As I write this, I know of a man who is very ill. He is not going to be getting better. Everyone around him already kind of knows this. His family will be making him as comfortable as possible under the circumstances. Friends will bring food and comfort. Prayers will be offered. And I speak from experience to know that the timing, however long or short this man's life has left, will not be easy.
I have experienced this first hand, when my father passed away. I would really rather not experience it again, even through someone else's eyes. It would make me very comfortable indeed, to not EVER hear of another person dying in this slow, steadily declining way. It feels tortuous for the family. And people never know what to say or do. And prayers seem like they fall into a vacuum so vast it feels hopeless. I understand this.
So why then, do people pray during a time like this? Well, skeptics claim it gives people a sense of "being in charge" when all around is chaotic. Maybe. Others claim a miracle might happen. You never know, right? Me? I'm praying for the family to be able to face this drawn out sighing of existence. I'm praying that he will be comfortable, and slip silently and peacefully away into sleep where pain and confusion are no longer a problem. I'm praying for myself, too. Asking God to be with me in whatever way is possible. Helping me to say the right things. Helping me to see what needs to be done and do it. Whispering to me the fact that God is with me at all times and in all places, even the shadowy ones, where light is faint and the coldness creeps in. I ask you to pray too for the family of this man, not because I think it will cause a miracle cure, but because we, as a body of faith come together, even with someone we don't know, to show that God is with us, no matter what. And there is warmth and light in that coming together. Thank you.