Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Evolution of Prayer (mine to be specific) - part 1

Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep.......

Bless us, O Lord, for these thy gifts.......
"Why do we freeze the gifts?", my sister wanted to know.

Dear God, Please help me ace this test. Amen

These were the prayers of my childhood. In the years after I grew up and moved out of my family home, I don't remember exactly what shape my prayer life took. I mostly remember either saying prayers of thanksgiving or intercessory prayers (not that I knew what that word meant at the time).

I thought it was much better to pray for someone else rather than for yourself, which at the time seemed a little self-centered to me. There was no notion of "praying without ceasing" in my life.

Fast forward several years. Steve and I were a young couple, married only 4 years when we got a phone call that would rock our world and kick our prayer life into gear. His mother (Beema to our kids) had cancer. Although, we had been praying with our two kiddos (age 2 &4) at meals and bedtime, our personal prayers had always been private. That's how we were both raised to pray. The news that came over the phone line spurred us to pray out loud together for the first time. Afterwards, we continued to mostly offer up silent prayers for God to take care of Steve's mom.

One month after receiving Beema's diagnosis, our little family of four headed north, from Nashville to Baltimore. I stayed with my family while Steve continued on to New York to be with his Mom during surgery. We were all relieved to finally hear that all went well during surgery, the cancer was contained and Beema was "as good as new."

It seemed our prayers had been answered! After the good news had sunk in, my Mom took me aside and casually mentioned that she was going to have a surgery too. Exploratory surgery. She'd been having a little pain that she attributed to a golf injury, but since it hadn't healed, the doctors wanted to take a look. She hadn't even planned to tell me, but her best friend talked her into it and told my Mom that I'd probably want to be there. So, surprise - my Mom was having surgery a day before I headed back to Nashville.

Since her doctors apparently weren't too alarmed, neither was I. Although the pain was in her rib area, there was no reason to expect anything dramatic to be going on. My mom had no risk factors for anything lung related and she certainly didn't have any risk factors for lung cancer, other than the fact that she had lungs.

Steve took the kids that day, while my family and I hung out at the hospital, reading, joking around and enjoying our next to last day together. The mood in the waiting room shifted immediately when the doctor entered. He was a big, jovial, red-headed guy, but the look on his face, when he entered that room, told us everything we needed to know. Not only did my mom have lung cancer, but it was very advanced and the prognosis wasn't good.

This was my mom who ate more broccoli than anyone I knew. My mom who never smoked a day in her life and never lived with a smoker either. My mom who was my best friend, who adored my husband and thought her two grandchildren hung the moon. This was not going the way I had planned it and at that moment, prayer was the last thing on my mind. What was God thinking!

To be continued.......

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