Saturday, February 7, 2009
A Parent's Faith
"At once the father cried out. He said with tears in his eyes, 'Lord, I have faith. Help my weak faith to be stronger!'"Mark 9:24
Today is my mother's 86th birthday. She is a remarkable woman, having raised five unruly children as PK's, living the life of a Pastor wife, and now 15 years a widow with 8 grandchildren and two great grandchildren. She lives alone in her own home, and though her body is deteriorating and her mind is slowing, she still cares for herself and us with great vigor and constancy. She is feisty, artistic, strict and tender. She can still cook up a storm, feed needy kids on a weekly basis, lead bible studies and Al Anon meetings - she really is a lively and amazing person. What I know about her today, which I put little credence in when I was young, is that my mother is a prayer warrior. Daily her phone will ring with requests that she prays for some situation, some illness, some broken family. She has lists of people she prays for by her bed , by the phone, in the kitchen and even in the bathroom. Not a perfect mother but a wonderful one because of her faith. When her faith was weak she prayed, and continues to pray. Even when I was embarrassed by her as a teen, she still prayed for me. Now as a mother of grown daughters and a bishop, I am daily grateful for her prayers. I know her prayers sustained me, held me up and saw me through in times when my body was broken or my spirit was weak. she had faith in me and God when I was unsure of everything.
A father comes to Jesus, tormented by his love for child who he cannot find healing for. The man is distraught. Jesus, asks about his faith and the father lays his heart in front of Jesus. No better icon for parental love and parental faithfulness than this weary and troubled parent. Might we all model our lives after him, praying constantly and asking for strength when our faith gets weak.
Today, I want to give thanks for my mother, and for all the people who pray faithfully despite all the challenges and weakness that befalls them. None of us can possibly know the people that pray for us daily, but we can pray for others with the faith and strength we receive. May we all follow this father, and my mother Betty, who are not afraid to pray and offer their inadequacy to Jesus. We are never alone when we pray. God's heart overflows with love and healing in every prayer that is offered. May we have the strength and courage to be prayer warriors in a world where there is too much violence and not enough faith. Too much bravado and not enough authentic faith - the joy of being weak and needy before God.