Monday, November 10, 2014

Pastoral Prayer, stumblin and bumblin

This morning I went to visit a parishioner who will undergo surgery today.  It is an easy commute to the hospital from my house: a 2 minute bike ride.  I'm still relatively unfamiliar with the hospital, so it took me a little while to get to the Pre-Op waiting area. Just as I arrived to the area I saw her heading into the surgery Pre-Op. I hurried after her and the woman accompanying her, whom I later learned was her daughter. I caught up to them and they were heading right into the prep room.  I asked if she wanted me to say a quick prayer and she said sure.  There in the middle of all who were around, I attempted to pray. Words came out, but they were almost non-sensical. It just wasn't happening! I wanted to hit the do over button! After a moment, I looked up and I said, I'm so sorry, my brain is just not working right now.  Graciously, she said it was early and that she needed her coffee. The daughter awkwardly smiled.  I apologized for not being able to pray in that moment.  The parishioner reassured her daughter I was a great guy.  It was embarrassing to say the least.  In 14 years of ministry, I don't recall ever having that hard a time simply praying!  If ever there was a time for a prayer book (which I often have with me) or just a simple prayer, that would have been the time!  I hope in the very least, rather than potentially causing any anxiety, it may have given them something to laugh about!

Prayer, a precious gift--what happens when it is just a stumbling and bumbling pray-er? God knows our needs before we can utter the words--thank God! Grace upon grace.