Holy Family Council would like to congratulate OLPH 8th Grader, Melina Stafford for submitting the winning essay for this year’s contest. Melina’s essay was thoughtful, well written, and is a testament to the Power of Prayer. A very fitting reminder in these difficult times to not only pray for our own needs, but for the needs of others. With permission, and without further ado, please read Melina’s essay:
“The Strength of Prayer”
There are so many controversial things happening in the world every day. Now more than ever, people need to trust in God. So many people are affected by Covid-19 and many have died. I had to trust in God to make sure my great grandmother was okay. Many people in my family were worried about her. Trusting in God has really helped us through these times.
I had been concerned about my great grandmother for a while before the Covid-19 pandemic came along. It started when she moved from her beautiful home in Jacksonville to a nursing facility in Orlando. We understood it was “the beginning of the end,” and we thought she would like it at the nursing facility, but she did not. She was the only one without a walker or wheelchair and she felt different from everybody else. She always called us, telling us to come visit, and complaining to us how lonely she was. We never knew the conditions would get worse.
Every one of us was shocked when Covid-19 made its way to the United States. We knew nursing homes were greatly affected. We were concerned for our great grandmother’s health and well-being. Calls from her came more often. She said she had never felt so isolated. The residents were confined to their rooms with no one to talk to and nothing to do. They could barely leave.
Residents of the nursing home could not travel anywhere because of Covid-19. To make things worse, nobody was allowed to visit this nursing home. My grandmother said it was like jail. Everyone in my family felt awful for her. About a month into quarantine, my family decided to watch virtual church for the first time. The Homily was about the strength of prayer. It was about how prayer is stronger than we think and how it actually works. That got me thinking about my great grandmother. l called her that day and she was so happy to get a call from me.
I asked her how she was doing and she told me more about her life at the nursing home. I told her she should try praying about her situation.
Two weeks later, she called, saying she had made a friend. Although they could not get anywhere near each other, they talked on the phone. I was very happy for her. We were relieved she made a friend. My grandmother started to call less often, which we supposed was a good thing. Finally, when she did, we talked about her life back at the nursing home. She had become a part of a friend group. They met up every day outside to call each other. She said the nursing home was better than she thought.
I continued to pray that the residents of the nursing home would get more freedom, so that they can talk in person. l was very glad my grandmother had made friends, but it was difficult for her not to see them. That month, she called with great news. She told us that she was now allowed to meet with other residents outside as long as they were socially distanced. She had seven people in her friend group, and she loved seeing them. Throughout the spring, the conditions only got better. The nursing home started allowing a few visitors at a time, so in July, we scheduled an appointment to come visit. We got to meet up with her and her friends. They were doing great. After about an hour, we had to leave, and as we were leaving, my grandmother stopped me. She thanked me. She said she probably would still be sitting in her room every day, watching TV, and sitting by herself with no one to talk to, if she hadn’t taken my advice to pray.
All in all, prayer does work. It helped my family through truly difficult times. If we can trust God with our problems and difficult situations, He will help us. My great grandmother was having a very bad time at the nursing home. She had no friends, and on top of that, she had to be quarantined. After we prayed, it helped change her life. She made friends she could talk to, and she could finally go outside to talk to them. So, whenever we, or someone we know, is going through a hard time, we should say a prayer. It might just change someone’s life.