A PATTERN OF PRAYER — PART 2

Relief print of Daniel’s prayer by Edward Poynter, 1865. Daniel 6 describes how Daniel prayed even though threatened with death, while Daniel 9 records a prayer that he prayed.
(from Prayer in the Hebrew Bible)

Why haven’t I been blogging? Loss and grief are common problems, and I have been experiencing loss and grief. My lady has Alzheimer’s Disease. For the time being, if I can help her then I have more than enough to do.

Do I have any desire to blog about my wife’s problems or my sorrows? Should I? Alzheimer’s is common enough, but we generally put the people who have it in institutions and hide them away. Perhaps that is unavoidable. Home health care is an expensive proposition. Also, we have just begun to understand that diseases of mind are little different from other diseases. That is, instead of laughing at the mentally ill, we should be more empathetic, realizing we could very easily experience a similar illness. So, I suppose I could share my burden and help some people by sharing my experiences. However, that is not what this blog is about, and I am not ready for it.

So, what is this post about? Well, it is not the adaption of Daniel 9 I expected to write in Part 2 of this series. It is a reply to the folks who commented upon my last post, directorfsmMichael WilsonRiver Dixoninsanitybytes22scatterwisdomDoug, and Silence of Mind. Thank you for your prayers and your observations.

The last comment, from Silence of Mind, is the one that best states the question this quote addresses..

We know not ought how we should pray. ~Saint Paul

That’s why God gave us the Bible. Here is more from Saint Paul from 2 Timothy 3-16:

“16 Everything in the scripture has been divinely inspired, and has its uses; to instruct us, to expose our errors, to correct our faults, to educate us in holy living;”

Recently, I asked the members of a men’s club I belong to, “What is the protocol for dealing with grief?”

The answer was crickets.

HTTPS://CITIZENTOM.WORDPRESS.COM/2022/02/16/A-PATTERN-OF-PRAYER-PART-1/#COMMENT-102390

What is the protocol for dealing with grief? The Bible most certainly touches upon the subject of grief. Consider how Isaiah 53 and Psalm 22 describe the suffering the Messiah would experience. Consider how the four Gospels, MatthewMarkLuke, and John, describe the suffering Jesus did experience. Consider that many of the Psalms are laments.

Lament is a major theme in the Bible and particularly in the book of Psalms. To lament is to express deep sorrow, grief, or regret. The psalms of lament are beautiful poems or hymns expressing human struggles. The psalms of lament comprise the largest category of psalms, making up about one third of the entire book of Psalms. These psalms are prayers that lay out a troubling situation to the Lord and make a request for His help.

(WHAT ARE THE PSALMS OF LAMENT? (WWW.GOTQUESTIONS.ORG))

What is the protocol for dealing with grief — with loss? Prayer. The psalms are songs. The psalms are also prayers. When we pray out of loss and grief, we seek the will of God.

  • What is our Lord’s purpose?
  • What does our Lord want us to do?
  • What lesson should we learn?
  • We remember our Lord’s gifts and thank Him.
  • We request that our Lord end our suffering and pain for the sake of His glory because we are His people.
  • And so forth.

Consider what the Bible says about suffering in the Book of Hebrews.

Hebrews 12:4-11 New American Standard Bible

You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin; and you have forgotten the exhortation which is addressed to you as sons,

“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord,

Nor faint when you are punished by Him;

For whom the Lord loves He disciplines,

And He punishes every son whom He accepts.”

It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits, and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness. For the moment, all discipline seems not to be pleasant, but painful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterward it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.

It is a frightening thought. God disciplines us. God is sovereign. He allows every awful thing that happens to us to happen, and those awful things are part of His plan for our lives. Yet it is also a consoling thought. Our suffering is not pointless. It has a purpose. Even the suffering of my lady and my sorrow and my grief has a purpose. In some way I do not yet entirely understand, God allows us to suffer to achieve a greater purpose that is for our benefit. And so we pray for wisdom and understanding that we might in time find joy even in our suffering.

As the Apostle Paul said.

Philippians 4:4-7 New American Standard Bible

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit be known to all people. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and pleading with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

Does prayer end our suffering? No, but it can bring peace and consolation.

17 thoughts on “A PATTERN OF PRAYER — PART 2

  1. This was a beautifully said post, Citizen Tom. It will be on my mind a long while.
    I am so terribly sorry that your wife is ill.
    We lost my mother a few months ago. She had a traumatic brain injury just before Christmas of 2020 and the mental deterioration was very quick after that.
    I think she had some CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) from years of hitting her head before, but it was never diagnosed. She had a history of seizures.
    I do not know what I would have done without the support of my spouse (I’m an only child by her, my brother and sister are half on my father’s side). We tried homecare but eventually had to put her in an assisted living memory care unit.
    There are a lot of things I am grateful for. The neighbor across the street was a nurse practitioner who had worked with the mentally ill for over 30 years. What are the odds of that? She was a lifeline.
    I recommend Comfort Keepers. Mom was a very difficult person before she was ill, and impossible after…but she did find a couple of care providers she liked very much, and that was a blessing. You can request the ones you like. Unfortunately they make you sign a legal form precluding you from employing the caregivers privately, which is a lot less expensive. But getting started with them opens other avenues, and the caregivers can offer a lot of ideas.

