Posts Tagged ‘nearing death’

I have friends who are going through the struggle of watching loved ones suffer. It is so hard to do. Thankfully, we are not at that point just now, but we have been. For these friends, I share the following two devotional/prayers that I prayed at just such times.

If you know someone going through these struggles – please feel free to share.

This first one was written in July 2005. My mother-in-law had had Alzheimer’s for more than ten years at this point. It was a very hard journey for all of us. She would live almost another year after this.


Oh Lord. How do you pray for someone to die?

We spend our whole lives praying for health and healing and to be made whole… How can we possibly pray for someone to die?

But Lord! You know the struggle. You know the situation. You know the utter “wrenching of the soul” that we deal with. You know the conflicting emotions we feel every time we see her.

But still. How do you pray for someone to die?

When the mind is gone and the shell of a body remains – what is there, Lord? What is left? Is she thinking, deep inside that closed vault? Is she crying to get out, to be set free?

Or would she say, “Let me live. As long as God leaves me, let me live…”

I don’t know, Lord. I see the drain on the loved ones. I see the denial of some, the despair of some, and the resignation of others. I see the heartache and even the repercussions of her longevity.

But again. How do you pray for someone to die?

And so I cry…

“Your will, Oh Lord.

Nothing more.

Nothing less.

Nothing else…”

Because I can’t pray

for someone to die…


This next one was written on December 20, 2005. My Daddy would die two days later…


1 Thessalonians 4:13 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope.

1 Corinthians 15:19 If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied.


Dear God! How does one pray for someone to die? We spend most all of our prayer time praying for healing, so how can I now pray for someone to die? He’s my Daddy for God’s sake… How God, how…

I have said – repeatedly – that I am “pro-life.” I have said, “I will not hinder God’s timing (by artificial means) but neither will I hasten it!” But now, God, how can I sit here day after day and listen to those short “puffy” breaths and wonder… “How long, oh Lord, how long…” I catch myself listening, and if they “falter” my heart sinks just a little…

How can I give him morphine and pain killers and keep wondering just whose “misery” I am keeping him out of… But, I know, God. I know, when I don’t give them, he is gasping for air, or gurgling like he is drowning, and he really is in agony. But I can’t keep from wondering, isn’t there more I could have done?

And while I’m at it – why am I not more “tore up”? Why don’t I cry more? How can I go about daily chores and walk by his bed as if he is just sleeping?

God! Do I really have this much faith, or am I calloused? Am I hard-hearted? Am I unfeeling? Surely others think I am, anyway.

Ever since Your gift of faith and grace in the death of my Mother, I’ve felt this way. And I know others don’t understand. I keep thinking that it’s like Paul says in Thessalonians and Corinthians – we just don’t grieve like those who have no hope. And, if this life is all there is, then yes, we are of all people, the most pitiful.

But then, I wonder – is that just my excuse – my rationale

I know, Lord, that without a pure undiluted miracle, he cannot get well. That lung cancer will continue to grow until it consumes his entire lungs. But still, I feel so – guilty – for wanting him to be taken “home.”

There, I can’t even bring myself to say it, God. How can I even say, I want him to die – that goes against everything I’ve ever been taught – against every prayer I’ve ever prayed. And yet, this is no life. But again, whose “misery” do I want him out of?

Father, I submit myself to You. I submit my entire being; my heart and all of my emotions. I submit my fear, my guilt, my grief, my impatience, and my hurt – for God, it does hurt – even if I am assured of the future; even if I am confident of his (and my) salvation; even if I know “in My Father’s house are many mansions…”

And so I will go along day to day and listen to those “short puffy breaths” for as long as You deem it necessary. And when they stop, I will bury my Daddy, and then turn my eyes toward heaven – For You are God, and You know what is best…

And, it is in the name of Jesus, the first-born of the dead, that I lift my struggle and my pain to You – in His name I pray – Amen.


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In early 2004 I sat by my Mother’s bedside and wondered “how much time” she had. I wrote this about a year after that for other friends who were also wondering “how much time” a loved one had.

I share it today for still others who sit by bedsides.


How Much Time

            It’s a football game, perhaps it’s the Super Bowl or maybe even the Playoffs – it’s the 4th quarter, and the players are tired. Their legs are aching and their lungs are burning, but they give everything they’ve got – and then some. They hold nothing back because they know exactly how much time is left. They know that in x number of minutes or seconds – win or lose – it will be over. And then they can rest.

“Life” is not like that. There is no time clock, we don’t know “exactly” anything, and so sometimes we seek a little respite; a little reserve.

When my Mother died I was there, but if I had known that that night was to be her last, I would have set beside her bed and held her hand all night, but I didn’t, and so I tried to get a little sleep, because I didn’t know how many more days and nights it would be. I knew it would be soon, but not exactly how soon. There was no time clock.

I don’t feel guilty; I don’t regret it, really, because I know that’s how it is. And I would have to do that again if a similar situation arose.

But because of that, I pray for strength for those who sit by bedsides, for those who try to grab a few moments of rest during the trial, because for them, there is no time clock either and they just don’t know how much more will be needed.

“God grant them grace, peace and strength.”

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