Especially George

Especially George

As I was sorting old files, I came upon this reflection in a church newsletter from my mother’s pastor in Seattle more than 30 years ago. I’ve wanted to share this because ‘Especially George’ has become an important part of our prayer life these days, and perhaps he will in yours as well. These are this pastor’s words,

 

“My father was confined to his bed in the nursing unit in Claremont, California, when I made that final, week-long visit. The other bed in the double room was occupied by a very old and very frail man, whom I remember only as ‘the missionary.’ Because, Father told me, that’s what he had been during his working years.

“Every evening the missionary’s wife came to see him. On the first evening of my visit, Father and I were talking on one side of the curtain, and they on the other side when they began to speak in unison. Unable to avoid overhearing, I realized they were praying for a long list of people. It went something like this: ‘Dear God, please bless Marvin and Clare, Billie and Margie and Sean; Martha and Jim and little Jimmie; Ann and Harold; Linda and Carole and George, especially George….’

“I had no idea who all those people were. Children and grandchildren, probably by families. But it was George who puzzled me most: who was he, and why ‘especially?’

“The second night, Father and I fell silent when we heard the unison prayer commence. Clearly it was a carefully memorized ritual, for we heard exactly the same list of names, including Especially George. No surely, they didn’t love George more than the others. I concluded that he must have some urgent and exceptional need of God’s blessing.

“By the third night, we were waiting for the prayer, and when the now-familiar words drifted through the curtain, I prayed with them – especially for George.

“At the end of the week, I returned to Seattle, and the next month my father died. While I was in Claremont for the funeral, I stopped by the nursing unit to see the missionary. I learned that he had died just a week after my earlier visit. ‘And how is George?’ I wanted to ask, ‘Is he all right?’ But it didn’t seem appropriate.

“I haven’t forgotten Especially George, though. I still pray for him sometimes, just in case he is still in urgent and exceptional need. I think he has become, for me, the embodiment of all those people, known and unknown, who have more than ordinary need of God’s blessing. I don’t know for sure that my praying makes a difference in their lives, but it is an expression of my caring and I trust that God can use that energy for some good purpose. I suppose that’s what prayer is all about, when you come right down to it.

“So please keep praying for whomever is on your list. And once in a while, if you don’t mind, please pray for George. Especially George.”

“Especially George” is always in our prayers, as there are so many in this world whose needs we care about and can’t name. May Especially George find a way into your heart and prayers.

(With gratitude to Reverend Paul Flucke for this story and papaoinannou-kostas of Unsplash for this photograph)

3 thoughts on “Especially George”

  1. This is so heart-warming and especially expansive! Such a wonderful way to pray for all those unknown and in need. Many thanks for posting this.

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