I sent him to Uman, I did a pidyon nefesh for him - all things that usually work, and how. But this time, I wasn't seeing so much improvement.
But when my friend suggested doing Perek Shira, I have to admit that I pulled a face.
The first time I did it, around 9 years' ago, I did it in the merit of my finances turning around, and that I'd be able to pay off all my debts and buy a home again. On day 39, we got an email from the people buying our house telling us they were invoking the 'forgotten' clause in the contract, and kicking us out 6 months earlier than planned.
Uhh, God? How was that an answer to my prayers?
I'm still not entirely sure, but our finances kind of did look up again for a couple of years', and we did pay off our huge debts and buy another house again (at that time). But all this took a good couple of years' to materialise.
The second time I did Perek Shira was again for our finances, this time around 2 years' ago. Within a few weeks of completing the 40 days, my husband decided he couldn't stand being a lawyer any more - and we got plunged into a period of extreme financial turmoil that lead to (yet another…) forced sale of our house, just so that we could afford to buy groceries.
Long story short, it seemed to me that Perek Shira was having the opposite effect of whatever it was I was praying for, so I wasn't dead keen to try it another time, even though I've heard so many miracle stories of how it's helped other people.
But my friend wouldn't take 'no' for an answer - their 30-something sister got unexpectedly engaged the day after someone said 40 days of Perek Shira for her - and I was stuck saying it again.
This time, I kept it really simple: I wasn't praying for specifics like money or a house. I just prayed that my husband should rediscover his joie de vivre and come back to himself.
The last few months had taken us both so low, that even that seemed like a supernatural miracle, at that point (and to be honest, it probably was).
From day 1 of saying Perek Shira this time round, I noticed my husband was changing. Slowly, slowly, he was regaining his self-confidence and optimism, and ability to try things again.
He decided to go back to being a lawyer; he sorted himself out a couple of pretty snazzy websites, literally in a couple of days. He found a great place to work. He started to have ideas, and plans again.
By the end of the 40 days, he'd made the first real money for our family in two years. We were still a little stuck in the tunnel, but the end had been sighted, and a big, fat light was now shining out of it.
There's an idea that you have to publicise the miracles you get, with Perek Shira (and probably with every miraculous salvation God sends you.) I didn't really have what to say the last two times, so I couldn't.
But it's really been third time lucky with Perek Shira. It brought my husband back to himself, it gave us both renewed hope that we weren't going to inexorably end up in a dumpster, and it turned round a period of such intense emotional anguish and despair, that even hours of personal prayer and repeated visits to Uman were barely making a dint in (apparently….these things are, of course, never how they look).
So, give it a go, and try Perek Shira for yourself. And if you get a miracle, write in and tell me, and I'll stick it up on the Emunaroma blog, to help you publicise your miracles.
God is listening. He does care. It's just sometimes, for whatever reason, there can be a huge time-delay on our prayers getting answered. The trick is to not give up while you're waiting for an answer, because sooner or later, it WILL come, and life WILL get sweeter again.