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Joni's Life-changing Prayer: 'Show Me How to Live'

After living as a quadriplegic for 45 years, Joni Eareckson Tada reflected on the diving accident that changed her life. As a 14-year-old, Joni had embraced Jesus as her savior, but in her words she had "confused the abundant Christian life with the great American dream." Joni said:

I was a Christian and would lose weight, get good grades, get voted captain of the hockey team, go to college, marry a wonderful man who made $250,000 a year, and we'd have 2.5 children. It was me focused: What can God do for me? I almost thought that I had done God a great big favor by accepting Jesus …. [And my boyfriend and I] were doing some things together that we wrong.
In April 1967, I came home from a sordid Friday night date … and cried, "Oh God … I'm staining your reputation by saying I'm a Christian, yet doing one thing Friday night and another Sunday morning. I'm a hypocrite …. I want you to change my life … Please do something in my life that will jerk it right side up because I'm making a mess of the Christian faith in my life and I don't want that. I want to glorify you." Then I had the diving accident about three months later.

Immediately after the accident, Joni told God, "You'll never be trusted with another of my prayers." But after struggling with anguish and anger Joni said, "I prayed one short prayer that changed my life: 'Oh God, if I can't die, show me how to live.' That was probably the most powerful prayer I had ever prayed."

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