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Prayer on the Mountain

Therefore I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing. – 1 Timothy 2:8

 After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.  – Acts 4:31

It hit us all like a ton of bricks. My stomach tightened up into a knot as  I heard one of our men running up to the La Plata trailhead parking lot, sweating and out of breath. He had just enough energy, having run more than two miles down a very steep mountain trail, to yell out my name.

I knew that it was not good.

“Someone is hurt on the mountain…. at about 13,000 feet” he said.

So many thoughts rushing through our minds as we gave him water and allowed him to catch his breath. It was one of our men that was injured, but the extent of his injury was unknown. The man running down the hill had simply relayed information that he heard yelled to him way up on La Plata Peak by some of our “sweepers” – men that were pushing all of our men back to the trailhead.

We began to assemble and equip a few strong men to go back up the trail to locate and assess the injury. Hydration packs were hurriedly filled with water and power bars were pushed into open compartments on daypacks. Extra water for the injured man was added and hiking boots were re-laced and tightened.

Three men volunteered to go back up in addition to myself. As we gathered these men, a young man from Missouri pressed in and pushed to go. A soccer player…. A strong runner… but without shoes as his group had just left the parking lot. A Holy Spirit nudge …. and I took off my hiking boots and gave them to him. He was a faster runner and was fully fueled up.

The shoes fit perfectly.

All men at the trailhead were focused on what was happening. One of our Peak Challenge leaders pulled them together over the men that were getting ready to go back up the trail at 4:30 pm in the afternoon – a prime time for afternoon thunderstorms on the mountain.

And they prayed.

Therefore I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing. – 1 Timothy 2:8

God was with us. God could be trusted. I had a strong sense of His presence that afternoon. They prayed for safety for the injured man. They prayed for safety of the men going back up. They prayed for thunderstorms to stay away. They prayed hard for their friends. They were commissioned and sent, moving quickly in the fading daylight.

With no shoes, I knew that I had to get back up the trail as well. “Does anyone have size 11 or 12 boots?” Without hesitation, one of our guys had his pair of boots in my hands as soon as the words released from my mouth, God can be trusted. Prayer is the most powerful tool we have. I had the boots on in no time and began to run back up the La Plata trail…. With almost 2,000 feet of elevation gain waiting for me as it had been waiting for the men ahead of me that had left just minutes before.

The prayers did not stop. They increased.

Men at the trailhead kept praying. They called other men who were in camp and asked them to pray. They got a hold of others who were in town and told them to pray.

Therefore I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing. – 1 Timothy 2:8

By this time, our group had placed a call to the County Sheriff and gave them some basic information. Some volunteer responders from Search and Rescue were made aware of the situation and they began to make their way to the La Plata trailhead.

Heart rates were soaring as we all raced back up the trail. I could not see the other three, but I knew that they were ahead of me, attacking the steep grades that led up out of Missouri Gulch. Praying …. running…. sweating…. oxygen deprivation… and strength provided to weary legs by God.

It was cloudy. Dark clouds to the east. A few rumblings of thunder could be heard. We moved faster.

Finally reaching the upper valley, I picked up the pace as I know I was almost to the first set of switchbacks. From a few sketchy reports of men coming back down, I knew that they were in the vicinity of the switchbacks.

It began to sprinkle.

If you know anything about late afternoons in the mountains, you know that storms can move quickly and lighting can and has killed hikers in Colorado.

And then I heard voices. They were close. The sounds were coming my way. Suddenly, our two “sweepers” came around a bend in the trail. From the way that they were walking, I could tell that everything was okay. My spirit soared as they approached and I stopped on the trail, gasping for air.

“They are just around the corner…. an ankle sprain..he is on his own power.”

These sweepers were the angels on the trail, at the right place and at the right time to assist this man down.

The all emerged from the trees, the ankle slowing down our guy’s normal cadence. Our other men, tired from running like I had, were smiling…. as they knew too that God could be trusted.

Men at the trailhead and in camp continued to pray. For those men that were in camp, they endured strong rain and hail that pelted our campground… just miles from the trailhead and the La Plata trail.

After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.  – Acts 4:31

We were praying as we led the man back down the mountain. Thunder boomed across the valley. Our fervent prayers sought protection from any rain and lightning. God can be trusted.

Just a valley to the east, heavy rains and strong electrical storms ripped through the area.

The La Plata trail remained dry. God can be trusted.

At 7:30 pm, we safely arrived at the trailhead. We met some new friends along the way – the two volunteer Search and Rescue folks that met us about a mile or so from the trailhead. We thank God for the spiritual discussions we had with them. We gave thanks for God’s blessings. We humbly soaked in the fact that no storms had come near us.

We felt His presence.

 
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