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'It Pays to Pray': Pastor Says Tornado Missed Him and Wife by 4 Inches Due to Prayer

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Severe weather is still wreaking havoc in several states across the U.S.  Destructive tornados, torrential rains, and strong winds have crashed once again across parts of the South on Thursday leaving many to fear what will be left after it is over, but some residents are attesting that prayer has gotten them through the worst of it.

As of Wednesday and Thursday, about 220 million people were under some sort of severe weather risk.

'It Pays to Pray, I Can Tell You' 

Retired Pastor Walter Shell testified that he and his wife grabbed their two dogs and headed for the basement when his phone alerted him to a tornado in his area in Tennessee.

"It missed where me and my wife were standing by about about 4 inches. It went around," he said. "It pays to pray, I can tell you."

Since Monday, 39 states have been under threat of severe weather and at least four people have died.

70 Workers Miraculously Survive After Praying

Over in Nebraska, 70 workers are thanking God after surviving a tornado that ripped through their area, earlier this month. 

Nate Hutchison said he and his coworkers were getting ready to leave the Garner Industries' industrial building in Lincoln when an EF-3 tornado was on a path to make a direct impact with the building. 

"The power shuts off and then like two or three minutes later, the air pressure changes completely," Hutchinson told KLKN-TV. "You can hear things are just shaking … And everything just came down on top of us, just instantly."

He said pieces of the ceiling began to fly overhead and all he could think to do was pray. 

"There's nothing I can do right now except literally just pray to God that I don't die because I'm not in control of anything at this point," he said. "It's just hopefully I don't get crushed."

Hutchinson survived without a scratch. Some of his coworkers were injured, but none were life-threatening. 

They are grateful to have survived. 

"Sitting there praying for God to save my life, and then I'm here, untouched," Hutchinson said. 

Paralyzed Man Saved: 'It's a Miracle'

In another recent tornado outbreak, a family is crediting a miracle for their survival after they were unable to get out of their home in time. 

Renee Stewart with Nebraska Medicine's Multiple Sclerosis at Home Access program, or MAHA, was helping the family of a patient she routinely sees when she learned how they survived in storm. 

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She told KETV-TV that Frank, a quadriplegic man with multiple sclerosis was stuck in his bed when the tornado touched down. Without time to move him, his wife and his son decided to use their bodies to shield him.

MUST SEE: Texas Boy Survives in 'Absolute Miracle' After Being 'Sucked Up' by Deadly Tornado

Part of the ceiling did collapse and Frank was struck in the head but turned out to be okay. His wife and son were unharmed. 

"It's a miracle, it's an absolute miracle," Stewart said.

She pointed out that two miracles happened that day.  Not only did the family survive, but two crosses on the wall and a picture of the Virgin Mary in the home were untouched by the tornado.

Boy Survivor Needs Miracle and Lots of Prayer

Meanwhile, the family of a 10-year-old Tennessee boy is asking for prayer for their son after he was critically injured following severe weather in his area. 

Asher Sullivan was swept away by rushing water into a storm drain when he was playing in a flooded street, according to Rutherford County Schools. 

The school district held a prayer vigil Thursday for Asher, Superintendent Jimmy Sullivan, his father, and the rest of the family.

"We've had many requests for people who want to assist, but what the family truly needs right now is tons of prayers," said the school board, which was organizing a voluntary vigil for the community.

Sullivan told the local Fox affiliate that the young boy was playing with neighborhood kids as the neighbors were picking up storm debris. 

Asher was swept into the storm drain and traveled through the neighborhood streets. 

"He eventually came out in a drainage ditch and CPR was administered for quite some time," Sullivan recounted. "His heartbeat was reestablished but the damage is substantial."

The father says his son's lungs are damaged and there is little brain activity. 

"Asher needs a miracle," the child's father, Jimmy Sullivan, said. "Specifically, pray for healing for his lungs and most importantly brain activity to occur."

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About The Author


Talia Wise has served as a multi-media producer for, CBN Newswatch, The Prayer Link, and CBN News social media outlets. Prior to joining CBN News she worked for Fox Sports Florida producing and reporting. Talia earned a master’s degree in journalism from Regent University and a bachelor's degree from the University of Virginia.