What happens the day after a prayer is answered? You go from hope to certainty, petition to gratitude.

The Shalit family is celebrating the return of their beloved Gilad after more than five years in captivity. He was a teenager, serving in the Israeli army when he was taken by Hamas militants in a cross-border raid. In Israel and all over the world, there is a collective shout of joy.

Proof positive – God hears our prayers. It was a lot of work, this business of getting a prayer answered for Gilad Shalit.

I met Noam Shalit, Gilad’s father, a few months after the abduction. He was stumping for his son. The Shalit family took to the road to make Gilad’s story personal, and to keep it in the public eye. When you meet someone who is suffering, you ask, “What can I do?’ Noam was prepared.

Money was needed to fund their activism. They needed widespread publicity and political advocacy. And yes, they needed prayers. Holy-moly did we pray!

We prayed in synagogues and churches. We prayed in our homes and at rallies. We watched the news and followed the vigil of the millions of supporters who hung ribbons, pitched tents and protested for the release of Gilad Shalit.

In the end, our prayers were answered. But we cannot stop. We must praise the glory of God who blesses us with the courage and stamina to stand beside a family in their time of need. We are one great big “mishpucha” (extended family) and we know; the family that prays together stays together.

         Army of Hope

In a world rocked by devastation,
by earthquakes and tsunamis,
by starvation and cruelty,
I am only one person.

It is so easy to claim I can do nothing,
so easy to be intimidated
by the disasters before me.

Please soften my heart again.
Remind me of my brothers and sisters,
of all your servants, standing together,
each of us filling just one belly,
buying just one school book,
building just one house.

Grant me a willing heart,
that I may join your army of hope,
trusting that the work of Your hands
will make significant the work of mine.

- Abigail Wurdeman

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