Friday, January 27, 2012
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
Or maybe you can be the kind of friend others need when they hurt. Job and Joe eventually wished their friends would just leave them alone. My desire is to see you move from being a person folks wish would "just go away" to becoming a friend who comes, sympathizes and comforts, sometimes without words or answers.
May God bless you on that journey,
Friday, January 13, 2012
We often hear similar requests. For many years my reaction was, "Of course I will." And I really meant to. Sometimes I did. Other times I actually forgot to pray. So in essence I lied. Good intentions but I lied.
It all changed when I found myself in need of prayer. My friend saw the tears in my eyes, heard the quaver in my voice and responded, not with a promise to pray, but asked, "Can we pray right now?" As he prayed over me, the peace that flooded my spirit was powerful. This was no longer a conversation between two people.
From that day on, Doug and I often respond to requests for prayer by praying right then with the person. We ask and no one has yet to decline. When people hurt, they need help right THEN. We may not have answers but we know the One Who does. So taking a friend directly to the throne is a bold step in the right direction. I'm not a doctor. I don't even play one on TV! But I can be an ambulance to the Great Physician.
I called Miss Frances, who'd been in and out of the hospital, dealing with a lot of issues. After hearing her share recent struggles, I said, "Can I pray for you right now?" She said yes and after I prayed, her voice was calmer.
A dear relative burst into tears recently on the phone, just overwhelmed with life stuff. We prayed right then. Reminded of what she already knew, she said, "I know God's. . ." and she began to list His care for her, overriding her own frustrations.
A parent of a piano student came early one Tuesday to get her son. She cried as she spoke of her mother, a recent stroke victim. My own mother and I had walked that path. "Roxie, can I pray with you?" Her son played softly as we went to God together right there in the studio.
Doug's dear friend, Jerry, was recently in ICU, fighting for his life. We phoned him. "Can I pray with you now, Jerry?" Doug asked his friend.
|Rev. Jerry Padgett with his wife, Pauline--our dear friends|
- Short prayers are effective too! I harbored misconceptions that prayers need to be long or eloquent. Actually Jesus warns about lengthy prayer that's just for show. His model prayer takes less than 25 seconds. Try it. "Our Father. . ."
- Praying is more important than promising. If I pray on the spot, I no longer lie to friends. In fact, they seem to be on my mind and prayer list later, more often after we pray together.
- I should not be ashamed to pray in public. A brief prayer is still a conversation but bowed heads and closed eyes invite God into the need. This can be quiet and unobtrusive, not drawing attention to ourselves. I challenge you to go beyond restaurant blessings.
- The impact on the person is immediate, powerful and worth it. If you dare try this, brace yourself for an emotional, appreciative reaction, "Thank you SO much." I know. I've stood in your shoes too.
- When you don't know what to say, don't say anything. PRAY EVERYTHING! I just repeat the situation back to God and ask His help. It shifts the focus from a helpless person or circumstance to a caring, loving Father. Of course He already knows fully. Prayer is less about telling God our troubles than it is about reminding us to trust Him with them.
- Peace is not an emotion. It's a Person. Go to Him. Quickly. Often after prayer, the stream of information changes from detailed problems to assurance it will work out somehow.
- Prayer puts a period, not a comma, into the words. When we lift our eyes after praying, there's usually just a hug and a thank you. We took it to God together. We can walk away and leave it there. Some burdens are too heavy for our shoulders anyway!
Friday, January 6, 2012
Moments later, still my driveway, I burst into tears as they wordlessly comforted me.
What happened to suddenly change my mood? A phone call.
"Let me call Uncle Bert first, girls," I said as I slipped the key into the ignition. His hospice care was wonderful and they knew he was near the end of his battle with cancer. As soon as I heard his weak voice, I knew too.
"You'll be home soon, Bert. I'll see you there. I love you." Those were my last words to my dear big brother. And I knew we'd just spoken our last words on earth. Even now my tears flow as I remember and write about that sacred conversation between this world and the next.
A few days later I was up alone. It was near midnight. The phone rang. The call. My dear niece, Karen, said softly, "Aunt Kathy. He's home." His call. By morning the family was once again in cars, going to Nashville for Bert's funeral. It was a celebration of a godly life lived full throttle for the Lord.
Last week on the phone to Bert's wife, I shed a few tears again as I told her, "Dianne, you know one change Bert's death made in my life?"
"I long for heaven now. Sometimes I don't even feel like I belong here. My tent pegs were loosened."
She asked a very wise question, "Don't you think that's how we should be?"
I knew the last time on earth I was looking at Bert. In that hospital room, I couldn't stop kissing him. I knew on the phone a year ago that I was hearing his voice for the last time here. I couldn't stop crying.
Right now the political scene is angry, restless, frightening sometimes, disillusioning most of the time. A phrase from Isaiah comforts me. "The government shall be upon his shoulders." Did you get that? The government shall be upon HIS shoulders! A perfect, loving, just King of kings will rule in peace.
Don't we all long for that?
Sometimes I tease the kids, "I won't be here much longer. You better be nice to me!" Or I might reverse it, "I better be nice to you so you don't push my wheelchair over a cliff!"
They laugh. "Oh, Mama! Stop that. You're not dying."
But I am. We all are. We're in the land of the dying, heading for the land of the living. I understand the phrase "living in the shadowlands" now. And I look forward to living in eternal Light.
Death is not always a morbid thought to me now. Thank you, Bert, for not only showing us how to live, but how to die. As my body ages or health issues come, I pray, "Lord, let them remind me that I was created for another world. Disease or even death is just my vehicle there, unless You return for me. Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus."