One more trip to the sanctuary of the hospital restroom. I close the door, lock it, and blink in the expected glare of the lone fluorescent light tube. Leaning against the cool tile wall, I slide slowly to the floor.
Too stunned to cry, too scared to scream, I bend forward in a new wave of emotional agony.
Looking up for a moment, I see a red button marked “Emergency” with a chain dangling from it. Yes, this is an emergency, Lord.
If I pull that chain, will you come and rescue me? Or will you send someone to break down the door, put arms around me, hold me close, whisper in my ear that everything is going to be okay? Or will you just open up this ceiling to the sky and transport me to heaven?
That was one of the worst days. My husband Gene lay in an ICU hospital bed, incoherent and immobile.
Strangely, in that restroom, I felt the same. But it was fear, not illness, that plagued me. Or maybe my fear was my illness.
My two-word prayer that day (and many days) was the same prayer that David often prayed: Help me.
David cried out to God with this prayer many times, and so did I. I still do.
When all the circumstances swirling around David tried to convince him that he was alone and that God had abandoned him, he knew where his help came from. Sometimes it seemed like there would be no end to his difficulties. But even then, God was taking care of him.
Here a few more two-word prayers that I have prayed. David prayed some of them. You may have prayed these, too. You may even be praying one of them today.
Have mercy. In a helpless situation, blind men cried out to Jesus with these two words as he was passing by. They realized their need and knew that Jesus was the only one who could make a difference. No matter how needy I am, God is waiting with the plenty of his mercy. I can go to him because I know he loves me and cares for me.
Save me. This was Peter’s prayer when he was walking on the water. When he began focusing on the wind and the waves instead of on Jesus, his faith failed and doubt took over. Jesus didn’t abandon him to his fear, though. Instead, he reached out and grabbed him. Even when I panic, God is already reaching out and ready to grab me.
My Father! This was Jesus’ prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane. Even knowing what was ahead for him, he submitted to the will, plan, and purpose of his Father. He trusted that God’s way was the right way, the best way. God is my Father, my brother, my deliverer, my helper, my all in all. He is all that and more for you, too.
Come close. Sometimes I feel so alone, and this prayer is the only one that helps. As James tells us: “Come close to God, and God will come close to you.” He is there to dry our tears, help carry our burdens, protect and defend us. Even when we move far away from him, he never leaves us or forsakes us.
Hear me. This was a frequent prayer of David that we hear often in the Psalms. When Saul was pursuing him, he was often hiding in caves. And he may have often wondered if God was listening. Sometimes I wonder, too. But then I remember God’s promises to listen when we call.
Forgive me. Another prayer of David. When he had committed the sin of murder, he asked for God’s forgiveness. God is always ready to forgive when we repent. And he keeps no record of our sins. What a great release for us as sinners!
Heal her. In the book of Numbers, we read about Moses’ prayer for his sister Miriam. She was stricken with leprosy, and her brother prayed this simple prayer on her behalf. Have you ever boldly prayed this prayer for someone you love?
Praise God! This was another of David’s prayers. He acknowledged that God was sovereign, in control, and taking care of him ― regardless of his current circumstances. Even on days when I feel like the world is against me and difficulties are closing in on me, I continue to praise our God! There are so many wonderful praise songs to help me do that, too. One of my current favorites is “Good Good Father.”
God has many ways of answering our prayers. Some we understand. Some we don’t. Some we see. Some we never do.
Keep trusting. Keep praying. Even if you pray only two words. Keep those lines of communication open. God is listening, and he is at work. All the time.
“I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit” (Ephesians 3:16).
“Never stop praying” (1 Thessalonians 5:17).
What two-word prayers do you hear yourself praying? How has God answered you? Share with us here.