Back From The Brink—A COVID-19 Prayer Success Story

by | Feb 17, 2021 | Prayer

Note: This is part one of a two-part series.

“For God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and love, and self-control” (2 Tim. 1:7).

When COVID-19 first hit, I chose not to fear. I truly felt it was a pandemic of fear even more than it was a pandemic of health. But let’s face it—most of us fear for our health, don’t we?

Also, I said all along that we were all going to get it eventually. Christians are supposed to be protected by God all the time, right? So, if I die of COVID, it’s really no different than dying any other way, right? I mean the death rate of life is actually 100%, isn’t it?

Nobody gets out of this world without death unless they live until the second coming. So why live in fear?

Having said that, I am also in the high-risk group. I have been a Type 1 diabetic for 45 years. So, I wore a mask, washed my hands and generally tried to follow the social-distancing guidelines. I often said, “If God wants me to die of COVID, then no one will stop Him, and if He wants me to continue to serve Him here, then that is what will happen. This is the attitude I tried to have, like Paul:

“For to me, to continue living is Christ, and to die is gain” (Phil. 1:21).

So now, as Paul Harvey says, let me tell you the rest of my story …

It started on a Thursday, beginning with a cough. I tested positive on Sunday. The first week, it got a little worse each day, but overall, I thought I had a mild case.

I got sicker and weaker for 17 days straight. I lost 17 pounds in 17 days. Close friends and ministry connections quickly went to their knees for me. My Tuesday night prayer group called me and prayed as a group for me on the phone, claiming the blood of Jesus and encouraging me to have faith instead of fear.

They sang and praised God for my future healing and were a great encouragement. I cried and listened and quietly thanked them after about an hour.

I couldn’t talk without coughing. I couldn’t complete a sentence without losing my breath. I communicated my needs to my sweet wife in short phrases and one-word requests. Discouraging, to say the least.

Mostly, I talked to God. I prayed constantly.

Lord, I said, if it’s time for me to come home, I’m ready. If this is the end of my spiritual warfare ministry for You, I’m good with that. I’m tired. I am hurting. I confess my fear of not being able to breathe.

I began to realize this might be the end of earthly me. I started to picture seeing my dad again, grandparents who have gone ahead and loved ones I miss who have finished their walk. It was actually both exciting and scary.

But as I sat and thought through all this, it felt wrong. It felt as if I still had work to do, ministry to do, encouragement to hand out and God’s love to share with hurting people. I was very conflicted, though I didn’t share these intimate thoughts with anyone.

The pessimistic nature in me realized there were many details of daily life that my wife (a school teacher) would struggle to figure out if I went on to heaven. I needed to fix this before the end, if this was the end.

“Babe,” I began, “the truth is I am not getting better, and I need you to video me showing you how to do some things.” She didn’t argue. It’s only a backup plan, right?

So, we would record one thing, and I would rest and take some more pills. We would record something else, and I would try to eat or take a nap. This went on for a couple of days. We covered how to order my books from Amazon at the author’s price, how to do the online banking and how the bills were reconciled and paid.

She never complained. She never cried (in front of me at least). She also never told me to stop. We both knew we were staring a crisis in the face, and it could go either way (which was later confirmed by my doctor).

At one point we went to the ER for evaluation. I was getting worse, and everyone really knew it. After the evaluation, the ER doctor met with us.

“What do you recommend?” we asked.

“I’d really like to put you in the hospital,” he replied, “so we can keep you here and see when a bed becomes available. We were at their separate ER facility, and there were no beds available in the hospital.

We asked if there were any other options and discovered we could go home, taking oxygen with us, so that’s what we did. This was five days in.

The oxygen helped, but I continued to slowly and steadily get sicker and weaker. Additionally, we found ourselves turning up the oxygen to higher and higher levels, starting at one and eventually landing on five, the maximum for our at-home unit.

This is why we ultimately started recording the videos. I thought some about heaven, God and dad, and some about what else I needed to show my wife. My life of busyness and activities was reduced to my blue Lazyboy recliner and short trips to the bathroom, dragging an oxygen line back and forth. I went from walking an hour a day for exercise and being very active to getting out of breath on 10-step trips to the bathroom. Life really is short. We all die—maybe it’s my time

About 10 days in, I couldn’t eat. So there I was, on an insulin pump, sugars running a little high and no appetite. For the first time in 45 years as a diabetic, I went a full day with almost nothing to eat; I just couldn’t get it down.

It was at about this time that I began to learn the “sacrifice of praise.” I would pray and thank God and praise Him in spite of my circumstances. I would raise my hands and thank Him. I thanked Him for all He had already done, for the privilege of suffering for the kingdom and for being at home during my final days instead of in the hospital, isolated and alone. I cried and praised, truly a sacrifice in the face of my ongoing struggle. It felt good.

That day (Day 16) I finished one of my critical medications, and the next day, the Lord’s Day, I was able to eat a little. It’s wasn’t much, but it was better than nothing. And I knew I absolutely had to eat, or I would be on a ventilator soon.

