July 25, 2022
“When you pray, say: ‘Father, uphold the holiness of your name.
Bring in your kingdom. Give us the bread we need for today.
Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who has wronged us.
And don’t lead us into temptation.’” Luke 11:2b-4 CEB
I was reminded of Anne Lamott’s book Help, Thanks, Wow: The Three Essential Prayers last week when a dear friend and member of our congregation passed away. Janet was the clean-up prayer in two different groups of which she was a member. When the leader would ask if someone would volunteer to close in prayer, everyone else would look down to avoid eye contact with the leader, lest they be called upon to pray.
But not Janet. She would ask if there were prayer requests or praises, and then like the clean-up batter in baseball she would drive all those prayers that were stuck on base home. Janet prayed like she approached the rest of life. Her prayers were direct. She would open prayer with “Dear Heavenly Father,” taking at face value that she was one of God’s children, as were those for whom she prayed. She didn’t use fancy or flowery words, but simple words like “Help this person who is sick.” “Thanks for the COVID vaccine.” “What a beautiful sunset.”
Janet didn’t just pray. She put her prayers into action despite being homebound and a double leg amputee. She took on the ministry of personally writing cards to everyone in the congregation for birthdays, wedding anniversaries, graduations, and at times of bereavement, with severely arthritic fingers and even after losing one. She hand-folded hundreds of bookmarks for children. She made phone calls. She prepared food for potlucks and had her husband deliver them to the church building. All these she enveloped with her simple, direct prayers. Just like Jesus taught his disciples.
Help! One of our dear friends is gone. Thanks! Janet set an example of living well despite the odds. Wow! She’s with her dear Heavenly Father. ~ Anne