On the Journey
By Rick Hamlin

Prayers for Dad

My dad is going through a tough time. He was in the hospital for a week and is now in a skilled nursing center. He doesn’t have one big thing wrong but a maddening variety of little things, both agonizing and painful. “His body is just wearing out,” is how my mom puts it.

It’s hard to know how to put this all in prayer. Pray for a miracle? Pray for complete healing? Pray that he’s comfortable and at peace? Dad’s lived a good life, 86 years of working, sailing, serving on a half-dozen different boards, hanging out with his family, traveling with his grandchildren. Of his deep spirituality I have no doubt. If you listened to just one of his long rambling graces at the dinner table you’d hear first-hand his relationship with God. (We came to call those all-inclusive prayers the "six o’clock news.")

I’m grateful for the phone calls and emails from my siblings and Mom. From two thousand miles away the reports come in: “He had a good day…he seemed a little down today…he ate a whole package of M&Ms…He walked down the hall today…he was in a lot of pain when the nurses got him dressed.”  Soon I’m sure I will travel to California to see for myself, but everybody’s doing their best, a stream of visitors dropping by with cookies and talk and kisses on his forehead and maybe some advice for Mom on the crossword puzzle. 

“It’s sad,” I said to Mom and she agreed, but she acts with her perennial good nature and optimism. “Maybe he’ll come home,” she says. He’s rallied before.

For the time being I choose words that Dad would have said as we gathered around the dinner table for a new installment of the six o’clock news: “Lord, be with your faithful servant. You know what he needs better than we could ever know.” Lord, be with Dad.

Rick Hamlin is the executive editor of Guideposts magazine and the author of 10 Prayers You Can't Live Without. To learn more about the book and explore your own prayer journey, watch this video.

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Your Comments (3)

It's hard to be so far away, Rick. I feel for you.

Praying for your dad, Rick -- and I think the prayer you ended with is the perfect one...just for God to be with him.

My dad passed away last month, and while he was ill we all kept praying for a miracle. He was only sick for two weeks, and in a coma for a third, and during that time I learned that "thy will be done" is the most difficult of prayers to pray sincerely. We went from praying for healing, to praying that he wasn't in pain, to just praying for we knew not what. Praying for God to be with him, visualizing angels folding their wings around him as he lay in his hospital bed, was the only prayer that was truly comforting.

I will be keeping your Dad and your family in my prayers.

Rick, I will keep your Dad and your family in my prayers too. May God Bless All of You. Much Regards. Sue Farrell