Years ago, my grandmother had a stroke. She couldn’t remember her name,or her husband or my mom. She was confused about almost everything, but she kept saying, “I don’t know who I am, but I know my Jesus loves me.” Her faith is so deeply rooted that in a time of great distress it brought her comfort and offered a lifeline in a dark place. (By the way, she recovered completely, is fine now, and continues to run circles around all of her family — great-grandchildren included.)
I thought of that when I read this story about decoding messages on index cards left by a woman from Minnesota who died almost 20 years ago:
My grandmother passed away in 1996 of a fast-spreading cancer. She was non-communicative her last two weeks, but in that time, she left at least 20 index cards with scribbled letters on them. My cousins and I were between 8-10 years old at the time, and believed she was leaving us a code. We puzzled over them for a few months trying substitution ciphers, and didn’t get anywhere.
After her granddaughter posted the images to Metafilter, the community their quickly discerned these were prayers and decoded most of them.
In her final days of life- – when she could no longer speak — the woman wrote out prayers. She filled twenty index cards using the first letter of the word. The focus of the many stories seems to be the skill of effectiveness of the internet community in breaking an 18-year-old code, which is certainly impressive. However, I’m more impressed with the woman who in her final hours offered continual thanks to God and lifted up her loved ones in prayer.
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Prayer is powerful. “The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” James 5:16 Actually, I prefer the King James Version of that particular verse, “The fervent effectual prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” It just sounds cooler. I would imagine her prayers comforted her in her final hours. I hope they comfort her family now. They certainly encourage me to pray without ceasing and find comfort in the God who hears every prayer.