Wednesday, June 12, 2013

How Many Prayers Does It Take?



by Eliana (bio)

Image by digitalpimp.

My son was 2½ when he started having seizures, one horrible night in August. We were dismissed at the hospital until he started shaking in front of the ER doctor. There were seven seizures that first night, hundreds more to come over the past two years.

For a long time I couldn't write, couldn't turn off the worrying mother part of my brain. I make my living partially from freelance writing work but I found myself simply unable to care or put the sentences together. Whatever else was going on, at least 50% of my mind was thinking about my son.

I have a testimony of specific prayers. Even that first night, my prayers were not of the grandiose variety. Help us find out what is wrong. Help me to be calm. Help us get the care we need.

My mother tells me she's put my son’s name on the temple prayer roll. I have been gracious when others have told me the same—I appreciate their concern and faith and small act of service for our family. But this is my mother so I tell her more.

It doesn't make sense to me that more prayers give more help. Why would God give you more credit for having more friends who will pray for you? That doesn't mesh with what I know, of a Heavenly Father who loves each of us individually. The mother with a sick child in her hut in Mozambique is out of luck because she's the only one praying for him?

Ward fasts? Temple prayer rolls? I don't dispute the power of collective action. In my mind though, the blessing is to the group involved in uniting their faith. There's not a tally sheet in heaven and you can't get help till a specific number of prayers have been offered. Or am I wrong and God really is a numbers guy?

I grew up with stories about President Kimball asking the saints to pray for the Iron Curtain to be lifted, that the gospel might spread to Eastern Europe. This happened, says my same mother, so much faster than they ever anticipated. Do I believe that prayers of faith work miracles? I do.

I have never prayed for my son to be healed. He has epilepsy, a storm in his brain that is worrisome and is still not under control. Perhaps a better mother would pray for such thing. I wonder if my faith is not strong enough to even request such a miracle. I know that healing happens. I also know that very often we are not physically healed in the ways we would like, and that part of life is dealing with challenges and sickness.

This is what I pray. Lead me to the right doctor. Guide me to the right treatment path. Help me discern the right choices for my son. Help me recognize the promptings of the spirit to know what he needs, what is a real emergency and what is not.

I found an amazing pediatric neurologist, three hours from our home. Of all the doctors, I chose her name at seeming random. We are a perfect fit. She cares for my son and me as well. She's a mother of young children. She speaks to us like people. She's insanely smart.

When I decided the twelfth medication scheme was making our lives unbearable, I was inspired with a plan for changing. The results have been remarkable in terms of having my son back and happy.

The seizures are still here. Epilepsy is part of our life. Not a part I would choose. But a way in which I am seeing the hand of my Heavenly Father, protecting my son and guiding me.

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