When my daughter was in sixth grade, she was hospitalized for a life-threatening illness. Nothing I have ever experienced before or since has felt scarier than that. With our daughter’s care in the hands of the medical community, my husband and I turned toward the church community and God for help.
Simply put, we could not have managed without the support of family, friends, and church. Knowing that clergy and parishioners were praying weekly, and sometimes daily, for our daughter’s recovery was a tremendous comfort. It was powerful, and it worked! That difficult period intensified and personalized my relationship with God.
Now when worry and fear overcome me, I remind myself that we are Trinitarian creatures, made in God’s image; we are mind, body, and spirit. Because worry is such a problem for me, and it’s often visceral, I usually have to start with my body. First, I start with breathing – I do breath counts. I also have visual reminders of God all over my house – sacred art, sculptures, and small crosses that keep me focused and calm my body. Then I repeat memorized, often imperfectly so, verses of scripture or prayers.
2 Corinthians 12:9. “My power is made perfect in weakness.”
Ephesians 6:10. “Put on the full armor of God.”
Hebrews 11:1. “Walk by faith, not by sight.”
The rhythm and mantra of prayers like ‘The Lord’s Prayer’ have been prayed by the faithful and desperate throughout the ages, and they focus my mind, too. And slowly, slowly, I can be emptied of “self” and allow the Holy Spirit of wisdom and comfort to soothe and guide me. That’s on a good day.
I also have lots of bad days when I yell at my kids because I’m anxious and stressed about something, but I keep working at it. Those fleeting moments of that peace which passes all understanding can sustain me if I seek them and let them in.
So often we want our prayers answered immediately, but that isn’t the way it works in God’s Kingdom. We need the patience, foresight, and mindset to keep praying, obeying, giving, loving, and serving God. If we sow the right seeds, the harvest of blessing will come in God’s time, in God’s way.
Do you pray without fear?
And let us not grow weary in well-doing, for in due season we shall reap, if we do not lose heart.
Galatians 6:9 RSV