Although I began to eat a little better, it was obvious I wasn’t improving. I was just holding my own—and barely.

By Saturday, Day 17, I was at a critical point. We had just added a new antibiotic and scheduled another TeleMed session with the doctor for Monday. We were desperately praying for the new medicine and for God to come through with a miracle.

That’s when I decided to make a public request on my Facebook page for prayer. At that point, I wanted all the prayers I could get, and I still felt God had more work for me to do here and now. Here is what I posted at 9:45 a.m.:

“Prayer request: I’ve been diabetic for 45 years. I am very sick with Covid. It’s day 17 and I’ve been getting weaker every day. Please post a prayer for me if you feel call to. Or fast for me. Thank you.”

Watch for Part 2 of this story to see what unfolded. Only God can do this stuff! {eoa}

Steve Hemphill spent 30 years as a Christian business owner before becoming an author. His dad died unexpectedly, and Steve found a sealed envelope in the home safe with instructions: “If you find this after I’m dead, do NOT open it.” What would you do? This led to a series of books, first on heaven, and the others on Spiritual Warfare. His books include: My Search for the Real Heaven; My Search for Prayers Satan Hates; What Are the Stakes? and God’s Power for Our Daily Battles. You can visit his website at

Read articles like this one and other Spirit-led content in our new platform, CHARISMA PLUS.


Stay up-to-date with current issues, Christian teachings, entertainment news, videos & more.

The latest breaking Christian news you need to know about as soon as it happens.

Prophetic messages from respected leaders & news of how God is moving throughout the world. 


How Divine Wrestling Changes Our Identity

How Divine Wrestling Changes Our Identity

All of us at some point will hit a place of getting the wind knocked out of us. We all experience unexpected detours and times when there seems to be no way out. But there is One who lives in us, the Lord Jesus Christ, who gives us the strength to overcome obstacles....

Spirit-Filled Pastor: How Does God Lead Us Today?

Spirit-Filled Pastor: How Does God Lead Us Today?

Whether it is the Spirit leading or forbidding in the book of Acts, or the Spirit leading throughout Christian history, it’s clear that the leading of the Spirit is important. In the Old Testament, it appears that the Spirit of God could be withdrawn completely from...

Joyce Meyer: Keys to Winning Your Race in Life

Joyce Meyer: Keys to Winning Your Race in Life

Everyone has a race to run. That just means we all have a life to live. The apostle Paul says in Hebrews 12:1 (NIV), “Therefore...let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for...

Prophetic Word: The Lord Says, ‘I Am the Consuming Fire’

Prophetic Word: The Lord Says, ‘I Am the Consuming Fire’

God says that during this season, He is turning up the heat, finding the gold and bringing His refining fire. Job makes a powerful statement of faith as he says of the Lord, "When he has tried me, I shall come out as gold." God knew Job's heart and Job knew the heart...

What Is ‘The One Thing’ God Wants From You?

What Is ‘The One Thing’ God Wants From You?

In 1971, I was invited to spend one month in Singapore at a new institute that had been started by John Haggai. It was still in the formative stages then—a place where Asian church leaders would be trained and challenged to witness for Christ. Today, more than 40...

37 Prayers for the Suffering Persecuted Church

37 Prayers for the Suffering Persecuted Church

It was a Pentecost bloodbath and most Christians never heard about it. More than 50 Christians were killed in one of the deadliest terror attacks on Nigerians this year. Scores of gunmen rushed in to kill Christians in the midst of worship. All told, over 360 million...


Prophecy: A Window of Time Has Opened for Believers to Preach the Truth

I was rejoicing and praising God on Friday, June 24, 2022, for the overturning of Roe v. Wade, knowing that an ungodly decree was overturned and one national curse was broken. I heard by the Holy...
The Man Who Spent 23 Minutes in Hell: The People I Saw in Hell

The Man Who Spent 23 Minutes in Hell: The People I Saw in Hell

In 1998, God gave me a life-changing vision of hell. I receive many questions about my experience from people all over the world, but one question I'm often asked is, "Who did you see in hell?" There are others who say they've had an experience like mine, and they...

The United States: Birthed in Prophetic Symbolism

The United States: Birthed in Prophetic Symbolism

One of the most amazing facts about the Founding Fathers of our nation is this: The one referred to as the "voice" of the revolution (John Adams) and the one referred to as the "pen" of the revolution (Thomas Jefferson) both died on the same day—July 4, 1826—exactly...

Why Did God Give ‘This’ to Me?

Why Did God Give ‘This’ to Me?

It’s a question I frequently hear. It’s one I’ve asked. And maybe it’s one you’ve asked, too. The question is, “God, why did You give this to me?” This can be any number of issues, from emotional or psychological struggles to symptoms or sicknesses, disabilities or...

No Evil Can Stop What God Has Planned

No Evil Can Stop What God Has Planned

I sense it. And I perceive a growing number of people in massive proportions sense the increasing momentum of power and might worldwide. Something is on the horizon—something more eerie and ominous than what the people of the world have ever before experienced. Even...

Pin It on Pinterest