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Hillcrest Baptist Church

The Priority of Prayer
by Tom Goodman
March 9, 2011

Jim Blades was a commercial fisherman.  He and six-year-old Clint had spent a chilly December day, fishing for king salmon off Cape Edgecumbe, Alaska.  As dusk closed in on the 26-foot wooden troller, he determined not to try to make it in that evening.  When he radioed his wife, Jill didn't like the thought of her husband and son anchored 12 miles offshore overnight, but Jim had done it many times before.

Later, Jill's quiet evening was disturbed when a hard wind slammed into her house and five-foot breakers began washing up to the outside wall.  Unexpected gale-force winds had suddenly descended on the area.  She raced to the radio calling out the name of the fishing vessel, "Bluebird?  Bluebird?"

Getting no answer, she switched to the Coast Guard channel and immediately heard Jim's voice calmly saying, "I'm taking in water, I'm not sure where I'm at."  The Coast Guard radioman asked, "Can you tell us how to reach your wife?"  Jill took the microphone, "This is Bluebird's base.  Jim, please take care!"

She then turned to another channel and radioed her friends Ben and Laura Hubbard who attended her church.  The Hubbards began relaying the message through the church's prayer chain.  Soon, half the membership of Trinity Baptist Church was tuned in to Coast Guard channel 16.  Throughout the evening, they prayed as they listened to the conversation between Jim Blades and the rescue helicopter.  At the risk of their own lives, the rescue team battled wind blasts and 3-story waves to bring the fisherman and his six-year-old to safety.

The crew received numerous honors for their brave and heroic rescue, but Lieutenant Commander John Whiddon admitted, "The truth is, we flew the helicopter beyond our limitations.  I used all the skill I had, and we used up our luck.  It took something extra.  I'm not a guy who normally preaches, but there was that prayer chain.  We got the awards, but any credit goes to God."

The Blades can be grateful that they belonged to a church with a priority on prayer.  You are connected to a church with a priority on prayer, too.  This Sunday we'll look at a Scripture passage that gives you the words you need as you lift up other people to God.  It's Colossians 1:1-14 if you want to read ahead, and then join us Sunday @ 10 for this important study!


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