The Doctor Who Prays for His Patients
by Lai Kwong Wong*
Dr. Vijayan Charles is a highly respected surgeon at a hospital in my city. At age 81, he says he will retire soon! Each day, before his consultations or surgeries, Dr. Charles prays for his patients and the operations scheduled for that day. Before returning home in the evening, he thanks God for the successful outcome of his surgeries and prays for his patients. As a devoted Christian, this doctor stands out among his colleagues.
During the 48 years of Dr. Charles’ medical practice, the number of patients treated by him exceeds not hundreds, but tens of thousands! During his career, he has seen cases of every conceivable abnormality.
Having known of Dr. Charles’ years of work in the medical profession and his belief that “faith helps cure,” I was eager to interview him to hear some of his medical experiences firsthand. Below, in his own words, is one success story of how he prayed for a terminally ill patient and God healed him miraculously!
First, I will tell you a little bit about myself. I am from India. I got my medical degree and training in my home country and have been practicing medicine for 48 years. In India, Hinduism is the conventional religion, embraced by 79.8% of the population, the Islamic religion comes in second with 14.2%, and Christianity ranks low with only 2.3%. In such disproportionate religious circumstances, to become a Christian is not easy at all. But I was blessed! I became a believer during my childhood as my grandfather and my parents were all Christians, giving me a Christian environment to grow up in. From my very young years, I learned to pray to God with thanksgiving.
After high school graduation, because my academic performance was exceptional, I was accepted into the top medical school in India. But, unfortunately, my family was too poor to pay my tuition at this school. My entire family prayed for me, but they still could not afford the tuition. Eventually, my mother decided to travel to a distant city to seek help from a high official in the government’s Department of Education. At that time, many people were trying to see this official. Several hundred people were standing and waiting in a long line, but the official could only see a handful of people each day. My mother stood in line for three days and three nights. Then on the third day, the official noticed her. Perhaps it was the contrast of her dark skin and her white attire that made her appearance prominent among other people in the crowd.
The official asked, “Mom (Indian respectful name for the elderly), have you been waiting to see me for three days? What is on your mind for me to help you with?”
My mother clasped her hands in a prayerful position and said in a respectful manner: “Sir, God bless you! My son got admitted into the top medical school in India, but our family cannot pay the tuition. Sir, can you help us?”
The official replied: “I’m afraid I can’t help. This medical school is out of my jurisdiction.” Then after only a moment’s hesitation, he said: “Mom, I have a deep feeling in my heart. I want to help your son. I want to help him become an excellent doctor some day!”
My mother had persisted, and this official had looked with favor on us, but I knew it was God who had intervened! I not only got to enter medical school, but all my financial problems were solved too. I did not have to pay for my tuition the entire five years of medical study! From this time on, I became confident in my Christian faith. I knew man is limited in what he can do, but there is no task that God cannot do!
During medical school, I never forgot to worship my Lord Jesus Christ, no matter how busy or how difficult life got. When I began my internship, I began the habit of praying for my patients, and I continue it to this day. Each day before I start my work, I pray for the day ahead, for my patients, and for peace as I look to God to guide me through every surgery. God has been faithful to protect me all the years of my medical practice. I have not encountered a single case of a patient dying on my surgical table, nor have I had any incident that got out of control during a surgery. For this, I am most thankful to God. During 48 years of medical practice, God has protected me and all my patients!
The Story Of Wanga Chu Chu
I once had a patient by the name of Wanga Chu Chu who was from the Congo originally. He had become successful in the U.S., running a family business with several factories. His son was a congressman in the Senate of Congo. When Wanga was young, he had considered entering politics but gave up that intention to continue running his business and operating schools for students. Besides being my patient, Wanga and I were friends, but we did not have intimate social contact with each other since both of us were busy people.
Then one day, I received a phone call from Wanga, asking me to visit him at his home as soon as possible. I remembered him as a talkative and outgoing person, yet on the phone his voice sounded faint and weak. Surprised by the phone call and the sound of his voice, I asked him if something was wrong. “I’m going to die soon,” he answered.
