Courage at Twilight: So Many Prayers

Dad tore the glossy page from the Church magazine (the Liahona) and had Mom tape it to the wall of Dad’s rehab center room.  But in the shadow of the armoire, the painting hung disappointingly obscured.  “I made a mistake, Rog,” he mourned.  “I can’t see Him.  I should have left the picture in the magazine.”  Without asking, I simply removed the picture from the wall and taped it to the armoire door, in the room’s full light, and Dad’s face lit up with pleasure and relief.  “That’s so much better.  Thank you, Rog.”  The picture was a reproduction of Dad’s favorite painting of Jesus, who Dad adores and knows as his personal Savior and Friend.  “You know, Dad, people are praying for you, in the name of Jesus, all over the world.”  I listed some of the locations where friends and families assured me they were praying for Dad, and for Mom, including in the Church’s sacred temples: Utah, New Jersey, Colorado, Nevada, Washington, Idaho, Wyoming, Illinois, Virginia, California, and Texas; Cardston, Alberta, Canada; Brazil and Portugal.  Next door and down the street.  Larry texted me: “I just paused and offered up a prayer for your dad, your mom, and you.  Please let them know we love them.”  And at church, numerous people have shown genuine concern, and have reassured us with, “Nelson is in our prayers.”   Hundreds of people are praying from the soul spaces of love and faith, in the name of the Divine, for Dad.  I have felt too fatigued to pray much formally, to kneel and bow and form words in the normal pattern.  Some would say I do not pray.  But I do.  I am a walking prayer, a driving prayer, a working prayer, a mealtime prayer, a mountain bike prayer, a hospital bedside prayer.  At night, too tired and heavy to remain vertical, I contemplate the ceiling from my bed and open my heart and mind to the Divine, casting my will upward, not really caring if I connect, but just opening myself and giving myself to Whoever orders the vast Universe, offering up what little I have to give, giving thanks that Christ’s Kingdom continues coming, giving thanks for the privilege of being a small part of the Kingdom’s growing, using no words, being simply a willing consciousness. “Prayer is the soul’s sincere desire / Uttered or unexpressed.”  (See Hymns of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, #145.  Text by James Montgomery, 1771-1854.)

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