Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – January 28, 2015
Heal, O Lord! We Pray.
O, to be healed!
I was a chaplain for most of the past ten years. Regularly, I saw patients and their loved ones in serious, traumatic, even end of life situations. People asked, no, begged me to intercede on their behalf. Or, on their loved one’s behalf. And, I would.
I know the extreme sadness and grief of a patient and family as life ebbs away. I recognize the agony and despair over a difficult diagnosis of a serious illness. Yet, I would pray when asked. Even, when patients and loved ones had no words and I left them, exited the room in respectful silence. I prayed then, too.
Right now, I have a good friend whose dear loved one is in hospice. It’s been a several-year fight, a serious series of pitched battles. The dear loved one is sinking, slipping gently and gradually away. And I pray.
“Why?” “Why me?” “Why my loved one?” When asked this, I often must say, “I am sorry. I don’t know.” Truly, I don’t know why this person, and not that one.
I know some things about prayer, though. I know prayer is communication with God. I know God wants us to be in relationship—with God, as well as with one another. I know prayer is love. I know prayer shows my concern for others as well as a request for encouragement and support from God. I know God will encourage and support me, too, if I ask.
So, these are things I know. Rather, I strive to remind myself of them sometimes, at those times when I have doubts, or fears, or am angry with God.
This thing I also know: as soon as each person is born into the world, we all know how they are going to get out of it. Each one is going to die. (I am sure of this. If you think hard about it, you are, too.) We don’t know when, we aren’t sure how long each one has. Just—each of us has an allotted span of days. As Psalm 90 tells us, “teach us to number our days.” Count each day as precious. Live one day at a time.
And I pray.
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(also published at www.matterofprayer.net