A Matter of Prayer
August 1986

“A Matter of Prayer,” Ensign, Aug. 1986, 52

A Matter of Prayer

“Is it right,” we prayed, “to continue to accept children into our family?”

When my husband-to-be first said he had often thought of having a dozen children, I told him to be quiet; we weren’t even married yet, and I could take it better one baby at a time. I was worried about my ability to be a good mother.

After our second child, I had surgery to make it easier to bear a third child. With two daughters and a son, we felt complete for a while. Then we began to sense that there were empty spaces at family prayer. While driving the car, I would feel that more children belonged in the back seat. A second son was born to us, and I felt the pressures of mothering four little ones.

One evening my husband gathered us together to give the children a father’s blessing. Our daughters were about to begin school. When he had finished with the children, my husband sat me in the chair, and among other things, blessed my body that it would get ready for the baby our Heavenly Father wanted to send us. I was startled. I hadn’t felt ready for another child so soon. My pregnancies were never easy, but I felt a special warmth and assurance that my Heavenly Father would bless me to be able to bear the child he wanted to send us.

This fifth pregnancy was particularly difficult. When I was in my seventh month, my doctors encouraged me to consider a repeat of the same surgery I had had after my second child. They told me that more extensive surgery was required, and they also warned that another pregnancy could cause a serious recurrence of the problem.

I was distressed and confused. I did not want to make the decision to have no more children, but we finally decided to go ahead with the surgery and make the decision about additional children after this fifth child was born.

When I informed my mother of our decision, she wrote back advising me to pray about it. We planned a family home evening about prophets and their advice on current problems. I was startled by the counsel to consider family size very carefully. It was not new information, but it struck me with new force. I began to realize that some of my fears about having children might be due to selfishness. We turned again to the Lord.

Before we went to bed that night we asked the Lord if it was right that we continue to accept children into our family. As we prayed, I felt light and peace. I had been reading the April 1974 general conference talks and President Spencer W. Kimball’s remarks on dreams in his closing address: “The Lord has revealed to men by dreams something more than I ever understood or felt before.”

And he quoted Elder George F. Richards, “I believe in dreams, brethren. … It is not out of place for us to have important dreams.” (Ensign, May 1974, p. 119.)

After I fell asleep that night, I saw my father in a dream. He had died a little more than a year before. He spoke a very short and simple message: “The Lord desires to send additional spirits into your home.” That was all. I awoke with a new and complete confidence in the rightness of our decisions, and two weeks later our fifth child was born. I knew that she, too, was sent by the Lord. Through the power of the priesthood, my husband had blessed my body to prepare for her.

I have felt an overwhelming gratitude to my Heavenly Father for granting me the extra assurance of an “important dream.” I have recalled that experience over and over again as four additional children have come into our home. I have been blessed with always just enough strength to endure, and when it gets very difficult, I become more humble and the Lord blesses me again. We do not yet have the number of children my husband thought of, but we continue to feel that there is at least one more child to be sent to us from our Heavenly Father.

  • Jane C. Babcock serves as activities committee chairman in the Grandview First Ward, Salt Lake Wilford Stake.

Illustrated by Phyllis Luch