Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Paralyzed Prayers and Borrowed Faith

My parents live around 1500 miles away from me. This makes for a good long distance phone plan and lots of letters (complete with stickers and little doodles) from mom. A few weeks ago I was phoning to check up on my mom because she had been battling pneumonia and really wasn't feeling well. Our conversation was short because she was tired but she did say that she felt the sickest she had ever been but thought she might be getting a little better. Around 24 hours later I received a call from my uncle saying that she had been rushed to the hospital and was critically ill.

The next few days, my home was filled with hospital jargon like;

life support
oxygen levels
and chest x-rays.

I felt as if I was on the phone constantly - updating and being updated. Every time the phone rang my heart pounded a little harder - hoping that it wasn't bad news. Sometimes the details of my daily routine would give a little distraction but anxiety was just rolling beneath the surface. Every now and then the littlest thing would cause that anxiety to well up into a sob. Small, every day things like cooking, folding clothes, putting away groceries, coloring with my son - would bring back childhood memories of my mom and I would feel overwhelmed with a mixture of fear and unbelief.

If I can be honest, in those few weeks of not knowing and worry, I felt as if my prayer life was paralyzed. I felt as if I couldn't even form the words to express the depth of need. I could lose my mother. The one who had longed for me and loved me unconditionally from the moment she saw me. The one who had rocked and sang me to sleep. The one who had triumphed in my first steps. Chased me around with a spoon full of vegetables. Combed the knots out my curly hair. Taught me "Round and Round the Garden" on the palm of my hand. Pointed out pretty things like flowers and kittens. Told me about Jesus. Took me to Sunday School. Let me "help" with the laundry. Taught me my ABC's. Told me about boys. Encouraged me to sing. Told me I was beautiful. Prayed for me. Let me go. Sent countless letters and packages. Loved my husband like a son. Loved my boys - her delight. Yes, I was paralyzed at the thought of losing her and words for prayer wouldn't come.

Two things became clear during that time. First, that the Holy Spirit is a reader of hearts. Romans 8:26 says;

"In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spiri
t himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express" (NIV).

Sobs into my cleaning closet were heard by Him and brought to God's throne. He is in the midst of our groans, our tears, and our cries - He translates them into prayers that words cannot express.

Secondly, I felt the strength of the faith and prayers of other believers. In Romans 15:30, Paul writes, "I urge you, brothers, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to join me in my struggle by praying to God for me"(NIV). Paul called on his friends for the power of their faith. It held him up and helped fight his battle.

With my prayers so paralyzed I felt strength from others when they would say that they were praying for my mom. I felt as if I borrowed from their faith. It's no wonder that God calls us a Body - working together - helping each other - compensating for others weaknesses.

I am happy to say that today my mom has been transferred to a hospital that is closer to home. She is breathing on her own and free of disease. She will spend the next few weeks recuperating and gaining back strength. It is a pleasure to talk to her each day and hear her speak of her faith and God's presence in her life. We look forward to seeing her, in person, soon.


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