My Reason for Continuing to Lead in Prayer 

Many people know that I lost my youngest son, Philip on March 25, 2020. He had just turned 21 and had just moved back home and was taking classes at the University of Michigan-Flint, my alma matter. I found Philip in my Office at 6 pm dead from a rifle shot to the head. It has been debated in my family of whether it was an accident or intentional. Either way he is gone, and I am still here.

Philip was our miracle child. After Rachel, our oldest, was born in December of 1992, and Joseph, my oldest son, was born in January of 1994 in the ambulance on the way to the hospital, then we would go through a very rough time in life. We lost Charlene at 23 weeks into the pregnancy, in 1995, and Alexander after 23 and a half weeks early in 1996. We would lose three more pregnancies between 1996 and 1997. In 1998 we became pregnant for Philip. When we went in for a check up at about 12 to 14 weeks the heart monitor gave us a beat about every 8 seconds. The doctor looked at us and said we were going to lose this baby. That Sunday, the pastor had a service on believing in miracles and asked us to write down three miracles we would be willing to pray for and place on the alter. The next week, when Doreen was able to go for what she thought would be her last check up they did an ultra sound. It was a different doctor, and he told my wife that the baby was perfectly find. Well, every week until Philip was born we went to have the heart beat listened to. Philip was born March 17, 1999 but he had to spend the first five days in the NICU before we could take him home. As a side note, we would lose Joshua Jacob in 2000 at 24 weeks.

Philip had to fight for life early on because he was severely asthmatic. For the first ten years we carried a small grocery bag around with all of his medications and breathing treatment stuff. Philip was a very engaging child, when he was healthy enough to go to school, especially the early years all the classmates would get hugs from Philip when he came and when he left.

Philip learned to love learning and baseball. He even played one year of baseball. When he was about 11 his Asthma doctor who we loved dearly passed away because of cancer. So, we had to find him a new doctor. We found a doctor who grew up in Ireland. He told Philip that as he hit puberty, he had an opportunity to get ahead of his asthma if he played something like football or soccer. So, Philip went out for 8th grade football when he was in the 7th grade with many guys from his class. Between football and working out with a trainer, (my cousin) Philip started to slim down, get stronger and need less medications.

Philip loved life and loved learning. He was involved in band, shop, TARC (which was a rocket making and competing club) as well as being a group leader over 1st grade boys at church. When Philip graduated, he wanted to go to Michigan Tech. University. He wanted to be a engineer. He also met Alyssa and learned to love the Upper Peninsula. He also would get a jeep and begin exploring and really learning to enjoy life. Philip made friends even in college like Noah. Noah was another student who started at MTU with Philip, and they found they had a lot in common. Philip would stop at Noah’s house in Munising on his way to or from college in Houghton. Philip also learned to fish and did so often with Alyssa.

Philip was the most like me and that meant we would have great talks and at times strong disagreements. He had a very growing and engageable personality, unlike me, more like his mother. He was very energetic in living life to the fullest.

When I found Philip, in my office gone, I failed to pray for another miracle. I failed to trust in God at that moment. All I could do was scream, “why God”. At the time I was doing prayers for the East Michigan Free Methodist Conference churches, pastors and church teams. I stopped. I had been a truck accident the month before and was on light duty at work, so I had to sit in a small room listening to prisoner phone calls. I would then lose a fellow teacher in May, who was younger than me, who died one night leaving a wife and five children behind. I would lose my father-in-law, two uncles, it was like death was all around me and the world I knew was gone.

In December, Covid was raging in the prison system, so I found days where I was in my classroom waiting to be reassigned to another job at the prison. During this time, I was doing deep soul searching of who I was and what I believed. The Holy Spirit gave me a challenge: Write a prayer for every book in the Bible and then see if it clears Your thoughts and brings You peace. 18 days later I had accomplished this. I then sent the prayers as a packet along with many Scripture prayers I had put together to help people in different situations as the Holy Spirit guided me. One of the people I sent the packet too, Jacquetta, has a publishing company. She contacted me and said, “these need to be made into books, for people to have and use.” With some of the money from the life insurance I received for Philip, I was able to get the books published and start doing email scripture prayers again. One year after the first book was published, Jacquetta helped me start a website to put prayers daily on. Now I have been doing that for over a year. I probably will never get over losing Philip, but through these scripture prayers I write I at least am given a peace and a purpose to live life. I also hope this leaves a legacy for my family, and grandchildren.