours we got to go in to the ICU. I anointed him with oil every time I went back there. I was big enough I could have pretty much reached his body and from his head to his toe. I just prayed for him. ‘Lord, life. We speak life into this boy’s body, into our son’s body.’”
Soon they began seeing answers to their prayers.
“After 30 hours of being unconscious, Jonathan woke up and he looked at us,” Dara said. “At first his eyes did not track us. He was just kind of glazed.”
“At that 40-hour mark was a time when we were back there and his eyes were open,” Dennis said. “He actually focused on me, because I would go in and I would get directly over his face, and I would say, ‘Jonathan,’ because as a father, I wanted him to know his dad’s here. So I finally said, ‘Jonathan, if you hear me at all, smile at me or something.’ He attempted a smile, and his mom and I just bawled, wept at the joy that Jonathan was in there.”
Within days of the incident, Jonathan began to improve.
Dennis continues, “On day three, they allowed him to try to walk in the ICU there. He walked about 10 steps around in a circle and came back down. The doctors thought that was incredible.”
By now people all over the country were praying for Jonathan. “We were seeing him do things that the doctor said he couldn’t do for months or years or maybe never.”
Dara says, “By day five, all the tubes were out, everything. He was totally unhooked. He walked around the cardiac care unit, and the doctors couldn’t believe that on day five, after such an event, that he was walking around.”
On day 10, Jonathan went home.
“I believe that Jonathan was not only spared the effects of not breathing for 28 minutes or not having a heart beat,” Dennis says, “but he was healed of whatever caused it. So it was like two miracles, because they could find absolutely nothing wrong with him.”
Still the doctors recommended he should not play sports for a while.
Jonathan says, “I love the competitiveness of sports.”
Within six months, Jonathan returned to playing baseball and basketball.
Dr. Ralph Kahler says, “Even the people that make it out of the hospital, some of those have neurological damage. They’re never quite the same after that, but to see Jonathan playing drums, driving down the road, it’s just nothing short of miraculous.”
The Aldys believe that God heard their prayers and healed their son.
Dennis says, “Through this experience, my biggest things are the preciousness of life obviously, the reality of a God who is in charge and does care.”
“The biggest lesson is that God loves me and that God cares for me,” Jonathan says. “My friends and my family love me [and] care for me.”
Dara agrees, “There are moments where my heart returns to the miracle and the gift that God gave us when He returned Jonathan back to us, overwhelming gratitude to the Lord. His goodness envelopes me. Prayer changes things. “
Can God change your life?
By Gorman Woodfin