Pray, and God will respond.
Perhaps not in the way one might wish, but he will, nevertheless.
“His ways are not our ways,” said Michael Skupin, a motivational speaker who delivered the keynote speech at the YMCA of Indiana County’s 57th annual Good Friday Breakfast, held at Rustic Lodge in White Township.
Skupin spoke of faith and related the power of prayer to his experiences on “Survivor,” a reality-based television show.
Skupin was a two-time contestant on the show, and fans of the show might recall that in the second season, which was filmed in Australia, Skupin was severely injured after falling hands first into a fire.
He explained to the audience today that he had taken a face full of smoke just has he was inhaling to blow on the fire and passed out, falling into the hot coals. He showed a video clip of what happened following the accident: himself jumping into water to seek relief from the pain, his hands clenched in fists, burned skin sloughing off his hands.
He was flown from the filming location to a hospital, and doctors told him he would need to undergo skin grafts.
Skupin recalled that he prayed with others while in the hospital. And on the 10th day of his stay, just as he was preparing to go into surgery, a surgeon took off the bandages to examine his hands. What the surgeon saw amazed him — his hands had begun to heal.
“That’s impossible,” he remarked. “I’ve never seen burns of this degree begin to heal on their own,” Skupin said the surgeon told him.
Skupin also spoke of competing in one of the show’s physical challenges, one dubbed the “Water Torture Challenge.” In this particular challenge, he had to hold a long pole across his shoulders. On the pole hung bags of water.
He was competing against a member of the other team on the show, and the first person to drop the pole would lose.
Skupin recalled that the pole was heavy, and his muscles were beginning to give out.
He said he remembered saying, “God. I can’t hang on anymore. Here, you take it.”
And the pole broke.
He said the show’s crew was stunned that that had happened, as the pole had been weight tested and should have been able to support the load.
“Prayer is powerful,” Skupin said.
And in another instance, he recalled that a fellow contestant, an atheist who was untrusting of those who prayed, was bitten by something venomous. He said she could feel the poison spreading and beginning to paralyze her neck and a shoulder.
It was uncertain if the medics could reach her in time. And so, he said, she asked Skupin to pray for her.
“Almost instantly, the pain started subsiding,” Skupin said.
Skupin told the audience that although it may seem that prayers are not being answered, they, in fact, are.
“You all got here this morning. You all woke up in a house. You all have a good meal in your bellies. You all have money to buy whatever you want on the way home this morning,” he said.
“My message is focus on the good things God does in you life.”