New pics alert!
Most of my loyal band of readers know I am not the evangelical type. I mean, it's clear I'm a Mormon, and I will certainly tell you where I stand on any number of religious/social questions, and I will sometimes volunteer my perspective if I think it might help you figure out your own with regard to any number of gospel oriented topics. However, I'm not one for impromptu sermons or even testimonies (though at times in my life I have been, of course). Someone recently said this means I am in camouflage, an incognito Mormon, but I think this is overstating the case.
However, occasionally I do follow my roots and wax spiritual, and today is one of those days. You may think, given the season, that this is about to be a post on Easter. You'd be wrong. Instead, apropos of nothing specific, this is a post on the power of prayer.
I have always had a believing relationship to prayer. Some of my earliest specific spiritual memories involve my praying for something that was lost and absolutely believing it would then be found, which it then invariably was. I once found my mother's contact lens, which someone had knocked out of her eye while she was on her bed, under the bed on the glass in an unused picture frame, where it was virtually invisible. Finding these items, I recognized, was always the result of divine intervention. Later on, I prayed throughout school, including college, before tests or presentations for calm and insight, and I was always rewarded with both. On my mission, I prayed for miracles both more substantive and more practical, like asking for someone to see the truth of what we were saying and asking that I would make it home on the bus without having an amoeba-induced incident. In the early years of my marriage, I prayed for the husband's efforts in school and during the job hunt and for financial stability. Again, we met with success in all these areas.
In short, I'm the praying sort. Now, however, I find myself praying more fervently, even more desperately than ever, now that Jacob has become my focus. For example, the husband was sick recently, as I blogged, and one night I began to get the same tell-tale symptoms. I prayed that neither Jacob or I would get the husband's illness (quite a feat since we sleep with him and we had already passed the period of contagion), and my symptoms literally disappeared. Jacob did get a cold, but it was much milder than it could have been and skipped his throat and lungs entirely. What cured us? I am convinced it was heartfelt prayer.
I've also prayed many times since Jacob was born that he would sleep, eat, stop crying, etc. at that specific moment, and I have yet to be disappointed. Usually, these prayers occur when I am out of ideas, patience, stamina, or all of the above, and the real blessing is not just that the prayer is answered but that we are both spared seeing what would happen if I were forced to go on for one more minute without the calm that comes from relief. I have also prayed recently for consolation, for relief from very specific bodily ailments, for creativity in the face of new challenges, for any number of day-to-day requests, all of which have been granted by an attentive Heavenly Father.
Is it easy to dismiss all this as coincidence, good luck, or happenstance? Sure, but why would I, when attributing all these results to prayer gives me comfort on so many levels. Raising a baby in relative isolation from family and even from your working husband can be lonely and daunting. Knowing that Someone cares enough to listen and can help immediately makes the whole prospect seem possible and even helps me enjoy it along the way!