I fell off a stile earlier in the year (dogwalk) and twisted my knee painfully. It proved very slow to heal, so I went to a Physio who kneaded tender areas and gave me exercises. Slowly (age thing) there is healing. Having this column to write, I wondered if there were lessons for prayer.
That morning of the fall I clambered over the stile so full of confidence that I did not pay attention, and slipped (lesson 1). And then the ‘dot and carry one’ stage, limping stiffly with a stick, watching every step (2). But feel no shame about needing a stick, a prop in case you stumble: reminds us of dependence on God (3). Indeed, I found a sort of fellowship of the stick among hesitant hobblers, a mutual acceptance and understanding, which was pleasant and supportive – a bit like a prayer meeting (4).
And the exercises: 20 minutes, thrice daily; all to build up the knee and its various muscles, lots of them. Regularity and fidelity is lesson 5, and/or perhaps discipline and obedience (6) because sharp questions get asked if you don’t work at the task, and not just by the Physio. Prayer has to be regularly repeated when we need building up.
But I have begun to notice a freedom: walking better; bending the knee happens naturally, not so cautiously. Is there a parallel there too – that prayer should not just be a formal exercise, but as natural as walking, an easy part of daily life, even when there is no pain to remind us (7)?
Oh, and there’s prayer for healing as well. Don’t forget that! And of course thanks for healing (so obvious). And praise too, for all that the Lord works in our lives. Perhaps you could add more.
A prayer for each week
Lord of all healing, we raise up to you on a stretcher of prayer our friends who’re suffering: from accident, injury, illness or attack – physical, mental or spiritual. And please bless also those who work for wholeness. Amen.
Lord of all knowing, we praise you for what we can see of your ways, but also what lies above and beyond our ken. Please help us to trust and obey your word, both when it seems clear and when it doesn’t. Amen.
Lord of all ways, of all the awkward corners as well as the clear, straight, smooth paths, please remind us to pray our way forward with you every step of your way, but most especially when difficulties loom. Amen.
Lord of all recovery, thank you for healings in hospitals and homes, but we praise you also for the promise of the much greater and perfect wellbeing yet to come, through Jesus – unstiffened in eternity. Amen.
Your own prayers