Posted by: davidlarkin | August 29, 2015

Supernatural Answers to Prayers in My Life


The Raising of Lazarus – Rembrandt c. 1620

Jesus prayed often during his ministry years recorded in the New Testament.  He was an example for us

In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence.

Hebrews 5:7 (ESV)

Sometimes Christians are discouraged when our prayers are not answered.  But when we pray that God’s will be done, that does not mean that our desires are his will, and we should not expect our prayers to be answered as we desire.  Only God can change hearts and we cannot know what he is doing in the lives of others most of the time.

In 1971, I was an agnostic or atheist. I was studying philosophy at Yale. Surprisingly to me, I was saved reading the Bible.   While studying philosophy, I was intrigued by Danish existentialist philosopher Soren Kierkegaard’s discussion of “faith” and the “knight of faith” in his book Fear and Trembling, and his philosophical characterization the story of Abraham in Genesis, specifically of God’s instruction to Abraham to sacrifice and kill his only son, Isaac, as the “teleological suspension of the ethical.”  In other words, Kierkegaard proposed that God suspended His moral and ethical law which would forbid killing anyone, especially a son, in order to serve a higher and final purpose, as a test of Abraham’s faith in God and willingness to obey even with such a heartbreaking order.  When his son asked what they were going to sacrifice on the mountain, Abraham told him that God would provide the sacrificial animal. Abraham did not have to kill his son because God did provide a ram as a substitute just before Abraham was holding the knife over his son, preparing to stab his son in obedience to God’s instruction.

This was unlike any other philosophy book I had read, and I thought the idea of faith, as Kierkegaard expressed it, was interesting. I knew I didn’t have any faith other than in my feeble self.  I decided I should look at “faith” as expressed in world religions.  I read through Buddhist writings, the Hindu Vedas, Taoism – Lao Tse’s Tao Te Ching, Confucius, all of the Alan Watts books popularizing Eastern religious thought, the drug induced fantasies of Carlos Castenada, Timothy Leary and Richard Alpert (before he was Baba Ram Dass), and the Koran. I read them all. I threw the I Ching.  Nothing seemed to strike me as believable.  Having run out of major religions to look at, I decided I should read the Bible to be fair.  I had an old Bible society hotel King James Bible in my cottage where I was living, no idea where it came from.  Starting with Genesis, I read straight through the Old Testament which was not easy. The New Testament Gospels were much easier to read, and suddenly in the midst of the third Gospel, the Gospel of Luke, I believed what I was reading was true.  I was standing in the middle of the living room of my cottage and God was alive and in the room with me. There was no leap of faith. There was no bells or angels singing, only a moment where before I didn’t believe it and now I did. God was a living God and He was able to hear my innermost thoughts. I spoke to him. No decision, I just believed, a work of the Holy Spirit as I now know. Jesus found me. I believed He died for my sins and was raised from the dead, and was alive, just as the Bible said. God was a living God. I repented, confessing my sins the best I could and I became a Christian. I still have that old hotel King James Bible.

In 2005, I wrote my Spiritual Memoir.  I wanted to make a record of how God worked in my life over the 34 years that I had had a relationship with Jesus Messiah, my Lord and Savior, my salvation experience and the theological and philosophical issues I thought about during those years.  In particular, I wanted to record how God had shown himself to me supernaturally as a living God who answers prayers.  Some of my answered prayers seemed like insignificant requests, but God honored my sincerity at the time to show me He was interested in me and my life and the lives around me and it is not for me to judge what is important to God.  We cannot possibly fathom how “all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. Romans 8 (NKJV). It is not easy in our fallen flesh to pray with sincerity, and often, I expect, our prayers are not sincere, but self-centered or rote repetitions, but we must persevere in prayer for those around us who need the Lord.  Here is the segment from my Spiritual Memoir recording some of the answers to prayer, and supernatural ways that God can show himself.  He is always at work, but we cannot see him unless He graciously brings it to our attention.  I always try to be attentive to Him and His work, but unfortunately, my sinful nature is not cooperative much of the time, and only by His grace do I see.  Here, beginning with Section II of my Spiritual Memoir, I distinguish between “small world” events in our lives which do not seem to have any personal spiritual significance, which is followed by an account of how God answered prayer and revealed Himself to me in his supernatural way, revealing Himself to me, beginning in Section VII of my Spiritual Memoir.



In addition to abstract curiosity, the psychedelic world of the sixties did open us up to the possibility of a supernatural reality. No one that I knew was unable to distinguish between hallucination or delusion and reality. However, we were interested in coincidence. The simplest occurrence might seem improbable under the influence of hallucinogenic substances. “Faaaar out!” we shouted. But there were some events that seemed too improbable.

