Miracle Life Prayer

I Am a Child of Prayer: A Testimony

22 September 2021

7.1 MINS

God is good, and each day we live is a gift from him. This is the story of one boy whose life was sustained through prayer by a miracle of God.

Friday, 10th December 1948.

It was a calm, sultry afternoon at the Carroll residence in Catani. Jack was ploughing the back paddock of his small, eighty-acre share farm, and it was hot and sweaty work even with Jesse, his trusted old Clydesdale, shouldering most of the load.

Jack’s young wife, Lorna, was in the farmhouse laundry attending to the ironing, her newborn of two weeks, Maureen, sleeping soundly in the next room. Brian, their first-born, just turned four, and Leonard, the dark one, eighteen months, were outside playing with bat and ball. Jack had started them young. Brian had a ball of some sort in his hand from the cradle, and both children had been taught to compete almost as soon as Leonard could walk.

Jack’s dream was to sire at least eleven boys, enough to form a cricket team and more than half an Aussie Rules football team.

Maureen’s arrival had been a hiccup, but that wasn’t going to dampen Jack’s plans. He had been taught the value of hard work as a boy by staunch Irish parents who toiled the land during the desperate days of the Great Depression when Jack was the eldest of five.

Maureen was merely an extra mouth to feed. And the handsome couple had started young – Jack was still only twenty-six and Lorna twenty-three. There was plenty of time for many more children.

A Dream Thwarted

Jack had been obsessed with the challenge and thrill of most sports from early childhood. As he progressed from childhood to adolescence, the obsession remained. Having become accustomed to the bustle of work on the land, Jack had never been interested in schoolwork, although he was far from unintelligent.

After farm chores and sport, there wasn’t any time for studies; Jack got his Intermediate and went straight to work on the land. However, he had excelled at virtually any sport, and league football clubs showed a keen interest in him from a very young age. But it was as a long jumper that he seemed destined to make his mark – he had cleared twenty-two feet consistently when barely sixteen, and a tilt at the Olympics appeared a formality.

However, the Second World War had put a stop to all that. By seventeen, Jack was a member of the Royal Australian Air Force. He first set eyes on Lorna when on leave attending a wedding, and it seems Lorna also set eyes on Jack, for it became a family joke as to who could remember the names of the bride and groom, such was the number of furtive glances between the star-struck pair.

Jack and Lorna wed early in 1944 when Jack was still in service, and Brian was born in December of the same year. Lorna was not yet twenty, and Jack only twenty-two.

Country Life

After the war, Jack found himself having to decide between major league football, which was not lucrative at the time, and farm life coupled with a position as captain-coach of a country league team.

He chose the latter and, though he was happy – he honestly thought Lorna was the most beautiful woman in the world – he dreamed of seeing his sons have the opportunity to rise to sporting heights.

Lorna glanced at the five neat piles of freshly pressed clothes and the number in the basket still to do. She stretched her arms and decided to check that Maureen was still sleeping soundly. As Lorna passed through the laundry doorway, it crossed her mind that it was noiseless outside – she hadn’t heard a peep from Brian and Leonard for some time and, while that might have been normal for Leonard, it certainly wasn’t for Brian.

Maybe it would be wise to check outside first.

Brian and Leonard didn’t respond to Lorna’s calls, and she began to feel anxious. It was too quiet.

Lorna noticed the house-yard gate was open, and she instinctively headed towards the milk shed. It was still an hour before Jack would bring the cows up for milking. Lorna called again.


Mild panic started setting in as she began to run.

When she reached the far side of the shed and saw the lid of the well had been removed, she let out a gasp, “No, please God, no!”

Tragedy at the Well

Jack had turned old Jesse at the eastern end and prepared himself for another long furrow when he glanced up across the entire length of the paddock and saw movement in the laneway – it was Brian, alone.

Instinct told him to run and to run fast.

He cleared four barbed-wire fences in almost full stride and arrived at the well to see Lorna hanging by her feet. He glanced down and saw Leonard seemingly going down for the last time.

Jack grabbed Lorna’s ankles and called, “Grab an arm, Lorna, and I’ll pull you both up.”

Leonard looked like a giant blue balloon and was lifeless. Jack yelled to Brian to run across the paddocks to Reid’s and tell them to call the hospital. He swiftly ripped Leonard’s clothes off and tried everything he knew to make him respond in some way, to force water out, to let air in.


After two long minutes, with no response at all, Jack said quietly and slowly, “It’s no use; he’s dead.” He placed Leonard on the well’s embankment and stood up.

Lorna was sobbing heavily, “No, Jack, no!”

