Are the boys baptized?
“Yes, Dad. The boys all got baptized a couple of years ago.”
“That’s good. Let’s pray for the boys.”
And we did. Simple petitions that God would keep our three teen boys, his only grandsons, in His care. Keep them safe from the world, and ultimately be safe in His kingdom. Dad prayed that they would choose right and love Jesus. He wants them in heaven.
Dad has Lewy Body Dementia. The disease is robbing him of his mind. But, in his final stretch towards the end, he’s turning more to prayer than ever. He’s more childlike in some ways, but his faith gives evidence of a longtime reliance upon God as a friend.
Many nights, you can hear Dad praying aloud. Praying for simple needs, telling God when he’s scared. Though his thoughts and words jumble, his heart cry is clear. “God is my helper. He will supply my needs.”
Sometimes, apparently out of the blue, in the midst of normal chitchat, Dad will say, “Let’s pray.”
Nothing flowery. He thanks God that He knows how to help him and oftentimes begins to talk to God about loved ones.
Sometimes Dad’s prayers are humorous. “Lord, is there anybody out there to bring me water?” Or, “Lord, you know I can’t figure out how to drive this pink motorcycle, but I know You can do anything, so please help me figure this out.” Yes–he even prays for help when the hallucinations come.
At times, Dad has been scared, anxious, confused. A foreboding settles on him some days. He’s called family together, and told us some of these fears.
A couple months ago, the fears centered around death. He didn’t want to do it. Unfinished business, stresses from past years, and concern for his family weighed heavily on his mind. He told me plainly, “I want my family in heaven.” And we prayed about that. We do often.
Time is running out for my dad’s frail body. His mind is ebbing away, yet under all of this bodily breakdown, he still hears God calling to him, and he answers. This is a lifetime habit of turning to his Savior. It brings me much peace.
Under everything, Dad responds to the familiar. Songs he’s sung years ago stir up a song from his lips. Especially when sung by family and familiar friends. Words of truth and promise ground him.
I’m glad that I’ve been privileged to listen in on many of Dad’s prayers. I write this so I won’t forget in the days to come, when my heart will long for something good amidst the darkness.
God hears every cry.
Even when our words don’t come out right. When our minds are mixed up by fever, grief, and dementia. He hears. He loves. He reaches out. And He cares for each person we pray for.
Dad knows his Jesus.