10 Mar The Power of Prayer
I’m a believer, but I’m not referring to Smash Mouth’s song that became famous through the movie Shrek. I’m a believer in a higher power; one we can pray to and converse with, even though the chatter may seem a little one-sided. I’m not sure I always see the signs I seek that I am, at least, being heard.
I was born into a religious family… with practicing Catholics on both sides of my lineage. I was baptised almost immediately and completed my twelve years of primary and secondary education in Catholic institutions. There I received the other sacraments of Communion and Confirmation. My halo should have remained polished and hovering above my head. Alas, that has not been the case… for many years. Well, for most of my lifetime, if I’m perfectly honest.
Much to the chagrin of my mother, I dated then married a man who was not Catholic. He wasn’t a practicing anything and, more appallingly, couldn’t even remember if he was Anglican or Presbyterian. Although we were married in a Catholic church, at the school where I was first a boarder then a teacher, we did not have a nuptial mass. We opted instead for a marriage ceremony. I can still hear the nuns saying decades of the rosary to save my soul. Obviously, they didn’t say enough to save the marriage! However, I was blessed with three beautiful children from that legally-binding, though not really heavenly-binding, union. To me, that’s a sign He and I have some sort of a connection.
Over the last thirty-five years or so, they caused me to be down on my knees praying on many occasions. Those of you who are parents, biological or otherwise, will totally understand. Children are mini Evel Knievels. If they play sport, expect at least one trip to a hospital, doctor, or dentist, and probably all three, during their playing years. In fact, even if you wrap them in cotton wool and never let them out of your sight, there will be many times when they require medical attention. And you can be sure, at least one time, it will be an emergency… requiring surgery. No one wrote that in all the books I read about raising children!
So, there were many times I needed to get out the Brasso and give my halo a polish… once I was able to get it from around my neck where it seemed to have taken up residence permanently. On a few occasions, I’m sure it tried to strangle me… and I probably know why. My bad! That meant, I’m ashamed to admit, I was the Christian who tended to pray only when prayers were required. Usually for something I wanted, though I am pleased to say, not totally for my personal benefit. Generally, it was because someone I loved was in danger, was hurting, needed some divine intervention, or required the assistance I could not provide. No matter how dearly I’d want to be able to.
This happened again very recently, when something happened to someone I care for a great deal. I’ve never felt such helplessness; though it isn’t about me, nor should it be. I knew I needed support from a higher power, and I couldn’t request it alone. So, I called on family and friends to join in prayer with me, wherever they were, as the life of one of His children was at stake. And we prayed. Things took a turn for the worse, so we prayed some more. I stopped just short of arguing that something like this shouldn’t happen to a good person, that there were others in society more deserving of what was happening to one of His flock. But I did think it. And I even mentioned it to my P-i-C; he agreed. Then, I realised that was wrong. You can’t sacrifice one life for another, as much as some may deserve that. Even pleading that I should be taken instead wasn’t the right thing to do as much as, at the time, I was happy for it to happen. All my catechism came flooding back. He doesn’t do deals. We have lessons to learn, and some things are not within our power. Neither money nor title can tilt it in anyone’s favour. The only power is prayer. Now I fully realise that… and am very happy to say I’ve witnessed the power of prayer at its best.
As Doris Day so beautifully sang, “Que serà, sera. Whatever will be, will be.”