(This story is taken from the book I believe in miracles by Kathryn Kuhlman)
The stamp was upside down. The printingthat of a very young childwas done in pencil. All that was on the envelope was: The Preacher Lady, Pittsburg. I knew immediately that no childs mother would have permitted the letter to go through the mail had she seen the envelope.
The note inside had been written by a little girl, and was short and to the point. She asked that I please pray that God would make her daddy and mommy not drink, and then she invited me to their home for Christmas. The letter was signed Audreyand thats all there was EXCEPT the postscript which read: I forgot to tell you where we live. You get off the bus, and our house is the third big white house from the corner. I was so amused by both the letter and the envelope that next morning I read it on my radio broadcast, describing the envelope and the childs printing effort. As I read the entire note, including the postscript, I little knew that Ann Dolan, the child's mother, happened at that exact time to be listening at home to her radio
As she told me later, she was shocked speechless as she heard the words of the postscript come over the air: You get off the bus, and our house is the third big white house on the corner. Ann remembered now, how two days before, her young daughter had been struggling with the dictionary, and then in desperation had innocently asked her mother how to spell PREACHER LADY. Why do you want to know? her mother asked. Oh just cause, had come the reply.
Panic-stricken, Ann rushed to Audreys school to meet the child at dismissal time. As Audrey emerged, her mother confronted her with the question uppermost in her mind, Did you invite Miss Kuhlman to our house for Christmas? The child never flinched. Looking her mother strait in the eye, she replied: Yes.
Half hysterically, her mother asked: what on earth do you expect to do with her when she comes? In firm tones came the answer: Play with her, of course!
In that precious little childs mind, there was something far deeper than wanting to just play with some Preacher Lady; what that little girl really wanted MOST was a Christian mama and daddy. Little Audrey had been largely raised by her grandmother, for her mother had been so busy with other things, her social life took so much of her time, she was just too busy to take care of a little girl. Besides, what can you do with a little girl in a cocktail lounge? Then there was her daddyof course he loved little Audrey, loved her dearly but you just dont take little girls to the Sportsmans Club, and what can you do with a little girl when the mother and daddy arent home most of the time?
Then came the day that Audrey heard me make the announcement over the radio that the Thanksgiving Service was to be held at Syria Mosque. With her hopes high, she asked her mother to take her. Ann had seen Kathryn Kuhlmann and could not have cared less, but finally to placate the child she agreed to take her. Audrey was sick before Thanksgiving. Leaving the child with her grandmother, Ann was gone from home for three days. But in her heart she loved her little girl: she had left her sick, and had made her a promise which, for a reason which she could not fathom, seemed to mean a lot to the childso she returned home early Thanksgiving morning in time to take Audrey to the service. Nothing Happened as Ann expressed it in her own words: Apparently I wasnt touched. I thought the whole thing was silly. My Idea of life was to live it upto have fun. I had spent twenty years of my life in the same crowd, and this was how they thought of life as well.
Then came the Christmas seasonthe letter with the stamp upside downthe invitation to the big white house, the third from the corner. When I did not make an appearance at the big white house for Christmas, Audrey repeatedly begged her mother to take her to the New Years Eve Candlelight Service. For Several days the childs plea fell on total deaf ears. Spend New Years Eve in a religious service? Not a chance! Besides, recalled Ann, I had a big engagement in New Yorks at the Stork Club for that night. I had made the date preceding August, and I had no intention of disappointing these people at their big New Years Eve party. I had already sent my clothes on to New York. Nothing was going to stop me.
And then, she continued, Audrey asked me again for at least the twentieth time, and to this day I do not know what happenedit certainly must have been the Lord working, for all of a sudden I called New York and cancelled my long standing reservations, and instead, made reservations on one of the chartered buses going to the New Years Eve Candlelight Service. With a smile, Ann continued almost triumphantly, I dare say, my reservation was the only cancellation at the Stork Club that New Years Eve.
Ann trudged down the hill in the snow with seven year-old Audrey scuffing ecstatically beside her, her little heart pounding harder than it had ever pounded before, and her little body vibrating with enthusiasm and expectation. They got to the bus just on time. This New Years Eve was assuredly different from any other that Ann had ever spent, and it was to prove the most momentous of her life for that night she gave her heart to the lord and her life was forever changed. I wish I could stand on the highest mountain and proclaim to the whole world, the glorious experience of being Born Again, Ann exclaimed with tears of joy welling up in her dark eyes. But it is something that one must experience, and it is not something you can fully explain to another. One thing I know, He gives a new life, through the new Birth. Christ did not explain the how to Nicodemus. The process is a mystery as seen in John 3:8 The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the spirit. Though his causes are hidden, his effects are manifest. The Lord works mysteriously, but His results are definite.
