I started praying in color over a dozen years ago because I was at a loss for words in prayer. A dozen friends and family members were ill with cancer. My words vanished. I just didn’t know what to say or what to pray for. Doodling and coloring gave me a way to create a visual, non-verbal prayer for them. It gave me a way to be with God and stay focused and present.
Once again I am without words. My mother-in-law Lois, who is 87, fell a few weeks ago and shattered her femur. After the surgery to repair the break and alleviate her pain, she seems to have “checked out” even more from life. She doesn’t know her sons’ names and she doesn’t want to eat or drink. A devout Christian, Lois can no longer say the Lord’s Prayer or the 23rd Psalm–words that were part of her everyday vocabulary. I feel such sorrow for her and for her children who were used to their mother as a sharp mind with an endless supply of stories.
I am confused about what to pray for. Is it okay to pray for her death, for a swift end to her life? Or should I pray for a long life and full recovery? She lost her zeal for living a year or so ago. Now she has no memory of her lost zeal. Instead of asking for the specific outcomes, a prayer of blessing seems the best idea. I want Lois to feel God’s love, protection, and comfort. In my blessing prayer for Lois, I remind myself that God is with her, that no matter what the details of the rest of her life, she cannot “go from God’s spirit or flee from God’s presence?” (Psalm 139:7)