One of the things I’m struggling with right now is prayer – the power of prayer; the ability of prayers to be answered. It’s a deeply shattering thing when the most desperate prayers you’ve ever prayed are not answered, not in the way you wanted them to be.

And yet…and yet. There were so many prayers that were answered in this – SO many. For example, when the bleeding started on Christmas day when we were in Florida. After they let me out of the hospital we needed to get home and we were so scared. We prayed and prayed that God would show us what we needed to do…and there was one flight, only one, that would take us directly home from where we were. We had agreed that even if there was a hint of spotting, even if it happened as we were getting onto the plane, we would stop – we wouldn’t go. And there was nothing and we got home safe. I was spotting again the next morning and back in the hospital here, but we got home.

And then there were the issues with the potential chromosomal abnormality – I was so scared of that then. Before an ultrasound on my birthday I prayed and prayed that the ultrasound would be a positive experience; that I’d get some reassurance. Not more than thirty seconds into the ultrasound Oliver took his hand and pressed it up against the monitor – and I got a perfectly clear shot of his palm, with three creases. Is that a complete sign that he didn’t have downs? No, it’s not – it means he didn’t carry one of the classic signs (single palmar crease), but it was by no means a guarantee. To me though, it was an answer to prayer – a direct sign; my son saying ‘Hey mama, look – I am okay; don’t worry anymore.”

Then there was the prayers to make it to at least 32 weeks. I made it to 32 weeks exactly.

Then there was the point the night he was born when the doctors came in and said that they thought they needed to deliver him because the bleeding was getting worse – and Brandon and I prayed for a sign that delivering him was the right thing to do…and within five minutes my water broke.

But when he was dying…when I prayed so desperately for him to be okay and he wasn’t….then what?

So what does that mean? I don’t think it means that God doesn’t answer prayers. I mean, everything leading up to that point shows me that the opposite is true. But then I start wondering – does God only answer the prayers that he was planning on doing anyway? And if that’s the case, is there any point in praying for anything other than “God’s will be done”?

I *think* that there is. I think that prayer can move God and that by praying directly God is able to give us answers and reassure us in faith. Maybe? Like for instance, when my water broke. I was a complete previa – it shouldn’t have been easy for my water to break or to be evident that it was leaking (because the escape route was essentially blocked off – the water didn’t have an easy path out). Maybe it was God’s will no matter what that Oliver be born that night. But when we prayed for a sign that we were doing the right thing, maybe *that* gave God an opportunity to show us that we were doing the right thing.

I don’t know then why God let Oliver die. I don’t believe even for a second that it was “God’s will” that my son died. I don’t believe that. I don’t know God’s will and I don’t know what it is that caused my son to die but I don’t believe it was God. I do however think that God used and is using it somehow – I don’t think that Oliver’s death was for nothing. I don’t know what the “something” is yet but I don’t believe there’s no point – I can’t believe that.

But I’m lost on the prayer thing. Can events be changed by prayer? Fundamentally changed? I hope so…but I don’t know.


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