encouragement · Prayer

Remember the widowed… [The Effective Prayer 8.31.15]

This post is part of a weekly series on Effective Prayer.cafe-569349_1920

They were quite a pair
The way that love should be
They still held hands
For all the world to see
She’s thankful that she had him all those years
But she still has days she can’t hold back the tears

She misses their Monday night bowling league
When they’d wear their matching shirts
She misses their Wednesday night dinner out
As soon as he got home from work
Saturday morning sleeping late
Holding each other close
But she misses him on Sunday the most

She sits alone on that same old pew again
His tenor voice still echoes now and then
It brings back all those memories of him there by her side
What she’d give for one more Sunday drive

She misses their Monday night bowling league
When they’d wear their matching shirts
She misses their Wednesday night dinner out
As soon as he got home from work
Saturday morning sleeping late
Holding each other close
But she misses him on Sunday the most
But she misses him on Sunday the most

~Diamond Rio, She Misses Him On Sunday The Most

You see them often: the elderly man sitting on a pew alone; the elderly woman who walks in and out unnoticed; the young woman juggling kids, still wearing black; the middle-aged man with the vacant, overwhelmed stare trying to help his elementary-aged children. They have to go home to an empty bed or quiet house. In the case of the elderly, their income is fixed, many of their dearest friends have passed on and they are engulfed by loneliness. In the case of the young mother or father, they are not only grappling with unexpected loss, but they are facing a future of uncertainty and the daunting task of raising children on their own.

At times, people walk hesitantly towards them, unsure what words to use and then keep on walking past to avoid discomfort.

They are the widowed.

Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

~ James 1:27, ESV

The Lord knows that there are people who need extra help. He has always made provision for those bereft of care. The New Testament has several scriptures regarding widows and the church.

In Acts 6, men were appointed to make sure that the widows in the church would get their daily portion of food, because they had been neglected up to that point.

In Acts 9, a woman named Tabitha cared for the widows; when she died they were deeply grieved and Peter raised her from the dead.

In 1 Timothy 5, Paul gives instructions for the church to care for widows who are in need and do not have family to help them.

Imagine if you were in the shoes of the widowed (maybe you are that person). It’s daunting!

I came very near to that point two years ago when I learned my spouse had been in a deadly situation. We had three children under the age of six that day, and I very nearly became their sole caretaker. It’s a frightening prospect to be struck with grief and raising children solo. Incidents like these give you a new appreciation for military spouses with husbands/wives overseas and cop’s spouses who never know from day-to-day if their husband or wife will make it home from work.

Imagine being an elderly man or woman who has been married anywhere from forty to sixty years. Suddenly, you have nobody in bed next to you when you wake up. The house is quiet. Everything you used to do with that person, you now do alone. Just thinking about that prospect makes my heart ache!

We need to wake up to the needs of those around us who are bereft of their spouses. They need our prayers, but they also need our help.

  • Ask to help them go shopping once a week.
  • Offer to take them to lunch and visit with them every so often.
  • Offer to bring them to group events.
  • Look for them on Sundays and make a point of talking with them each week.

They need us—their brothers and sisters in Christ—to show them love and compassion. I will warn you, it may not always be taken warmly or gratefully. I offered to help an elderly lady once shortly after she’d lost her husband and she said, “oh yes, you are doing what James said, ‘take care of the widows and orphans'” It was said sarcastically. Your care and concern will not always be received well, but we need to make the effort just the same. I have to admit that after being pushed away so bitterly, I was more hesitant to approach anyone who was widowed. Keep on trying; remember that they are hurting and people handle their pain differently.

Pray for them.

I write these Effective Prayer posts as an encouragement to myself and to you. I tend to be very self-focused in my prayers (praying for my needs and the needs of immediate family) and I truly believe that I need to be more outwardly focused on the needs of others, not only in my activities, but my prayers.

Here are some suggestions to help focus your prayer:

Pray for them to be comforted.

This will not happen overnight. They pain will be with them for years; it may never fully dissipate. They need our prayers, and our presence.

Pray for them to have friendship.

Don’t we all need friends? Pray that the Lord will send them solid friends who will not take advantage of them (this could be you!).

Pray for them to lean on the Lord.

Where should we always go in our need? Too often we seek outside comfort in a bottle, or medication, or in other dangerous places. Pray that they will seek healthy comfort from God and be fulfilled.

Pray for their protection.

Elderly people are particularly prone to being taken advantage of. They need help, contract work etcetera and people are more than happy to do things half way and ask for double the payment, or steal from them when they aren’t looking. Pray that the Lord will protect them.

Younger widows/widowers could marry another person who is only seeking to rob them of their money or take advantage of their young children. They need protection, especially in their state of grief.

Pray for and encourage these individuals in their time of pain and vulnerability. They need the Lord and they need our help.

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7 thoughts on “Remember the widowed… [The Effective Prayer 8.31.15]

  1. A friend of mine recently lost her husband. She is now raising four children without a father. Our church has been wonderful, but I know as time passes, people move on with life. We will head into the holidays and I know it will be difficult. Thanks for this reminder to reach out and to pray for the body of Christ.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. How difficult! I am thankful she has support. My grandmother has the most difficult time around the holidays, even though she’s surrounded by family.

      Thanks for the comment. God be with you!

      Like

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