Prayer- the catalyst for miracles
“Prayer moves the hands that rule the world” -unknown
Have you ever desired something with all your heart, then released it, only to have it come into your life on its own, in an unexpected way? I believe a strong desire counts as a prayer. My own experience with prayer, like most things, began in childhood. At first it was only a distant, intellectual concept that seemed quite intimidating, until I made up my own childish way of praying. The culture I was raised in believed in a more formal prayer that was done five times per day in a language that was foreign to me. This type of prayer was introduced to me with an attitude of “you should…” rather than stemming from my own understanding or inspiration.
In the last blog I shared about my Angel encounter during a bombing episode when I was eight years old. Right around that time in my life, my family had begun to make efforts to escape the terror and violence of my birth-land and return to the United States, where I had lived as a toddler. It was not an easy task, and we had to leave separately. First, my mother went to resume her studies at a midwestern university and prepare a place for us. The following year my father and three year old sister left while I stayed behind with my aunt, counting the days and months until my father was due to fly back and get me. During this very difficult and lonely year, I was rarely able to speak with my parents on the phone. It was a different time and overseas phone calls were extremely difficult to maneuver where I lived. In addition, the government often blocked letters from America, so our contact was minimal. To top it off, some bratty kids at school had caught wind of the fact that my parents were overseas and I was living with my aunt. They would taunt me that if my parents really loved me, they would never have left me behind. I would also hear the adults around me whispering and gossiping about how my father would likely not want to take the risks inherent in returning to get me.
Though I had a heavy heart, one day I had an idea to create an evening prayer. I was sure that any God or Supreme Being could not ignore one year of nightly prayers. It was always the same prayer: Dear God, let my family in America be safe and well, and let my father return safely to take me there, and protect us in our travels, and let us all be together again very soon. I might have forgotten some details in retelling it now but this was the jest of it. I would say this prayer quietly in my mind, sometimes while I was nursing my post-supper tea in a room full of people. If someone spoke to me and interrupted my mental prayer, I would worry that it was broken and would start all over again. I admit this was a bit fearful and obsessive. Still, it would quell me and distract my mind from the many worrisome scenarios my overactive imagination would present at the thought of my future.
So did it work? Indeed, my prayer was answered, in a way that exceeded my expectations and surprised me. It was not in one full swoop, as we encountered obstacles on our journey back to the US . We had to make several stops in Europe to get our visa because our original plan of obtaining one in Amsterdam failed miserably. I remember the man who was assigned to us became enraged as soon as he opened our passports. His face turned red like a tomato and he exclaimed in a loud angry voice “I will never give a visa to anyone from this country!” and he slammed down the red stamp of denial on our passports. I couldn’t understand why this man hated us when he didn’t even know us, and I started to sob and beg and plead. My father and a few others walked me out gently. It was deeply discouraging and I nearly gave up my hope. But something told me to just keet praying. And then, I felt the power of those prayers come to our rescue two days later when a kind man appeared in the American Embassy in Brussels, took a special liking to my father and I, and gave us the stamp of approval we needed to return to America. In my young mind, that was the greatest miracle I had yet experienced. I hadn’t seen my mother in two years, and Brussels was our last chance for getting a visa; had we been denied we’d have to wait months before we could apply again. This experience convinced me that there was something to prayer, a simple request from the heart to a higher power who is benevolent and wants to help.
In the years since, I have studied prayer, have had far more experience with it, and thankfully witnessed many more answers and miracles both in my own life and in the lives of my clients, family, and friends. I have learned that a prayer of gratitude is as effective in making miracles happen as a prayer of request. I’ve learned that nothing is too big or too insignificant to pray about. I have learned that we can pray for those who can’t or won’t pray for themselves and see them receive answers and miracles, just as if they had asked for it on their own. I have learned that prayer always gets answered, but sometimes not in the way we expect.
Some of my favorite books about or including beautiful prayers: