I Can Pray

My family is no stranger to tragedies. We know what it’s like to hurt.

When my Mother was twenty-five, her husband fell from a silo. She was left with a seven-month-old son, Doug.

Eventually, she married my father. They had four children—Adriel, Brenda, Nathan, and Frances.

Nathan drowned in our pond when he was two. I was six months old. My brother, Doug, died in a tractor accident when I was seven. The last of my grandparents died when I was twenty-two.

Death was a frequent part of our family discussions.

On holidays we visited the graves—memorials to those we lost. I hated standing in the graveyard waiting for my mother to be done visiting each grave. It was uncomfortable.

I watched my mother make it through all of those painful parts of living by praying. She believed in prayer. She prayed about everything.

On less tragedy-stricken days, we’d pray funny prayers (at least I thought they were funny)—such as “Please God, bring the cows back home,” when they escaped from the barnyard. Prayer was as much a part of our life as doing the farm chores. Given all of our family experiences, you’d think I could easily write a song about prayer.

When I was asked to sing for a National Day of Prayer event I didn’t feel like any of the songs I knew about prayer said what I wanted to say. I wanted my own song to sing.

I could hear a melody (and four simple words) that could be the chorus, but I couldn’t seem to write more than these four words….”But I can pray.”

I knew that I wanted to show the contrast between life’s struggles, the ineptness we feel when someone is hurting, and the power of prayer. I knew the verses would lead me to the chorus…somehow.

I waited for more words to come.

Then we got the news. 

A tragic car accident—a young boy and his mother. She was driving him to school…a head-on collision. The boy didn’t survive the crash.

I knew the family. It shook the community.

I pondered the events in my heart, watching the mother struggle with the loss of her son, and a sister with the loss of her brother. I knew it would be hard. We all struggled to know what to say.