Our parish has a religious education program in place that is intergenerational, and goes by the acronym GIFT. We’ve been participating since it’s inception a few years ago, and we have come to enjoy it. Each session has a different theme, and this past Sunday’s was pray. We basically discussed the different ways and reasons that people pray. I never had really given it much thought before, but it was an eye opener.
Prayer had always been something you do, but I hadn’t given much thought to how I was doing it, or the reasons. One of the things that was mentioned was that most people only pray in times of need. I was always in this category, aside from the usual prayer during Mass, while I was undergoing infertility treatments. I would pray for all kinds of things related to that, some crazier than others depending on my latest issue I was obsessing about.
When we underwent our first IVF cycle with Dr. Benadiva, it went very smoothly. This was the first time we had tried ICSI, and we were successful in conceiving Ryan. I remember getting the call while at work that I was in fact pregnant. I was so shocked, when prior to that I had been thinking how could it fail. When I questioned the nurse, she laughed and said I was a “woman of little faith.” I had laughed, and told her it was too good to be true because I had hoped and prayed for this moment for such a long time. I don’t recall if at the time I said a prayer of thanks, but I wasn’t usually in the habit at that time in my life.
As time passed, and we resumed our IVF treatments for subsequent cycles, I became very angry with God for all the difficulties we were encountering. I at first would pray for the chance to begin a cycle, and in later attempts, I would pray to become pregnant. After several repeated losses, I would only pray to become pregnant if I would carry to term. Talk about bargaining with God!
I’ve thought a lot more about prayer since our last GIFT session, and have realized how my style as well as my reasons for it have changed as I’ve gotten older. I’ve learned to pray more often, even if it is just a quick prayer of thanks for something. Sometimes you just need someone to point something out to you in order to become aware of it and make the necessary changes.