Today I would like to mostly quote from a letter written by Ronald Reagan to his dying father-in law who spent a great deal of his life not believing in God. This was while Reagan was president, and the letter was written on August 7 of 1982. It is as follows —
I hope you’ll forgive me for this, but I’ve been wanting to write you ever since we talked on the phone. I am aware of the strain you are under and believe with all my heart there is help for that.
First I want to tell you of a personal experience I’ve kept to myself for a long time. During my first year as Governor you’ll recall the situation I found in Calif. was almost as bad as the one in Washington today. It seemed as if the problems were endless and insolvable.
Then I found myself with an ulcer. In all those years (as an actor) at Warner Bros., no one had been able to give me an ulcer, and I felt ashamed as if it were a sign of weakness on my part. John Sharpe had me on Maalox and I lived with a constant pain that ranged from discomfort to extremely sharp attacks.
This went on for months. I had a bottle of Maalox in my desk, my briefcase and of course at home. Then one morning I got up, went into the bathroom, reached for the bottle as always and some thing happened. I knew I didn’t need it. I had gone to bed with the usual pain the night before but I knew that morning I was healed. The Maalox went back on the shelf.
That morning when I arrived at the office Helene brought me my mail. The first letter I opened was from a lady — a stranger — in the Southern part of the state. She had written to tell me she was one of a group who met every day to pray for me. Believe it or not, the second letter was from a man, again a stranger, in the other end of the state telling me he was part of a group that met weekly to pray for me.
Within the hour a young fellow from the legal staff came into my office on some routine matter. On the way out he paused in the door and said: ‘Gov. I think maybe you’d like to know — some of us on the staff come in early every morning and get together to pray for you.’
Coincidence? I don’t think so. A couple of weeks later Nancy and I went down to L.A. and had our annual checkup. John Sharpe, a little puzzled, told me I no longer had an ulcer but added there was no indication I’d ever had one. Word of honor — I never told him about that particular day in Sacramento…”
The letter continues as Reagan teaches his father-in-law about the prophecies and power of Christ. He quotes scriptural evidence about the power of prayer by saying “Where ever two or more are gathered in my name there will I be also.” He goes on to tell the doubtful man—
“Now I know that is probably the hardest for you as a Dr. to accept. The only answer that can be given is — a miracle.”
This miracle of healing came about in large part because of the prayers of many faithful Christians, Christians who knew the power of praying and the power to pray not tomorrow, but today. Prayer gives us a direct line of communication to the powerful Creator of the Universe. In fact, President Reagan writes that his personal miracle is the result of a far greater miracle —
”The (true) miracle is that a young man of 30 yrs. without credentials as a scholar or priest began preaching on street corners. He owned nothing but the clothes on his back & he didn’t travel beyond a circle less than one hundred miles across. He did this for only 3 years and then was executed as a common criminal.
But for two thousand years he has had more impact on the world than all the teachers, scientists, emperors, generals and admirals who ever lived, all put together.”
Ronald Reagan believed in that impact. He believed that Christ hadn’t been simply a man who had lived two-thousand years prior, but that He was still listening to prayers, and still enacting miracles for those with faith to pray for them. President Reagan finishes his letter with these poignant words—
“Loyal, you and Edith have known a great love — more than many have been permitted to know. That love will not end with the end of this life. We’ve been promised this is only a part of life and that a greater life, a greater glory awaits us. It awaits you together one day and all that is required is that you believe and tell God you put yourself in his hands.