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Refusing to Believe Answered Prayer

Author Anne Bokma left her fundamentalist Christian church in her 20s. She recently spent a full year investigating and experimenting with numerous forms of popular New Age spirituality, from yoga to witchcraft, magic mushrooms to death cafés.

Bokma recalls the time in her early 30s when she prayed really hard. She was eight months pregnant and in the hospital experiencing premature labor pains. A nurse waved the ultrasound wand over her belly and after many minutes of trying, could not detect a heartbeat. A doctor was called as Bokma and her husband started to panic. The doctor also could not find a heartbeat. Bokma immediately began “bargaining, begging and beseeching” God. She didn’t really believe in a supernatural entity who personally intervenes, “but this did not stop me from crying out for mercy in my hour of need.”

Bokma tells the rest of the story, showing that her prayer was never really sincere:

When all hope seems lost, praying means you’re at least doing something. After searching in vain for another couple of minutes, the doctor … picked up the cord attached to the ultrasound machine and dangled it in front of our eyes. It hadn’t been plugged in. Our baby was alive, though not because of divine intervention. This made me think about what Mark Twain must have meant when he said: “Under the circumstances, swearing seems more apt than prayer.” Some might have called this incident a miracle. We called her Ruby.


Anne Bokma, My Year of Living Spiritually (Douglas & McIntyre, 2019), p. 210

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