When little Audreys daddy, Red Dolan, came in from a party at his club at around 8:00 A.M., he brought trinkets and noisemakers for his young daughterthe sort of thing that had always before thrilled her. But Audrey didnt care about any noisemakers on this day. It was as if she had already gotten what she wanted from the Lord.
Now Audreys grandpa, Anns Father had been a drunkard for sixty yearsI never remembered my dad sober, said Ann. He was a musician and would often stay from home three or four weeks at a time. Upon coming home, he would frequently be so sick that he would lie out on the lawn in front of the house, unable to move. After each such time it seemed to take longer to sober him up.
Before Ann and Red were married, Red had tried to remedy the situation but grandpa could not or would not change his ways. Every doctor in Carnegie, Pennsylvania, now knew him, loved him and tried to help him. Their verdict was unanimous: something had to be done for grandpa! A few months after Anns conversion, grandpa engaged in what was to prove his last bout with liquor. He had been drinking heavily for weeks. The last time anyone had seen him, he looked the typical bumone boot over one shoe: no shoelaces: someones filthy dirty cap on his head, and he had lost his glasses so he couldnt see. He was by now so drunk that his trousers wouldnt stay up, and he had taken an old piece of rope to hold them in place. Grandma, looking for him, came down and said to Ann, I think dads just about done. I havent seen him for five whole days. He was so miserable when he left the house, Im afraid he may have done away with himself. He hasnt eaten for daysjust drinking all the time.
This was a Saturday night, and Ann replied, I will be going to service tomorrow. Dont worry, mother, well pray for dad. You just stay home and pray for him, too. The next nightand the nextdad still hadnt come home. The third night Anns mother came down and said: I think dad is in the barn. They searched carefully all over the barn but could find no trace of grandpa. As it was now after 9 oclock at night, Ann and Audrey started home, praying along the way. Suddenly Audrey said, I hear something coming down the road. Ann recognized the sound of her fathers footstepsthat curious dragging sound meant he was too weak to pick up his feet. And then he appeared around the bend of the road. Grandpa didnt seem to know either his daughter or granddaughter, but Audrey went over to him there in the middle of the road, and said, Grandpa I love you; and you dont know just how much Jesus loves you. The man was so sick he couldnt stand. All he wanted was money for a drink. Then Ann said: Dadjust lets kneel down here. They all knelt together on the side of the road and Ann prayed very simply, Lord take him. Whatever way you want him, just take him.
In that instant, grandpa got up from his knees, walked strait up the hill with amazing strength, entered the house, took off his clothes, and bathed and shaved. Christ had come into his heart, and grandpa was a new creature in Christ JesusOld things having passed away, and behold, all things had become new! Two days later found grandpa at the service at Carnegie Hall, publicly acknowledging Christ as his Savior. He was never again to takeor even wantanother drink.
Meanwhile about a year from the time little Audrey sent off her little letter Red Dolan was fighting his own convictions. Red thought it a wonderful thing that his wife had given her heart to the Lord. Wonderful for her, that is, but this sort of thing was definitely not for him.
God always hears little girls prayers!
And then it happened. One day, standing at the end of a bar, having ordered his drink but never having toughed it, something happened to Red Dolan that to this hour he cannot fully explain, and yet it was the most powerful force that had ever seized his person. He suddenly saw himself as God saw him, a sinnerwretcheda miserable offender against God: a man not worthy of a precious little girls pure love: a man who needed to be cleansed from all unrighteousness, and needing to be delivered from the power of sin.
Involuntarily he dropped to his knees at the end of the barand in a barroom filled with men, he cried out unashamedly: God be merciful to me, a sinner. That was allit was a short prayer but it came from a sincere heart. It came from a man who was sick of sin. A man who wanted to be free from the power of sin. A man who saw Christ become real in his life that day. He had seen what that experience had done in the life of grandpa, and now knew it was real.
THIS IS GOD: that in the balcony of an auditorium, a woman gave herself to the Lord; that at the end of a country road, her father accepted Him; that in a crowded bar, her husband gave him his heart. And all because a little girl prayedfor Jesus sake.