Questioning him further, I learned that he had just arrived back to the States from visiting his home country, the Congo, and that he had been diagnosed with liver cancer by doctors at Johns Hopkins University Hospital. The tests had shown that the cancer was a malignant tumor in his liver, and the cancer had spread to his stomach and surrounding internal organs. Surgery was not a possibility—not by me or any other doctor. The doctors told him that he only had a short time to live. By then, half of the predicted three weeks the doctors had given him had already lapsed. He had about 10 days before he would leave this world forever. Unable to eat normally, he was taking only liquids and had become very weak. Knowing that I was a Christian doctor who always prayed for my patients to get well, he asked to see me before his pending death, so that I could pray for him.
My wife and I went to visit him at his home right away. When we were greeted at the door, we held Wanga tight while he slipped down to sit on the sofa that was near the door. He indeed looked like a dying patient with extremely weary and lifeless eyes. His voice was very weak, and when he tried to speak, he panted. Seeing him is such a state, my wife and I knew we shouldn’t stay long, so we held his hands firmly and prayed for him. We asked God to heal him, to destroy the tumor and—according to His will—to restore his health. We had faith in God’s power to heal, but we had no visible evidence that God would answer our prayer for Wanga’s healing. The tumor had already spread, and Wanga had reached the end stage of his diagnosis.
As we prayed, Wanga seemed like a corpse, with blurry, protruding eyes staring straight forward and no movement in any part of his body. After we finished praying and got up to leave, Wanga did not thank us for coming. He seemed aloof, detached from reality. So, we quietly closed the door and left. It was strange to observe this person who previously had great passion for life and now had become another person, disappearing from life.
After the home visit, for a long time we didn’t receive any news about Wanga, thinking—naturally—that he had died. Then three months later, we received an unexpected phone call. A familiar voice identified himself as my dear friend, Wanga Chu Chu!
“You’re still alive?” I blurted out this question with obvious astonishment as I recalled our last visit and the doctors’ prediction of his chance of survival. But now I was hearing his voice which was quite normal, as his words energetically conveyed!
“Thank God! I am still alive! When can you drop by to see me?”
With this invitation, my wife and I made plans to go to his home without delay. When we rang the doorbell, the door opened immediately. The person standing before us was like a stranger we were meeting for the first time. He was all smiles and walked steadily with assured steps—not at all like the person who was getting ready to meet death that we had seen three months earlier. He welcomed us to sit on the sofa with him, and we eagerly awaited the good news he would share.
In a happy, reflective mood he explained: The day you prayed for me, I felt as if I was struck by lightning! There was a sensation of heat that began in my head, flowed through my body, and extended to the soles of my feet. I felt frozen—numb—so that I could not move, and I was not able to speak. I am sorry that when you left, I could not utter a single word to express my gratitude to you for coming to pray for me.
After you left that day, I lay on the sofa and slept for a long while. When I woke up, I suddenly felt hungry. For days before, I had had no appetite and could not swallow. I only drank liquids. But then I stood up and wanted to eat some solid food. The next day, I had a better appetite and started to eat normal meals again. I slowly regained my energy. Gradually, I could walk inside my house. Eventually, I was able to walk outdoors and stroll along the small road in front of our house.
My next questions to Wanga were “Where is the tumor now? Is it completely gone? Are you completely healed?” I suggested that he go back to Johns Hopkins Hospital immediately for a thorough evaluation and that he get regular check-ups.
So, he returned to the hospital again, as I suggested. The surgical team was absolutely amazed at the results of the tests. The cancer surrounding the liver and other areas had DISAPPEARED! They were astonished at what they were seeing right in front of their eyes. It was too incredible to be true! This patient who had been diagnosed three months earlier with an untreatable, terminal, malignant liver cancer, with a life expectancy of only three weeks—unanimously agreed upon by an expert panel of attending surgeons—was healed!
This was one case in my medical experience where the outcome could not be explained short of a DIVINE MIRACLE! Later, it was determined that Wanga needed a liver transplant because of an abnormality with his liver. A matching liver was identified soon for him and he underwent transplant surgery successfully. He is still alive and remains healthy to this day!
It is easy to be surprised when there is a miraculous outcome to our prayers. I was surprised at Wanga’s healing too, even though I was his attending surgical doctor. Wanga Chu Chu is a Christian like me, and as a result of his miraculous healing—even though he is an extremely busy businessman—he faithfully attends church. He also gives generously to relieve the suffering of people living in poverty.
As a doctor who believes in God and who prays for my patients, I know sometimes my prayers may not be answered according to what I ask. A patient may die rather than recover and live. Yet God has His own sovereign will. He answers our prayers according to His own way—for the good of ourselves and others! Let us choose to trust Him always!