Henry Blackaby, well-known Christian speaker and author of Experiencing God, will undergo quadruple bypass surgery this week after suffering a heart attack while at the wheel last Thursday. Amid the health scare, Blackaby became disoriented and went missing for nearly 30 hours.
An update on the Blackaby Ministries International website Monday revealed that the 78-year-old, who also suffers from diabetes, would be getting his operation on Tuesday, Sept. 24. The Blackabys have asked the Christian community to pray for a successful procedure.
"Pray for a successful procedure on Tuesday and pray that it gives Henry new energy and clarity to serve the Lord for many years to come," reads the statement in part.
After putting out an alert last week when Blackaby could not be located, his family let concerned supporters know that this latest heart attack — the Southern Baptist minister apparently experienced one about five years ago — could have potentially saved his life.
"Please thank God for his watch (and) care over Henry. If he had not experienced this recent heart attack, doctors might not have been alerted to his condition," reads the statement on the Blackaby Ministries International website.
A full statement regarding Blackaby's heart attack and disappearance last week is below:
On Thursday September 19, Henry Blackaby drove his car to pick up his wife Marlilynn from an appointment. Henry apparently suffered a heart attack while driving. He became disoriented and unable to find his way back home. He drove for the next 29 hours until finally being found in a small town south of Atlanta. He did not have his cell phone with him nor insulin for his diabetes. As a result, his blood sugar rose and his kidneys began to struggle as well. The family was able to track his movements as he used a credit card to make occasional purchases. The police assigned a detective group to monitor his movements and to track him down.
Hundreds of volunteers, many from his church at First Baptist Church Jonesboro, (Georgia) drove all over the city looking for him. He is currently in a hospital undergoing extensive tests. He seems to be in good spirits and lucid. We appreciate your prayers. With Henry disoriented, suffering from a heart attack, and driving for 29 hours throughout the night, all over Atlanta, it is clear that GOD HEARD AND ANSWERED THE PRAYERS OF HIS PEOPLE! Thank you to everyone who prayed and helped in the search.
Many members of the faith community responded to the alert online, either through prayer or by sharing updates on Blackaby's situation, when word broke last Friday, Sept. 20, on his disappearance.
"t was amazing to see Christians from various backgrounds come together in unity for this man so many people love. Whether the social media venue was Facebook, Twitter, blogs, or many other forms, we were united in purpose," noted Thom S. Rainer, president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources and an influential author and blogger.
Rainer adds in his blog post titled "The Positive Power of Social Media" that the "story of the disappearance of Henry Blackaby is a poignant and powerful reminder of what we Christians can do when we unite in love, even over something like Twitter or Facebook. Though Dr. Blackaby faces a road of surgery, treatment, and recovery, this story did have a good ending. He was found. He is safe with his family. For that we give thanks to God.
"But even if God had not answered our prayers in the way most of us were hoping, this story would still have been incredible. Christians were united in purpose. Christians were united in prayer. Christians focused on our commonalities instead of our differences for a brief season."
Blackaby is well-known for his best-selling leadership book Experiencing God: Knowing and Doing the Will of God, which was published in 1990 and has sold more than 7 million copies worldwide. Two of his other books, Experiencing God Together and Experiencing God Day by Day Devotional, have both won the Gold Medallion Award. According to Blackaby.net, the minister "lives with his wife, Marilynn, in Rex, Georgia. He has five children (Richard, Tom, Melvin, Norman, and Carrie), all of whom are serving in Christian ministry, and fourteen grandchildren."