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April 22, 2009

Four-year-old girl wows America, offers hope

Holding the microphone close to her little mouth, Kaitlyn stares confidently out into the audience, and begins the first few lines of her favorite song, "Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me ..."

About a year ago, on her way to an audition for America's Got Talent, then 4-year-old Kaitlyn Maher told her father, "Daddy, I want to see the sparkles come down." Gently, Reuben told his young daughter that it would be nice if she would make it all the way to the Top 10, but that if it didn't happen it would be okay.

"Daddy, I'm going to ask Jesus," Kaitlyn responded, bowing her head to ask Jesus to let her see the confetti fall at the night the winners of the show are announced, but adding that if it wasn't His will, she didn't want it.

Despite wowing the crowd with a simple rendition of "Somewhere Out There," Kaitlyn didn't make it to the Top 10. But she was invited back for the final night as a special guest. As the confetti fell from the sky, the winner held Kaitlyn high in his arms. Reuben realized that God had answered Kaitlyn's prayer.

That simple childlike faith has transported little Kaitlyn (who, with her father, recently spoke at Prison Fellowship) into the hearts of thousands of Americans and has demonstrated God can use one of His youngest to offer hope in places adults can't touch. At Thanksgiving, she asked her parents if she could sing to a local group of war veterans. Reuben warned her that there would be people there who were missing limbs and might look a little scary to her. Kaitlyn didn't care. After she sang for the group, she wandered around the room giving the men hugs. She asked if she could visit another veteran group on Christmas.

After Reuben and his wife, Alison, set up a MySpace page for Kaitlyn, thousands of comments started flooding in from adoring fans, sharing how Kaitlyn had given them hope or had encouraged their faith. Some even said it led them to give their lives to Christ.

Reuben tears up as he tells how Kaitlyn's simple faith has continued to challenge his own. He remembers walking by her bedroom early one morning to see the light on under the door. Pushing it open, he saw Kaitlyn lying on her stomach, legs up in the air, reading her Bible. When he asked her if she'd slept well the night before, Kaitlyn said she went to bed kind of late.

"I was praying," she told him.

"What were you praying about?" he asked her.

Wagging her finger at him, she smiled, "Daddy, that's between me and God."

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