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Life. Death. Prayer. Grandma.

Heavenly Father, I come to You in a time of weakness, not of soul or spirit, but of body. Lord, I know You are a God of healing — of the deaf, of the blind, and even of the lame — and in this time of need, I ask You to extend that mercy once more. If it be Your will, heal this body, Your clay vessel for my soul. And Lord, if it be my time to go home, I ask that You receive me into Your arms, as Your daughter, through Your Son. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

I wrote this prayer a year ago (I think; it isn’t dated) for my grandmother. Her health has been deteriorating over the past couple of years, and despite the prognoses given her, she has survived ever longer. At the request of one of my aunts, I wrote this prayer out so that it may be prayed for Grandma daily, and as I understand it, it has been. And Grandma always enjoys the experience.

When I saw the family just recently, they explained that she has come to the point where she has expressed her readiness to die, to lie down and to simply “be done.” They asked for another prayer which would express that desire to go home to the Father, which with heaviness of heart I did for them.

I prayed it with Grandma before I left, and as with the previous prayer, she was grateful.

I know there are many Christians who dislike repeated prayers, and I understand that. Jesus did instruct us to not use “vain repetition,” after all. But if a prayer is done in faith through Jesus, it is not vain, even if it is repeated. And I have faith that Grandma is alive today because of the faith of those praying for her.

Interesting questions were brought up, though, concerning the personality of Grandma. In her current state of mind, is she the same person as she was before the bleeds? Where does that leave the state of her spirit?

I don’t claim to be intelligent enough to answer such questions. Philosphers have worked on them for thousands of years, and they probably will be for thousands more.

Instead, I offer what makes sense to me. In the short time I spent with Grandma, there was a sort of innocence in her understanding, as a child who has not yet known the troubles of the world. Most of her understanding had been lost (or suppressed?) by the physical problems, but there was still a peace and a hope that honestly blessed me. She knew enough to understand that she was passing through the valley of the shadow of death, so to speak. She knew enough to not worry about it.

A child lives with a simple faith. The knowledge of good and evil had not yet come. And I believe that an inward communion with God is present in the “very young,” just as there was between Adam & Eve with God before they lost innocence. I believe this same simple faith exists in all those who mentally never grasp the knowledge of good and evil, such as the mentally handicapped.

Perhaps that innocence is restored to those who, like Grandma, suffer brain damage. Now, I have every assurance that prior to her health problems she believed in Jesus Christ, so I have every assurance that should she have died years ago, she would be in Heaven today. But the understanding of the Christ has been lost. If she has knowledge of God, it is on the most basic of levels.

Whether he previous knowledge accounts for this or whether it is the result of innocence restored, I don’t know, but I cannot otherwise account for her peace with and acceptance of death. There is no fear in her that I could discern.

The fear of death is something with which I sometimes struggle, but it is people like my grandma who show forth the glory of God so magnificently that assurance grabs hold and refuses to let go.

The cares of this world preoccupy us, burdening our lives in a way which was not originally intended. But Grandma is cared for. What if the Church were like this?

“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ,” Paul admonishes in Galatians 6:2. In helping another, we no longer worry about ourselves. And in being helped, others will not need to worry. It doesn’t matter how small the burden is; if you can lift it for someone, maybe you should? Help out a little extra at work. Maintain a website for someone who simply wants a medium to teach. Give a little extra to the needy. Run errands for someone. Or feed & clothe those who cannot do so themselves.

“And so fulfill the law of Christ.”

I should also mention that while you are welcome to take the prayer above and use it yourself, do so in faith. Modify it for your situation. Make it personal. Don’t let it become a vanity. Life is full of enough of those as it is.

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