But God was merciful! We were dead because of our sins, but God loved us so much that He made us alive with Christ, and God’s wonderful kindness is what saves you. ~ Ephesians 2:4-5, CEV


I was born in Shattuck, Oklahoma, to a father who was a wheat farmer and milked cows, and to a mother who raised five sons and cooked meals outside the home to make ends meet. I would have returned to the farm as my occupation, but my mother would have none of it. She thought I should be a doctor, so I took premed, was accepted to Loma Linda University (LLU), and became first a physician, and then an obstetrician and gynecologist.

My spiritual life was up and down, but I always knew my grandmother and parents were praying for me. During the early years, I was busy starting a practice, taking call, and raising a family. The day I finally went to church I felt out of place, but I decided to stay and make my spiritual life a priority.

In my practice, I was always under the conviction that I should pray with my patients; but I did not know how to start. Then I thought, “I could pray before surgery.” So, after the pre-op visit, I would say, “Whenever I do surgery, I have prayer with my patients. Would that be ok with you?” Then, I would pray for the patient, caregivers, family, and a good outcome. Prayer connected them to God.

After the delivery of a baby, I would tell the mother, “The Lord has blessed you with a beautiful baby.” This routine became a real blessing to the patient and to me. I became known as a “doctor who prayed with patients,” and my practice flourished.

As I neared retirement, I considered what I would do next. I decided to become a volunteer chaplain at the hospital. After visiting with patients, I would pray for them.

One day, I prayed a prayer that God would do with my life whatever He wanted. A short time after, I was diagnosed with parotid gland cancer. I had surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation; but the cancer recurred. So I came to LLU as a patient and had radical neck surgery performed by Paul Kim, LLUSM class of 1998. I received wonderful, compassionate care. So many loving people visited and prayed for me.

One day, during my recovery, God gave me a song about my future; I named it, “Jerusalem, My Happy Home.” It was a real miracle to me, because I had never written a song before. God showed me that my hope is not in this life, but with Him in our eternal home.

After returning to my home in Texas, I became convinced that God had healed me. Then I had a PET scan which revealed that the cancer had returned. So how was I healed? God showed me that I was healed one day at a time. Every morning He assures me that I am healed for that day. What a blessing!

As I look back, and see how God has answered prayers in my life, I am amazed. He has used the prayers of family, friends, and people all over the world to heal me, spiritually and physically. God always answers prayers, including mine, in His wisdom for what is best. Jesus said, “Ask.” If we do, He will answer! So, please pray!

J. Barry Siebenlist, CME class of 1961, practiced for 40 years and delivered nearly 9,000 babies before he retired in 2001. He lived in Killeen, Texas, with Joan, his wife of 47 years. He submitted this entry on December 26, 2012, and passed away on July 16, 2013. He is survived by his wife, two children, and five grandchildren.