A Prayer for Times of Indecision

Family Alzheimer’s and dementia caregivers are faced with an overwhelming number of decisions.

When is it time to take away the car keys? How do I show him that I still see and value the person he is? When do I call in caregiving support? Who? Where? What if I get this wrong? When will we recover from the last time I messed it all up?

Such volume and weight of decision-making frequently leads to paralyzing indecision.

Here is a prayer I have found effective for when my soul is crying out in anguish, “I don’t know what to do; I don’t know what to do!” It’s my contemporary translation of Psalm 119, Stanza 4.

Lord, I am devastated;

please renew my strength as you have promised.

I have repeatedly come to you with my needs

   and you have always helped me.

Please show me again, now, what I should do.

Help me to understand your ordinances,

  help me to contemplate all the wonders chronicled in your word.

I weep endlessly in my sorrow.

Lift me up again, according to your promises.

Whenever I am tempted to stray from you,

   please stand between me and my error;

   stand by me and give me clear instructions.

I am determined to remain true to you,

   therefore I will always hold before my eyes

   that which you have proclaimed to be right and good.

I will hold unflinchingly to your precepts.

Lord, please do not permit my steadfast conviction to be turned into mockery.

Help me to walk the narrow way with single-minded determination,

for your ordinances point out that if I follow your ways,

   my future will contain happiness and joy.


Two years ago, when my husband was in the early, as yet undiagnosed stages of dementia, he insisted I write this prayer book with him. It is a contemporary translation of his favorite Psalms, including the one above. Both of us have been using the book daily, for strength, comfort, and guidance.

There is nothing like the power of God’s word to transform our attitudes, to give us hope in the dark, to supply strength in our weakness. I have therefore decided to make this book available to anyone who needs encouragement. I’m not advertising it (except quietly, occasionally on this blog). A number of people have asked about “Nearer to God” — so now it’s available on Amazon.