"Couldn't you have prayed for something that we needed?" my husband kindly cajoled.
Yes, this prayer was fairly specific, unlike my usual style. I had learned many moons ago that the best prayers are those that seek guidance and protection, allowing the powers that be to accurately decide what is needed. This prayer was out of knowing what I needed, including what would console me, preoccupy me, and take me out of my wounded self. We had recently lost my husband's mother, Grace, to a brave battle with leukemia. Although a blessed passing, I was in a lot of gripping pain. Grace was like a mother to me. She was dear to my heart and a well-respected guardian of guidance. The thought of going ahead in life without her would at times paralyze me.
It was the last week of April 2006. I was only working five hours a day, so I was home most afternoons. This particular afternoon, I was feeling a bit low and my energy matched my emotional state. My son had two of his best friends over, and they were playing outside. I told them I was lying down and if they needed anything, to wake me. But I couldn't sleep. They were under our plum tree just outside my bedroom window and I could hear their conversations. This brought me some joy, but I was in the need of much joy.
I had also just learned of a friend's cancer diagnosis. She was a mother of five, growing children. I was distraught, so I prayed for acceptance and understanding. I hung up the phone after hearing the news and lay down upon my bed, calling my dog for comfort. She was more than likely secure in a warm and cuddly spot upon the sofa and not concerned with me, so she never came. I cried for my lost kitten, Benjamin, who was always in the mood to adorn me with affection. Benjamin had been killed by a moving vehicle just ten months prior, so I boldly prayed for a kitten like Ben to just come up to my door in need of a home.
At the time of Ben's death, my mother and step father were visiting us. On that particular Sunday, we had gone to church services. The pastor requested written prayers and chose a few to read and pray over at the close of the service. I had written "I'm praying to find my kitten Benjamin.”
This prayer for Benjamin is how I learned to be fairly specific in a prayer request because we did in fact find him. But he had already been hit by a car and had passed away. My prayer was indeed answered, but perhaps I should have prayed that we find him alive and well. It certainly provided me solace but was a mixture of both gratitude and sorrow.
It was this memory that gave me pause to be specific in my current prayer request. I corrected my prayer to ask not for a kitten, but rather a street-smart cat who needed and wanted to be loved. Within two minutes I heard my son say to his friends, "Wow, whose cat is that?" They were still in the yard outside my bedroom window when the cat appeared.
"Look at those spots! What kind of cat is that?" asked Garrett.
I quieted my wailing and sat up while listening for more details. I called out the window asking, "What cat?" The cat was not in sight.
Suspecting the children had frightened it off, I sprang out of the house in search of this godsend. Tana, my friend across the street, was out shaking rugs and asked "Whatcha looking for, honey?"
I proceeded to describe the cat and tell her my prayer. Tana went in and came back out with cat treats. She scattered some on her porch. "I'll keep a watch for it and let you know. Do you want me to catch it?" I wasn't sure. I would have to ask Jim. Or would I? Confusion set in, and I let the fates decide.