When Lily was so sick a Church of the Latter Saints in California was praying for Lily's healing. People and churches all over New Jersey, Ohio, Texas, Pennsylvania and all around the world had our daughter in their prayers.
Knowing that strangers from all different faiths were praying gave me peace, hope and strength. It was like having a team of holy cheerleaders reminding me that God loved us, that Lily's illness was not His doing, that we could do it, we could see this brain tumor thing through and come out the other side as whole, functioning people.
Prayer is not magic, however. There is no explanation why my prayers for Lily to always be healthy were not exactly answered when she was, in fact, diagnosed with a brain tumor. And why, then, my prayers for her healing and long term health were answered. Or why some who we pray for die and others live. There is no logic to it; no scientific formula--but still I pray.
Prayer is not a way to manipulate God. Prayer is not a magic wand to wave. It is not a way to change the past or rearrange the present or dictate the future. But prayer is powerful-nonetheless.
Its power comes from the shared experience of asking God for something that no one else can give us. When we all pray whether in Lindenwold, NJ or in London, England--we are all singing the same song at the same time. It is this music that changes things; that makes shifts in the world. When we, all of us, pray, we utter our hearts truest needs--we share pain and joy--all in equal doses.
When we pray we give up the fear and anger that we are carrying and stand up with peace in our shared hearts. We stand up with the faith that our prayers will be answered and heard.
And then, we pray again.