In the summer of 1969, Woodstock summer, I shared an apartment in Cambridge, Massachusetts with some Yale classmates. One weekend, my roommate Jon’s cousin visited us from Toronto, Canada. We were also joined that weekend by another Yale friend Rusty, who drove up from Pennsylvania for the weekend. Jon, Jon’s cousin, Rusty and a couple others spent the afternoon on a boat in the Bay. I stayed at the apartment to learn how to play the Travis pick on the guitar for 13 hours straight. Anyway, Rusty reported a year or so later after a trip to Asia that he had been riding on a train in Nepal, and who did he find sitting across from him in the train compartment, but Jon’s cousin from Toronto that he had met on the boat in Boston Bay that previous Summer weekend afternoon. Small world.

In 1974, I was had been living in Honolulu for a few weeks. I had been staying at the YMCA and had a job working as a fry cook in Waikiki. I wanted to find another place to stay, for although the fellows were nice enough to me, I was straight and except for about seven of us, the rest of the residents were gay. I didn’t fit. I was across the street from the Y in a music store at the Ala Moana shopping center one day, playing Led Zeppelin’s  “Stairway to Heaven” on a Takamine 12-string guitar. A woman walked up and gave me a kiss. It was someone I knew briefly three or four years ago in Connecticut. She told me that she was living in Honolulu with her Yale boyfriend, “in a big house up on Liliha Street owned by Senator Hiram Fong’s son.” There were nearly a dozen people living there, she said, several artists and there was a room available this week. They could use a musician in the house as well. That house and what happened there is another story, but had we not met by chance in the music store, I doubt that I would have found her and a better place to live. I had no idea that they were living there. Small world. This is another example of how God providentially ordered and continues to order my life.

Around 1981 or so, I was living in Phoenix, Arizona. I had completed law school in Kansas and had spent two years acquiring experience as an accountant, including a year with the now-deceased Arthur Andersen & Co., in order to add Certified Public Accountant to my resume. Now an attorney in my own fledgling private practice, I kept getting mail for another David Larkin. Out of curiosity I called him to introduce myself. He was getting my mail as well. We decided to meet at the Arizona Club in Phoenix for lunch. He was a marketing man from Manhattan, a couple of years older than me, who had relocated to Phoenix for the weather. He was working for a market research company, but was planning to start his own marketing company. A year or so later after Marketing David Larkin had gone out on his own, we formed a computer hardware company with a client of mine. One night I was describing our new venture to my doctor Dave in the parking lot of an Italian restaurant in Phoenix. I was telling Dr. Dave about my partner who had the same name as me, David Larkin. Just as I was telling him about the other David Larkin, a guy walked up to us in the parking lot and said, “Yes?” I said “Yes, what?” He said, “I’m David Larkin.” He was another David Larkin. I said, “I’m David Larkin, and I was just telling my friend here about my partner who is also David Larkin.” We all laughed. This new third David Larkin was a professional masseuse. Small world.

Coincidence by itself does not prove anything. Depending upon the magnitude of the improbability, coincidental events raise an inference that something may have influenced the course of events to lead to the improbable result, the invisible hand of God, perhaps. The Twilight Zone event in real life opens the door to thoughts about a supernatural or spiritual realm. It is difficult to find a rational point of demarcation between the historical event that is strangely improbably, like the coincidental second meeting on a train in Nepal, and the event that is so much stranger than fiction that thoughts of spirits or God or alien presences occur naturally.

Crop circles seem to cross that line. Crop circles are the type of event where an unknown agency is evident in the natural brute facts of the event itself. The crops must have been matted to the ground by some type of agency. Natural physical phenomenon cannot account for the multiple and elaborate designs around the world, nor can pranksters of a nature we can fathom.

Often the timing of an event alone gives the sensation or thought of a higher power working in our lives. In 1970, I was told by my roommate in Cambridge that I had to pay the rent the next day or he would ask me to leave, a polite eviction. The rent was $40. I had no idea where to get the money. The next day I went to get the mail and there was a last paycheck in the mail from a prior employer that I had not expected in the amount of $40.35 – rent and a pack of cigarettes.

Years later when my wife and I were struggling to establish my law practice, we were very short on cash one day. We needed money for necessities: gas, diapers, and groceries. My wife spotted some papers in some blankets in the baby’s playpen – just what we needed – about eighty dollars worth of checks from clients that the baby had taken from my wallet on the desk next to the playpen months earlier that we had not noticed missing and forgot about. We needed it when we found it. Sure our accounting procedures were sloppy and the baby accidentally saved it for us, but the timing was highly providential at the time. We were happily thankful to God for using our son to provide for us.

