For many years, Deborah came to our church to worship and sing. She offered the anthems and hymns she had composed. She shared honest, healing prayers.
She came to church for other reasons, too: to ask if we could help with her rent, to see if someone could bring her a meal from the church supper, to ask if anyone had work she could do (her depression interfered with her ability to do certain jobs). She asked if someone could take her to the oncologist in Dallas. She sought healing prayers on her behalf.
Often, ideas crystallized in Deborah’s mind long after most of us had gone to sleep. Many of her middle-of-the-night emails included hymns or prayers she composed. They spoke of whatever was keeping her awake and often began, as the psalms do, by naming her current trouble. They closed with a line from a hymn, like, “O love that wilt not let me go, I hide my weary self in thee,” or “Saviour, Like a Shepherd lead us, much I need thy tender care.”
Despite what kept her awake, the Spirit worked within her, guiding her pen with hope, as she always claimed God’s promises. A favorite prayer of mine, written in darkness by this woman looking towards the light and noting God’s many gifts to her, ended, “These celebrations are the very windows through which I glimpse Life beyond time and space, only gratitude remains…”
What line from a hymn is your prayer for today? What line from a psalm could you claim as your hymn?
Healing God, you hear the cries of the afflicted and answer their prayers. We trust your presence in the darkness and in the light. Amen.