Jake’s coaches and teammates crowded around his hospital bed. “Thanks!” he said as he opened their presents—books about his favorite sport, baseball.
“Get well, OK?” one of his teammates said.
“We need our shortstop back!”
“Yeah, we need you!”
Jake smiled as they waved good-bye. He liked the baseball books but he didn’t really feel like reading them. He didn’t feel like watching TV. He didn’t feel like doing anything. Sick with pneumonia, his throat and chest ached every time he coughed. He was so weak he had tubes attached to his arms delivering medication to his bloodstream, and whenever he stood up to go to the bathroom, his head hurt and he got dizzy.
Jake didn’t get better the next day or the next. The sicker he got, the stranger his surroundings seemed. The people in the room looked fuzzy. He wasn’t sure who they were. He didn’t know if it was night or day.
“He’s not acting like himself,” he heard his mother say.
He wondered what that meant, but he didn’t really care. All he knew was how weak and uncomfortable he felt and how much he wanted the pain to go away.
Finally, Jake fell asleep. He didn’t know how long he slept, but it seemed like days had passed when he finally cracked open his eyes. He was starting to feel better. Two days later, he was well enough to go home.
“What happened to me in the hospital?” Jake asked his mom during the car ride home. “I don’t remember much after the baseball team came to visit me.”
“You were too sick to know what was going on,” Mom said. “You were delirious.”
“Delirious? What does that mean?”
“Your fever was so high you couldn’t think straight,” Mom explained. “I knew you must be really sick when you yelled at the nurse.”
Jake was shocked. “I yelled at a nurse?”
“Yes,” Mom said. “You didn’t want to take the medicine she was giving you. I told her it wasn’t like you to be so impolite. That night you started mumbling and saying strange things in your sleep. I called for the doctor to come quickly, even though it was the middle of the night.”
“What did he say?” Jake asked.
“He discovered that you had meningitis in addition to the pneumonia. I was so frightened when he said that there wasn’t anything more they could do.”
Jake felt like he had swallowed a rock. He had been really sick! “Then how did I get better?” he asked.
Mom smiled. “I believe it’s because Dad gave you a blessing, and the ward members fasted for you. The bishop asked everyone to fast and pray for you last Sunday.”
“Everybody in the ward didn’t eat or drink for a whole day because of me?” Jake said.
“That’s right. They also prayed. The people who fasted used their faith and asked Heavenly Father to help you get well. Even Maddie fasted for you.”
Maddie was Jake’s friend from down the street.
“But she’s not much older than me,” Jake said.
“It was her first fast. She really wanted you to get well.”
Jake stared quietly down at his hands. “I can’t believe everyone in the ward would do that for me.”
“They were happy to do it, Jake.”
Jake smiled. “So fasting really works,” he murmured.
After a week of rest, Jake returned to school and the baseball team welcomed their shortstop back. Jake never forgot the people who had fasted and prayed to make him well. He knew he had been part of a fasting miracle.
“Fasting, coupled with mighty prayer, is powerful.”
Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, “The Law of the Fast,” Ensign, May 2001, 73.