MOAB, UT—Last Tuesday, avid prayer warrior Marcus Halston joined a prayer circle of committed and fervent Christians. But when the praying had gone on without interruption for nearly 127 hours, Halston came to a shocking realization: if he didn’t get out if this prayer circle, he would surely die.
The difficult decision Halston would go on to make would change his life forever.
“It was like being pinned under a giant rock or fallen tree,” Halston said, describing the vice grip his prayer partner had on his hand. No shaking, jiggling, or light shoulder tap seemed to have any effect on loosening the grip. “I hadn’t prepared for the praying to last this length of time. I hadn’t brought water, basic supplies… I was dehydrating and I could feel my body shutting down.”
Around 48 hours into the ordeal, Halston attempted shouting for help, but the others in the circle assumed he was shouting out to God for assistance with life’s troubles, so they held on tighter. “That was a big mistake,” he said. “You never feel so alone as when you are pinned into a prayer circle shouting for help and it just doesn’t stop.” Halston began repeating to himself that he had to keep it together, he couldn’t give up, he couldn’t let this prayer circle crush his will to live.
That’s when Halston realized he might have to do the unthinkable.
“It was a conversation I had out loud with myself. You’re gonna have to cut your arm off, Mark. ‘I don’t want to cut my arm off.’ Dude, you’re gonna have to cut your arm off,” he said. “I said that to myself out loud in the prayer circle. Everyone just thought I was referring to Matthew 5:30, speaking figuratively.”
Finally, he reached into an adjacent junk drawer, located a saw, and got to work.
As Halston details in his harrowing New York Times Bestseller May the Circle Be Broken, he said he, “finally figured out the puzzle, really, of how to get myself out of that prayer circle. This entailed breaking my bones and then cutting my arm off, unlocking my minivan with one arm and then driving seven miles to the nearest emergency room.”
After single-handedly writing a bestseller only days after his self-amputation experience, Halston is already travelling the world as a motivational speaker. Also, the film rights to his book have already been bought and are being put into production by FOX Searchlight with James Franco in the lead role.
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