Polished look: Graduate paints nails, exchanges prayers

Lorelei Decker, a recent graduate of Putnam City North High School, collects “prayer polish,” nail polish given to her as she battles cancer, encouraging her to pray for the recipient and reminding her that the giver is praying for her.
by Carla Hinton Published: June 2, 2012

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

— James 1:2-4

Each bottle of nail polish that surrounds Lorelei Decker has a story.

The polish — in colors like Lavender Marquis, Blue Mosaic and Carbon Frost — represents the many people who are praying for Decker, and whom she is praying for in return.

Decker, 17, calls this stunning array of hundreds of hues her “prayer polish.”

“This is 350 conversations I had with people about prayer,” she said, looking out at the bottles of polish spread out on her dining room table.

“To have a conversation with them about prayer — that they initiated — that's a blessing to me, an opportunity to give glory to God.”

Power polish

Decker, of Oklahoma City, said she has always believed in the power of prayer.

As a lifelong member of Cherokee Hills Baptist Church, 5700 NW 63, the recent Putnam City North High School graduate said the Word of God is important to her.

And in the last several years of her young life, she has called upon the Lord and her faith in Him more than a few times: Decker was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma in January.

She said when friends and family wanted to know what they could do for her as she battled cancer, she decided to ask for nail polish — and prayer. Even now, people seem a bit perplexed initially, Decker said.

“They'll message me on Facebook and say ‘So you want nail polish?'” she said, smiling.

Decker said she quickly explains that she doesn't need food or anything like that, but she could certainly use prayer. She said she asks people to select a nail polish color that represents them and bring it to her. Decker said she places the person's name on the bottle with a label maker.

Each week, she paints her fingernails and toenails — with a different color on each nail — she is reminded that the individuals who gave her the chosen polish are praying for her and she prays for them.

She has more than 350 bottles of polish at this point. Decker and her mother, Andrea, place each giver's name on their bottle of polish.

Lorelei Decker said polish has been coming in the mail from all over the United States and around the world. She said her high school golf coach Tom Jedlicka, who also is battling cancer, gave her a fuchsia polish. She also has received a bottle of polish from Chirapat Jao-Javanil, a Thailand native who is an NCAA championship golfer on the University of Oklahoma women's golf team.


by Carla Hinton
Religion Editor
Carla Hinton, an Oklahoma City native, joined The Oklahoman in 1986 as a National Society of Newspaper Editors minority intern. She began reporting full-time for The Oklahoman two years later and has served as a beat writer covering a wide...
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