. . . . .


After conversion, it was difficult to make decisions at first, to discern the will of God for my life. Shortly after conversion, I was inclined to travel from Connecticut to Blacksburg, Virginia with the intent just to study the Bible. I had been there the summer before with my Yale friend Larry. I had fond memories of Blacksburg and the beautiful countryside and that it would be a good place to study. I read in the Bible that after Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Jesus, committed suicide, the eleven remaining disciples cast lots to determine which of two candidates would replace him. According to the Old Testament history, the Jews used the “urim and thummin,” some kind of oracular device of which no physical description has been found, to divine the will of God.

I had used the I Ching [a Chinese oracle which uses sticks which you throw and a book of oracular “hexagrams” with foretelling passages]. I suspected that it was not a Godly means by nature, but I decided that with prayer, God can use anything. I would let God speak to me through the I Ching about this seemingly important matter of travel. So, I said a blessing over my Wilhelm translation and my sticks and asked God to use the I Ching to communicate to me His will regarding a proposed trip to Virginia. It seemed Biblical at the time. I threw the sticks and read the hexagram. God answered my prayer. I threw number 46, the Shêng hexagram, “Pushing Upward.” The “Judgment” of the hexagram was decisive:

has supreme success.
One must see the great man.
Fear not.
Departure toward the south
Brings good fortune.

I thanked God for the help. I departed toward the south, to Blacksburg, the next day in my red VW Bug. Though it seems superstitious, it was convincing as it happened. I do not consult oracles today. It is not necessary for a Christian who trusts God to find the will of God in his life, although it is wise to pray for wisdom. However, it should be a natural result of “walking in the Spirit.”  As Jesus said:

“The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

John 3:8 (ESV)

Shortly thereafter, God confirmed that he had honored my naïve faith in His divine guidance to head south in His answer to my request for His permission to resort to fortune-telling. When I was in Blacksburg, mostly studying a new Bible I had purchased at the Yale Coop bookstore a few weeks before leaving New Haven. I had been in the religion section of the bookstore, and overheard two Yale professors discussing Bibles, obvious from their discussion they were Biblical scholars. I politely interrupted them, asked if they were and they confirmed it, smiling that I could tell, I suppose. I asked them if they could recommend the most recent translation of the Bible they believed to be the most accurate translation. They both agreed that newly published Catholic Bible, The New American Bible (NABRE), was the most accurate and contemporary, published a year before in 1970. The NABRE is an English-language Catholic Bible translation, published by the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine. I asked them if they were Catholics, and they both laughed. “We’re Jewish,” one of them said. [Today I use the English Standard Version published around 2000]

In Blacksburg, I hung out at a bookstore, “Books, Strings, and Things,” owned by a man I met a year earlier when I had traveled there with my friend Larry, to look at some land in Blacksburg that had been offered to someone we knew. From the long-haired student patrons of the bookstore, I found out there was a concert on the campus of Virginia Tech University there. I went to the concert with my guitar, wearing my green floppy leather had, and asked those in charge if I could perform. They agreed, and I went on after a hard rock heavy metal band.  Several hundred students were gathered.  Dark clouds were above as the metal band played. Many had been lustily rocking and dancing to the music. As I started playing acoustic more peaceful Beatles, Dylan, Neil Young and other songs I liked, the sun came out, really, and the mood changed noticeably, as the young people sat down and listened. I saw them smiling at me. I spoke them about my recent conversion to belief in Jesus, and the Bible, between songs extemporaneously interpreting the songs I sang in light of the Gospel the best I could, relying on the Spirit to give me words, obviously, since I had no preparation for this performance. I was a blessed time. At the end of my performance, I told the audience on the grass in front of me, that I would be at Books, Strings and Things Bookstore later, and if anyone want to talk to me about God, Jesus, and salvation, to stop by and we could talk. I did not expect anyone to show up. I had never done anything like this before. It was my first effort to share the gospel publicly like this.

Later that day, I was at the bookstore, and a young man came up to me. He said he had heard me perform at the concert and what I said about talking to him about God. He introduced himself as “Peter,” and told me that he thought he needed to get right with God. He was an architecture major, and his architect professor was very critical of his work, and he feared he would fail his course. He wanted to be an architect. He thought he needed to get right with God, so he could achieve his life goal with God’s help. He know the basic teachings of the Bible from his upbringing though he had not believed. We talked about how I became a Christian and what the Bible said. I told him you need to recognize you are a sinner and separated from God. I said I called out to God, spoke with Him sincerely as if He was in the room, as He was. I heeded Jesus words, to repent from my sins, and believe to be given the gift of eternal life. I showed him the Scriptures, as we spoke. I told him that I told God I was sorry for my sins, I believed that Jesus had died for my sins, and called out to God to save me, as the Apostle Paul declared:

because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

Romans 10:9-13 (ESV)

