Tim Tebow did it. Maybe we should too. Pray when you feel the need for strength and when the situation requires more than you can do on your own. …
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Tim Tebow did it. Maybe we should too.
Pray when you feel the need for strength and when the situation
requires more than you can do on your own. Reach out to the source
that is greater than you are. Call on the divine to help with your
problems, give wisdom in your decisions, fill you with courage when
resistance challenges and heal the injuries and infirmities in body
Being a Broncos fan and a man of faith this football season was
a fascinating combination. Most people did not believe God was a
football fan or that he cared about the outcome of the game, but it
was hard to argue that Tim Tebow was strengthened and focused by
his prayer in a way that helped him exceed expectations and
transcend the value of the game.
I do not know what Tim prayed during the game, and to me that is
not the point. For many years I have read books on how to pray and
heard sermons and lessons that taught patterns revealed in the
Lord’s Prayer and prayers the Apostle Paul prayed for the
Christians of the New Testament. Maybe everybody has not made the
same mistake I have, but I would often get focused on the technique
and forget about the privilege of prayer and the power that comes
from just reaching out to God.
An experience in one of the nicest retirement/assisted
living/nursing homes in the area gave me a picture of prayer. I was
making a hospice call in the early morning hours to a patient who
had just died. Their family had said their final good-byes and
left. As is the practice with my hospice, I stayed with the patient
until the mortuary arrived to take him into their care. Waiting for
an hour in the lobby of a floor for Alzheimer and dementia patients
at 3 am is usually a sad and uncomfortable experience, but this
time was unusual.
Half a country away, my mother was in a nursing home. The week
before my father, died she began experiencing dementia for the
first time. Dad’s declining condition from acute leukemia meant
mom’s needs exceeded dad’s abilities to care for her. It was a
painful time filled with decisions that were necessary but painful.
My mother was a wonderful person who served her family with
tireless enthusiasm, which gave us so much love and pleasure. Her
separation from dad and in a demented state for two months before
her passing, brought a grief worse than death.
In an awkward moment, an elderly women was bent over slightly so
she could stare straight into my eyes from just a few inches away.
“Can I help you?” I asked. Her eyes were bright but she could not
get the words out. Because of HIPPA confidentiality issues, I did
not know her condition, but it was apparent that she was demented.
All sense of time is lost with the breakdown of mental function and
it is not unusual for these patients to wander the halls at all
hours. My mother rarely slept at night and would tootle around in
her wheel chair trying to make sense of a world that was radically
different and confused to her.
I decided to treat this woman the way I would want someone to
treat my mother so I offered her a seat and gave her my undivided
attention. We looked each other in the eye, smiled a lot and tried
to talk. She would speak a garbled mess of words and I would try to
figure out what she was trying to say. It turned out that it did
not matter that we did not connect on content. After about fifteen
minutes something happened. Her face brightened and she smiled
broadly and I felt a warm contentment in my chest. Without words
there was a breakthrough of love and caring.
Prayer is a lot like that except the chairs are switched. I am
the one who is demented in my efforts to communicate to the deity.
Rarely do I know exactly the words to say. But the other side of
prayer is that God listens with attentiveness that defies
explanation and when I know he is listening I experience a powerful
connection that helps me. Sometimes my problem goes away, other
times I experience strength to fight but often the blessing of
prayer is enough. It worked for Tim and it does for me. So I’m
going to keep doing it.
Dan Hettinger is founder of the Jakin Group, a ministry of
encouragement and chaplain with Hospice of Saint John. Contact him
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