I married Rick 18 years into my Christian walk. I knew well the sin of an unequally yoked marriage (2 Cor. 6:14). But I loved Rick, and since he supported my church involvement, I assumed he would soon come to the Lord.
Thirty years and two children later, Rick was no closer to accepting Christ.
My father had come to faith later in life. Each night in my time with the Lord, I thanked him for my dad’s salvation with joy tempered by anxiety about Rick’s soul. I began calling to God in tearful desperation, “Please God, I beg you. Bring Rick to you. Please don’t let him die without knowing you!”
My father’s health began to deteriorate, and this reminder of mortality caused my prayers for my husband to intensify. After my father died, my prayers took on an increasingly urgent tone until finally one day I blurted out, “Please God, I beg you, do whatever it takes to bring Rick to you.”
I had said it. The Most Dangerous Prayer. I had invited God to do anything he pleased to bring Rick to his knees.
A few months later I rushed Rick, a diabetic, to the ER. Testing revealed his kidneys had deteriorated to the point he required daily dialysis. A tube inserted into his abdomen would allow Rick to hook himself up at home, receiving his treatments overnight. Ideally he could return to his 80–90 hour per week management position. Unfortunately, his condition never improved enough for him to return to work. Rick felt useless for the first time in his life. Frustrated and anxious, he noticed my sense of peace and quizzed me about it. I explained my calmness as the product of my faith and trust in God, knowing that He would provide as Philippians 4 says. Intrigued, Rick asked me to read to him from the Bible each night after he hooked himself up to dialysis. I selected passages that would trigger discussions about the freedom and joy of surrender to Christ. The irony of my captive audience was not lost on me.
Rick asked more and more questions and even attended church with me. One day while I bowed my head in prayer during the pastor’s invitation to respond to the message, Rick slipped past me and walked toward the front. Friends sitting nearby tapped me. I looked up to see Rick accepting the Holy Spirit’s call. I ran to his side just as my husband tearfully told our pastor he wanted to give his life to the Lord.
A few weeks later, our church witnessed a unique baptism that brought tears to many in attendance. Rick waded into the water just below his waist. (He could not let the commonly shared water of the baptistery enter his dialysis port.) Then four of us lifted him out of the baptistery and lowered the top half of his body upside-down into the water, taking care to keep his abdominal port dry. Although the church had offered to drain, sterilize, and refill the baptistery so that he could safely go completely into the water, my husband politely declined, stating that he wanted people to know they should not allow anything to hold them back from following the Lord. I believe God gave me that gift to assure me of the legitimacy of Rick’s conversion. God faithfully answered my Most Dangerous Prayer with a resounding “Yes!”
Almost immediately after Rick’s baptism, his health fell off a cliff. The long list of health issues included amputation of both legs — Rick’s greatest fear — a stroke, and Lewy Body Dementia. This insidious dementia causes hallucinations and loss of cognition. My once brilliant husband who taught me so much now could understand only the simplest concepts.
A year and a half after Rick came to know Christ, he was blessed to meet Him face to face. I, too, received the blessing and privilege of caring for Rick until the very end and fulfilled a wish that he made many years before: to die in my arms. That morning, I climbed into bed and held him close. I told him he had taken great care of our family. I whispered, “Allow Jesus to take care of you now.” Rick’s eyes locked onto mine with a trusting gaze seared forever into my memory. A few moments later the love of my life stopped breathing. I gently closed his eyes.
I think back now on that Most Dangerous Prayer. Some have asked if I regret it. The coming days will soon mark eight years since the day Rick left my arms for an eternity in those of Jesus. Not a day goes by that I do not miss him terribly and grieve for lost golden years spent together. So, if I could do it again, would I pray that same prayer? In a heartbeat!