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Exercising faith in the power of prayer

Community prayer vigil organized on behalf of young cancer victim

March 15, 2008
By SANDY MICKELSON, Messenger staff writer
CALLENDER — Prayer power. That’s what Rebecca Wallace hopes to harness for 4-year-old Coleman Larson.

The son of Peggy and Scott Larson, of Callender, Coleman developed a cancerous tumor in his brain just over a year ago. It was removed, but treatment continues. He and his mother are in Iowa City right now at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, where doctors will use a new treatment on the youngster. His own stems cells will be harvested and cleaned, then put back in his body.

This will happen over the next two months, said Wallace, wife of the Rev. Kent Wallace, pastor at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, the Larson’s home church.

‘‘We’ve started a prayer vigil for Coleman and his family,’’ Wallace said. ‘‘We want prayers 24 hours a day, seven days a week for as long as we need to. Pray as if Coleman is your son.’’

She set up a schedule for prayer times of 15-minute segments.

‘‘You’d have thought I was handing out free tickets to a big league ball game or something,’’ she said. ‘‘We decided to make this community wide — we want to do everything we can to keep this little boy alive. We want to do our part. I’m attempting to enlist as many warriors as possible to fight this battle.’’

She asks the public to set aside a time every day or night to pray for Coleman, who has a twin brother, Caden.

‘‘I know you would pray every day at the same time if you knew you could move the hand of God,’’ Wallace said. ‘‘Please do not consider yourself unworthy to move the hand of God. All of us who believe in and acknowledge Jesus Christ have the authority to trample on demons.’’

In her Nov. 15, 2007, CarePage account of Coleman’s struggle, Peggy Larson wrote:

‘‘Sunday at church someone brought a Power Ranger in the bag for the children’s sermon. Our pastor talked to the kids about how the Holy Spirit is kind of like a Power Ranger and how it is in all of us, giving us the power to do things we might not otherwise be able to do. So, now Coleman scrunches up his face and does these slow motion punches. I’ve asked him what that is all about and to stop doing it. He told me, ‘It is the hoewee sirit in me, Mommy. Dinnit you yissen to what passer said?’’’

More recently, Larson wrote:

‘‘Coleman was singing a song about the Holy Spirit today. I asked him to sing it to me again. He explained instead, ‘See, Mommy, the hoey sirit helps ya do fings what ya doan weally fink you tan do, wike when i taked my teemo (chemo) pills wif swa-woe-win them an I dinnit fink I tould do it, but the hoey sirit helped me.’’’

Wallace said the youngster is inspirational, not just to his family, but to others as well. ‘‘Peggy said he was running up and down the halls of the clinic saying hi to everyone, even though he knows something is coming. I wish you knew this little boy. He is unlike any little boy I’ve ever known. You can tell the Lord has his hands on him.’’

Pastor Wallace said he sees the connection between community prayers for Coleman and Palm Sunday.

‘‘The Jews were not just looking for a deliverer in the messiah,’’ he said. ‘‘They were also looking for a healer. The prophet Daniel (chapters 7, 8 and 9) had prophesied about the coming of the Son of Man as not only king but as messiah. In chapter 9 there is the mysterious reference to 70 weeks until the restoration of Jerusalem. The rabbis of Jesus’ day had interpreted this to mean weeks of years — 10 weeks equal 70 years.

‘‘When the Persian King Artaxerxes issued his edict allowing Nehemiah to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, the rabbis started counting. It turns out that the very day for this prophecy to be fulfilled was the day Jesus rode into Jerusalem on the donkey.

‘‘The reason why the people were so excited, according to the Gospel of John, was that just a few days earlier Jesus had raised Lazarus of Bethany from the dead. So the real message of Palm Sunday is that the healer/king has arrived. (As a side note, J.R.R. Tolkein adapted this idea into the Lord of the Rings with the saying ‘‘the hands of the King are the hands of a healer.‘‘)

Pastor Wallace said, ‘‘Malachi puts it more specifically in the last book of the Old Testament: ‘But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings; and you will go forth and skip about like calves from the stall.’’’ Malachi 4:2 (New American Standard Bible).

‘‘So we are putting on the clothes of Jesus and flooding the throne of heaven with our requests for healing of this remarkable little boy who has captured our hearts,’’ Wallace said. ‘‘He has already brought our congregation together in one accord more than anything in perhaps the entire history of Our Savior’s Lutheran. Jesus is not just our Redeemer, but also our healer.’’

Contact Sandy Mickelson at (515) 573-2141 or


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