Prayer matters. It makes a vast difference to our lives. Miracles occur; hearts soften; bodies heal; dreams realise. The reason prayer matters? James 5:16 makes it clear,
‘The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.’ (James 5:16 NIV)
If we believe this, then prayer works, prayer matters.
In April this year, a friend reached out and offered to pay for my accommodation if I came to Austin, Texas to graduate from my Year 3 (my final year) international accreditation as a prophetic trainer with Prophetic Company Global.
Andrew and I prayed. We agreed we felt the Lord on me going, so we booked the tickets, hoping all would be well for my travels in October this year.
10 weeks prior to my trip, amid the creative chaos as I wrote, prepared and recorded 16 45 minute videos, my mother collapsed. They admitted her into the hospital, a place she had determinedly avoided since early 2020. She had a dreadful stint in 2018-January 2020, and she simply did not want a repeat.
Fast forward. She’s ill, palliative, and I have a trip to the USA scheduled. There is no immediate family in Melbourne, and I need to be present to understand and effectively communicate my mother’s wishes.
Transferred to an aged care facility for respite, she focused on growing strong. She was determined to get back home.
A moment transpired, and I led her to Christ. She said yes to Jesus in the still quiet we enjoyed as I rubbed her legs and held her hand. It was a gift of grace on the journey.
Throughout, I enjoyed the privilege of gently caring for her. Brushing her hair neatly into a little topknot. I bought pretty clothes to fit her shrunken frame and took her for walks in the Spring sunshine. I played her favourite music as she rested.
A further acute admission and I was again on tender hooks. Do I go? Or should I stay? The Lord was on it but…
10 days prior to my scheduled date of departure, I had a decision to make. Do I go public and ask for prayer in trusted groups? Or do I continue to go it alone, with a few loyal ones praying for her and my trip? Not one to advertise deeply personal struggles, I posted a prayer request in two private groups, sharing my struggles with many others.
Within days, my mother’s turnaround was so significant it was clear. I went to Austin. Indeed, halfway through my stay, I received an email advising she was back up and about walking and doing physiotherapy.
It was a miracle.
I would like to say the improvement stuck, but even while away I had the sense that the time was merely a pause. A gift of time. A deep breath, before the final sprint forward into the inevitable grief that storms our senses – the price we pay as humans for love.
The call came the night prior to my flight home.
Andrew rang. She was declining.
Another call came. This time at LAX as I transited. The next call came as the plane taxied, the air stewards asking us to turn our phones to flight mode prior to the 16 hour flight home. Yet another call as I left the airport in Melbourne. Decisions were being made through a haze of jet lag.
More calls, throughout the following days, co-mingled with discussions and the wave of anticipatory grief that has followed me each time these discussions arise. Familiar surges now over the last 4 years of acute admissions.
The prayers carried my mother long enough for me to complete the trip. that the Lord was keen on. It’s not that my 92-year-old mother would heal, although that would be lovely, but that I would not have to jettison yet another significant moment in my and my family’s walk with the Lord because of extended family responsibilities.
I now complete this post, having started it a week ago. Late Spring sun shines as warm breezes blow. I sit at my dining table and look out at my garden. My garden continues brings me gentle joy. A small distance away, in a bright little room that over looks silver birch trees, my mother struggles in what will be her last days. She says it feels like home – this makes me glad.
The tsunami of grief suspends momentarily as I care for our mother in these last days. It threatens to surge in moments, but I gently keep it at bay with doing the next thing I know to do.
In God’s goodness and grace, prayer held my mother aloft so I could complete an important journey. And in God’s goodness and grace, prayer will hold me aloft in the days to come.
Simply put – God is good and prayer matters!
*The rose pictured is Just Joey, my mother’s favourite fragrant rose.
© Beth Kennedy 2022