He asked me if he could do that now. I said, why not have something you will remember. Let’s go out on the bridge on the lake on campus, and pray together for your salvation. We met by the bridge on the lake later that evening, and on the bridge I fashioned a prayer for him, like the “Sinner’s Prayer,” commonly used by evangelists. I had read about this in books in the prior days after my conversion. Peter did pray that prayer with me, declaring sorrow for sin, for ignoring God, and asking God to save him. I recommended he get a good Bible if he did not have one, and read it. I told him I would be at Books, Strings and Things, tomorrow afternoon if he wanted to talk more.

The next afternoon, Peter did come to seem me at the bookstore. He was smiling with joy. He told me that he had his architecture class earlier that day, and his professor who he thought did not like his work, came up to him and genuinely complimented him on his work. He attributed it to God, and by the grace of God, his faith was affirmed within 24 hours of his conversion experience on the bridge the evening before.

I still marvel at this experience, which I consider to have been providentially ordered by God, that I could be a part of his conversion, and that God would give Peter such important encouragement and affirmation so soon. I do not know what happened to Peter, but I hope he is still living like me, and still walking with the Lord. I was very blessed to have this experience so early in my walk with the Lord, and I am sorry that I could not have been more faithful to God in the years that followed to do more evangelism like that, but evangelism was not my calling as time has confirmed. But God orders our steps, and forgives us for our failures and sins when whenever we sincerely forgiveness. Over time, I have had time and opportunity since 1971 to make plant seeds of faith and witness my faith to others, of my God and Lord Jesus, as the Spirit has led me to do, though I confess that conforming my life to the words of Scripture has been a lifelong and progressive work in progress.

Significantly, for purposes of the illustration of God’s guidance that began with the prayer in Connecticut, that God would use the throwing the the I Ching sticks to give me guidance on whether to travel to Blacksburg, Virginia, that I had a divine appointment with Peter in Blacksburg to be an instrument in his salvation experience and to witness his entrance into the Kingdom of God, was a supernatural confirmation that God honored my faith in my request to God, that he allow me to use, from a Christian perspective, an ordinarily ungodly Chinese fortune telling practice to seek the guidance of God, in my inability to discern the will of God for me at the early days of my walk with God.


Most Christians can give examples of answers to prayer as evidence of God at work in their lives. I have had my share of prayers answered, including eight years of praying for a wife. In 1989, when I was deciding whether to ask the woman who became my wife on our first date, I was walking up Ocean Avenue in Carmel, California, trying to work up the courage to ask. As I approached the entrance to the Dowd Arcade where Susan worked, she walked out of the entrance about ten yards in front of me as if on cue and headed up the street. My decision was made easier for me with the appearance of a divine appointment. A few quick steps and I was walking with her. I found the courage to ask her to a weekday Bible Study at a nearby Calvary Chapel – some first date for a forty-year old man to propose to a woman who was not a believer. Fortunately, the novelty of the request was sufficient to overcome any prejudice she had towards Christians and she accepted my invitation. She was struck deeply by the Pastor’s message that evening, a pleasant surprise to me. She became a believer herself shortly thereafter and we have been going to Church together ever since.

When I was living in Los Angeles in the early 1980’s, I was without a car and rode the bus for about 11 months. I was spending much of my time studying the Bible again because I had reached a low point in my life, “backslidden” as Christians refer to the situation. I needed to get right with God. I had forsaken alcohol addiction and was attending AA meetings as I reassembled my life. I was interested in talking with people about God and the Bible at the time. The bus provided many opportunities to share my faith, as I often carried a Bible on the bus. As it says in Ecclesiastes, “To everything, there is a season, and a time for every purpose under the heaven.” I started attending church. This was a season for me for learning about fellowship with other Christians, which I had avoided for years, about sanctification, about holiness, about prayer and significantly, about the presence and power of God.

