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Dean Merrill, A Higher Code

“I noticed two Navajo ladies softly weeping nearby,” the pastor recalls. “It struck me as unusual, since Navajo people are known to be restrained and unemotional.”

After some minutes, Judy gradually quieted herself. The observing ladies said to the pastor, “Where did she get to know our language?”

David Killingsworth chuckled as he replied, “I can assure you—Judy only knows how to speak ‘Texan!’ She’s hardly mastered proper English.”

“No, no,” the ladies protested. “She’s been praying in Navajo for probably the last ten minutes.”

Navajo is a complex, tonal language and is well-known to be one of the most difficult languages on earth—so hard that during World War II the US Marines enlisted up to five hundred bilingual Navajos to pass classified tactical messages back and forth across the Pacific. The Japanese enemy forces never did crack their code.

What was even more remarkable was the content of Judy’s prayer. “She’s been praying against the power of the ‘skin-walker,’” the women said—a particular kind of Navajo medicine man who is said to be able to turn himself into (or disguise himself as) an animal, usually to bring harm to people. Many Navajos live in great fear of his powers.
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Category: Living the Faith, Spring 2018

About the Author: Dean Merrill has been published in over 40 Christian magazines and is the author or co-author of 49 books. His most recent title is Miracle Invasion: Amazing True Stories of the Holy Spirit’s Gifts at Work Today (BroadStreet, 2018). He has also written Damage Control: How to Stop Making Jesus Look Bad (Baker, 2006) and seven other solo titles. As a co-author, he is perhaps best known for the award-winning “Fresh Wind” trilogy with Jim Cymbala, pastor of New York City’s Brooklyn Tabernacle, which sold more than a million copies in hardcover (Zondervan). The initial book, Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire, was named Christian Book of the Year in 2000. He also assisted Gracia Burnham, missionary survivor who endured a year of captivity with a Muslim terrorist group in the southern Philippines. That book, entitled In the Presence of My Enemies (Tyndale), made the New York Times bestseller list and won a Gold Medallion award from the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association (ECPA). Other notable titles have included a second book with Mrs. Burnham, To Fly Again (Tyndale); More than a Hobby, with Hobby Lobby founder and CEO David Green (Nelson); a book with Compassion International president Dr. Wess Stafford on the value of children, Too Small to Ignore (WaterBrook); and Every Man’s Bible (Tyndale), for which Merrill was the general editor. www.DeanMerrill.com

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