Tag Archive | praying for others

I should have known better …

Marian at desk2Last Tuesday I did something really dumb. As a 65-year-old, I should have known better. The day started out fine. I spent the morning working on my computer in my home office. I was working on a mailing to promote my new book, Come, Lord Jesus, Be Our Guest. I knew I just had the morning to work, so I got right to work and was very focused and efficient.

In the afternoon I had an eye doctor appointment in Madison. Although the drive should be about half an hour, Mim and I allowed an hour, anticipating road construction. We arrived 25 minutes early. Apparently, the clinic was ahead of schedule, so less than 10 minutes after I checked in, I was taken back to the exam room, where all the preliminary questions, testing, and eye drops were taken care of. Then I waited and waited and waited. After more than 90 minutes of waiting, I was moved to another exam room to wait a little longer. As a nice gesture, Mim and I were offered a cup of coffee, which we accepted. (I think that was the first dumb thing I did that day.) Finally the eye doctor came, examined my eyes, and said everything was looking good and I should come back in a year, unless I had any more flare-ups like I’d had a few months ago.

mocha freezeSo Mim and I left, just in time to hit the beginning of rush hour. We went to Staples to get some envelopes for my mailing, and then we drove to Costco. It was a classic hot, humid summer day. We were both craving a mocha freeze, one of Costco’s specialty drinks. They are so refreshing! We needed a few items that we always get at Costco anyway, so going home via Costco seemed like a smart idea, not the dumb one that it actually was. I knew I had already had a cup of coffee at the eye doctor, so another cup of caffeine would not be a good idea. But those mocha freezes are so good I couldn’t resist. We sipped on the mochas as we wandered through the store.

We made one more quick stop at a grocery store on our way home, and got home about 6:30. We skipped supper. We weren’t hungry because of all the samples we’d snacked on at Costco. I spent the next hour cleaning out my email inbox. Then I put on TV to just relax for a couple hours before going to bed.

By 10:00 I wasn’t very sleepy yet, but I went to bed anyway. I knew the alarm would go off at 5:00 a.m. That’s the time we need to give our resident her first pills of the day. It’s also the best time to go for a vigorous walk, our usual morning exercise routine.

By 11:00 p.m., I was really regretting my caffeine indulgences of the afternoon. I tried to make good use of my wide-awake time in bed. I prayed for Mim. I prayed for my brother Danny and his family. I prayed for all my nieces and nephews. I prayed for Maria, the woman in prison I wrote about a few weeks ago.

By midnight I told myself that if I wasn’t asleep by 12:30 I’d get up and read the novel I had started to read a few days ago. By 12:30 I got up and read until 3:00. By then I was beginning to get sleepy.

By 3:30 I was back in bed and playing some of my favorite hymns on the piano in my mind.

By 5:00 when the radio alarm clock came on, I had finally gotten to sleep, but I woke up enough to listen to the news. Then I got up. I decided to skip my morning walk. The heat index was already 86 degrees at 5:00 in the morning!

Then this amazing thing happened. Before starting to work on my mailing project again, I read from my devotional books. One of them is Sarah Young’s newest book, Jesus Today. In this book, she writes in the same style as her other book, Jesus Calling, writing as though Jesus is speaking directly to the reader. Listen to what I read that morning:

Jesus Today coverRemember Me on your bed; think of Me through the watches of the night. When you are wakeful during the night, thoughts can fly at you from all directions. Unless you take charge of them, you are likely to become anxious. Your best strategy is to think about Me during your night watches. Start communicating with Me about whatever is on your mind. Cast all your anxiety on Me because I care for you. I am taking care of you! This makes it possible for you to relax and rejoice in the shadow of My wings.

When you remember Me during the night, think about who I really am. Ponder My perfections: My Love, Joy, and Peace. Rejoice in My majesty, wisdom, grace, and mercy. Find comfort in My names: Shepherd, Savior, Immanuel, Prince of Peace. Be awed by My Power and Glory, for I am King of kings and Lord of lords. Thus you worship Me and enjoy My Presence. These thoughts of Me will clear your mind – helping you see things from My perspective – and refresh your entire being. (p. 188)

Next time I can’t sleep at night, I’ll still pray for everyone who comes to mind, but I’ll also try to think more about who God really is. I think I was getting on track with that when I was playing those favorite hymns on the piano in my mind. I guess I’ll do more of that.