While living in Los Angeles, I was studying acting at the Loft Studio. Peggy Feury was a famous acting teacher. I found her by asking people I knew in the film industry who the best acting teacher was. I auditioned and was fortunate to be given the opportunity to study with her. She taught method and at the time, the successful actors and actresses sought her help, along with novices like me. While I was at the studio, Johnny Depp, Nicholas Cage, Laura Dern and Meg Ryan were among those taking classes and practicing scenes each day. I was told that Sean Penn had studied with her for three years prior to starring in the film Fast Times at Ridgemont High. When Lily Tomlin was preparing for her one woman Broadway play, “The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe,” she came to our class in her sweat clothes and practiced scenes for us. We would then leave and she worked privately with Peggy. One Friday afternoon Peggy came up to me, a glass of wine in her hand, smiled and said, “David, I’m so proud of you. I think you’re ready for any role.” I was very surprised and flattered. I thought she hated my acting. Once, she had me get my hair cut twice in the same day. She told me that the male film stars all had short hair, and she gave me a short list of them. I thought she was running out of ideas for me. I was excited to hear that she was giving me her blessing. However, two weeks later she was killed in a fiery car wreck on Sepulveda Boulevard. She had narcolepsy and failed to take her medication. My acting career came to a halt. For a number of reasons, I decided that God did not intend for me to be in that business then, but that I should have a family and away from the temptations of show business. I moved to Carmel, became a trial lawyer, got married and started a family.

While studying acting, I shared a house in Hollywood with an actress. She was a daily witness to my spiritual rebirth in sobriety. She was also receptive to the things I would say to her about my study of the Bible and talk about God. Her father was a lawyer in Dallas. Her father’s best friend, also a lawyer, had been cured of cancer at a Kathryn Kuhlman healing service and my roommate’s whole family, including her, had answered an altar call to be saved. She had fallen away from observance of the faith, but was receptive nonetheless. She began to look at the Bible again. I remember telling her about Jesus’s parable of the sower sowing the seed. The sower’s seed is the Word of God. When a person hears the Word, the devil is actively trying to prevent the seed from taking hold in the persons heart. In some cases, the seed may be sown among thorns. The hearer of the Word is caught up in the world and “the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful.” My simple take on this was that when we became interested in Jesus, the enemy would provide diversions in the world to distract us and hopefully lead us away. I warned her about this possibility.

Sure enough, she got two auditions out of the blue. She was invited to try out for a rock group and she did not play an instrument or sing. They would teach her. And she was invited on a free trip to Europe with a guy she hardly knew. Worse, she told me that he thought that his house was haunted. This all happened in the space of two weeks. It was stunning. She did become less interested in spiritual matters with all this worldly opportunity coming her way. She took the trip to Europe, to Germany, swearing that they were just friends. She did not want me to think she was paying for the trip with her favors.

While she was away, I woke up on a Sunday morning to hear the news that there was a bombing of a disco in West Berlin. This was 1986. I was worried about her. Later that morning I was on my way to my church, “The Hiding Place,” a nondenominational charismatic Christian church started by a young man who felt called by God to start a church in Beverly Hills. I had read in the paper that the music minister was Todd Fisher, brother of actress Carrie Fisher, and son of actress Debbie Reynolds and crooner and former spouse of Elizabeth Taylor, Eddie Fisher. The church attracted Hollywood types. Stevie Nicks, of Fleetwood Mac, married a member of that church in the early 80’s. By 1986, The Hiding Place had moved its services from the Beverly Theater in Beverly Hills to a junior high school behind the Mormon Temple on Santa Monica Boulevard in West Los Angeles. The services were crowded; it seemed like over 1,000 attended each Sunday.

I stopped at a payphone on Santa Monica, a block from the junior high, and called my friend, Terry, to arrange brunch. After hanging up the phone, I checked my watch to see if I was on time for church, and headed up the street. I thought of my roommate, and prayed for her protection. I asked God to let me know that she was alright. I thought the immediate peace I felt was the answer to that prayer.

Two days later I received a message to call my roommate at a phone number in Germany. I called her. She said she was worried that something happened. I said, “About what?” She said, “I don’t know exactly, but I can tell you the time. It was around ten minutes to ten in the morning, Sunday, your time, something happened.” I immediately remembered praying for her and having checked my watch. She was prompted that something was up at the exact time I was praying for her on the other side of the world. I told her everything was alright, and that I had been worried about her because of the bombing. Basically, that was a message from God that He was concerned for both of us, and that He worked in mysterious ways.

During this time, I read in the papers about a cult of Buddhism that was making a mark in Hollywood – Nicheren Shoshu Buddhism. Hollywood people were chanting in order to receive material reward: money, a new car, whatever they desired. It was like the prosperity “name it and claim it” gospel that televangelists touted. I was concerned that friends of mine might be tempted by the Buddhist chanting. There was no internet or Google then, of course. So, I said a little off-the-cuff prayer that God would teach me something about this cult so that I would be equipped to talk about it if the subject came up in conversations with others, and be able to witness the truth of the Gospel. The prayer was perfunctory but sincere. I forgot about it.