Jack put his arms tenderly around his dear wife and said gently and resignedly, “Let it go, Lorna.”

An Impossibility

While he cradled her head in his strong arms, he looked down at his dead son with his feet at the mouth of the well and his head down the embankment, and his heart leapt violently – water was slowly streaming from the sides of Leonard’s mouth.

Jack thrust Lorna aside and grabbed Leonard by the feet, holding him upside down with his left hand while striking him on the back with the butt of his right hand, shouting, “Breathe, damn you, breathe.

One tremendous whack between the shoulder blades suddenly sent a torrent of vomit from Leonard’s lungs, and air rushed in. However, his breathing was very fitful.

“Get something to wrap him in, Lorna,” Jack exclaimed.

Within five minutes, they were out the front gate in Jack’s old Hillman, Lorna next to Jack with Leonard across her lap, Maureen in a bassinet on the back seat. They passed Ben Reid’s red Bentley heading towards their farm but didn’t stop – Jack was sure he saw Brian seated next to Ben. A few minutes later, they were fortunate to see the hospital vehicle travelling towards them because Jack was driving faster than he probably should have been.

Jack flashed his lights, and both came to a halt. A quick transfer was made, and Leonard was rushed to the Babora Bush Hospital, the same hospital where he had been born only eighteen months earlier.

“I would keep praying”

Jack and Lorna sat for what seemed an eternity, Brian, unusually quiet, next to them. Ben had done a U-turn and followed them but couldn’t stay – “The cows wait for no man, Jack.” You wouldn’t miss a month’s milk, Jack thought but expressed his gratitude nonetheless.

Ben was wealthy – the Depression had been kind to those who had money and could use it to buy up those going broke. He had taken Jack on as a share farmer, so Jack couldn’t complain – many people were far worse off, even when things had begun to pick up after the war.

Finally, a doctor walked into the waiting room. “Jack, Lorna, isn’t it?”

“Yes, Doctor,” Jack quietly responded.

“I’m Doctor Michael Cahill,” the doctor replied. “I don’t know how he’s alive – it’s a miracle. However, he’s still in grave danger. We need to keep his body warm, and we have injected penicillin to fight lung infection. He had already vomited into both lungs, as you are probably aware, so it is incredible that he is still with us. But it is touch-and-go. Penicillin is a new drug, a wonder drug, they say, but it will need to be, and, even if Leonard does respond to it, he will still be here for months, I’d say.”

“Can he recover, doctor? I mean, will he be able to lead a normal life?” Jack queried.

“Jack, you and Lorna have had a big day. I can’t tell you what the long-term prognosis is. I have never encountered anything like this. Keeping him alive is all we can concentrate on at the moment. What’s happened already is amazing, so I would keep praying.”

“Can we see him, please, doctor?” Lorna asked apprehensively.

“Of course, you can, Lorna. He’s sleeping at the moment and being continually monitored; so, I don’t think it would be wise to stay too long. He’s getting some natural colour back, but he’s all tuckered out as is to be expected; so, please don’t disturb him. But I’ll take you through to see him, by all means. You’ve been through a terrible ordeal, both of you. And the young one can come along too, of course,” he added as he nodded towards Brian.


Maureen was in Lorna’s arms, and Brian was seated, still very reticent.

Down a long corridor, a shorter one to the left, through a door and there Leonard was, in a small bed and tucked snugly in, a nurse watching patiently as the slight to and fro of the covers verified that Leonard was indeed alive and breathing.

The doctor excused himself and told them that nurse Cooper would show them out when they were ready to go. Jack and Lorna looked at their son, and Lorna grabbed Jack’s right arm as she whimpered, “Oh, Jack!”

Jack extended his arm around Lorna and said as reassuringly as he could,

“He’ll be all right, sweetheart. God has spared him so far. We have to keep praying, as the doctor said.”

Jack and Lorna did keep praying, and I, Leonard, am the result of that prayer. However, unfortunately, children who have been through similar drowning experiences usually live their lives in a vegetative state.

So, in many ways, I am a child of prayer.

In the true sense, life is a prayer from God that each of us will lead our life as a brother or sister of Jesus. As such, we lead a life that is constantly aware of His abiding love and goodwill, even in difficult times as He teaches us to grow in Him.

Do I sin? Unfortunately, yes!

I pray that I will reach a state where I never sin. That is a task for God as much as me. I am still a sports fanatic! And a couch coach!

“Oh, my goodness, when will this bloke learn to kick straight!”


Prayer testimony by Leonard Carroll. Image by Gustavo Fring on Pexels.

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