ATTY. NICOLAS CARAQUEL: THIS LAWYER BELIEVES IN PRAYER
Text by Henrylito D. Tacio
Photos taken from Atty. Nick Caraquel’s Facebook
John Ironside, an American ardent soul-winner, spent his short life preaching on the streets, in the parks, in halls and theaters, wherever he could. But at age 27, he contracted typhoid and quickly died, leaving his wife, Sophia, with two small boys and no income.
One of the boys, Harry, watched his mother closely. On one occasion, he recalled company coming for supper. Sophia’s cupboard was nearly bare, but she scraped together a meal with the little that remained. After the visitors left, she found a ten-dollar bill under one of their plates – a vast sum in those days. With eyes full of tears, she offered thanks to God.
Sometime later, the cupboard was again empty. Sophia gathered her two sons to the table for breakfast, but their plates were empty, and there was only water to drink. “We will give thanks, boys,” she said. Closing her eyes, she prayed, “Father, Thou hast promised in Thy Word, ‘Your bread shall be given you, and your water shall be sure.’ We have the water, and we thank Thee for it. And now, we trust Thee for the bread, or for that which will take its place.”
Just as she finished praying, the doorbell rang, and the boys ran to the door to find a man there. “Mrs. Ironside,” he said, “I feel very bad. We have been owing you for months for that dress you made for my wife. We’ve had no money to pay you. But just now we’re harvesting our potatoes, and we wondered if you would take a bushel or two on account of the old bill.”
“Indeed, I’ll be glad to,” replied Sophia.
And in a few minutes, the potatoes were sizzling in the frying pan, and the boys had answered prayer for breakfast.
“Prayer is the gymnasium of the soul,” says Samuel M. Zwemer. George Buttrick believes: “Prayer is not a substitute for work, thinking, watching, suffering, or giving; prayer is a support for all other efforts.”
“Prayer is more than verbally filling in some requisition blanks,” Billy Graham states. “It’s fellowship with God! It’s communion with the Lord through praising Him, rehearsing His promises, and then sharing our needs.”
Atty. Nick Mabale Caraquel, a friend who grew up in San Isidro, Davao Oriental, is a fine young man who believes in prayer. He came from a poor family who has seven children.
When he was in third grade, his parents requested him to stop going to school and instead asked him to help them by selling banana cues in the bus terminal. He was saddened; he wanted to continue his studies, but he had no choice. “I prayed that someday I would understand God’s reason why He allowed it,” he said.
But Nick, who believes in education, was able to finish elementary. And it came to pass that when he was graduating from high school, the government offered for the first time the State Scholarship Program (SSP) to poor but deserving students in private schools. He took the qualifying exams and was awarded as one of the 13 SSP scholars in the country, representing Region XI.
The scholarship was his ticket to enroll at the Ateneo de Davao University, where he took BS Industrial Engineering. After graduation, he worked in one of the world’s top food manufacturing companies and was assigned to Cagayan de Oro City. However, his childhood dream of becoming a lawyer beckoned. With the money he saved, he decided to fulfill his dream. He pursued law at Xavier University (Ateneo de Cagayan) and passed the bar in 2003.
In 2007, Nick visited the United States to look for better opportunities. Three weeks after his arrival, he asked his friends to pray for him with a specific request. He recalled: “If God has better plans for me in America, the Nestle USA will call my friends’ landline the following Monday at 9 am.” True enough, at 9 in the morning that Monday, the phone rang and the company called. He was hired.
In 2012, Nick decided to work as a full-fledged lawyer in New York City. With only three weeks approved vacation from his work, he concentrated on 13 out of 21 subjects for the 2-day New York bar examinations. The first day was the toughest; it had the NY Bar five essay questions.
Before he left the hotel, he asked God to give him at least one topic he could focus on. Should that selected topic be one of those that will come out, he assumed that with God’s guidance, he would pass the bar exam. Out of nowhere, someone whispered in his ears to concentrate on libel and defamation.
The 100-multiple choice federal law portion and the first two essay questions were covered in the morning session. The afternoon session started with the third essay question, and lo and behold, the topic was — hold your breath! — about libel and defamation. It was then that he knew he would pass the bar exam. And he did.
A few months later, Nick was in a quandary whether he would stay in the US or be back in the Philippines, although deep inside him, he wanted to stay. Again, he prayed, asking that if his plans aligned with His plan for him, he will receive his American citizenship notification on or before April 2 (Thursday). And, yes, it happened as he had requested.
“All my life,” he says now, “I am guided by prayers in every major decision I make. It’s a trait I learned from my mother. I always ask for God’s sign to give me confidence that the decisions I make are aligned with His.”
William A. Ward believes that God is never more than a prayer away from us. He explains: “We address and stamp a letter and send it on its way, confident that it will reach its destination, but we doubtfully wonder if our prayers will be heard by an ever-present God… If laser beams can cut through mountains, why should we doubt the power of prayer? Wonderful things can happen to us when we live expectantly, believe confidently, and pray affirmatively. The pulse of prayer is praise. The heart of prayer is gratitude. The voice of prayer is obedience. The arm of prayer is service.”
Just remember this: “More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of,” wrote Alfred Lord Tennyson.