The Power of a Pilot’s Prayer

This is a little story that highlights the Power of Prayer in my life.

I’m sharing this for a few reasons:

  1. Many times you have to wait for what seems like forever for an answer to prayer, not this time.
  2. I’m a pretty good example of a guy who has always been long on “doing stuff by myself” and short on relying on the power of God and prayer so I figured that…
  3. Maybe my story will give you hope that you can succeed with the help of something other than your own efforts.

Miracles: How to Create One…

Really, no one “creates” a miracle except God. But if you know how to go about this, you can position yourself so that what I call “normal, everyday miracles” are happening all around you and you’re able to plug into them.

It’s kind of like miracle “situational awareness,” an aviation term that means you’re aware of everything going on around you, using “soft eyes” as the native peoples call it, to see, respond to and possibly avoid danger while also increasing your chances of a miracle happening to you.

“I Don’t Need No Stinking’ Badges!”

One of the reasons I failed so miserably at relationships (a few marriages along the way before I met my wife and my own relationship miracle happened was because I thought I “knew how to do things.”

My “knowing how to do things” kept me searching for answers that kept coming from the place inside me that thought I “knew how to do things,” without help from anybody or anything else. I was like the Mexican Bandito, Gold Hat, played by Alfonso Bedoya in the old movie, Treasure of the Sierra Madre.

When Humphrey Bogart, Walter Huston and Tim Holt, playing 3 American gold prospectors, are confronted by a group of heavily-armed Mexicans in a remote area of Mexico’s Sierra Madre Mountains, Gold Hat tells the prospectors:

“We’re Federales. You know, the mounted police, what are you doing here?”

Bogart says sarcastically; “If you’re the police, where are your badges?”

Gold Hat snarls, “Badges? We ain’t got no badges! We don’t need no stinking’ badges!”

I had mastered both of these brilliant strategies, “knowing how to do things” and “not needing any stinkin’ badges.”

The Power of Prayer

Unfortunately, I didn’t discover the power of prayer until, one might say, “it was too late.” But then again, I did discover it in time for God to send me the most beautiful partner in the most unlikely way in what can only be described as my relationship “normal, everyday miracle.”

If I had practiced praying a lot earlier in my life I could have saved myself a half-life of second guessing myself, “looking for love in all the wrong places”, probably aged a little more gracefully and saved a lot more money. But I digress…

In 2007, I took a mission trip to Argentina, to the area around Mar Del Plata. Me and a group of about 20 men and women were ministering to a group of inmates in a jail there and on the last night of the trip, we gathered in a local restaurant for dinner.

After dinner the leader of the group told the single men and women to get up on the stage in the back of the restaurant, “We’re going to pray for you!” The prayer was, “We’re going to pray that each one of you finds a godly partner when you leave here.”

Classic Loser Profile!

Man, I immediately felt like a loser, having to be up on stage in front of 20 of my fellow travelers, admitting that, at age 68 at the time, I had failed miserably and repeatedly at relationships; I didn’t fit the profile of “an eligible bachelor” in the relationship-fickle, highly affluent area of Marin County, California where I was living at the time.

I didn’t have the requisite 2 million dollar home on the hill – prior to inflation – didn’t drive a fancy Mercedes C model coupe, didn’t have a few mill in the bank, all requirements that the typical Marin County cougars were looking for in a partner.

Before accepting Jesus Christ as my Main Man, I would cruise the local Marin pubs, buying drinks for the ladies at one of the more popular body shops, the Buckeye Roadhouse bar in Mill Valley, with the hopes of…well you know. The ladies would inevitably “smell” my lack of wealth qualifications and would move discreetly down the bar away from me.

After being prayed for that night in Argentina, I didn’t think any more about it, I just packed up and flew home. One night, just about a year to the day after my trip to Argentina and a couple of years before my retirement from Netjets, I was flying co-captain on a trip from San Francisco (SFO) to Teterboro, NJ (TEB) with Jeff, a friend of mine.

During our 5-hour journey through the night, he pulled out his wallet, aimed the overhead cockpit light just so and showed me a picture of his fiancé, a beautiful Colombian woman whom he met on a Christian dating site, I told him my story of striking out in Marin County but as I did so, a light began to flicker in my dimly lit brain; I began to see a possibility here.

After we arrived in TEB, the hub of all East Coast corporate jet activity and a place where corporate pilots probably spend more time laying over during their flying careers than in their own homes, we put the plane to bed, hopped in a limo and headed off to our layover hotel.

The Colombian Connection

I didn’t even take time to loosen my tie before I yanked my computer out of the bag, plugged it in, logged onto the hotel Wifi and punched up Big Voila! I logged in, went to Colombia and started to stalk. I immediately saw her picture; dim, dark but hey, this girl had possibilities!

As fast as my fingers could type, I started a message to her but before impulsively sending it I thought, “I bet every guy in the world is hitting on this woman in English!” So I sent my message off to the Google Spanish translator, copied and pasted into my email and “Whoosh,” sent it off.

About a half hour later, she responded in an email, in broken English since, as I would learn later, she did the same thing; sent her message off to be translated from Spanish into English!

We “communicated” this way for a few days until I decided to call her in Bogota and see if this was real. During this time we would chatter away, me in English, she in Spanish for 20 minutes or so and neither of us had a clue what we were saying!

But we both knew something was happening; God was working. After a month of this back and forth, I decided to hop a plane to Bogota, with an engagement ring in my pocket and see, in person if this was the woman I would spend the rest of my life with.

Long story short, it was and we are, spending our life together that is. I wrote my proposal speech to her father in Spanish on the palm of my hand so I wouldn’t accidentally say something stupid and Papi granted me permission to marry his daughter!

If I had hired God as my event planner, which in some way that’s what I did through prayer, I couldn’t have planned this any better!

That was ten years ago and the miracles continue…just ask me!