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The Core of Their Friendship Was Prayer

She was only a child when she prayed for an angel to watch over a family seen in a newspaper.

Illustration by Ricardo Bessa

”I’m one of those people who prays about everything,” I told my new teacher friend, Rae, as we sat on a bench in the hallway outside our classrooms. It was the end of the school day, and the students had long since gone home. That’s when Rae and I tended to sit and talk about everything and anything.

Newly married in 1969, my husband and I had just moved over a hundred miles from home in New Brighton, Pennsylvania, to the little town of Ridgway. I got a job as a third-grade teacher at the elementary school. Rae’s classroom was right across the hall from mine, and we immediately felt comfortable with each other, like old friends. She was also a newlywed, and new to the area herself.

That day, our conversation had turned to our faith. “I learned when I was just a child that God hears us and does answer prayer.” I told her what had made me believe this without a doubt.

“My family was watching the nightly news on television, when I learned of a Pennsylvania family who’d lost their home to fire,” I began. “A gas leak had caused an explosion. Thankfully no one was hurt, but their home was seriously damaged. I wanted to do something, but as a child, all I could do was pray. So every night before I went to bed, I knelt at the side of my bed and prayed for this family. I asked God and his angels to surround them and take care of them.

“After over a year of praying, I needed to know if my prayers had helped, so I asked God to let me know what had happened to that family. Did they ever get their house back? In a few weeks, God actually answered,” I told Rae.

“In the Sunday supplement of the newspaper there was a story about the very family for whom I had been praying and how they had made a complete recovery.” I sat back quietly, still astounded that God had provided me with the answer I needed.

“Describe the cover of the magazine,” Rae said.

I thought maybe she had seen the same story. “On the cover was a photo of the father with his son sitting on his lap.”

Rae remembered the cover well. “That was my father and my brother,” she said. “Ronni, it was my family’s house that exploded and burned. You were praying for us.”

Over 50 years have passed since Rae and I discovered what was at the core of our deep friendship, a friendship that has lasted even after she moved clear across the state. A friendship that started with prayer long before we ever met.

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