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Two prayers


When I was a kid, my greatest wish was to have a little brother or sister. So I wrote a long and touching letter to the stork, the bird that is supposed to bring babies in a basket. I left the letter on a field where one could see storks occasionally and I waited for the result. Of course, nothing happened. I wrote another letter to Father Christmas, or Santa Claus or whatever you like to call him. Christmas came and I got a lot of presents, but no trace of the one I’d been asking for. People say that in order to have your wish granted, you have to think of it when you see a shooting star. So I used to come out in the evenings and stare at the sky, hoping to find a shooting star. When I finally discovered one, I felt like I had finally touched the shores of heaven. Still nothing happened.

Not long after Christmas, my friend next door got a little sister. I was convinced that the stork, or Father Christmas or whoever was in charge with the delivery had switched addresses. Somebody at school told me it had something to do with my mom and dad, so I thought to myself: “If that’s the case, it’s going to be easy.” It usually didn’t take me long to convince them to buy me a soft toy or a doll I liked. But this time it was different. My mother’s eyes became sad when I mentioned the baby, she hugged me and found refuge in a painful silence. It’s pointless saying that I used to pray to God every single night with tears in my eyes, begging him to make my dream come true. He didn’t.

Later I found out there was much more to it. The story goes like this: My mother couldn’t have children. She had a problem that made her unable to carry a baby for nine months. She went through several treatments, saw several doctors, but nothing seemed to help. She kept losing pregnancy after pregnancy. However, she desperately wanted a baby and prayed for it with such an intensity that God finally answered her prayer and made a miracle.

One and the same wish. Two different prayers. One was answered, one was not. What makes the difference? One was the childish prayer of a little girl who wanted something, but had no clue what issues were involved in the matter. She just wanted something, full stop. The other was the mature prayer of a woman fully aware of the situation, who knew which were the chances but refused to give up. She entrusted her heart and her life to God and took a step forward through faith. That’s the story of me coming into this world.

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