Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Praying "For" Someone

My mother-in-law suffers quietly from brain atrophy that has progressed to the point where she can no longer communicate. Her condition is now such that she cannot comprehend sitting up or eating. She's been under hospice care for almost a year and is now being transferred into a nursing home. This last Saturday was the last time I was able to try to help her get up and eat. But she just couldn't manage it.

Her face was constantly going in and out of grimaces, occasionally accompanied by jerks and twitches of pain. I turned to God and asked what to do. The answer was to pray for her. So I closed my eyes held her hand, and prayer to God for mercy on her. As I was praying for her my hand that was holding hers grew tense, then my arm, then my chest. I let go and tried to start over again. God was telling me to pray for her, but I had the hardest time. I thought I was doing the right thing until all of a sudden it hit me like a brick. I was supposed to be praying FOR her, not about her...not in intercession, but in her stead!

I asked God to forgive my ignorance and prayed as if I were she. I held her hand, put my other hand on her head, and lifted up the prayers that she would pray if she still knew how. In that process God granted a little miracle. As I prayed in her stead, I grew drawn, tense, and quaking in the Holy Spirit. I prayed like this for two hours, stopping to regain my composure and wipe my sweat 3 times. Then it was time to stop.

I looked at Maw's face and it had changed from one blanketed in agony to one of radiance and joy. Her glistening eyes were like that of an infant. Her twitching had stopped. She smiled, looked right through me, then closed her eyes. I knew then that God heard her prayers. Her pain was gone and she had peace.

She'll be going home soon. Of all the wonderful things she has done for me in her life, allowing me to converse with God in her stead was one of the most humbling and meaningful things I've ever experienced. Seeing her happy when all the medicine and caring staff failed to bring her relief provided me with this testimony glorifying Our Heavenly Father, in the name of Jesus Christ, through the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen.


flyawaynet said...

Thank you for this post. That's a concept I had never considered before. Praying for someone.

Mark H said...

That's simply beautiful.

In a similar, but not entirely identical, vein, I've come to realise that we need to pray WITH people. There is a power in agreeing together. There is a communication beyond words when we look into each others faces instead of closing our eyes out of habit (a habit which I sometimes feel implies God is distant). I'm not talking about something romantic or sissy, I'm talking about the encouraging look that says "come on!" and the acknowledgement of hearts open to God. It's you and I with God together, seeking agreement, and more often than not we need to express that in a way that I don't think two pairs of closed eyes ever can.

Art said...

Moving post, Marty. Praying for, with and on behalf of people are all valid ways of praying I think. It just depends on the situation. Prayers ascending for you, your wife and your mother-in-law.

DannyG said...


Ronald Ovitt said...

Thank you Marty for sharing your testimony of your Spiritual Gifts of Healing and Miracles on www.spiritualgifts.wordpress.com
I truat that God will touch others with your words. I really like your blog.
God Bless
Ron Ovitt

Brother Marty said...

Thank you for your responses and encouragement. My wife is especially challenged right now and her mother's situation is really draining her emotionally. Flyaway, Mark, Art, DannyG, Ronald, your comments and encouragement are greatly welcomed as we go down a road that is so sad and difficult. We pray that Our Lord sees fit to welcome Maw's presence into his heavenly kingdom as soon as possible.

Stace said...

Marty, I know some of what you and your family is going through right now. Praying for you all.

Brother Marty said...

Thank you, Stace.
I know your situation and I thank you for your comments on mine. I stand humbled by my wife and her wrestlings...and mine are with her.
Thank you so much.
We are so humbled by this circumstance.

Vicki said...

Beautifully written, Marty, and what an inspirational concept! Thank you for the enlightenment, and may God give you and your family His peace.

smkyqtzxtl said...

I have been praying for "insight" and wisdom about healing and I hear the Lord speaking to you and through you. I am going to copy and forward this post on to a pastor couple I know who have a Healing ministry locally with those who are mentally opressed and afflicted. Thank you for shring this with all of us, the body of Christ. What a blessing.

smkyqtzxtl said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
TN Rambler said...

This is an absolutely beautiful post about a way of praying that I had never considered. The description of your mother-in-law's reaction brought tears to my eyes while it warmed my heart.

My prayers for strength to deal with this illness and the draining effect that it is having on your family are being raised. May you all experience the glorious presence of our Lord and the peace that passes all understanding that his presence brings.


Brother Marty said...

It is difficult to explain my joy and wonder for you all here, and now, at this difficult time in our lives. I just want to say thank you.
Period...just thank you.
I so very much appreciate your thoughtfulness.