A week or so later I was waiting at a bus stop in Downtown L.A. The stop was crowded with about 25 people waiting. I was standing behind the crowd. As I stood there, I noticed a red compact car come up to the curb to my right and park about ten yards past the stop. An small Asian woman in business clothes got out of the car, walked through the crowd and right up to me. She looked up into my eyes, said, “I have something for you.” She reached into the pocket of her jacket and handed me a brochure for Nicheren Soshu Buddhism. I thanked her and she turned and walked back to her car and drove away. I got goose bumps and chills. I still do. I closed my eyes and thanked God for answering my prayer in such a spectacular way. Why would God use such a supernatural means to provide me with a brochure, other than to give my faith strength? When something like that happens, it diminishes any natural tendency for me to doubt that God is real and alive.

This marvelous event was surpassed, though, by another event that happened around the same time. I took the Wilshire bus to downtown Los Angeles one morning. The seats were all taken so I stood at the back of the bus holding onto the bar. I noticed a woman in her early 30’s wearing an unusual blouse that she had embroidered with the words, “And God created the duckies and the piggies and chickies and the horsies. Read the Oldist Testament.” She had glazed eyes and was saying out loud the things written on her blouse. People on the bus were purposely avoiding looking at her because she was obviously mental. The African-American man standing across the aisle from me looked at me and rolled his eyes knowingly – another crazy woman. I said a prayer for her. That was a good habit that I had developed of using prayer to deal with situations where someone, including me, needed help. She needed help.

Later that day, I was back in Hollywood walking down La Brea after acting class to catch a west bound Wilshire bus. As I approached Wilshire, I watched four buses go by heading west. I did not usually miss four buses like that, and my immediate reaction was that God was punishing me for something, a silly reaction, but I really did not like to wait for a bus. I quickly examined my conscience which was clean to the best of my knowledge. I wondered if God wanted me to meet someone at the bus stop and the missed buses were to call me to attention. I approached the bus stop curious, but no one was at the stop.

I walked under the eaves of the bus stop shelter, and looking up, I noticed handbills were plastered to the ceiling of the little shelter. I was surprised to see multiple copies of one hand-written handbill that said, “And God created the duckies and the piggies and chickies and the horsies. Read the Oldist Testament.” It identified the author as “Becky” and gave an address for correspondence. Obviously, the author of these handbills had to be the same young woman I saw on the downtown bus that same morning. Putting aside my surprise, I wrote down the address.

Later, at home, I wrote Becky a letter urging her to read Ezekiel in the “Oldist Testament.” I quoted Ezekiel 36:26:

“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.”

I told her that Christians believe that Ezekiel is prophesying the new birth. In John’s gospel, Jesus tells Nicodemus that “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” I included a “Four Spiritual Laws” tract which gave instructions for salvation. I sealed the letter and prayed that God would show me what He was doing with Becky, something I did as a habit when I shared my faith with others. The spirituality of her mental disorder was curious.

A month or so later, I was at The Hiding Place in West Los Angeles for Sunday service. I was sitting near the back row in the crowded auditorium waiting for the service to start as people were seating themselves around me. A young woman sat directly in front of me just as the service was about to begin. I was amazed to see writing on the back of her blouse, of course, “And God created the duckies and the piggies and chickies and the horsies.” It was Becky. I tapped her on the shoulder and said, “Becky?”

She turned around with her deranged smile, “Yes.”

I said, “I wrote you a letter. I told you to read Ezekiel. I gave you one of these. Did you get my letter.” I pointed to a Four Spiritual Laws evangelistic  tract that I took from my pocket.

She replied, “Oh yes. Thank you. Did you get my letter?”

I had not given her my address. “I’m sorry, I didn’t get your letter yet. Why are you here today?” I asked.

She looked at me with her eyes wide and said, “I was roller skating at Venice Beach this morning and a guy got out of a red Porsche and came up to me and told me to go to this church this morning.”

“Un huh.” I whispered and pointed towards the front where the Pastor was about to begin. I wondered who the man in the red Porsche was, marveling at chain of events that led her to sit down right in front of me. Los Angeles is a big town!

Becky stayed until the Pastor started talking about Jesus, when she abruptly stood and walked out, looking around like she was lost as she left. She was obviously a work-in-progress. But what a blessing to have God provide me with that experience. Can I doubt that God is alive and working in the world?

Before I left Los Angeles and moved to Carmel, California, I was in Carmel for a few days looking for a job. I was staying at a motel there. The first evening I was in town, I was walking from my motel room to get some ice. I heard someone yelling at me from up above. I looked up and there were three young women on the third floor balcony of the apartment building next to the motel. They were having a little party, drinks in hand.

“Hey, Hi. What are you doing?” one of the women yelled.

“Going to get some ice,” I responded.

“No, what are you doing here in Carmel?”

