In the past year, a member of our church was diagnosed with dementia and was placed in a nursing home. Mike still has a fair amount of awareness.  He knows his wife and he still knows me, but otherwise he lives in an alternate reality.  

The dementia has been coming on for a while, but he has suffered from other mental conditions for years.  He has an amazing mind, though.  He can still quote much of the Bible verbatim. 

Over the years I have prayed with him many times.  While he always asks for prayer he never really seems to be praying with me.  He doesn’t even close his eyes for Heaven’s sake! 

Today I went visit him at the nursing home.  I had my Ethiopian pastor friend Dereje with me.  Having just finished our pastors’ prayer group we were on our way to a committee meeting for a non-profit primary health care organization we are both involved in.  First, I needed to drop by and see Mike. 

His wife was visiting him as well.  So we all gathered around Mike who was lying on his bed, but glad to have visitors.  We held hands and began to pray.  I prayed first, then Mike’s wife, and then Dereje. 

It was a beautiful time of prayer.  We prayed for healing for his body and mind and peace for his soul.  Meanwhile, Mike had fallen asleep.  He often gets his days and nights turned around. 

We said amen.  His wife said, “I feel like singing that “Amen” song.”  We sang “A-a-amen! A-a-amen!  A-amen! Amen! Amen!”  There was a lot of joy in the room.  Mike slept. 

We began to say our good-byes when we heard Mike’s voice, “Heavenly Father, thank you for all that you have given us.  Please protect my wife and bless her.  We ask all these things in the name of your son our Lord, Jesus Christ.  Amen.” 

We all turned to look at him.  His eyes were still closed, but his heart was quite awake.