A week ago Monday is a day I will never forget. My mother-in-law passed from this life to eternity at 5:30pm. Our family gathered around her for her final breath. Being there when a loved one passes, in and of itself makes for an experience you never relinquish. Just prior to her final breath came another moment I will never forget. A momment where I experienced the presence of God like no other.
My wife and I had stepped out of the nursing home room that had housed mom for the better part of 12 years for a much-needed break. My wife had been at mom’s side for the past 30 hours. It was lunch time, so we decided to get a sandwich and a coffee and return home for a little rest. Not long after we arrived at home, my wife’s cell phone rang. It was her brother, Dean, indicating mom’s condition seemed to have changed and we might want get back.
We immediately left and returned to the nursing home. Upon arrival we could tell things had progressed. I sat next to her and read the following verses from Psalm 73 to her:
“Whom have I in heaven but You? And there is none upon the earth that I desire besides You. My flesh and my heart fail; but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”
As I began reading the verses to her, she started moving, and we sensed she knew exactly what was happening. I then prayed, thanking Jesus for preparing a place for her, and acknowledged that we were ready for the Father to give the command for her to go to her heavenly home. The unforgettable moment had begun.
Shortly after concluding the prayer mom became agitated. I sensed the morphine was falling short of covering the pain. I squeezed her hand and I began to pray again. This time I wasn’t praying for everyone in the room to hear, this time it was just me praying silently over mom. I asked Jesus to give her comfort. I asked God to calm her. Boldly at the throne, I asked for these things. As I prayed I began to feel mom’s body relax, muscle by muscle, limb by limb, and she calmed down. The process repeated a few minutes later. The pain surged again. Again I went boldly to the throne and again as if only because I asked, God comforted her.
It was not much longer and mom’s eyes opened. At first we thought this was another surge of pain. We noticed her eyelids blink a few times. We called for the nurse to administer more morphine. It wasn’t pain however; it was mom waving goodbye the only way she could. Just few more breaths and God gave the command, “Come home Sue Griffith!” My (our) prayer was answered.
The power of prayer was never so real and effectual than it was in those moments. God was there, He was true to His promise to never leave or forsake us. He was not just there; He was ready and willing to give comfort. Jesus said; “You have not because you ask not.” I was glad I asked, otherwise I might have missed the presence of God through the power of prayer.