John 13:34 – A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. (NKJV)
Many of us know what a scourge Alzheimer’s disease is. While cancer in its various forms seems to dominate the attention of our aging congregation right now, we have also had our share of Alzheimer’s and dementia victims. The despair, heartache, and frustration these bring to loved ones has to be experienced first-hand to be believed. I have read many inspiring prayers for the loved ones of Alzheimer’s victims, but this one, written for our Drummond Hill Presbyterian Church congregation in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada, by our pastor, Rev. Wally Hong, is especially poignant and says it all, in my opinion. Let it speak for itself.
Dear God, my loved one remembers me less.
There, sitting alone in a world so far away;
when our eyes meet, there is no recognition … no hello.
The more I bring past joys to awaken the life that could be,
the more emptiness I find in those beautiful eyes.
My heart aches! My soul is full of anguish!
Where do I get strength and peace?
Be with me, O God! Give me strength to remember
the love of yesterday
when our hearts and souls danced together,
when we glimpsed eternity and laughed.
Give me the sight to see life that is from You,
filled with possibilities of love …
For I refuse to stop loving even in my deepest sadness. Amen.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8a – Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. (NKJV)
One of our church ladies died several years ago after a lengthy spell of Alzheimer’s. At her funeral, two of her long-suffering daughters stood beside her open casket, beaming at me, and asserting, “Now she knows who she is again!” That is the language of rejoicing and of love.
Prayer: Merciful Father, we thank You that Jesus assumed our burdens and suffered for our sins. But some are assuming the burdens and suffering of their loved ones who are slowly slipping into the oblivion of Alzheimer’s. Uphold those who suffer, Father, both the afflicted and their loved ones; enable them to endure. May those of us who are spared such agony of spirit extend our love, sympathy, understanding, and active help to those who undergo the experience. In Jesus’ most precious name, we pray. Amen.
Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada