Editor’s Note: On October 6, 2017, after 42 days in the hospital, June Hetzel’s brother moved on to glory. The following blog post, “Too Tired to Pray,” was written in the midst of those trying 42 days.
Have you ever felt too tired to pray? I have. For example, right now, I am in the midst of untold agony as my only brother, Rick, is fighting for his life at Kaiser Permanente, Anaheim Hills. It’s day 37. He’s out of ICU but he’s not out of the woods. Yesterday was the first day in 37 days that he could breathe on his own for an extended period of time. Unfortunately, he had to get a tracheostomy at day 21. His digestive track is not working and they had to move him from a feeding tube to feeding intravenously. His kidneys are working at 50%. His skin is deteriorating from an advanced case of diabetes. He suffers from depression and I am completely helpless and hopeless to save my brother, and so are the doctors. They give my brother a grim diagnosis. All my emotional energy goes to him. I try to conduct daily business as normal, but nothing’s normal. I’m emotionally exhausted and physically exhausted. I need frequent breaks. Then, I fell and hit my face on the cement. Bleeding, numb teeth, swollen lips, painful nose. Ugh. The Lord forced me to rest … for days.
Now, each of you also have “stuff” going on too … loved ones who are ill, parents who are aging, children who need your attention, and then there’s your homeschooling and other “stuff.” Stuff like relational conflict, troubled churches, financial pressures, health challenges; and you cannot neglect those darling faces in front of you that eagerly await the treasures of your daily homeschool teaching. Yet, you’re exhausted, and at times, let’s admit it … too tired to pray.
In the Arms of Jesus
Could I just suggest the following — curl up in Jesus’ arms and just rest there. Don’t move a muscle, just lay your head on his lap and let His arms enfold you. He knows every thought, every worry, every pain, every confusion, every detail of every contributing factor to your exhausted state. Sh-h-h. Don’t say a word. Just rest. He knows it all. He even knows you are too tired to pray.
Now, stay right there in the arms of Jesus. Again, don’t move a muscle. He’s got it. In my situation, I can’t do a thing to help my brother heal and ultimately, the doctors can’t either. The doctors can treat, but the Lord ultimately heals. Similarly, you can teach, but the Lord is the One who is the real Change Agent — The Spirit who is the Teacher and the One who shapes the internal posture of our hearts. So, when life overwhelms, rest in this, He’s got it, this life is not all there is, and Jesus’ arms are ready to enfold you. You don’t have to practice discursive prayer, just practice non-discursive prayer where you rest silently and let Jesus hold you.
Spend 10-15 minutes prayerfully considering with Jesus:
- When I get overwhelmed, how do I respond spiritually? emotionally? psychologically? physically?
- When I am tired and overwhelmed, how does it affect my homeschooling day?
- When I am too tired to pray, do I allow myself to just rest in Jesus’s presence?
Dear Jesus, you are the immovable, unshakable Rock of my salvation. There is nothing that is too big for you. All that I am going through, all that feels overwhelming, Lord Jesus, I give it to you this very moment. I ask, dear Lord, that you simply teach me to rest and abide in You moment-by-moment and day-by-day. In your precious name, Amen.
June Hetzel, Ph.D., Dean of Education, Biola University, 10/1/17