When I was young, my parents were superheroes with insurmountable powers. They protected me from bad things. While they didn’t have lots of money, they found ways to provide for the simple and basic things in life. The items on Santa’s list often found their way under the Christmas tree.
My parents’ love eased my fears and filled me with confidence. I learned to play baseball with Dad. Mom fed me with wonderful cooking. But these days, much older, they are the ones who need the care and provision.
At times I wish I could turn back the clock to when we all walked to church for Sunday morning worship. They would lead the way as I played with my siblings and friends, carefree with no worries.
My dad walked at a fast pace through the streets of our New York City neighborhood to run errands or take me to the barber shop; nothing and no one could slow him down. Now he must pace himself and take time to get to his destination.
Mom shopped at the department stores as I tightly held her hand. Now she must stop every few minutes to get her breath. The strong voice that once shouted my name from the apartment window to come home for dinner is low and somedays barely audible. Yes, the roles are reversed.
Watching my parents age is difficult and painful—as it is for many of us. I can’t stop the aging process. However, there is one thing I can do every day for them. I can pray and follow their example.
They taught me to pray for all things and believe nothing is impossible with God. When I was hospitalized as an eight-year-old with a kidney infection, they prayed for me. My father prayed for us kids before we headed out to school. When I got my driver’s license, they prayed for my safety. The day I was dropped off at college, mom cried and then prayed for my success every day that I was away. At my wedding, they prayed for my new bride and me. When the grandkids arrived, they prayed for them.
Now more than ever, it’s my turn to pray on their behalf. I pray for the Lord to give them strength when they are weak. Comfort when they are sad and troubled. I ask God to provide for their daily needs and give them caring doctors. I pray that they will adhere to medical counsel.
I ask God to heal their bodies and ease their pain, to help them enjoy the company of their friends at church. And in the midst of this pandemic, I pray for God to protect them from getting the virus.
Many of us are also praying for aging parents, and somedays it might feel as if it’s not enough. Yes, we should do everything possible to make their days enjoyable and easier. But never forget to pray for them. Our prayers matter.