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Faith in America: Your stories

Matt Houston / AP file
Hoopersville United Methodist Church organist Teena Gorrow walks to services Sunday Nov. 21, 2004. (AP Photo/ Matt Houston)
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Your Assignment: Faith in America 
Faith is a uniquely personal experience yet it has been part of a very public dialogue in recent days.  MSNBC readers respond how faith shaped has shaped their personal or public life? (We are no longer taking submissions on this topic.)

Your reports:
Having been raised in the Episcopal church, I was taught how to have a relationship with God. I was taught the power of prayer and told that God loved me. Faith is not something you can see. Faith believes in higher power, that God watches over us always. I believe the most amazing religious experience I witnessed was after my mom's stroke. Three days in a coma, my priest came to give her communion. I explained the situation and that she would not be able to participate in the Eucharist. He said he would perform the service anyway and then maybe I would benefit from it. Before he finished the service, my mom had awakened and began saying Amen at the end of each prayer. After days of prayers and believing we had already lost her, she came back. She recovered and lived another wonderful 13 years. This was a blessing I will never forget. God is with us when we are happy. God feels our pain when we suffer. And I believe God is with us to take us home the moment we leave this life. Through my relationship with God I am living a blessed life, for which I am eternally grateful. I pray my kids know this same kind of faith in their lives. —Cathy Steele, Mill Valley, Calif.

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My prayers reach out in faith to touch the lives of families who have lost one of their children, God has pulled me up from my knees many times, not able to stand or wanting to communicate with friends or family when I was so heart broken. If it were not for my faith in God I would not have been able to make it.  My Son of 19 graduated from High School in 1996 and was in an automobile accident, and died from head injuries. There is nothing you can't handle as long as you have faith in God and putting all your adversities in his hands. God is still molding me each and everyday with what you have to go through with daily stress. He always lets me know that he is here. I thank my God with every beat of my heart, that those that I am praying for are being renewed with a new perspective on life and know that he is in complete control.      —Diane Alexander

Faith in itself is a useless tool. I say this with the understanding that after much wasted time hoping, that the tragic events in my life would somehow turn and dissolve from my simply willing it.  Faith takes on the form of blind assurance, it embodies this idea that you don’t know what, when, or why; it just will, which is fine if your not a human being! Now faith in a God is infinitely different, faith in God takes a real, exact, desire and knowledge of whom God is in order to spring about a faith in him. I happen to know this God personally, which is why I can live a life of "faith", because I know him, and he knows me, we have been through the storms in life together and he has never left me. That is how I can live a life of faith, trust, hope (I will never leave you nor forsake you...) This God does not enforce religion, or rules for his own sake or merit, but for our common good. What a thought that perhaps there was a God that just wanted an opportunity to know you and love you. If we cant have faith in that, then why have faith at all. —Jordan H, Lakeport, Calif.

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