Courage at Twilight: My Parents’ Prayers

The Bible teaches that God knows what we will pray for before we pray. The value of prayer, therefore, cannot be to inform God of our desires and thoughts and needs, for he already knows them.  Rather, the value must come in the act of turning our hearts heavenward, expressing our needs either in fury or humility, mustering gratitude for blessings in spite of adversities, and exerting faith in the impossible and unknown.  Still, prayer has never come easily to me.  My scattered thoughts bounce off the walls of my brain until my short patience is spent.  Based on the example of the Lord’s Prayer, I do manage to acknowledge God and express love and respect for him, and I thank him for bringing his kingdom to the earth and allowing me to be a small part of slowly building it.  Then I launch into what I want and what I need, which usually devolves into begging on behalf of my children and family for their growth and well-being.  Emerging from my bedroom to brush my teeth one night, I heard Mom talking to herself in her bedroom.  But then I overheard some of her words: “Roger is not feeling well.  Please bless him to sleep soundly.  Please bless him to get better.  Please bless him to be able to go to choir practice and to church tomorrow.”  I had already decided I did not want to go to choir practice or to church, but to sleep and rest.  But now someone sweet and loving was beseeching God on my behalf, and I could not allow laziness and apathy to prevail over her sincere prayer.  So, I willed myself to get out of bed and be the answer to her prayers, and I confess to asking God to helping me answer her prayers on his behalf.  Against expectations, I ended up enjoying choir and church, and feeling a little better.  When Dad awakes after his late-night reading, he shuffles to his sofa, covers himself with a quilt Mom sewed, closes his eyes, and points his heart and mind and silent words to God in prayer, and he stays there until he feels he has been heard and answered.  I have walked in on him a time or two, thinking he had dozed, but he looked at me and exclaimed, “Rog!  Come in!  I was just talking with Jesus.”  I have come to believe that prayer is not delusional or wasted effort, but rather a powerful expression of the hope of faith, and the necessary exercise of the muscles of faith, faith that works change within us and nudges us toward goodness, love, and light.  Given that, I keep at it.  Maybe prayer will come naturally to me someday.  Maybe this essay is my prayer.

(Image by reenablack from Pixabay)

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