December 17th -- The power of prayer
All throughout the year the power of prayer amazes me, but at Christmas time the impact praying has is astonishing. No matter what religious or spiritual beliefs you have, I believe that worship and prayer are an amazing way to cleanse and refresh your soul. Throughout my life I have personally witnessed a great deal of prayer being an incredible saving grace, and I've heard numerous stories from others that testify the same. Most people don't know this about me, but I keep a prayer journal. I've always loved to write -- probably part of why I'm in the children's book industry -- and writing has always been the best way for me to channel my innermost thoughts and feelings. It wasn't until my freshman year of college when I gathered with an empowering group of ladies at my school that I decided to give prayer journaling a try -- what a difference it has made on my life.
My routines with prayer journaling have changed and fluctuated over time, which I have come to accept as perfectly normal and okay. Just because I don't write in my prayer journal every day doesn't mean my mental or verbal prayers don't count -- in fact any kind of praying, I believe, is very well received. Most of the time I pray to God, but since my grandfather passed I pray to him very frequently as well because it makes me feel close to him still. That is just one instance where prayer is so powerful, it can continue a connection with someone you love even when they aren't physically here anymore.
Prayer has also gotten me and my family through a lot of tough times. Whenever something bad or troubling happens the first thing I do is pray, then contact a few people I am close to asking for prayers as well. I am a firm believer that the more people that pray for something, the faster or more powerful that prayer can be received. One of the most awe-defining experiences I've had with a prayer chain performing miracles was back when I was in high school -- my Junior year to be exact. My youth minister, mother, best friend, and I attended the National Catholic Youth Conference in Indianapolis that year for the first time. The first day my mom and I went to a workshop led by Sara Hart (a well-known Christian singer/songwriter). After the workshop my mom checked the messages on her phone only to find out that her oldest sister had a severe brain aneurysm. Of course my mom panicked, after all our extended family is extremely close and she couldn't be there for her since we were several states away. My mom and I went into the bathroom where my mom tried to hold back her tears -- which isn't an easy task, she is very emotional. While I was comforting my mom Sara Hart came over to us and asked what was wrong -- we explained and she asked if she could pray with us. There we were, the three of us, praying in a bathroom for my aunt. Sara hugged us both after and promised us that she would ask everyone she knew at the conference to pray for my aunt as well.
I have never been a part of a more powerful moment. By the time we were coming home from the four day conference, my mom got word that my aunt was recovering at a miraculous rate -- and I don't believe it was any coincidence. Prayer, as simple as it is, can do some truly amazing things. Especially during this Christmas season I make certain to pray for those who are sick, homeless, hungry, poor, going through mental hardships, those in the military, people in countries that are not safe to live or be themselves, those who are experiencing loss, anyone who is struggling and feels like they may not make it through another day. A few moments of prayer or positive thoughts of love, kindness, healing, and well wishes can do so much more than you may realize -- and at Christmas, prayer is a way to give selflessly to someone who truly needs it.