The Rabbit Prayer

First, a little background.  From the day I was born, I have been in church.  If the doors were open, we were there.  My parents taught us that going to church was one of the most important things we could ever do.  Of course, they were right.  Well, you see, I've been hearing about God's word all of my life, which brings me to my story. 

When I was in the first grade, we were learning to read.  At the time, we were reading about "Mr. Bunsen the Rabbit." Very interesting stuff. Anyway, one night my momma asked me if I had said my prayers.  I said, "yes."  She asked me what I had prayed about.  I told her, "I prayed for a rabbit."

Momma explained, that wasn't really the kind of thing we should pray for.  She said we should pray for sick people, lost people, our church, and things like that.

I told her I understood.  But really the way I understood it, as a seven year old, was if you had faith and you asked God, he would give you what you asked for.  Anyway, I went on to sleep and got up the next morning and went to school.

When I got home that afternoon, Momma said she had a surprise for me.  She picked up a shoe box, opened it, and reached inside. In her hands was a little, bitty, baby rabbit.  I thought she had bought it for me because of our conversation the night before.  But she explained that early that morning when she went out to the utility room to wash clothes, my old bird dog, Buzzard, walked in and laid this little, wild, baby rabbit at her feet.

Now, you call it whatever you want, but around our house we always refer to this as the "Rabbit Prayer."   

All through our lives, in times of trial or trouble, many times someone would say, “Remember the Rabbit Prayer."  As an adult, there have been many times when I have had to remember the Rabbit Prayer.

Not long ago, my mother died.  I was devastated.  I couldn't believe God would let my momma die.  I had lost other family members -- grandparents, aunts, uncles -- and even some close friends.  But nothing compared to losing my momma.

My first reaction was anger.  I was so mad.  It just seemed so unfair that my momma should have to die.  Just when she and daddy were beginning to enjoy their retirement together. 

The day before her funeral, my brother-in-law went by the cemetery where the gravesite had been prepared. When he got to the house, he told us that the gravesite was all prepared and that everything looked real nice … and “Oh by the way … There's a little rabbit in the grave."

He and I went immediately to the gravesite to see this rabbit.  When we got there, sure enough, there it was.  A little, wild, baby rabbit in the bottom of the grave.  I jumped down into the hole. The rabbit ran around me about twice, then just stopped.  I reached down and picked him up.  He was calm and still.  I took him back to the house and held him for a long time.  I had my answer.

Again, you can call it what you want, but I knew this was my momma's one last time to tell me, "Remember the Rabbit Prayer."  I was filled with so much peace and calm; my anger was all gone.  I was totally at peace with my momma's death. From then to this day I have nothing but great memories of her.  I can feel her presence all the time. I guarantee you the rabbit in the grave was God's way to let me know everything was okay.   

What we can all take from this experience is that while God is all powerful and God is all knowing, God still answers the "Rabbit Prayers."

Van Shaver 1997