Saturday, April 5, 2014


As president of the Young Women's organization in our local church, I joined other ward leaders in our bishop's office early Sunday mornings for what is known as Ward Council. In the early hours of dawn, before our Sunday church services,  we gathered in a circle around the bishop's desk and discussed matters of importance to our congregation.  Before we began working through the meeting's agenda, we prepared for prayer. 

Prayer, at it's core, is pretty simple.  We are invited to address God.  It continues to impress me that our Maker invites all of us, regardless of our worthiness, to address him.  He could have just created us and hurled us down here to learn something, and that would have been beneficial by itself.  But instead he gave us some information about himself, and some access. Just enough info to keep our spiritual hearts pumping, but not so much that we would not need faith to find Him.  The access is our lifeline…our phone call home… our daily look in the eternal mirror.  

There are prayers that I toss up at any given moment.  Like the conversations I have in the late hours of the night…aka early hours of the morning…with my sister Libby. Dave is asleep beside me and I don't want to wake him, so we converse via short texts.  There's the texting kind of prayer…the Tweet kind of prayer that uses limited characters following a hashtag.
 # = "Dear God...".

Then there are the prayers that require preparation  The kind of prayer that requests a pause in the motion of the day, where we respectfully ponder the fact that we are being invited into the Judge's chambers, and that taking his attention is an honor and we should use well the opportunity.  So we prepare, studying our hearts and the issues we would like to address with Him.  Then, in reverence, we enter his space, leaving all else behind when we do.  We enter with important matters to discuss, and when we do this I get the feeling He pauses in some place within Himself and gives us his full attention.  I suspect God is a masterful multi-tasker and it is not a problem for him to give full attention to many at once.

Our prayers on Sunday mornings at our ward council meeting are not hashtag prayers.  We discuss with each other the matters we would like to take before the Lord.  We prepare a list of people within our church area, whether or not they embrace our faith, who we believe need the Lord's help.  Usually that list includes people who are sick or otherwise afflicted.  Then we go before our divine creator and pray for those on the list.

One Sunday I sat in the circle beside Paul, the High Priests Group Leader for our ward.  Paul is an old friend, full of good humor and charity, with a golden heart and a ready smile.  He's a great leader, partly because he doesn't make people feel like they are being led.  It's more like he walks beside. We had just finished creating our prayer list and were preparing ourselves in reverence.  Our heads bowed, and eyes shutting out the world, the silence in the few seconds before the prayer was broken by Paul. He had raised his head and asked if he could make one more request.  We all raised our heads and looked at him. 

"I feel like I need to suggest one more name."  His voice cracked and his eyes welled up.  

"I feel like we need to include Judge Connors in our prayer."

I perked up at that, wondering what was wrong with my husband, that would compel Paul to add him to our prayer list. 

Dave is a state court judge.  He deals with issues of all sorts, from divorces to adoptions and marriages, to murder.  That week there had been a horrendous murder of a four year old boy, with scenes presented via media that turned stomachs and evoked tears.  The accused, the boy's mother and her husband, were presented in David's courtroom for arraignment.  Scenes too graphic for the news were presented in his courtroom.  Paul knew this.

"Judge Connors has to witness some pretty terrible evidence, and he has heavy matters for which he is entrusted to make decisions.  I just feel like we need to pray for him."

And so the voice of our prayer circle spoke the name of my David, along with others that I love.  I wept in my reverent place, for David.  But also for Paul and his sensitive, tender heart.

On Wednesday Paul's wife, our friend Leslie, was not feeling well.  She was short of breath, and her knee hurt.  Paul, who had dressed for a day at his ranch fixing a truck, stayed home to take her to the doctor.  That was two days ago.  That spring morning he and Leslie had called and sung Happy Birthday to their grandson. But the day unfolded against plans. By that night Leslie was in a coma, her heart having stopped at the invasion of a blood clot from her knee.  

Last night Paul gathered with his sons in a circle around Leslie's hospital bed.  They gathered and prayed and wept and embraced, then when the Comforter whispered it was ok, they removed the machines that were keeping her alive.  Her beautiful spirit floated up toward the heavens, her vibrant beauty releasing itself from a damaged body.  

We who gather in prayer circles are not worried for Leslie.  We believe she is just fine.  There's an intrinsic homesickness our spirits feel in these human bodies. So dying, when viewed as a going home, is a blessed relief.  I sincerely believe this.  I have no worries for Leslie.

But Paul.  Our tender friend , Paul?  That's another matter.

We who love her, and who love him, encircle him now.

Prayers for Paul. For his boys. For their little ones, and others who shared her name.  We look toward their home from our own homes, our neighborhood still reeling from loss, our hearts preparing to address the Lord. We stand together in one big circle of prayer.


  1. I cannot believe how busy the heavens are…so much heartache for those left behind. Sending love from our hearts to yours and your neighbors.

  2. So beautiful Cori! Love to all and especially Paul and his family. Thanks for sharing this.