Saturday, November 5, 2011

The Power of Prayer

Even though the sun was shining and it was an absolutely gorgeous fall day, it was a bit gloomy.  My mind and heart were heavy, thinking about my stepdad's family.  Loss is never easy, even when age or illness somewhat prepares us for it.  And although there is sadness in his passing, there are moments of thanksgiving.  Dallas lay in ICU for nearly a week, with a grim prognosis from his strokes.  The alternative to death was not a life he would have wanted.  It's a blessing his family won't have to watch him suffer, and that he won't be trapped in a shell of who he was, especially when we know where he is now.

"Prayer may not change things for you,
but it for sure changes you for things."

That knowledge though doesn't take the hurt away.  Dallas was a husband, father, papaw, friend, and anyone who knew him feels the absence of his smiling face and positive spirit.  The only thing I know to do in loss, is to pray about it.  When there are no words to comfort, I know a prayer is the best gift I can give to others.  And asking for prayers from others for the family is such an easy request but one I know has great impact.  I've been on the receiving end of so many prayers - from friends, family and even strangers - and I know the power they have and bring.  Even when prayers seem unanswered, peace is provided.

"The greatest thing anyone can do for God or man is pray." 

Throughout the day, I've spent a lot of time both in prayer and thinking about prayers.  Prayers are my thankful reflection today.  Today, I'm thankful for prayers...from the connection it gives to God and the relationship formed, the strength it provides, the peace that comes just at needed moments. And I'm ever grateful to those willing to pause and bow their heads for my family. Words can't express the feeling to be held by prayers.

I was reminded this evening of a favorite scripture that I found and memorized several years ago. 

"Be joyful always; pray continually;
give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you." 

These verses had such meaning to me that I wrote them on an index card and hung over my sun visor.  It was shortly after my wreck, at a point where I was feeling sorry for myself.  The passage became my mantra, reminding me that I still had so much to be thankful for, despite the valley I was in at the time.  This started deeper conversations with God, as I found myself praying more in thanks and less in need.  If I was willing to accept the good in life, how could I not face the bad as well? 

Don't pray when it rains if you don't pray when the sun shines.

Prayer is not a "spare wheel" that we pull out when in trouble,
but it is a "steering wheel" that directs the right path throughout.

Looking back I see how that period strengthened me for what was to come.  The prayerful conversations I had with God built a foundation of faith that would guide me through my darkest points.  Even when I didn't have the strength to form sentences, after losing Austin, I knew I could still lean on God.  At the points I coudln't pray for myself, the prayers from others carried me through. 
"Prayer has comforted us in sorrow and will help strengthen us for the journey ahead."

So, that's how I'll face the next few days.  Not knowing what else to offer my grieving family, I will pray.  And I'm grateful that help is always just a moment and a bowed head away.


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