Or, maybe I’ll learn not to drink more than one cup of caffeine in the afternoon. But if I succumb to the temptation of a mocha freeze, at least I know a better way to spend the wide-awake hours of the night.

Marian-Abbey faces bronze

Abbey agrees –
I should have known better, but at least I’ll know better for next time.

Maria’s Story – Part 2

Another conversation with Abbey

Another conversation with Abbey

When I came home from playing the piano for the Women’s Worship Service at the county jail last Thursday, Abbey met me at the door. “Did you see Maria?” she asked. “Did Maria come to worship?”

“No, Abbey,” I replied. “Maria has already been transferred to the women’s prison in northeastern Wisconsin. That’s where she’ll serve her 13-year sentence for killing her little boy.”

“I’m sorry you didn’t get to see her again, Mom.”

“Even though I won’t be seeing her every month like I have for the last couple years, I won’t forget about her. And, like you suggested last week, Abbey, we can keep praying for her.”

“That’s right, Mom. I’m sure going to keep praying for her. I want God to keep her safe, and help her remember how much she is loved, and help her be an example of God’s presence in prison.”

“You know, Abbey, lots of people are praying for Maria. After last week’s blog post, several people responded on the blog saying they will pray for her. Others told me on Facebook, and some sent me emails. I told the chaplain in jail about all the people who are praying for Maria. The chaplain said she has printed out the blog along with the reader comments and she is going to mail it to Maria in prison. She expects Maria will be quite encouraged when she reads the blog and the comments.”

“That’s good. I hope she gets it soon. I bet the first few days in prison are especially hard for her. She is completely surrounded by strangers – the people she will live with for many years. I wonder if any of them will be friendly – like most of us dogs are.”

“I’m afraid I don’t know, Abbey. But that’s something else we can pray for – that she’ll make some good friends quickly. That reminds me, Abbey. I just finished reading a book entitled 10 Prayers You Can’t Live Without, and subtitled, How to Talk to God about Anything.  It was written by Rick Hamlin and was published this year by Guideposts in New York. It’s a wonderful book!”

“Oh, how I wish I could read. You talk about so many good books, Mom. Tell me about this one.”

“Well, there’s a separate chapter for each of the 10 prayers. The chapters are:10 Prayers

  1. Pray at Mealtime
  2. Prayer as Conversation
  3. Pray for Others
  4. Praying the Lord’s Prayer
  5. Praying for Forgiveness
  6. Pray through a Crisis
  7. Sing Your Prayer
  8. A Classic Prayer to Focus Your Thoughts
  9. Pray in Thanksgiving at All Times
  10. Pray Yes

“Each chapter is filled with stories from the author’s life or from other people’s lives about why or when that particular kind of prayer was extra important for them.”

“I bet that book was fun to read with all those personal stories.”

“It sure was, Abbey. It was very inspiring. Now that you and I are talking about praying for Maria, the chapter on praying for others (chapter 3) is very relevant. I’m sure God cares about Maria whether we pray for her, or not. But you know what really happens, Abbey, when we pray for someone? Listen to what Hamlin said in the middle of that chapter:

Prayer expands your world. You learn to care about people you would never have known otherwise, and you find out what makes them tick. You grow in your ability to love…[p. 53]

“We ourselves benefit, Abbey, by praying for others. And the person we pray for benefits, too. Later in this chapter the author talks about Bob and Lee Woodruff. Bob was the ABC News anchor who was seriously injured in the Iraq war.

You don’t go through something like that without being changed. For Lee she gained a new understanding of the power of prayer. When she was weak, when she was struggling, when she feared she was at the end of her rope, others were thoughtful enough to pray for her. They covered for her. They gave her strength. [p. 66]

“Wow! I get it, Mom. Just think of how Maria must feel if she knows that all of us care about her enough to pray for her. That must make her feel good, even though she knows she has many years of rough times ahead of her.”

“I think you’re right, Abbey.”

“Let’s see, God wants me to pray for others. That kind of prayer is a benefit to the person prayed for and it’s a benefit to me, too. Will you tell me about some of the other kinds of prayers in that book sometime?”

“I’ll try, Abbey. But meanwhile, we have a perfect opportunity to practice this kind of prayer by praying for Maria.”

“That’s true, Mom. AND, I can think of some other people I want to pray for, too. I’m going to start right now …”

Abbey eyes closed-praying