    I will be praying for you, Citizen Tom. I know this is very difficult.
    As my spouse and I are in our 30th year of marriage, and he has Alzheimer’s in his family, I have feared something like this might happen to us someday.

    Our oldest son just brought home a girl he wants to marry.
    It was a shock (he does not give his heart over easily, and like our marriage, this happened very very quickly), but I am overjoyed that he has found someone he loves so deeply.
    I told him that when you are single, your joy and sorrows are on a scale of 10 (high) to -10 (low), but when you love someone deeply you will know twice as much joy and twice as much sorrow. And then when you have children the joy is 50 fold, but so is the sorrow.

    Christ be with you, Tom
    -Peace and Grace.

    1. Liz

      I apologize for taking so long to thank you for your comment and sharing the story about your mother. I have just been busy. Since we brought her home from the hospital my lady has done better than expected. She is extremely frail, and her thinking is quite faulty, but we are managing without paying for a caregiver overnight.

      I am blessed by my two daughters and their husbands. They have been as helpful to my lady as they could be. So, when you speak about the help your spouse gave you, I think I understand.

      Given your recent experience, I expect your son has learned something from watching his father. Our Lord tasked Adam with tending and keeping the Garden. That is what makes a man a man, tending to and protecting the people and things God has given us to care for.

  2. Tom, thanks for the update. This nails it:

    “Does prayer end our suffering? No, but it can bring peace and consolation.”

    May peace and consolation be yours.

    Shalom!

  3. Anytime we are in communion/fellowship with the Triune God we can find peace and comfort. The Holy Spirit guides us in prayer and life; Romans 8:14, 1 John 2:27 that we may find peace in our suffering. He also intercedes on our behalf when our pain is such that our prayers are jumbled and nonsensical Psalm 30:2, Romans 8:26. Finally, the Holy Spirit Is Our Comforter John 14:16-18, John 20:22 all we have to do is call upon Him who indwells every true believer.

    If you are interested we posted a series designed for Chaplains but readable for all, called Comfort for the Grieving, Hurting, and Dying Series here:

    Devotional Thought for Today – 03/31/2021

  4. I’m so sorry for your sadness, Tom. I have discovered that grief is actually a form of worship, praise, and gratitude. It’s often painful so we want to push it away, but it should be embraced. It has great value to the Lord and tends to draw us closer to Him in the process.

    I spent a number of years working as a caregiver and taking care of people with dementia. I learned that we really do have souls and that they continue to exist no matter what is happening within our bodies. We are not our minds. Also, those who have various dementias usually don’t suffer as much as those who love them. It’s family, friends, loved ones who need a lot of care.

    1. insanitybytes22

      Is embracing our suffering a form of worship? I think we agree, but some may be confused by such an assertion.

      What do we mean by “embracing of suffering”?

      Consider the definition of worship.

      worship

      noun
      1. The reverent love and devotion accorded a deity, an idol, or a sacred object.
      2. The ceremonies, prayers, or other religious forms by which this love is expressed.
      3. Ardent admiration or love; adoration.

      from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

      Do we expect a child to enjoy being spanked, to seek the opportunity to be detained after school when he or she misbehaves? No. Of course not, but because the care about the children in their care, both parents and teachers punish children when they misbehave. Similarly, God instructs in our suffering. Therefore, we must not ignore the lessons God (our Father in Heaven) teaches us through suffering.

      I have little experience with dementia, and I cannot be very objective about it right now. I just remember my lady when she was young. Because some part of the woman I married remains, I just want to make my lady’s last days as comfortable as I can.

  5. Tom

    Sad to hear about your wife who will need constant attention.

    A close friend had to hire a live in women to assist his wife.

    My mother had to live in an assisted livening home which still required many visits to be assured she was receiving the attention needed.

    Try to keep in, mind that God has a plan or purpose for everything that happens to us.

    I will pray for your wife. you and your family.

    Regards and goodwill blogging.

    1. Scatterwisdom

      Since my lady require one-on-one attention,
      I will have to hire a homecare service.

      Thanks for your prayers.

      Thanks for your prayers.

      1. Tom, w
        My experience with home medical visits care is to experience some good and bad nurses.
        Even some who stole my wife’s possesions. Sadly we never knew until it was too late to figure out which one was a thieve.
        Hope you get only good ones.
        Regards and goodwill blogging.y

  6. Tom, I’m so sorry to hear about your lady having Alzheimer’s. I can only imagine the heartache and difficulty this has brought for you two and I appreciate you letting us know what’s going on. I’d been wondering where you disappeared to. I’m not sure what the Bible has to say about grief and prayer, but I do know that God is our provider, comforter and protector and will be with you and your lady every step of the way. Dealing with my dad’s descent and eventual death from dementia 6 years ago was a very trying time, but I also remember feeling so close to God during it all that it was a weirdly special time as well. If that makes any sense.

    Many prayers to you and your family Tom.

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