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Prayer for Those Who Are Fighting Cancer

Dear Friends, 2016 has brought its share of good things: meaningful work, fun surprises, sweet family time. But I have noticed, as my prayer list grows, that this still-new year has brought some big burdens. A husband who has left his wife and children after many years together. A longtime employee laid off during a time of family illness. A broken engagement. A young mom whose biopsy came back as malignant. Four young adults and their mother, all diagnosed with the same potentially deadly cancer gene. A friend in a continuing battle with melanoma. A teacher taking time off from work to have a lumpectomy and subsequent treatment. A friend whose breast cancer has returned in a more menacing way. Another friend in her third horrendous round against ovarian cancer. And still more situations involving cancer, too numerous to list here. You see the pattern. And although I can’t do research, provide treatment, or bring healing, I can pray. When I’ve been in a tough situation, sometimes prayers come slowly—or not at all. So I offer this on behalf of those fighting cancer or who know someone who is. In other words, I’m praying for all of us. I would be honored for you to join your prayers with mine. Father, today I come to you with a heavy heart. I have nothing but hatred for this disease we call cancer. I don’t like the way it steals life, kills health, and destroys relationships. I feel frustrated that finding a cure takes so long. I hate to look at the statistics about cancer recurrence and death. But I also know your name is Healer. I know you care much more than I do. I know you can bring good even from this most evil disease. So even though I don’t like to see my friends hurt, and even though I don’t like the way cancer brings so much suffering along with it, I trust you. I trust you to bring healing. I trust you to surround these pain-ridden ones with your loving presence. I trust you to give them wise counsel and sensitive caregivers. I trust you to give brilliant ideas to researchers along with the funds to make them work. I trust you, God. I trust you when it gets too close. I trust you to help my friend and her husband make hard but necessary decisions about her treatment. I trust you to lift up another friend as she cares for her children after their cancer surgeries. I trust you to sustain this young mother as she tries to maintain some semblance of normal for her family. I trust you to lift up those whose lives have taken a...

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PRAY: Prayer for Those Who Plan Before They Pray

 The words stared out at me from the opening of my daily Bible study: “Lord, help me be willing to erase the list I have made for myself today.” Talk about instant conviction. I’m traveling near the end of the week, so I have to compress many of my duties into a shorter time span. Yesterday, I made a long to-do list and proudly completed several items on it. Every time I remembered my list, I felt satisfied. After all, I was organized. I was on top of things. And I had failed to remember the things of God. The items on my list weren’t horrible or harmful. But I had scribbled them down without prayer, without conscious thought of eternal rather than temporal values. As I work to reshape my list today, I’m praying. First and last. Do you tend to plan before you pray? Then I’m praying for you, too. Lord of all creation, You are above all, over all, in all and through all. I know You care about my daily activities. I know Your Spirit fills me so nothing I do is without You. But I also know when I’ve been wrong, when I’ve failed to consider You or what You say is important. I know when I haven’t sought Your kingdom first. Forgive me, Lord, for taking my own way rather than Yours. And be with others whose proper planning and step-by-step organization can take the place of the gentle whisper of Your Spirit or the not-so-quiet nudge of Your holy Word. Help us listen to You, Lord. Help us walk with You. You—not work, not family, not pressures, not priorities—are our top priority and highest goal. Help me, help us, demonstrate this by the lives we live before You today and each of the days You graciously give us. In Jesus’ name I pray—AMEN. If you have a particular prayer need or a story that fits with today’s PRAY post, feel free to email me or leave a comment below. I’d love to hear your story, and I’d love the privilege of praying for you. (The winner of last week’s gift book, Dear God, He’s Home! by Janet Thompson plus one bonus book is my far-flung friend, Angie Attaguile, whose husband lost his job back in June. Angie, I’ll message you with options for your other book choice, and I’ll keep praying for you and your family in this time of waiting. Congratulations!)...

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PRAY: All Authority

It happened only yesterday. I prayed—and I saw God answer. I asked him to reveal himself in a particular situation. He turned a time of chaos into instant peace. He took frustration and transformed it to hope. And his grace flowed over the entire situation. We don’t always see such immediate answers to our prayers. So why do we pray? I’ve thought about that a lot. I believe we pray as an expression of our relationship with God. In fact, one of the things I love to teach is that prayer is more relationship than activity. Our Western culture has turned it into something we do, a box to check off on our list of daily tasks. But God (who is so much bigger than culture) intends prayer to be a lifestyle, a living expression of our lives as connected to His. That’s why he gave us Scriptures that speak of praying “always” or “without ceasing” (1 Thess. 5:18). Yes, Jesus modeled the importance of coming apart for specific times of prayer, but he also lived in continual conversation with his Father. If all this is true, why don’t we pray? We don’t pray first because we don’t have a relationship with God. After all, why talk to someone you don’t know? Before I understand that God wanted first place in my life, I prayed—sometimes. My infrequent petitions were what I call 911 prayers that begged God to help me pass a test or act in a particular situation. When I didn’t experience a specific or urgent need, I saw no need to communicate. Our culture teaches us not to talk to strangers—and we’re good at following rules (sometimes). But there’s another reason we don’t pray. We may have a relationship with God. We may know and understand that Jesus paid the penalty we deserved. We may know we will see him in heaven one day. But do we really believe he can make a difference on earth? My writing partner shared some stories with me this week. He’s had some encounters in which God has worked in dramatic ways. One day, we hope to share them in book form. He’s seen God do amazing things because he begins each of his prayers at the place of faith. As a young believer, he knew nothing better than to believe that God would take care of him. When he had a houseful to feed and an empty pantry, he asked God to move. He poured out his heart in prayer. And as he rose from that moment of desperation, he found that God provided the food he needed in an incredible way. That’s only one story (it’ll read much better...

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