September in Maine painted bright splashes of fall colors on the deciduous trees along the scenic country roads and highways. The weather cooled off; sweaters came on. All nature seemed in unison. My wife meticulously arranged a small nursery room for the expected arrival of our new baby. That too, was nature.
The Seventh Day Adventist Hospital in Brunswick, a comfortable modern facility with park grounds, sheltered a maternity suite providing a wonderful atmosphere of spiritual peace. We drove there the vigil of our wedding anniversary. Early signs of labor caused strong suspicions this could be the evening.
I'd like to tell you the true story of what happened.
At first, the nursing staff did not recognize Mary's initial stages of labor. Just as they started to dismiss her from the ward, they changed their minds. Instead, the nurses attached a monitor to the mother to see the movement of regular contractions. These patterns felt very light to Mary, but the labor of her fifth child progressed rapidly over the next two hours.
"Oh God!" she prayed aloud. "Please let the baby come before our anniversary."
She's asking the impossible, I thought to myself. We are too close to midnight.
As the working labor commenced seriously about 9:30 pm, Mary and I looked for a chance to pray together. The contractions came every two minutes. The nurses also now attached the monitor to the baby. Two swinging stainless steel pointers waved back and forth, showing the nerve activities of both mother and infant. These recorded the data on a moving roll of paper, somewhat like a seismograph monitoring tiny earthquake tremors. I smiled at my own thoughts of the comparison.
When we found ourselves alone, I tenderly laid both my hands on Mary to pray. Couldn't we call on the Holy Spirit in preparation for a baby's birth?
"As soon as you did, the power of the Holy Spirit just overshadowed everything in the room. It was like being slain in the Spirit," Mary remembers.
"Just everything became sweet peace, deep restful peace. You prayed in the Spirit over me. I felt the anointing power flow through your hands like oil oozing over me. I just relaxed. It was like taking a vacation on a sandy ocean beach right in the middle of this intense labor.
"Oh, this is great!" Mary said. "Let's finish it off this way."
"As you stopped praying," she recalls, "you lifted your hands, and a contraction immediately started again. We realized that while you prayed several minutes, the contractions rested."
I stepped close to look at the indicator pointers. Both the baby's monitor and the mother's monitor had stopped quiet, just still. The moving graph of paper measured eight minutes of quiet prayer. Three contractions totally quieted by the power of the prayer.
The labor nurse entered the room and looked puzzled at the recorded graph paper.
"Oh, what happened here? You've skipped some contractions!" she remarked.
We replied nothing. She'd never believe what happened! But there it was, recorded on the graph. Mary returned to serious labor, and Meg entered the world about 11:15 pm, right before midnight preceding our anniversary date.
God answered Mary's prayer.
This little baby showed the effects of this birth prayer. She developed from the very first the most serene personality. One elderly woman in our prayer group named her "the little grandmother."
As husband and wife working together, we realize God entered the labor room and blessed our prayer with his anointing presence. After all, creating babies is his work!
“He gently leads those that have young” (Is 40:11 NIV).
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