Derek Redmond, a twenty-six-year-old Briton, was favored to win the four-hundred-meter race in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. Halfway into his semifinal heat, a fiery pain seared through his right leg. He crumpled to the track with a torn hamstring.
As the medical attendants were approaching, Redmond fought to his feet. “It was animal instinct,” he would later say. He set out hopping, pushing away the coaches in a crazed attempt to finish the race.
When he reached the stretch, a big man pushed through the crowd. He was wearing a T-shirt that read “Have you hugged your child today?” and a hat that challenged, “Just Do It.” The man was Jim Redmond, Derek’s father.
“You don’t have to do this,” he told his weeping son.
“Yes, I do,” Derek declared.
“Well, then,” said Jim, “we’re going to finish this together.”
And they did. Jim wrapped Derek’s arm around his shoulder and helped him hobble to the finish line. Fighting off security men, the son’s head sometimes buried in the father’s shoulder, they stayed in Derek’s lane to the end.
The crowd clapped, then stood, then cheered, and then wept as the father and son finished the race.
What made the father do it? What made the father leave the stands to meet his son on the track? Was it the strength of his child? No, it was the pain of his child. His son was hurt and fighting to complete the race. So the father came to help him finish.
God does the same. Our prayers may be awkward. Our attempts may be feeble. But since the power of prayer is in the one who hears it and not the one who says it, our prayers do make a difference.
Exert from “He Still Moves Stones” Max Lucado, Thomas Nelson, 2013