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Book review: “Touching Heaven: Real Stories of Children, Life and Eternity”

TouchingHeaven

Touching Heaven: Real Stories of Children, Life, and Eternity by Leanne Hadley is an inspiring collection of true stories by a United Methodist minister, primarily telling the stories of dying children she met as a young chaplain in a children’s hospital. Her stories of faith are deeply moving. She opens with her own story of faith as a preacher’s daughter, and how she began to doubt her faith. Then she tells a dozen stories of the faith of children who faced their own death, and the death of her own mother. This short book concludes with a summary of lessons learned that ties together the stories well, and shows how the faith of those to whom she ministered erased her own doubts. Some of the stories of children’s faith and encounters with angelic visions are amazing, and even startling, yet there is little reason to think that she is embellishing them.
This book is encouraging to anybody facing a terminal illness, especially the terminal illness of a child. It is also a great resource for those who do hospital ministry, as Hadley models good practices, and is honestly self-effacing about her feelings of inadequacy at times to do this ministry.
I could hardly put the book down, it was so engaging. I highly recommend it.

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How to hear angel prayers

Copyright 2012 by Bob Rogers

“The Spirit then lifted me up, and I heard a great rumbling sound behind me– praise the glory of the LORD in His place!– with the sound of the living creatures’ wings brushing against each other…” – Ezekiel 3:12-13, HCSB

Ezekiel heard the prayers of angels. How did this happen? How can we experience such things?
1) Be in the Spirit. Ezekiel 3:12 says, “The Spirit then lifted me up.” John the Revelator also heard angels in Revelation 15:3 and 16:5, and he also was “in the Spirit on the Lord’s day” (Revelation 1:10). How can we be “in the Spirit”? First, we have to be believers in Jesus Christ. Only a believer can be in the Spirit: “But the unbeliever does not welcome what comes from God’s spirit, because it is foolishness to him; he is not able to understand it since it is evaluated spiritually” (1 Corinthians 2:14, HCSB). Second, the believer must be “filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18), which comes by filling our minds with the Word of God and filling our hearts with prayer.
2) Pay attention. Ezekiel 3:12 says, “I heard a rumbling sound.” He paid attention to what he was hearing. The shepherds on the hillside near Bethlehem paid attention when the angel of the Lord appeared to them (Luke 2:8-15). Interestingly, the shepherds heard of prayer of “Glory to God in the highest heaven” (Luke 2:13), just as Ezekiel heard “praise the glory of the LORD in His place” (Ezekiel 3:12). Too often we fail to hear because we fail to listen.
3) Be willing to obey. Ezekiel felt the bitterness of God’s anger at sin (Ezekiel 3:14), and he sat stunned for seven days (Ezekiel 3:15). It was only after he had that desire to obey that he received a word from the Lord in Ezekiel 3:16-17. Paul experienced what may have been angel prayers when he was caught up into paradise and “heard inexpressible words” (2 Corinthians 12:4). And just as Ezekiel, Paul was also willing to obey God when God would not remove the thorn from his flesh, but said His grace is sufficient. Pauls’ response was to accept God’s grace, “For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10).
And maybe, just maybe, when we are listening that closely to God, we might even hear the prayers of angels!