One of my favorite psalms. It’s actually the psalm I preached at my dad’s funeral. I’m going to read the whole thing here, it’s six verses, and then lead us to pray for Carol accordingly, and you’ll see why.
“Blessed is everyone who fears the Lord, who walks in his ways. You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands. You shall be blessed and it shall be well with you. Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house. Your children will be like olive shoots around your table. Behold, thus shall the man be blessed who fears the Lord. The Lord bless you from Zion. May you see the prosperity of Jerusalem all the days of your life. May you see your children’s children. Peace be upon Israel.”
Oh, there’s so much here in this psalm that just talks about, from the very beginning to the very end, the blessing that comes in fearing God and the way that plays out in family. It’s the reason why I preached this psalm at my dad’s funeral, because he feared the Lord and it was evident in the way he loved his family. So there’s so many different ways we could pray according to this psalm, but as we’re praying for each other during these days of pandemic and people are sending in specific prayer requests that relate to this pandemic at radical.net/prayerrequests, Brynn writes, “Please pray for family members who are serving as full-time caregivers during this time.” Brynn says, “Recently my grandmother, who is 86 years old, had a stroke and since then has required 24-hour care. And my mom, Carol, has been caring for my grandmother since her stroke. But during this pandemic, it has gotten a lot harder.”
Lord, we ask for Your sustenance in these days for grandparents and for those caring for them. May they experience your peace that surpasses understanding.
She goes on to talk about how the rest of the family is out of town, unable to help due to shelter-in-place guidelines, how Brynn and her sisters try to help out as much as they can, but they have full-time jobs as well, how getting doctor’s appointments and prescriptions has become very difficult, obviously, as a result of COVID-19. So Brynn just asks, “Please pray for my mom, Carol, as she works so hard to take care of my grandmother and puts herself and her own needs last.” And I read this and then read Psalm 128, “May you see your children’s children,” what a picture as a Brynn, a granddaughter, says, “Please pray for my mom and grandmother.”
Yes. Yes, this kind of picture is what Psalm 128 is talking about, a picture of a family who, in three generations, is saying, “We’re looking to you, oh God. In the middle of a pandemic, we are looking to you for help.” And so I want to lead us to pray on all of these different levels for all three, in a sense, of these generations and for those they represent.
So God, we pray right now for grandparents whose health is not good, whose health is struggling. We pray for grandparents who have COVID-19. God, we pray for grandparents who have other physical struggles during these days and are more susceptible to COVID-19. God, we pray for your protection for grandparents right now. God, we pray specifically for your grace, and your strength, and your help for Brynn’s grandmother. God, we pray that you would, just as we prayed on different days, give grace in nursing homes and assisted living centers and for all who are caring for them. God, then we pray specifically right now for Carol, as she is caring for her mom. God, we pray that you would be Carol’s strength, that you would be Carol’s peace, that you would be Carol’s joy, God, that every day you would provide mercy for Carol, that you would draw her into deeper intimacy with you during these days.
And as she looks to you, and trusts in you, and fears you, and walks with you, God, that you would provide for her every need as she lays down her life to care for her mom. God we praise you for that picture that we see all throughout scripture in so many different ways, even thinking about First Timothy, care for those in our household as a priority in our lives. So God, we praise you for the way that’s playing out in Carol’s life right now and we pray that you would help her. We pray that you would strengthen her. And God, we pray for Brynn as the granddaughter, as the daughter here. Help her know how best to love her mom, her grandmother. Help her know how best to care for both of them in any ways that she can and her sisters can.
God, we pray for your blessing on their family during these days, that you would draw them all into deeper intimacy with you, that you would lift all their eyes to you on a daily basis and that you would provide for everything they need. God, we pray for your blessings on their home and other homes like them. God, we pray right now together for every son or daughter, no matter how young or old, who is caring for a parent during these days. God, help us to know how best to care for parents, for grandparents during these days. And we pray for strength, grace, mercy, to care well for our families.
Even as we prayed yesterday for children and spouses for whom home is not a safe place, God, we pray today that you would make our homes and our families places of safety, and care, and help, and love, and help us know how to best do that during these unique days, that Psalm 128 might be a reality, your blessing as we fear, and worship, and honor, and walk with you. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.