Well, we have been without internet service for most of the day and evening, so this is a quick post (don't I ALWAYS say that?) since my highschoolers have to get on to do their homework. Once again, I marvel that I got through grade school, high school, and college with nothing more potent than an electric Smith-Corona that resembled a chocolate Chunky bar.
Anyway, Punxatatawney Phil is already vindicated here in northern Illinois with his 'six more weeks of winter' prediction...it has snowed ALL day long.
But, I digress...
Today, for the second day in a row, Bill went to visit a friend in the hospital here. Exactly our age. With kids the ages of our kids. We haven't seen him in quite some time, and were never really close...but had spent some time with him and his wife some years back...
He is a patient now because of advanced liver disease due to alcoholism. Bill says he looks 20 years older than his chronological age. We have no idea what the prognosis is, let alone what his outlook is emotionally, physically, or spiritually.
Bill visited with him briefly, and he managed to get his hand out from under the sheet to hold Bill's while Bill prayed for him. It is a long and tortuous road that brings someone to the point that this man is at now, and he has traveled a long way in not so many years. We have no way of knowing if this man felt strengthened or encouraged in any way by that prayer. It was raised out of trust and obedience.
Today, Bill said he looked better and was talking on the phone, which requires at least a little energy.
Just a few minutes ago, I was catching up on my e-mail and found another church prayer request. A lot of times, I don't know the person that the request is about. But, this time, I did.
It seems that when it comes to our moments of crisis, and moments of prayer, the perceived reality can vary. I have experienced times when I prayed for others and not only "knew", but "felt" I was being heard by the One I addressed in prayer.
I have had my own moments, whether as a hospital patient or in moments of emotional extremity, where my anxiety or pain seemed to blot out anything else, while I prayed on. I have times, as probably everyone does, when it seems pointless to pray--usually because my focus is downward and my trust is frayed.
But I've also had moments, and I pray this for the individuals referenced above, and their loved ones, when I both Felt and Knew. I knew we were being lifted in prayer, and I felt an inexplicable security and certainty that I new to be the fruit of the prayers of others.
Feelings, as we all know, come and go; they can't be trusted to bring you through the deep water. "We walk by faith, not by sight." [can't remember the reference now].
But there must be some kind of circular path there...the memories of that peace that passes understanding have buttressed my faith for the next time....