Tag Archives: Infertility

Praying for a Baby, Part 2

(This is part 2. The story of our early struggle with infertility begins here.)

Okay, logic said, we definitely needed to keep this thing under wraps. We had a history, after all, and telling people would just lead to awkward conversations should the dreaded loss come our way again.

But it came to me one day in a flash that this was all wrong. We needed prayer. We needed lots of prayer. We wanted this baby, and we knew One Who, if He chose, could still storms and keep miscarriages at bay. And so it was that early in the pregnancy…we started telling people far and wide, and we started asking them to pray.

We told them about previous miscarriages. We told about our sadness. We told them that we needed their prayers now. We told and we told and we told.

It’s an interesting question that I have pondered through the years – does having more people pray lead to more or perhaps, faster affirmative answers from heaven? There is a certain logic to it. If I am a salesman, I want to make a lot of sales calls. The more calls, the more sales. Any sales manager worth his salt knows this. If I am drilling for oil, I want to drill a lot of different places – the more I drill, the more likely I am to strike black gold. Or perhaps a better analogy, if a father has 5 of his children begging for a trip to Disney, does that move him more than if only one of his kids is nipping at his heels to see Mickey?

Does having a large number of people pray move God’s heart more than small numbers of people?

In the end, I’m not sure. Of course, Jesus did say, “Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.” Matthew 18:19 (ESV). The context for this quote is church discipline, and so many dismiss it when you speak of prayer in relation to it. But I don’t buy that – I think it means what it looks like it means. Jesus is talking about prayer and encouraging people to come together, and He surely seems to say that there is a certain power in it – “it will be done for them…”

So when it comes to prayer, if two are better than one, wouldn’t 10 be five times more effective than two? Here logic loses…that’s not a leap I think we can make.

But this much I know, if you have 100 people praying, and God answers in the affirmative, then you have 100 people glorifying Him for His goodness and grace. If only 10 are praying, then when good news comes, only 10 are filled with gratitude and praise.

This last bit of thinking is more than logic – it is Bible.

Consider this truth in light of 2 Corinthians 1:11…

You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many.  (ESV)

Talk about affliction and pain – Paul and Timothy had experienced incredible persecution as they labored for Christ in Asia. Apparently, it was so bad that they thought they were at death’s door, they “felt that (they) had received the sentence of death.” To that end, he says, we need you to pray.

And the Apostle makes it clear that if many will pray, many will also give thanks for the blessings granted through their prayers.

But there is more here than meets the eye – it seems as if this future thanksgiving is the very purpose of the prayer. In other words, the real reason he wants them to pray is so that they will give thanks…in the end. Why must they help by prayer? Not first and foremost so that Paul and Timothy will be delivered, but “so that many will give thanks on our behalf.” Of course, the Bible doesn’t always phrase the purpose of prayer this way, but it does here. And in the end, it is all tied together – when the blessings are granted, when deliverance comes, when prayers are answered…then comes thanksgiving.

And notice that the greater number of people who pray, the greater number of people will give thanks. Many give thanks for the prayers of many. So it is indeed a divine idea to recruit large numbers of people to pray, because if large numbers pray, large numbers will glorify God.

As for us, large numbers? Well, many at least…and in the end, enough.

Joshua Kendon Knowlton was born on February 17, 1995. And I’m pretty certain that many…gave thanks.

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Posted by on May 28, 2015 in Uncategorized


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Praying for a Baby

“You should know that I’m not much of a handyman,” I told Bill. “My wife can’t count on me to do much of anything around the house.”

There’s the old chestnut that says honesty is the best policy, and if we were going to be offered this position managing the self-storage units called The Padlock, then my lack of handyman prowess seemed like a factoid that I should lay on the table before the owner Bill.

“Hmmm…well, thanks for telling me,” Bill said. “That’s not a deal-breaker. We can work around it.”

And so it was that in the spring of 1993, we packed up our little apartment in Vienna, Virginia, and headed back to the Midwest and our new place above a self-storage business in Mt. Prospect, Illinois, a Chicago suburb. The bedroom itself was a converted storage locker, the bathroom was full of mold, and the whole place needed a good coat of paint, but it was our new home, my new job (the residence + $300/month), and God’s provision as I began my seminary days.

The Padlock was in an industrial area, down a dead-end dirt road and right next to a “refuse transfer center” – that’s what we called it anyway. Garbage trucks would come there during the day and transfer their trash to a larger truck, which would haul it all away. Ah, the smell of the neighborhood after a spring rain.

With her Master’s Degree in Human Development and Family Studies, my sweetie soon landed a job working for The Children’s Home and Aid Society, a company that contracted for the Department of Children and Family Services. Her job was family reunification; the gist of it was that she visited and checked on families that had been repeatedly accused of abuse or neglect. It was a tough job – I don’t think she was ever welcomed with open arms at the homes she visited, but she was finally working in her field after serving as an executive secretary in Northern Virginia.

So our new life was filled with the standard hardships of a couple starting out in life, but we were happy, and the future seemed bright.

