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Two short prayers.

A few days ago, I wrote a post here about my dear friend Mary Quinn. At her funeral, I learned many more things about her as I listened while each of her children gave their personal tributes. One story in particular gripped my heart.

Daughter Leigh related what Mary had told her, once she could verbally communicate again, after her major stroke in 2008. Mary, you should know, had hundreds of Bible verses and passages memorized and was a dedicated prayer warrior for her family and many friends. The immediate effect of her stroke was that she wasn't able to mentally recall a single Bible verse, nor could she formulate any words for prayer. With great effort and determination, she could finally form the word "Lord" in her brain and that's what she repeated over and over as her prayer. Sometime later, she could put the words "Lord" and "praise" together. "Lord . . . . praise."

In the weeks following as her brain began to heal and recover, she was able to form two short prayer sentences: "Lord, I praise You." "Lord, I trust you." Months later, she described it to her children as a highly significant moment in her life. It's a very personal story but one I'm so grateful Leigh shared with all who came to Mary's memorial service.

Those two simple prayers have resonated powerfully because they are the essence of what my own prayers should be. What ALL of our prayers should be.

"Lord." That one word. You, Heavenly Father, are Lord of all. You're in charge. You know the plan. Your will WILL be done.

"Lord, I praise You."

If we are able to communicate more fully than Mary could in those early weeks after her stroke, we could elaborate on all the things that we praise God FOR.

I praise You for Who You are.

I praise You for all Your characteristics revealed in Your Word.

I praise You for all You've done, for all You're doing, and for all You will do.

"Lord, I trust You."

I trust that You have forgiven me of my sins.

I trust that You are my Savior.

I trust that You know what is best for me.

I trust that You love my loved ones even more than I do and that You will guide and protect them.

I trust that You will never leave me or forsake me.

I trust that You know the deep longings of my heart, even the ones I'm incapable of expressing.

I trust that You have your eye on everything happening in the world and everyone in every place at all times.

I trust that nothing that happens surprises You.

Of course, as we are able, we add words of confession and petition during our prayer time, but praising and trusting are central.

If I ever find myself in Mary's situation, I pray diligently that those two short prayers will be in my heart and on my lips.

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