Today is Day 3 of #NationalInfertilityAwarenessWeek, and we offer a reflection on prayer and infertility. Please share with your pastor, family and friends, so that they may better accompany you in your walk. You are not alone!
When couples struggling with infertility experience extreme difficulties in their journey, it is common that they reach out asking for assistance through prayer. Oftentimes, when couples discuss their situation with others, a typical response is, “Just keep praying, it will happen!” While there is no doubt that this phrase is shared with all the love, kindness, and hope one can offer, this response, when given to couples struggling with something as personal as infertility, simply, can hurt. Sometimes, it is just not that easy.
We need to remember that prayer is not a magic cure-all or some sort of spell or talisman. Prayer is a powerful means by which we are bound together as a Church. Christ tells us that “if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them” (RSV, Matt 18:19-20). Our personal prayers bring the transformative aspects of the Divine Liturgy into our homes and into our daily lives. Prayers are not simply a way to “get what we want.” Prayer is one of the ways we make Christ’s Church manifest on Earth.
When someone comes to you with a genuine need for prayer, most likely they are reaching out to you not to “commiserate” or to simply “share their news.” They are asking for help, love, compassion, and understanding. There is no doubt that we want to respond to genuine need with genuine Christian charity. We truly want to offer our prayer for spiritual healing. Rather than saying to someone “Just keep praying, it will happen,” say what you really mean: “I will keep you in my prayers.” When we offer prayers, we are not offering a “pat on the back” or simple “encouragement,” we are praying to God and asking for the saints’ intercession in our behalf. When we pray for those journeying through infertility, we need to remember that we are not simply praying that their “wish be granted.” We are praying that God grant their very souls much needed comfort through His grace, love, and compassion for humanity.