What Do We Pray For?

18 Jun

My dilemma since Ernie has gone further down the “rabbit hole” of Alzheimer’s Disease is, What words do I use when praying for him? 

My prayer for a long period of time has been, “Let Ernie live with dignity and with quality of life.”  Then, after dignity was taken from him, my prayer became, “Let Ernie live with quality of life and let him feel the love.”  Today, with his inability to take care of himself, recognize his loved ones, his lack of verbal capabilities, frustration, and exhaustion from insomnia,  asking for quality of life becomes ludicrous.

I spoke to a colleague who has a family member suffering with A.D. and she shared that she, too, had the quandary of what to pray for  and now asks God to take her mother.  I fully understand and respect her choice in prayer wording.   I know that when Ernie goes it will be a blessing for him and for me but, at this time, I am not comfortable with asking God to take him — I would rather leave that choice for God to make on His time.  I continue to ask for guidance for whatever is meant to be — but I find it isn’t quite enough.

 I am a Christian who is comfortable with Unity Church’s beliefs and considers myself a spiritual person.  Although I am not Catholic, I reached out to a good friend who is a priest, author, and a lovely human being.  “How can I appropriately word my prayer for my dear husband who is physically but not mentally here with us?” I asked.  Knowing that Andy, who writes, presents inspirational homilies, presides over weddings, christenings, and funerals, would have the appropriate words. He did. 

I would like to share this prayer with others who might find these words comforting:


Lord, I need words – or do I?

Lord, better, I need gasps,

breaths, moments, holding

my past, my love, better our:

our stories, our memories,

trips, meals, moments, dates,

laughs, resting in each other’s

arms and his scent and sounds.

Who knows what’s next? I don’t.

So I’ll take each moment with

my Ernie. now – the times

he recognizes me and

the times he doesn’t. I do.

That’s all that counts. 
I thank You and I thank him

for the gift  he was / is /

will be to me and Lord,

I thank you for this chance

to serve him, to hold him

and to love him. till the end –

till today, tomorrow and

forever and ever. Amen.

–Fr. Andrew  Costello, good friend and spiritual being

 Need I say more? 

Amen and thank you, Andy.


5 Responses to “What Do We Pray For?”

  1. Theresa Hupp June 18, 2013 at 7:30 pm #

    I understand. I have the same question about how to pray for my mother, who has Alzheimer’s. She still recognizes her family, but a time will come when she will not.
    I’ve chosen simply to pray that God be with her and comfort her, and be with us and comfort us.
    And may He be with you and comfort you.

    • mebwoodacre June 19, 2013 at 2:49 pm #

      Thank you Theresa. Another little prayer that helps me is posted on my fridge:
      Thank you for yesterday
      Thank you for today,
      and together
      we’ll deal with tomorrow,
      but not today. Amen

  2. ACircleInThePath June 18, 2013 at 7:36 pm #

    I too struggle with how to pray for a loved one, my mother. Thank you for sharing this lovely payer.

  3. Janet June 24, 2013 at 2:46 pm #

    When my mil’s Alzheimers dragged on for 15 yrs, I,also prayed God would take her home. Now as I care for my husband with AD, I can’t pray that. Even though we are only nearing our fourth year, he rarely knows me and can do nothing independently and his language is very compromised. Yet , though I long for the suffering to end I find I am not ready to be without his presence. My pray is for him to be calm and content.

  4. boomer98053 June 24, 2013 at 3:25 pm #

    When I get stumped I simply say, “Your will be done.”

    If my wishes go counter to God’s, I don’t want to get in the way of what is best for any particular situation, so I surrender my will. Doing so takes the outcome out of my hands.

    Bless you.

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