Nip McCormick: Dying He Prayed

The influence of the prayer meeting was seen significantly in one young man’s life.

Nip McCormick was a twenty-seven year old married man and father of three from Denton, Texas. His spiritual walk seemed shallow and questionable at times, but still their family was very faithful in their church attendance. Nip was diagnosed with cancer in 1983.

From that point on, he never wanted to miss the Ravenhill prayer meetings or any church services. After the diagnosis, his spiritual life began to blossom and ignite like a rocket, primarily because of the influence of the Friday night prayer meetings.

Nip went for cancer treatment to Dallas on Friday mornings, and then usually drove with some of us to Lindale in the afternoon. His timidity turned into desire for spiritual reality that overflowed to others, others, even re-preaching Leonard’s sermon to us on the way home. “Did you hear Leonard say that? Did you know that was in the Bible? How great and real Jesus is!”

I remember being in the car with Nip in Dallas after a cancer treatment, as we headed to Lindale for the prayer meeting. When I looked at him, I sensed he was dying and would not recover. As tears filled my eyes, I felt a profound joy and gratitude that God had done a marvelous work in Nip and he was ready for heaven. He only had a few months left and was called to heaven in the spring of 1984. Nip was a shining light to all who knew him at the end.

A year into the battle with cancer, Nip and his wife Susan left Texas for a vacation together on a Florida cruise. Within a few days, he collapsed on board the ship and was care-flighted to Miami. I caught a flight and went to the hospital, where I found him in an unconscious condition. I spent the afternoon speaking to him and praying with him and he died the next morning.

As I flew home to Texas, it was the Nip and Leonard connection that was utmost on my mind. God used Leonard to bring Nip into an abundant Christian life at the end of his journey. He died like Keith Green—a zealous young twenty-eight year old lover of Jesus Christ. God had deeply captured Nip’s heart and the Friday night prayer meetings were the chosen instrument of God to prepare him for death.

God normally uses something or someone specifically to work His will and purpose in the lives of most of his children. With Moses, it was an unexpected burning bush. With Jonah, it was a trip into the belly of a whale. With Peter, it was his denial of Jesus. With Nip McCormick, it was a number of Friday nights, sitting listening to an old prophet preach and pray.

The Friday night prayer meeting was representative of the reality of Ravenhill’s influence in the lives of many. Nip personally never had any private time with Ravenhill and yet Leonard’s life was the chosen vessel at that time for God’s work in Nip McCormick. It all began in a Friday night prayer meeting.

Hundreds of others would have the same testimony. Many who are now scattered around the world could echo the same fact: “God’s real work in my life began on a Friday night in east Texas at a wonderful prayer meeting.”

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