A few weeks ago I preached in my home church on the subject of prayer. It was a basic reminder that we, as Anglicans, have the Book of Common Prayer to help in times of prayer. It is a wonderful tool.
Those prayers, and others of saints in history, have sustained me this week. What began a week ago as a trip to St. Louis to help with my dad who had taken a bad fall turned into mourning. Dad had been on a long road of decline and a fall last week resulted in a fractured pelvis and he landed in a St. Louis hospital to try and stabilize him. My sisters provide the care and support for my parents constantly. I was going to be with them, knowing we had to figure out next steps for long term care.
We seemed to have things lined up for his condition to be good enough to transport him back to his hometown and get him in a care facility that would begin a long road of rehab. Things turned quickly. Grief and mourning settled in as we had to walk through the decision to say goodbye to our dad.
As I informed friends and other family of these decisions, prayers would come from these dear friends. Prayers from the BCP. Prayers of saints. The prayers of others, prayed over and over through the centuries, began to sustain and comfort me.
What I had preached on a few weeks ago was now sustaining me. Prayer was helping me live in resurrection life and hope as we were commending our dad back to the Lord.
As the family gathered around our dad last night to say goodbye, I drew from a prayer that I hadn’t memorized but I knew pieces to pray over Dad in those final moments. It sustained us. Deep prayer carries us in the darkest of nights and the deepest of waters.
Into your hands, O merciful Savior, we commend your servant, Charles. Acknowledge, we humbly beseech you, a sheep of your own fold, a lamb of your own flock, a sinner of your own redeeming. Receive him into your arms of mercy, into the blessed rest of everlasting peace, and into the glorious company of the saints in light. AMEN.