Prayer in Grief

The M. Night Shyamalan thriller Signs (Buena Vista Pictures, 2002)is the story of a family fighting an alien invasion. Of course, the sci-fi adventure deals with the far-fetched world of aliens and conspiracy theories, but there is a larger and more relatable central story of struggle for a family after tragedy. The story revolves around Graham, a widowed reverend who lives on a farm with his brother and two children. Graham’s wife has died in a car accident, and the family has not fully recovered from her death. In fact, Graham has started to reject his faith and has withdrawn from the ministry. In one scene, the family is sitting at the dinner table. They are all waiting, concerned about the weird signs of extraterrestrials and crop circles. Morgan suggests that they pray before they eat. A frustrated Graham says, “I am not wasting one more minute of my life on prayer.” By the end of the scene the grief is too much—both the loss of the mother and the loss of faith that was once vibrant—and the four hold each other while they cry at the table (1:00:23).