Prayer: What a Catch

Last year, a friend of mine was taken to the emergency room.  She had the flu and was in critical condition.  Before I rushed to the hospital, I prayed a rosary for her.  The memory is like a blur.  My head was racing, my rosary beads were twisting, my stomach was clenching, my hands were shaking, and my heart was aching.  Even though I sat in a chair in my living room, every part of me seemed to be in motion.  I was anxious to get to the emergency room, but from somewhere inside a voice repeated.  Pray.  Pray.  Pray.

When I finished the rosary, I went on Facebook and begged others to pray for her.  I don’t remember exactly what I wrote, but I know it included “even if you don’t pray – pray anyway.”  I’m not usually that bossy in Facebook posts so I hoped people would get the seriousness of the situation.  Even if it wasn’t their friend or their situation, even if they were estranged from God, I needed them to pray.  I needed help for my friend.  I figured if someone didn’t have their own faith, they could borrow their neighbors and throw something up to God.  He’s a great catcher.  That’s what he does over and over again – he catches us.  He doesn’t get caught up in who knows who, or the grudges someone is holding against him.  He isn’t keeping score.  He just catches.

I don’t know how many people prayed for her that day but it seemed like an awful lot.  At the hospital, I prayed with her children.  Friends texted that they were praying.  I called our church and asked them to send a priest to pray too.  He came and administered the sacrament of anointing of the sick.  The doctors were doing everything they could, her friends and family were covering her in prayer, and she was fighting like the warrior she was.

Within hours, she died.  After her husband took her children home, I stayed and waited for the priest to return to the hospital to pray over her body.  For a short time, I was alone with her for the last time.  It was a gift amidst the grief.  My prayers were different now.  They weren’t as desperate but remained as fervent.  The prayers I said were a promise.  They were of shock and disbelief of her unexpected death.  They were a culmination of joy for the years I shared with her.  They were of gratitude for her friendship that even the razor-sharp pain of grief could not dull.  Strangely, they were also of peace, of quiet that was not empty, and of a knowing that in the descent of death – God caught her.

Prayer isn’t always so heavy – so dire, as it was that day.  We pray for a great many things that we would gladly give up for the sake of someone we love.  Prayer doesn’t work that way.  It’s not something you bank.  It’s not a wish come true or a genie in a bottle.  If the prayer doesn’t get answered in the way we want, it doesn’t mean God didn’t hear or that he doesn’t care.  It’s an invitation to the divine.  It’s a chance to be in communion with God – to rejoice, offer gratitude, petition, hear wisdom, and share grief.   More than anything, it’s an act of love — to God and the person you are praying for.

On the day my dear friend died, love enveloped her through prayer.  I couldn’t love her through touch or words, so I loved her with all that I had through a litany of prayer.  It didn’t heal her.  It didn’t save her.  It made the last hours of her life hopeful for those who would be left behind.  That hope didn’t die with her.  It remained —  its own kind of prayer that has helped us to carry on, to remember, and to smile.  A prayer that reminded me that God caught me that day too.  He has been holding me up ever since reminding me that the power of prayer isn’t in how it’s answered. It’s in the strength that comes from the love in which it is offered.  A love that triumphs over the sting of death.  It gives a whole new meaning to what a catch.

What do you need God to catch right now?  If you have any prayer intentions you want to share, please let me know and I will be happy to pray for you!

Miss the last post? Everyday Heroes and Popeye the Sailor Man

 

13 thoughts on “Prayer: What a Catch

  • April 6, 2019 at 1:05 pm
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    Beautifully written and thank you for trusting us with such a powerful and personal tragedy. I’m thankful for your writing and for you!

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    • April 8, 2019 at 1:42 am
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      Thank you, Jeannette. It’s such a gift to have this place to practice trust. It has been such a gift to me to have such beautiful people sharing this journey with me.

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  • April 4, 2019 at 4:43 pm
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    Thanks so much for this Lara. I remember that day and that is all we could do. I know she felt our love and everyone else that prayed that day

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    • April 8, 2019 at 1:40 am
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      I will always be so grateful that you were there too. It was such a comfort to me.

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      • April 9, 2019 at 4:51 pm
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        you were a comfort to me too and I know she heard our prayers.

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  • April 4, 2019 at 12:39 pm
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    Two nights ago I asked Lily to take all her prayers and to pray only for ONE specific intention. A friend is fighting cancer, and I was desperate for Jesus to hear the prayers of a sweet child begging for healing. Lily said,”Don’t be silly mommy. There is no limit on prayers!”
    She is so right! I was silly to think that there is a finite amount amount of prayers that Jesus will hear and answer. So throw them all up, He does not tire of our faith in Him.

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    • April 4, 2019 at 12:56 pm
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      Amen! Love that Molly! It’s crazy how much we learn from our children! Jesus loves our prayers. I think how happy I am when I get a few minutes to talk with my children – I don’t even care what it’s about – It makes me so happy! I love thinking that is how God feels about us. Lifting up your friend and ALL your intentions.

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  • April 4, 2019 at 12:42 am
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    Such an awesome blog, Laura. I will never forget the day I heard. It was awful, but I love your word, “God caught her.” You have such an amazing way with word and are a true gift from God. If I can ask you to pray for the healing of my voice, I would most appreciate it. I would also love to pray for your intentions as well!!

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    • April 4, 2019 at 1:58 am
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      Thank you, Stacy. I will pray for your healing. I will offer a mass for you – that is my favorite thing to do for people! It actually makes me feel like I am making a difference. And I absolutely love when people say they will pray for me – it’s like having someone go to the boss and put in a good word! I will take it – and gladly give it! You have such a good heart. It speaks too.

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  • April 2, 2019 at 5:31 pm
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    Love this and how you describe the feelings of being in a panic and being frantic – but you HAVE TO STOP and pray – because that is the one thing she really needed right then. I was doing the same thing

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    • April 4, 2019 at 1:54 am
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      So many of us were praying and that is such a comfort to think about – how in those last hours she was loved through prayer. What a blessing that was for us all.

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  • April 2, 2019 at 10:09 am
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    Beautiful reflection on a very difficult topic! I love the way you explained what prayer is and what it is not!
    Often my prayer is one of desperation. Thank you for the perspective! ❤️

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    • April 4, 2019 at 1:52 am
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      Thanks, Wendy. There are so many levels of prayer. I think many of us only scratch the surface of what it is and what it can be. Whenever I feel a longing to know God better, I always think prayer – I need to spend more time in prayer! And as you taught Alex so well – it also involves listening!

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