Friday, August 20, 2010

A Patient's Prayer

They descend on you like mechanics in a pit stop at a NASCAR race. But, they don’t bring oil cans, wrenches, hoses or lug nuts. They bring portable x-ray machines, blood pressure wraps and forms to be filled out. They are nurses, the wonderful, compassionate extremely efficient nurses at CRMC. And, they cared for me recently when I was scared into making a pit stop at Cullman Regional.

Chest pains are not to be ignored even when they are suspected to be indigestion, which mimics heart pain. (That’s why it’s called “heartburn”.) No, I have had bypass surgery and ablation for a fibrillation episode, so, although I have reflux disease, these were a little worse.

Even though an EKG revealed no heart problem, my doctor urged me to admit myself into the hospital to rule out angina. I’m embarrassed to say it took me four hours to act on that advice. Hey, I had stuff to buy at Wal-Mart! (Why do we do the stupid things we do?)

Not long after I checked in- the truth is while I was driving over- I prayed. “More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams”, I thought. Isn’t it fascinating and wonderful that we usually turn to God when what seems like the train of our life feels like it’s going off the track. Of, course, when there is a real wreck, we always turn to Him. Unfortunately, some of us pray for help while others scream “ why me? ”

The belief in prayer is part of the Christian DNA. The New Testament makes several references to the extraordinary power of prayer. A good example: Matthew 17:20, Jesus said to His Apostles, "Truly I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you

Yet the Bible does not simply depict prayer as a means for submitting petitions to God, but at times portrays it as a method of obtaining personal strength. Best example, for my money, was Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane petitioning to be relieved of the burden, “Father, if it be possible, let this chalice pass from me”. and strength to bear the agony, “Nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt….” ( Matthew 26:39)

In Psychology of Prayer, the authors suggest that “ belief in prayer has deep roots in the human psyche and, although it may be suppressed by rational and scientific debate, it often resurfaces at times of distress for it is a primary language for communicating with the supernatural world.”
So, I prayed there would be no problem when the test results arrived and the strength to bear whatever problem those tests might reveal. Were my prayers answered? As the late Bishop Sheen said so memorably, “ All prayers are answered. Sometimes God says ‘No’.”
I got a “yes”. There was no problem. Thank God. Literally.

Let us pray.