One day, shortly after coming home from hospital, I had a visit from Marion, a very sweet, compassionate lady in our congregation. She was devastated by the news of my cancer, and sat talking (and listening!) to me about some of the highlights of my time in the ward. She seemed surprised to find me perfectly composed, as I related funny stories that had happened. Suddenly she got up to her feet.
“I must go. I don’t want to tire you. But before I leave, may I pray with you?”
“Yes of course—that would be nice, thank you.” This offer meant a lot to me especially as I knew Marion had battled to learn to pray aloud. I smiled at her, as she walked across the room to me. Obviously trying to ignore her painful joints, she carefully lowered herself onto the carpet and knelt close to my chair. She took both my hands in hers and started to pray. As she prayed, her tears started to flow. Eventually she was unable to pray further, and lowered her head onto our joined hands and sobbed.
I swallowed back giggles, which would really have been most inappropriate, and extricated one wet hand from the pile, and placed it on her hair.
“Father, I ask you to bring comfort and strength to Marion now as she struggles to cope with my diagnosis. Help her to see that my life is in your hands. Give her the courage to face the future. Thank you Lord!”
She didn't seem to see anything strange about our role reversal, and I helped her up from the carpet with my strong arm. I gave her a hug and saw her to the door. After waving goodbye, I went through to Rob who was sorting out supper.
“I have just been praying for Marion.”
“Oh? What's the problem?”
“I was praying that the Lord would give her the strength and courage she needs to cope with my diagnosis and treatment.” I chuckled. How funny—yet how incredible. She loved me so much that she needed prayer to cope.
I have often thought back to that moment and marvelled at the depth of friendship and love she showed me at a time when we both needed prayer.
*Some names have been changed to protect identity