A Prayer to Live For
July 7, 2020
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me” (John 14:1, NIV 1984).
On our recent mission trip to Albania, Jamie Thompson, prayer warrior and wife of our dental team leader, shared this story: “My mother Leona died December 2, 2011 at the age of 93. She was still driving and playing bridge at that age. Shortly before her 93rd birthday, she required a pulmonary test that involved a contrast media that caused an anaphylactic reaction. She survived the cardiopulmonary resuscitation, but she was severely weakened with a prolonged hospital stay followed by a transfer to a care facility where she lived three weeks past her 93rd birthday to her death on December 2. Her life’s verse came alive with her there: ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me’ (John 14:6, NIV 1984). She shared this verse with everyone who visited, and there were many. She would quote the verse to visitors and then say, ‘And I hope you believe that, too.’ She seemed to initially improve, but she never felt the urge to eat and gradually weakened. She knew in her heart that she was tired and would rather be with Jesus, but she was still afraid of disappointing us and thought she would try and live for our happiness. On the day before she died, she moved in and out of consciousness, mostly incoherent. And then, she began speaking in words we could understand. We thought she was making requests of us, so we took a tablet and wrote down the words. In doing so, we realized she was praying, not as she had all of her life with the formal prayers in the Lutheran services she attended, but from the heart.”
“Take me from this world, my Lord—to thy Holy Name. Keep me steadfast—to thy Holy Name. I put my hope in you, Lord Jesus—help me through. I need you, Holy Father—into your eternal rest. Keep me in your eternal rest, for in you alone I rest in peace. You are my Lord and Savior and you help me in all situations. Jesus, I know that you died for my sins. I know you have blessed me for all eternity. You have given me your constant peace.”
At the end of her life, this faithful follower of Christ spoke the words that had guided her 93 years of life. Those of us she left behind can accept this prayer as her peaceful transition to heaven, or we can take it as we should, as a guide she left for our days on this side of glory.
“Take me from this world, my Lord—as I live this life, empty me of myself and fill me with your Spirit.”
“Keep me steadfast”—Keep me consistently walking on your path with you.
“I put my hope in you”—for all other hopes are vapor in the wind.
“Keep me in your eternal rest”—for you alone can hold me in the storm.
“You have blessed me for all eternity”—Help me place your eternity into the now and make me now confident of our eternity.
“You have given me your constant peace”—Let my peace come not from my circumstances, but from your presence.
Leona prayed this prayer for us, the living, as she passed from this life into the full answers to all her prayers.
Let me put my faith and trust in you as I live and when I die.