Like a Tree Planted Near Running Water
“Blessed are those who trust in God, whose trust is in the Holy One,
They shall be like a tree planted by water, sending out its roots by the stream.
It shall not fear when heat comes, and its leaves shall stay green;
in the year of drought it is not anxious, and it does not cease to bear fruit.” (Jeremiah 17:7-8)

The other day I sat at the bedside of a patient who is walking with cancer. In her graciousness she allowed me to begin the prayer of petition and trust for her healing. As I prayed her strong voice lifted up several “Yes Lord, you know I love you…hear us Lord…etc.” When we finished the Lord’s Prayer we traded places as I sought to bring the “Amen’s and hear us Lord, to her strong and steady prayers of petition and gratitude.

She was a woman of great faith and it was clear that her roots were planted in the strong steady stream of trust in God’s never ending love and faithfulness. She prayed a long time. I wanted my prayer of support to be as fervently as hers, but in my shyer quiet support voice my deeper prayer was that God would trust my heart felt intention.

About two-thirds into the prayer time, I became aware that my eyes had glazed over and I had fallen into staring at electrical plug-ins in the wall in front of me. At the hospital the plugs are lit up, so it is easier to find them, especially at night. As the ears of my heart and my sight focused I realized with no uncertainty that this holy woman, whose bedside I was at, was truly plugged into God’s holy presence. Her prayers were spoken with such tenderness and surety, that I felt both honored and embarrassed at the intimacy that I was hearing.

Today as I heard the words of Jeremiah read at the liturgy, this prayer warrior…this woman of great faith filled my awareness. The other day her words brought streams of running water to my eyes. Deep down I felt renewed in that deep desire to pray from that place where the intimacy of God is a given, not a theological discussion.

As I move into this new week, may I dare to take into my prayer the heartfelt believe that my roots that are planted deep in running streams…and that the greening of my soul is being cared for by the Master gardener.