When the Christmas season of 1993 arrived, we received an early gift of the best sort: Diane was pregnant. We had no idea how we were going to do this financially, but we were young and trusting God…and absolutely thrilled. I remember in particular one bright, blustery Saturday in early December when we headed out on the town with our little secret (we determined to keep it to ourselves until the 12 week mark), and a double mission – first, get a tree to bring a little Christmas spirit to our Padlock home, and second, to pick up a copy of What to Expect When You’re Expecting. It was a great day of being together and celebrating what God was doing in our lives, but clouds were about to darken the days to come.

One evening, she was at her second job teaching a Marriage and Family class at Joliet Junior College (I called her “the Professor”), when in the restroom, she noticed some spotting. When she told me that night, we prayed, and made plans to see the doctor the next day.

“We’ll be able to tell by measuring your HCG levels,” the doc told us. “In a healthy pregnancy, the levels are multiplying. If you are miscarrying, the levels will be dropping.” And in another two days, the levels had indeed gone down. Our fears were confirmed. We were losing the baby.

Solomon had it just about perfect: Hope deferred makes the heart sick. That’s the verse that fits, I think. We had hope…the hope was deferred…our hearts…were sick.

But time heals heartsickness…and we began to recover. And whereas before we had stumbled into pregnancy, now we were, let’s say, more deliberate, which was just fine with me.

Before too long, our “hard work” paid off: the home test was positive once again; this time, however, we suppressed our joy. We knew what overriding happiness had brought us in the past, so we were determined to muffle it this time. “Okay, okay, good,” our thinking went, “but let’s not get too excited.” And to go along with our muffled joy, we kept it to ourselves again – that strategy had been important the first time – we didn’t have to endure awkward conversations with friends wondering how our little bundle of joy was doing.

But it wasn’t too long before our hope was deferred…again. Diane lost baby number 2 even sooner than the first.

For whatever reason, we went out for Chinese food that night, full of grief…and questions. Was something wrong with us? Would we ever have a child? The tidal wave of fear that had washed over so many in generations before now came to our shores.

But…life. Diane had a job, and I had the Padlock and my theological studies; we needed to keep moving. So we did. Meanwhile, our friends started having babies. When Diane was first pregnant, I remember having a thought about a good buddy of mine and how I was going to beat him to fatherhood.   That was dumb. And I felt even worse when we got the notice that he and his wife were expecting their first. Pain was all around us.

And then, for the third time, the early pregnancy test showed a life growing in Diane’s womb. So…now what? Well…there have been moments in life when thoughts and ideas have presented themselves so clearly to me that I just knew they were true. I had such a moment as I pondered our third pregnancy…

To be continued…here: Praying for a Baby, Part 2 


Posted by on May 27, 2015 in Uncategorized


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The Secrets of Waiting

Waiting is one of the most difficult things that we have to do in life. It’s difficult because what we’re waiting for is often something we want very much, and yet we don’t know when, or if, it will come. And the uncertainty brings fear, and the fear brings pain.

  • The single gal (or guy) who longs to be married. Maybe she’s dating; maybe she’s not. But she is waiting. And while she waits, the wedding invitations of her friends fill the mailbox.
  • The couple longing for children. They are waiting…and watching others decorate nurseries.
  • Or consider the wait of the unemployed. The people around them are going to the office or the jobsite, but they are home…alone…waiting.

If others are moving on, why am I standing still? This is the question of the one who waits.

Acts 1 is a chapter of waiting.

And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, “you heard from me;” Acts 1:4 (ESV)

The anticipation must have been overwhelming. And either doubt or boredom would surely have been the temptation of the day. And the disciples waited…and waited. Oh sure, they had a to-do list: they had to replace the traitor, and that took a little time…but mostly they waited.

Of course, while we wait, we also have things to do, but we often do them reluctantly, because what we really want to be doing is something entirely different. Who wants to send out resumes when you could be working? Who wants to go to work when you could be tending to a newborn? Who wants to be alone on a Friday night when you could be sharing pizza and a movie with the one you love? So we trudge on…maybe 75% in the game, but usually not fully engaged, because our hearts and minds are somewhere else…wishing and waiting.

You say, “I appreciate what you are trying to say here, but my wait is different than theirs. They had a promise. I have nothing. They had the Word of Jesus that the Helper would come. I have no word at all that my dream will come true.”

Well, if I may speak into your waiting, let me say this: Don’t be so sure.

Don’t be so sure that there is no promise for you.

Of course there may be no specific promise of a spouse or a baby or a job. But what are you truly hoping for when you hope for these? Aren’t you truly hoping for the sense of fulfillment that you believe these things will bring to your soul?

We wait for things because we believe that the things we wait for hold the key to our joy.  And there’s the rub – the particular item or life situation that we wait for may or may not come, but for believers, the joy is definitely on its way.  There’s a promise for that, even a myriad of them.

And those 120 upper-room souls teach us one more thing about waiting: while we wait for what we believe will result in our joy, we continue to seek our joy where Scripture again and again promises it will be found:

All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer…  Acts 1:14 (ESV)


Tomorrow: Wednesday, February 2: Acts 2

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Posted by on February 10, 2015 in Uncategorized


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