The year was 1970, and the event was the Apollo 13 space mission to the moon. As we all now know, a defect in one of the oxygen tanks led to an explosion which nearly killed the three lunar astronauts.
I recall as a 12-year old boy how my dear momma, who fed my interest in science and history by taking me and my brothers to many museums, told me of the explosion. This shook me very much as I thought our NASA space program was run by gods, and that no harm could ever befall our Superman astronauts!
My momma told me that only through a miracle could our brave men return safely to earth and be reunited with their families. As my family was very important to me, I was able to quickly identify with the grieving and anxious families awaiting their loved ones in space. This was the first time I recall ever praying outside of church.
So I prayed alongside with my momma, as only I knew how on my knees and with sincerity of heart, asking God to spare the lives of three dads who needed to safely return to their wives and children. After several days of vigil, our prayers were answered and although the landing on the moon was canceled, the three brave astronauts came home. I would later learn that many other children throughout the world were also praying for the Apollo 13 astronauts.
My faith was reinforced as a child, secure in the knowledge that God does listen to our prayers. Of course, now that I'm an adult, I know God doesn't always grant us our requests, but for a few days in 1970 during a national tragedy that had a happy ending, my faith was cemented for life.