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As a Child

It was Saturday evening when my mother-in-law, who lived in Southern California, telephoned to say that the ambulance was at their home. My father-in-law had suffered a stroke. He wasn’t able to speak. She would call us back when she knew more. We were living on the Oregon Coast and the last flight for the only airline had already departed. The next morning with our three kids loaded into the car, I dropped my husband off at the airport so he could be with his parents. Checking my watch I decided it made sense to take the kids out to breakfast and then head to the mall. You see, I needed to find something appropriate to wear to the funeral. The kids were excited about breakfast, but not so much about going to the mall. By the time we arrived back at home, it was time for a late lunch. As I finished putting the food on the table and sat down, my daughter stated with seven year old determination, “We need to pray that Grandpa gets well.”

My heart sank as I thought of the prospects that it wasn’t likely to happen. Carefully I explained that Grandpa was very sick and he probably wouldn’t get better.

“Well, I can still pray about it, can’t I?” was her reply. She knew exactly what she wanted to pray about — and that prayer was answered.  He lived, with some disability for another five and a half years. She knew what words she wanted to pray and would not be convinced otherwise. I thought of the contrast between my shopping for something to wear to the funeral and her prayer request. And I felt ashamed. Where had my faith been?

The truth is that I don’t always know what to pray for. Romans 8:26 gives me encouragement. “In certain ways we are weak, but the Spirit is here to help us. For example, when we don’t know what to pray for, the Spirit prays for us in ways that cannot be put into words” (CEV).

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About Joy Brunt Veverka

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