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Fabrice Muamba's near death experience got the nation praying, discover why prayer is so crucial in today's modern age.
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In ‘The Muamba Principle’, sports and spirituality writer, Alexander Lee, explores the national wave of prayer that followed the high profile heart attack and near death (or even actual death) experience of Premiership football star, Fabrice Muamba. Featuring excusive face to face interviews with the Bolton Wanderers and England under-21 midfielder, Alexander Lee takes you behind the hype and hysteria to find to unexpected Principle that prayer is still a fundamental and widespread response even in this supposedly secular and ‘godless’ age.
From the moment that 35,000 FA Cup fans – and millions more on TV, witnessed Muamba's literally heart stopping 78 minute cardiac arrest, the twenty four year old was a subject of fervent and sincere prayer. Throughout the critical days of Fabrice’s recovery, family, fans and players encouraged everyone to pray for him – and they did.
The likelihood is that most of those on their knees had little or no declared religious beliefs or commitment; echoing the national outpouring of prayer that follows national disasters and traumas. In ‘The Muamba Principle’ Alexander Lee discusses the basic human need that causes us to turn to God and prayer. With examples such as the death of Princess Diana, and comparing that outpouring of grief and hope to spiritual works such as the mariner’s prayer in the book of Jonah, Lee shows how even the most cynical still look to God when all else fails.
The #Pray 4 Principle by Alexander Lee was published by Darton Longman & Todd in February 2013 and is our 49928th best seller. The ISBN for The #Pray 4 Principle is 9780232529821.
A well written short book that nevertheless really looks at prayer as we use it and understand it both as Christians and as a secular people. Using the Twitter #pray4muamba campaign as the catalyst for consideration and insight, and with stunning clarity Alexander Lee smashes home some important insights that some may well find painful and want to discount - but to do so would be to overlook a truth we need to address if we are to see a return to prayer and Christian faith for our nation and secular times. We must not be so quick as Christians to discount the prayers of others, to reject those not 'Christian' enough to fit our stance. Instead we should consider the lessons of Paul, of Acts, and the outreach to the gentiles… we should consider Jesus' teachings on prayer and faith that exhort us not to be hypocrites or babblers… but instead to offfer hospitality and comfort, acceptance and love…
The #Pray4 Principle holds up faith and prayer as an important and still integral part of our nation's underpinning foundation, and shows that there at the heart of us all there is still a need for prayer and a deep spiritual yearning. With the right attitude of prayer by Christ's followers we can yet make a difference and bring back the lost to the fold, but we have first to open the gates to them and meet them where they are and not where we are.
So what happened at White Hart Lane on 17 March 2012?
In the middle of the pitch, the quarter final FA Cup match between Bolton Wanderers and Tottenham Hotspurs came to complete halt as players, fans and TV audiences watched the paramedics’ frantic efforts of to restart the heart of Bolton midfielder, Fabrice Muamba.
Second earlier, the twenty four year old had responded to a call from his team mate, Zat Knight, to ‘come back’ and bolster Wanderers defence. Instead, the former under 21 England international found his head spinning as his legs gave way and he collapsed onto the turf of White Hart Lane.
Fabrice Muamba had suffered a massive cardiac arrest. His heart had stopped and for next 78 minutes he was – by some definitions, technically dead. Both sides’ medical teams, helped by a heart specialist from the 35,000 crowd, struggled for over an hour to resuscitate him.
Adrenalin injections, massage and even the defibrillator failed to revive him. Only electrical stimulation 76 minutes later in hospital started his heart once again. It would be eight months before players at Bolton’s Reebok Stadium, would welcome him on his return to the club, though not his former playing career.
Responding to questions about the effectiveness of the wave of prayer that followed his very public collapse and near death, Muamba dismissed the suggestion that he was ‘the luckiest man alive’.
“For me,” he told the Daily Telegraph, “there is no such word as luck in the dictionary. When it happened, the right people were there for me. They did an unbelievable miracle on me… If it happened to me in my house I don’t think we would be having this conversation.” Of course, he has no recollection himself of what went on in those 76 minutes.
“To be able to stand here just shows the amount of effort people put in to my health and I thank God that I am able to be here,” he says. Muamba’s heart is still prone to an irregular beat and he now has a pacemaker. A footballing comeback is impossible, though some commentators think that a man as academically sharp as him might be drawn to coaching. “But hey,” he says, , “there’s more to life than football, right?”
Where does the recovery of Bolton Wanderers soccer star, Fabrice Muamba, following the literally heart stopping 78 minutes of his mid-game cardiac arrest leave the debate between science and God?
In his book ‘The Muamba Principle’ with its excusive interview with the former under 21 England international, Alexander Lee explores the human need to turn to God in times of personal and national crisis.
Technically dead for more than an hour and critically in danger during the days and weeks that followed, Muamba and his family were supported by an outpouring of emotion, concern, well wishing and – even in this cynical, secular age – a tidal wave of prayer.
So what brought Muamba ‘back from the dead’; was it science or was it prayer? Variously described as ‘a miracle’ and the ‘luckiest’ man alive, even Muamba himself is certain that, had his heart attack truck at home, he would have died; in the absence of the medical specialists and skilled professionals on hand at the stadium.
Few would doubt that more than an hour of resuscitation, electrical stimulation and now the implantation of a pacemaker have saved and revived Muamba’s life. And prayer has been ‘proven’ to give patients a sense (at least) of hope, allows them time to relax, dissipates their anxieties and builds a positive mental attitude.
Practitioners of prayer have demonstrated that it lowers blood pressure, changes hormone levels, reduces stress and boosts the immune system. For some, there’s a reduction in anxiety and increase in tolerance to pain even a lessened duration of illness. Cynics might claim that the effects of prayer are only physiological – a sort of mind over matter, rather than evidence of divine intervention.
But maybe this is the wrong question in pursuit of the wrong answer. Perhaps assessing the value and effectiveness of prayer purely in terms of physical healing is too narrow a measurement – especially when the subject does not improve, worsens or even dies.
Labelling prayer as effectively answered only when you get what you want is brutal. The prayerful response of so many to Fabrice Muamba critical condition is itself a measure of the power of prayer; that the minds of so many could concentrate on the needs of one other. The simple proof of effectiveness of prayer is that so many – even in this cynical, scientific age, still find their refuge there. – Les Ellison
On 17 March 2012, 35,000 FA Cup fans – and millions more on TV, witnessed Fabrice Muamba's heart stopping 78 minute cardiac arrest. In ‘The Muamba Principle’, sports and spirituality writer, Alexander Lee, explores the national wave of prayer that followed. Featuring excusive interviews with the Bolton Wanderers midfielder, Alexander Lee reveals the unexpected principle that prayer is still the fundamental response to crisis and tragedy even in this supposedly secular and ‘godless’ age.
|Author / Artist||Alexander Lee|
|Publisher||Darton Longman & Todd (February 2013)|
|Number of Pages||136|
|Page last updated||25th January 2018|