Why embarassment but no prayer?

Yesterday things started to thaw, but not enough for an elderly gentleman I saw lying semi-conscious on an icy footpath in the village. He’d obviously slipped on the inch thick compacted ice/snow and banged his head badly as he went down. I spent time assisting (called 999, helped paramedic) and talking to the strangers who also came to help.

It’s funny how we can analyse our reactions to situations like this afterwards. I did some of what needed doing, but felt embarrassed afterwards that I’d not done more: I called 999, and since others had come to help by then, walked away to wait and wave in the paramedic nearer the road (as instructed by ambulance control). I didn’t think to put my coat over him, or something under his head, but others had done that when I came back. Later I did give my coat to a lass who’d given hers up, as she had only a t-shirt on and was shivering, whilst I had two warm jumpers under my coat. I never thought of the cleanish dog blanket in the car 50 yards away. I could have done more, and afterwards felt embarrassed that others might have thought I should have done. Yet, no one had started to help till I did (despite there being others around) so why be embarrassed for something no-one condemned¬† me for?

And what is embarrassment when no-one is there inside your head hearing your thought? Except God.

Which brings me to the other afterthought I had as I drove home. During the whole incident, which lasted just over an hour, it never once occurred to me to pray (not even ‘inside my head’). So much for delusions of being a “minister” it seems – aren’t they the ones who think of things like praying for people in distress?! Never once did I think “God, please take control.” It was just me ‘doing’ or standing there holding blankets, holding the chair we sat him on, keeping a hand on the mans shoulder so he wasn’t alone with the paramedic.

It was only afterwards that the “prayer” button kicked in, and the little grey cells registered that I should try and visit the couple (his wife was brought from his house in time to go in the Ambulance with him) next week.

So, did I fail God and my ‘calling’ in that situation, or just perhaps, (I’ve suddenly thought this) was God working through me to help someone in distress, and a lot more “in control” than I gave him credit for last night?

Where was God in this? (That will be me thinking theologically then!)



  1. or perhaps that ‘doing good’ is so engrained that this work was the prayer…
    Honestly!! You do something good, that no-one had done, and then beat yourself up because you felt you didn’t do it in a more outwardly and blatant Christian way. !


  2. Luke 10 vv 27-37

    Do I need to say more?

    Oh yes … nobody is perfect – your actions were merely excellent and they served as an example to others. You weren’t responsible for everything. But through you everything happened which makes me view your actions highly indeed.

    In fact you remind me of something that tortured my mum for many years. She once discovered a friend’s child head down in water. The end of the story is that through my mum’s actions and intensive care the child lived. My mum tortured herself about the fact that when she saw the child she screamed out ‘oh God’. She felt guilty for blaspheming in a time of stress – she’d never done it before or since. It took someone (many years later) explaining that it was a very effective emergency prayer that her soul had cried out before my mum stopped worrying.

    Thank God for putting you in the situation and for helping you to act. Don’t be negative about your actions.


  3. Sounds to me like you did a lot of good there, Rac. Okay it’s always possible to analyse a situation and find something more you could have done. However, the important thing is that the man’s needs were met and you were very largely instrumental in ensuring that.

    I’m the wrong person to comment on prayer but maybe at the time, your actions fulfilled the immediate need more than prayer might have done?

    Anyway, I say well done to you and I hope I would do as much as you in a similar situation.


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