“I’m looking for work. I want to move here.”

“What do you do?”

“I’m a lawyer.”

“Oh, you should meet my boss. She knows all the lawyers in town. She has an agency that places legal secretaries.”

“Great!” I yelled, “do you have a business card?”

She went inside for a moment and returned with a card which she threw down to me. The card traveled in the breeze from the third floor balcony, flipping over and over until it landed on the parking lot asphalt and I ran to get it.

I thanked her and excused myself with a polite and sincere “Thanks,” and a pass on having a drink with them because I needed to get a good night’s sleep.

The next day I called her boss, Pat, first thing in the morning. She asked me if I had a resume and if I could come to her office around eleven. I said, of course, and was sitting at her desk across from her at eleven on the dot. Pat looked at my resume and picked up the phone. She dialed, and asked for Larry.

“Larry, I have a guy here from LA who says he’s a lawyer looking for work here.” She looked at me. “Yeah, he looks ok.” Pause. “Can you see Larry at one o’clock.”

“Sure,” I said, without asking who Larry was.

“He’ll be there at one. Good, Larry, bye now.” She hung up the phone.

“His name is Larry. He’s an attorney. Here’s his address. He says he might need help.”

“Is there anything you need me to sign?” I asked.

“No. This is just PR for me. Let me know if it doesn’t work out and I’ll see if I can help you find something else.”

At one o’clock I walked upstairs to an office in an interesting looking wooden building with an outside stairway and outdoor balcony upstairs. The receptionist led me into a lawyer’s office and there behind huge stacks of files on his desk was Larry. He put each hand on a stack of files. “I’m swamped!”, he laughed.

To compound the providential serendipity of my job search in Carmel, California, Larry was also a graduate of my law school at the University of Kansas. After discussions and several weeks of negotiation, I went to work for Larry. I drove a rented truck from Los Angeles up Highway One with my mother visiting from Arizona accompanying me for the trip. God knows what we need before we ask.


For nearly twelve years after becoming a Christian in 1971, I struggled with alcoholism. I seemed to have missed the parts of the Bible about holiness. Some who knew me must have questioned the sincerity of my faith when I was shamefully intoxicated, I am sure. Jim, one of my roommates in Hawaii, was a sculptor. He was working with surfboard resins at the time. One of his works looked to me like Dumbo had flown over and dropped his technicolor droppings in our front yard. One evening Jim and his girlfriend Nana asked me sincerely how I could claim to be a Christian and drink so much beer. I told them that I was not a Christian because of my actions, but by the grace of God, that I prayed every night that God would deliver me from alcohol, and that I was not proud of my excess. Most important, I said, was that I was a sinner and that Jesus died for sinners like me. If I had not been sorry for my gluttony, my faith would be questionable, because as a Christian, I knew that my conduct was sinful. Just because one is given a new life in Christ does not mean that the old sinful nature is not still present, doing battle with the new. Paul described this struggle with continuing sin after conversion in his letter to the Romans:

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do – this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.

With a new spirit, Christians have to overcome that sinful nature with the help of God; the lifelong process of sanctification. Christians are supposed to be salt and light in the world, and though I was salt in the world, I was not providing enough light with my unholy public conduct. I was sorry for my conduct, but not sorry enough at that point to quit.

It wasn’t until I was sitting in the backseat of a police car in El Segundo, California in 1983 on my way home from playing guitar and singing in a South LA beach town bar, and drinking shots until the bar closed.  I was under arrest for drunk driving, last of several, and that was what it took to finally be able to decide that enough was enough. I had reached my “bottom,” a low point in life where I had a “moment of clarity,” as they say in Alcoholics Anonymous. I realized I was powerless over alcohol and drugs. I asked God to help me quit. God honored my decision and took away my desire to drink shortly thereafter. More importantly, God left it to the Court to order me to six AA meetings. God knows I would not have listened to anyone recommending AA. I went to my six meetings, and liked them so well I went to meetings about 6 days a week until I left LA in late 1987.  I have been clean and sober for 37 years now [May 2020] and with God as my AA Sponsor-in Chief, I have not been tempted to drink or get high since. The principles of the AA twelve steps are embedding my my psyche. I always looked at AA and its principles through the lens of Christ, and I thank God for the life of sobriety He gave me, the most supernatural experience of my life, since the miracle of first believing and the new birth in 1971. Though I was functioning alcoholic, I should have been dead from alcohol, especially the driving while intoxicated, and drugs, as well, but by the grace of God he kept me alive until I was 35 and was ordered by the Court to AA. I also started going to church and reading and studying the Bible regularly with daily prayer at the same time I started going to AA. I have been attending church almost every Sunday since, not because I feel an obligation, but because I like being in church and hearing the Word of God and worshiping Him. It was a momentous moment in my life in the back of that police car in El Segundo.

