Thanks to God, prayer does make a difference
This past Tuesday night, I was happy, busy, terrified, stressed, relieved and shamed. Yes, and all those emotions were within about a 20-minute timespan. I was attending a retreat sponsored by the Clergy Health Initiative in cooperation with Duke University. I was learning so much! There were presentations on self-compassion, stress control, physical and psychological results of stress, and others. That was the happy part. I love to learn.
Then, I rode in the elevator with a good friend of mine. He was pale, and leaning on a friend for support. As we got to the lobby, we sat him down, and got busy. One called 911. Another got pillows; another a cool rag. I fished in my purse for the baby aspirin that I carry. He took two of them. By this time, he was having difficulty breathing, sweating, and very uncomfortable. So, we moved him to the couch to lie down. This turned out to be even more uncomfortable, for he felt as if there were a weight on his chest when he lay down.As he struggled to breathe, my busy-ness turned to terror. I was watching my friend have a heart attack right in front of me, and there was nothing I could do about it. I felt completely powerless. I’ve felt powerless many times in my life, but never to this degree. A life hung in the balance. And there was nothing I could do but wait on the paramedics and ambulance. I paused, and monitored my own physiological reaction to this stressor. I was breathing heavily. My pulse was racing.Then, I noticed as quietly, without fanfare, without calling any attention to herself, one of my minister friends placed her hand gently on his shoulder, closed her eyes, and began to silently pray. I was both relieved and shamed by this simple act. Why didn’t I think of that? I’m not powerless, I CAN PRAY! One by one, we all bowed and said our own silent prayer for our beloved brother whom God loved more than any of us ever could.
Finally the ambulance arrived, and they did their work, and off he went to the hospital. I started to my room to wait for news from our leaders on his condition. I was stopped by another clergy that I had just met at lunch that day. He suggested we take up a collection for our brother — for medical expenses, for his wife’s expenses, for whatever they needed. I was yet again ashamed for not thinking of that! What kind of friend am I?
I’m a normal human being, that dearly loves her friends in Christ. My human nature robbed me of tapping into the power of the Holy Spirit within me. Fear and stress had put a barrier between God and me. Praise God, I was surrounded by the Body of Christ who walked me through the whole ordeal when I couldn’t do it myself. They reminded me that I am never powerless as long as I serve a mighty and powerful God. They cared for my friend when I could not. They cared for me when I could not. I cannot imagine going through something like that without my Christian brothers and sisters.
By the way, my friend is okay, continues to need our prayers. I would be most grateful if you would pray for him. His name is Mike. Thanks to God that our spirits joined in prayer DO make a difference! God intends us to live in community. Christ intends us to live as ONE body - His church. The Holy Spirit intends us to live in power that can only come from accepting the Spirit’s help in all things.
Reach the Rev. Caren Bigelow Morgan, pastor of Waxhaw United Methodist Church, at 704-843-3931.