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On the Journey
By Rick Hamlin

Prayers for CURE

Three American hospital workers were killed today at the CURE hospital in Kabul.

Prayers for them and for their families. Prayers for all the good people who work at the hospital and for the patients, too. This story feels especially painful because prayer is at the center of what CURE does and is.

The CURE network of international hospitals was started by a good friend of Guideposts and a longtime contributor, Scott Harrison. They operate hospitals largely in Third World countries, where medical help is most urgent: not only Afghanistan, but Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Niger, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Zambia. To date, the organization has provided more than 150,000 life-saving surgeries.

But prayer has always been at the heart of what CURE does and what Scott and his wife, Sally, believe: that healing is something that happens not only through excellent medical care but also through the love and compassion of the Great Physician. Scott should know. Not only is he a trained surgeon, but prayer has been crucial to his own work.

At CURE they have staffers whose whole job is to pray. That’s how seriously they take prayer. For Scott, performing surgery in Malawi, years before he founded CURE, he had one of many experiences of the profound power of prayer.

He was doing hip surgery on a young woman infected with venereal disease, a woman who was probably HIV positive as well. All at once one of her blood vessels burst. He had a group of student doctors with him. “When this happens,” he explained, “and you don’t have the necessary equipment, you can pinch the vessel between your fingers until it clots.” He looked at the clock and told his students to tell him when 10 minutes were up.

They talked as he held the vessel. Ten minutes seemed to have passed, but when he looked back up, the hands of the clock hadn’t even moved. He waited longer, then finally took his fingers off the blood vessel. It looked fine. But he discovered a gaping hole in the glove. The skin on his hand was covered in blood. Even worse, he had a slight cut on his finger. He was certain he was infected.

When he came back to the States, he retold the story to his congregation. A woman came up to him later and told how she had been praying for him and Sally while they were in Malawi. She prayed fervently for 10 minutes. Then prayed some more. It was that same day he was doing surgery.

“The oddest thing, Scott,” she said. “That whole time I had this image of a huge clock on a white wall. The hands weren’t moving. All I could see was the motionless clock.”

Scott’s own prayer was answered: Blood tests showed that he was not HIV positive. Is it any wonder that prayer became such a crucial part of CURE?

My heart grieves for the families of those caregivers at the CURE hospital in Kabul. Now is a time for more prayer. That hospital workers throughout the world be protected and made safe so that they can continue to do God’s work. 

Rick Hamlin is the executive editor of Guideposts magazine and the author of 10 Prayers You Can't Live Without. To learn more about the book and explore your own prayer journey, watch this video.