Prayer answered on a lion hunt



One day in 1898 Willis Hotchkiss, serving as a missionary in the Kenya Colony of Africa, was in dire straits-so dire, in fact, that the messenger of the Cross stood between two rhinoceroses and a lioness who guarded her three cubs. Missionary Hotchkiss had gotten himself in this strange position since near-starvation stalked the compound. There had been little food, due to a drought, and little money to purchase it. So one day Hotchkiss decided to go hunting for meat.

On this particular day he and a native had hunted for many hours and had not killed anything; and, strange as it may appear, though they did not realize it, there was only one bullet in either Hotchkiss' gun or that of the native who was with him. Late in the afternoon Hotchkiss saw a lioness and her three cubs go up a ravine that cut through the veld. For a short while Hotchkiss and his companion debated just what would be their best procedure. They had no desire to face that angry lioness who was protecting her cubs; so they started, as they thought, toward safety. Immediately they were faced by two rhinoceroses. They stood still for a moment, not knowing which way to go. They realized if they went to the right they faced the lioness, and to the left of them were the terrible beasts that could crush their bodies at a moment's notice. So Hotchkiss prayed a short prayer and waited for a while, wondering what would occur. He knew that the lioness was the most dangerous animal in the veld when made angry while protecting her cubs.

Suddenly, to Hotchkiss' utter amazement, the lioness did not run true to her lioness background or instinct of veld training. She stopped, after she had stalked her prey, within a very few feet of the two men who stood as though riveted to the earth. Hotchkiss for the instant knew that it would be futile to run, for running would throw them into the rhinoceroses; so they stood still and asked God to protect them. They watched the lioness as she bellied down on the earth and made ready for the final spring. They were amazed to see the lioness tremble throughout her great body, as though a serious fear had unexpectedly gripped her angry frame. Then she turned, magnificent beast that she was, and raced over the veld back to her cubs. And thus Hotchkiss and his companion were saved.

Weeks later the missionary received a letter from a small band of supporters who had promised to pray for him regularly. This letter told a strange story. It said in effect that on a certain day when the band had gathered for a meeting, there seemed to be a strange sense settle upon the leader that their missionary, Willis Hotchkiss, was at that instant facing a strange danger. The leader called the band to prayer. They prayed until the skies seemed to clear and God answered that Hotchkiss was safe.

As Hotchkiss read that letter his heart rejoiced; and when he checked the date of that meeting and the date of this strange event which he had experienced before the lioness, he discovered that the two matched identically.

God, in the moment of his need, had laid a burden of prayer upon his friends in America and, in answer, spared his life.


From: ANSWERED PRAYER IN MISSIONARY SERVICE By Basil William Miller, Beacon Hill Press, Kansas City, Missouri. First Printing, April 1951 Second Printing, July 1951 Printed in United States of America