As a society we draw our attention to the innocent children who need a voice, the abused and addicted adults, but there is a generation we like to neatly tuck away in a nursing home and forget.
Much more rapidly than I ever dreamed it would happen, I’ve not only turned into my mother, but my grandmother, as I proudly wear the title “Ninny” to a sweet little 2 year old grandson and 3 year old granddaughter. My next “Stage” is the great grandmother. You know? The one everyone makes a special effort to go get at Christmas and other significant holidays, but the one who often feels forgotten on the ordinary days (and there are many of them). Time that once went so fast? Now drags by… every minute seemingly screaming “You are Old and Unable”… Unable to drive, unable to see, unable to hear, unable to function in so many ways like you once did.
God has really been laying the older generation on my heart. After a few weeks in prayer asking “What are you trying to say to me?” I believe I know why they have been so heavy on my heart. It was recently revealed to me in a very touching moment…
I used to cry often. My boys knew at what point in a movie to turn their heads and look to see if mom was crying? (Of course I reminded them it gave them the feels too or they wouldn’t have known to turn and look.) Remember the Campbell’s soup commercial where the mom bundles up the little girl to go out into the snow? I cried. Like a baby. Every. Time. But then I lost my mom, and 7 other family members that year. I became a Guardian Ad Litem for children in the protective services system and a mentor to broken young ladies. I still cry, but not as often. In fact, it’s most often when the Holy Spirit walks in the room. When He moves my heart in such a way that I feel His presence.
In 2018 God brought me to a little country church and into the most amazing church family. The members hold such a special place in my heart. Many of our attendees are older and a wealth of knowledge and wisdom. When they say they are going to pray for you, you know it’s not just a cliché, they are going to be on their knees before God petitioning for you. As we would sit and talk before service, I would hear things like “I used to lead a youth group years ago. I so wish I could still do that as our church is growing and there will be a need for it.” and you see the light in their eyes as they would recall the days of taking the youth group to their home and fixing them meals and being a Christian example at such a tough age. How they’d laugh, and sing, and learn about what truly matters.
This particular Sunday the service was as powerful as it always is because listeners are always lead back to the cross. At the end of the service that day, they called on him to pray to dismiss us. He could barely stand and walked with a cane. With the help of his wife he made it to his feet, held onto the pew in front of him, and he prayed. As he prayed my heart stirred, I hung on every word as I knew it was reaching heaven. And the Lord whispered to me… “Tell him Kris. Tell him what he’s doing for the church.” I made my way back to him when the service was over. Not feeling emotional, just determined to be obedient. I told him that I always love it when he prays, that his prayers are powerful! He smiled that sweet smile and said “I can’t see your face, but I can hear you and I know who you are.” I squeezed his bruised, wrinkled hand a little tighter as he said “I used to teach Kris. I used to be so involved. I used to be able to do so much. I miss that so dearly…” That’s when I felt the presence of Jesus so thick it was almost tangible…That’s when the tears came, the compassion was deep, as the next words out of my mouth were the answer I had been searching for.. “What you are doing is more powerful than anything, and something we desperately need more of. You are PRAYING! You are a prayer warrior. Not a willy-nilly pray for a minute or two and move on, you are on your face before God praying for the church members when they are sick, hurt or struggling. You’re praying for the lost that have not even made their way to our doors yet to hear about the hope that waits at the foot of the cross. YOU are moving the heart of God. Don’t ever underestimate the power and purpose behind that.”
Every time I speak at a Women’s Event and I ask God what he wants me to say? He always leads back to the same thing “Tell my people to pray.” I watched my grandmother sit for hours in her chair with her crochet thread and hook on one side of the chair, and her bible on the other on the little stand. She would read that bible and pray for hours. I know those prayers, as well as my mothers, continue to follow me and have brought me to where I am today in my relationship with Jesus. We need a generation that will rise up and take prayer seriously once again, not treat it as a common condolence when we say “I’ll pray for you” but earnestly mean it. And? We need to love our elderly Christians and lift them up. We need to remind them of their purpose in the church. They are the power behind the prayer.
I leave you with this challenge – reach out to an elderly person in your church after you read this and thank them for their prayers. Remind them that what they are doing is not forgotten, and they are not forgotten.
Our church is going to visit a nursing home this Wednesday evening and I can’t wait to be able to speak to those who are believers and remind them how powerful they are as they pray and move the heart of God. And for the other residents? We’re going to introduce them to Jesus as we walk in love and remind them someone cares.