A few years later I got a letter from Nana telling me what happened to my friends in Hawaii to whom I had ashamedly explained how as a Christian, I drank so much beer. Jim and Nana moved to Brooklyn so that Jim could try to work into the New York art scene. They were walking down the street in Brooklyn one evening when they passed an African-American Baptist church with a spirited gospel-music service in progress. They went in out of curiosity. The minister got to them with a message of salvation. They both responded to an altar call and were saved that night. They got married shortly thereafter and moved to San Antonio. Jim got a job in advertising, and they co-founded a Christian church there. Despite my errant ways, God was able to use me to plant a seed in their hearts.

God protects my family supernaturally. For example, when my son was two and a half years old, I usually left for our law office early. My wife would take our son to his baby sitter and join me at the office a couple of hours later. (She has been the office manager/paralegal for our ma and pa law office since we married in 1989). One morning our son insisted that I take him to the baby sitter. My wife tried to talk him out of it, but because his preference was unusual and seemed so determined for a two year old, she acquiesced and I took him to the sitter’s house. After we left, my wife decided she now had some time to pray and got on her knees next to our bed. However, instead of praying, she kept getting a repeating impression in her consciousness, “Call the mechanic, Call the mechanic.” She had an old BMW. She had noticed some play in the steering wheel. She decided she should stop trying to pray and call the mechanic. She called our mechanic, a BMW specialist who was also a Christian, and told him she had noticed some play in her steering wheel. He told her not to drive the car and have it towed into the shop. She did. They examined the car and found that the steering box, which had three bolts had one bolt sheered off. The second bolt was loose and the box was hanging on with only one bolt, ready to break off. The route to work was seven lanes – four southbound and 3 northbound down a steep hill.  The speed limit was 45 mph.  In those days, the baby’s car seat was in front.  If my wife had lost steering at high speed going downhill, the damage could have been devastating to my family and possibly to others.  God used our little boy to avoid likely danger. This providential event is composed of seemingly natural events, but the timing of the components reveals to us God at work. Our pastor asked us to tell the story to the church that Sunday evening.

It is not normal to hear voices in the head. Of course, mental disease is a valid explanation for most accounts. However, I am sure there are exceptions, hearing voices in the mind that are not the result of a mental disorder.

On Sunday, August 11, 2002, I awoke late, around 9:00 a.m., fully rested after a good eight hour sleep. I was lying on my back in bed. I clearly heard the voice of my mother calling, “Dave . . . Dave.” It was alarming. My mother, in her seventies, lived in a nursing home about ten miles from my home. She had Alzheimer’s. Because of the sad mixture of feelings I experienced seeing her like that, I had avoided seeing her for a few months since a family get together for her May birthday. Although her sight was nearly gone, along with her memory, she always recognized my voice.

That morning, when I heard her voice, I responded to her with my own voice in my head, guiltily, saying “I’m coming to see you today, Mom.” Shortly after getting out of bed, I called my sister to see if my mother had some recent health setback. She told me that she had gone to see her last week and that she was as fine as she could be in her condition.

I went to see my mother that morning with my wife and son. She was cheerful. She seemed happy to see us. We had a conversation that was mostly spoken pleasantries that she heard, acknowledged, but clearly did not understand. Her last words when we were leaving were, “There’s that blue kitty again.” She had frequent benign hallucinations. Unexpectedly, she died of a heart attack four days later. Obviously, I’m very glad I heard her voice in my head that Sunday morning. I consider it the grace of God, mercifully sparing me the guilt of the neglect I would have endlessly felt had I not seen her shortly before she passed away. I have not heard any voices since then.

Around 1988, I told some of these stories to a Roman Catholic nun who was waiting outside the law office where I worked in Monterey, California at the time. I asked her what she thought. She smiled. “The language of Heaven,” she summed up. Catholic or Protestant, evangelical or mainline, regardless of the denomination or non-denomination, Christian true believers know the language of Heaven. Their God is a living God who is at work in their lives. I am grateful that God cares enough to provide me with supernatural confirmation of His presence in the natural world.

You may read my wife Susan’s Testimony, inspiring in my opinion, at this link.

If you are interested in reading about my early life in Omaha, Nebraska, my time at Yale as an atheist/agnostic, and then my 1971 conversion experience, both subjective and objective, in detail,

you may click on this hyperlink and read the first half of MY SPIRITUAL MEMOIR HERE.

– – – – – – –
May 24, 2005
David C. Larkin

Prayer with Bible



    • Our God is an awesome God!

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