My #oneword for this year is ‘pray’.
It is not what I was expecting, but as I’m quickly learning, it’s not a word which is accompanied by quite what you may expect or be ready for.
For those of you who followed my previous blog, you may recall that I spent a year or two writing about my #oneword diary style – The Hope Diaries carried me through 2014 and into 2015. I want to write about this word in the same way.
I don’t have much time at the moment, in fact right at this minute I need to go to bed, but I just wanted to start this diary. I’ve had a few unexpected outcomes of the word already and I want to share just one tonight.
I’m reading Pete Greig’s book ‘Dirty Glory’ and in it he writes about how prayer brings us into the presence of God, and from that how that presence goes with us. As I read my bible on Sunday morning and prayed – the kind of prayer that has me telling God that I want whatever He wants and that I just want more of his presence, I got a response.
‘Pray with Geoff’. What ????? ‘Pray with Geoff’.
Geoff is my father in law. My father in law who we were going to see that day. My atheist father in law with whom I’ve never discussed faith and I would never before have dreamed of praying with him.
I laughed. God cracks me up sometimes. As soon as I say ‘Ok. I’m all yours’ God is right in there with some instructions.
In the car on the way there I told my husband.
He was pretty surprised. He thought it was a bit crazy and he thought his father would say no ( part of the plan was that I would ask him if I could pray with him, rather than just launch in).
We arrived and usually I delay before going to see Geoff He’s been bed bound for over a year. There’s a smell in his room that makes me gag. I struggle to understand what he says. I feel awkward. I don’t know what to say. I’m sad and I don’t know how to deal with that. If I manage to sit with him for ten minutes I’m doing well.
Sunday I went straight up to his room. I couldn’t get there soon enough. I didn’t notice any smell. I talked. He talked to me. We laughed together. I popped downstairs to collect the present I’d brought him – it was his birthday. When I returned to his room I noticed the smell briefly and then it seemed to go. I fed him Turkish Delight and joked about keeping contraband sweets under his pillow.
and then I asked. Can I pray with you?
I held his long fingers in my hand. He tightened them around me; the strength increasing in his grip on my hand as I prayed. I thanked God for this man. For the husband, father, grandfather, father in law and friend he has been. For the good he has done. For the person he is. And I prayed that he would know how much he is loved by God.
That’s what he said when I finished.
I stayed with him for almost two hours. We managed together to remember the name of a book that he wants me to read to him. He ate more Turkish Delight, and then I said goodbye.
I am quite sure that it was the presence of God which changed that room into a place where I could stay without difficulty for two hours. His fragrance was with me, because I went into the room intent on sharing the presence of God with my father in law. I don’t understand how that happened, but I’m sure that it did. As we drove home my husband said,’wasn’t the smell terrible today?’. He couldn’t believe that it hadn’t bothered me at all. I told him that I was going to be weird but I thought that God had come into the room with me and so I didn’t notice the smell. He didn’t disagree.
So – it’s only 17th January and that’s where the word has taken me so far. I’ll keep you updated.