I started writing this while sitting in a hospital waiting area. Thankfully, there was a Starbucks in the building, so a very tall coffee sat next to me.
My one-year-old nephew went into the ER this past weekend. Once he was in a room, and I was able to see him, I was slightly taken aback. He was hooked up to so many things. And meds were being pumped into his little body. All to help him be more comfortable as they ran various tests.
It was hard looking at my little Buddy lying in a huge hospital bed. I couldn’t help but find myself thinking about my dad. Some eighteen years ago he was in and out of the hospital due to prostate cancer.
While staying overnight at the hospital one night, I sat watching Dad come in and out of consciousness. In the moments when it was clear he knew where he was and what was going on, we had conversations about faith. But most of the night I sat listening to the beeps and buzzes of the different machines hooked up to him.
It is at moments like this – sitting in a waiting room or looking at a loved one in an unimaginable situation – that the words to pray do not seem to come. No matter how hard you try, if you can even get to the place to try, the words do not come.
What I’ve learned over the years is that when there are no words, someone else prays. This was the case when Dad was fighting cancer. Friends surrounded me with their presence and their prayers. It was their prayers that carried me through the months of chemo and radiation. And it was their prayers that carried me through his death and to resurrection hope.
When there are no words, I have to let others pray.
This week I am thankful to my friend and colleague Renee Teague who came to the hospital and prayed with my family. I’m grateful for the people on the other side of my cell phone who received quick text messages, littered with typos, explaining what was happening.
And asking for prayers.
And I’m thankful for those prayers. So, friends, I’ll pray for you when there are no words.