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Be Careful What Your Kids Pray For
By Shari Armstrong

Prayer is a powerful thing. It can change lives, especially when little children pray. We started teaching our daughter to pray when she was around two. We went through "God bless..." almost every member of our families, both natural and spiritual. Then we would do our "Thank You's."

Over time, she started adding her own requests to her prayers. Around Christmas of 2003, she started praying for a baby brother and sister. I'd add in that God would decide the right time and which He would choose for our family. This continued nightly for months.

Then, shortly after Easter, I realized that I needed to take a test. Yup--her prayers were going to be answered. I called my husband at work and told him that I had his Christmas present taken care of already. At first he was a little confused, but he quickly realized what I was talking about. We had talked about having more children, but weren't quite ready yet. God evidently had other plans. We started praying that only half her prayer for a brother and sister was answered at a time.

My doctor confirmed that our family was going to expand, and our surprise was due to arrive on December 25th. Due to complications during my first pregnancy--months of early contractions, using an IV pump with medication, a false alarm, followed by two failed inductions and finally a c-section--my doctor recommended a planned c-section and to pick a date.

It didn't look like we'd be going to visit his family for Christmas. My husband always said he didn't want a winter baby, as he didn't want to have to drive to the hospital in a blizzard. He probably started praying for a mild December.

While it would have been nice to have a special delivery on Christmas day, we decided to have the baby on December 15th, my husband's aunt's birthday. Our daughter shared a birthday with one of my cousins, so the balance would be nice. Plus, nobody wants to be in the hospital for Christmas.

At first, my pregnancy went well, and we found out we were having a boy. Then, in August, I developed early contractions and spent the rest of my pregnancy on partial bed rest and medication to keep the baby from coming early. I felt I needed a "Do not open till Christmas" sticker on my ever-growing belly.

My husband and I had joined the church choir over the summer, not thinking ahead about the Christmas program and my due date. During practice, while we were singing, the baby would be still, but the second the music stopped, he would kick up a storm until we started again. His sister was the opposite. I loved knowing that they both reacted to the music. Our daughter was always singing and dancing around the house. Her favorite song to sing to her baby brother was Silent Night, which she was practicing for the Christmas program.

My mother-in-law made plans to come to stay with us right before the birth and was able to stay till I got home from the hospital. It was a wonderful relief not having to worry about who would take care of our daughter.

The delivery went much easier than my first, and I recovered faster. I felt pretty good, considering I'd just had surgery.

I asked my doctor about singing in the Christmas program, which was scheduled for the day after I got home from the hospital. I had hoped it would be closer to Christmas. She agreed to let me sing, as long as I felt okay, sat down and held a pillow over my stomach.

I sang to the baby while still in the hospital, to see if I could even sing without hurting. We called the director to let him know my requirements, and he said he'd bring a stool from home with a cushion on it.

While we sang about the birth of our Savior, I couldn't help but think about Mary and how she managed to ride that distance on a donkey, before and after the birth! I had a hard enough time getting up on a stationary stool.

Before long, a year had passed and we were approaching our son's first birthday. He had started to walk and talk. Even then, we knew that it wouldn't be long until we started teaching him to walk and talk with God. We're still waiting to see what surprises his prayers will bring.

Be careful what your kids pray for; it'll change your life.
SHARI ARMSTRONG is the owner of Eagles' Wings Writing. She is on staff with Extreme Woman Magazine and the editing team of Double Edged Publishing. She is active at FaithWriters as a Writing Challenge judge and entrant, as well as a valued member of the book review team. If you would like to write to Shari, you can do so through the Letters page of this magazine.