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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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Prayer from an Empty-Nest Mom

Dear God, I said lots of goodbyes this past year. And this year has started out much the same. I guess that’s the way it’ll be from now on, won’t it, Lord? Goodbyes with the start of every new college semester and the end of every college break. Goodbyes with summer mission trips, internships, and visits to faraway friends. Goodbyes with new job opportunities. Goodbyes after holiday visits. Goodbyes as more of our family moves out of state. Goodbyes as they start new jobs. Or marriages. Or other adventures yet unknown. When our five were younger, our house overflowed with shouts and giggles and messes and dirty clothes. And those times late in the evening when, for what seemed like the first time all day, no one was moving or crying or needed me to do something RIGHT NOW? I lived for those. And yes, God, I confess that I didn’t always appreciate the constant pressing-in, the rounds of questions, the brother-sister and sister-sister bickering. The coughing, nose-running, feverish-and-miserable trips to the pediatrician. The difficulty of navigating a grocery store with three or more helpers. The effort it took to buckle and unbuckle carseats. The challenge of keeping a newborn and toddler quiet and happy in the library while the older three made their choices. (Yes, for a few years, we brought along a double stroller to fill with children and books). What burdened me then has become cherished memories now. And so in this season, God, as my nest grows more and more empty, will you teach me to cherish the hellos? Because if they didn’t come home, I wouldn’t get to say goodbye. If they hadn’t wanted to see us for Christmas, I might not notice my empty bedrooms today. If they didn’t love our family traditions, I might not have a home to undecorate. If I didn’t love them so much, I wouldn’t miss them the way I do.                                                                               So in this time and at this moment, Lord, I thank you for the goodbyes as well as the hellos. I thank you for the silence. The peace. The ability to work at my desk uninterrupted. The ease of considering the likes and dislikes of only two people when planning dinner or a trip to the store. And I thank you for the promise of so many more hellos and goodbyes in the days and, as you allow us, years ahead. My focal word for this year is...

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3 Tips to Help You Make Room for Prayer (Lessons from My Summer)

Dear Friends, No, this isn’t a back-to-school essay. Well, not exactly. It’s more like a back-to-blog essay. I’ve taken a few months away from this forum. But not from reading, writing, or praying. Not from thinking. Not from connecting with God and my family. In fact, I’ve learned some things during my time away, and I want to share a few of them with you over the next several posts. The first concerns a topic several of you have asked about: How do you make room for prayer in the midst of a busy, often-interrupted life? At home, my days follow a comfortable pattern. This summer, God upended that. We dealt with everything from our son moving cross-country to helping my mom prepare to leave her home of twenty-plus years to the same (and only) son ending up in a California hospital after an accident (he’s much better now, and we’re grateful). I realize your season of life may include no discernible pattern. But I also realize that a time of chaos calls for even more prayer. But how do I do it, Marti? How do I make time for prayer when I’m already overloaded? When I’m on vacation? When my kids are sick or someone’s in the hospital? Here are my quick suggestions. 1. Remember that prayer is both a relationship and an activity. Prayer comes from the overflow of a walk with Christ. The only way we can “pray without ceasing (1 Thess 5:18) is if prayer is an ongoing part of our lives. Prayer is not just what we do, it’s who we are. This summer, that meant praying on my way to and from Ohio or as we carried boxes out of Mom’s home. It meant tear-stained prayers in the moments after I learned of my son’s accident and purposeful ones as I drove toward the hospital where he lay in Critical Care. It meant prayer where I was, as I needed it. 2. For prayer to reach beyond the chaos or crisis, it must have a firm foundation in God’s Word. Like most of us, I prayed 911 prayers (“Help me pass this test!”) even before I knew Christ. But if the fuel for prayer is God’s Spirit, the foundation is His Word. In order for our prayers to line up with God’s desires, we must know Him. And in order to know Him, we must grow in our knowledge of His Word. That can be as simple as a few verses or as extensive as a full-blown Bible study. 3. Simple is good. When chaos or confusion strikes, we may not have words to pray. That’s why you’ll see prayers scattered here and there on my blog–because sometimes I can...

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Prayer for Those Who Are Experiencing Aftershocks

“Dear Loved Ones, I’m still afraid.” That’s how my friend’s most recent prayer update began. Just over a month has passed since the first of two major earthquakes struck Nepal, where she and her husband minister through an NGO. As they work on their own recovery, they’re spending their days serving others in real and fresh ways. As the mother of an infant, my friend has an extra reason to fear: “I am at all times aware of where our bags are that hold all our family’s important documents (and diapers for S, also important). I am aware of where my baby is if he is with another family member. I am aware of the nearest door and quickest route of exit.” In the wake of collapsed buildings (some tipped, others compressed so that one story rests only inches above another), nearly nine million deaths, and the continuing need for massive relief efforts, my friend and her husband are still facing aftershocks. These, I’ve learned, can continue for years after the actual earthquake. My friend and her family also face what she calls “phantom” aftershocks, “the ones you ‘feel’ but know they are imagined because no one else around you is reacting with you.” Phantom or not, these aftershocks are real. They represent the impact of such a traumatic event. This heartfelt letter reawakened me to the need to pray for Nepal, but it also reminded me that other friends have suffered trauma: Separation. Divorce. Chemotherapy. Radiation treatments. A child’s surgery. A spouse’s illness and/or death. So I offer today’s prayer for my friends in Nepal as well as anyone experiencing the painful effects of aftershocks. May you learn, as my friend is learning, to rely fully on the God alone who “can bring comfort and peace, and even joy at a time like this.” May you rest on His solid rock. Father, we know you are Lord of all creation, maker of heaven and earth. It is in your mighty name that we come before you today.                                                    We ask for your mercy, Lord. We mourn the loss of so many, but we pray now for those left behind. May you use this unbidden opportunity to tell them how much they matter to you, to convince them of their purpose in this world. Help them not to experience the lie of survivor guilt but to walk in truth and freedom. As they benefit from compassion and kindness, let them multiply the same to those they encounter. And the vibrations, Lord? The tremblings and rumblings used by the enemy to...

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Prayer for Those Who Must Push Past Their Fears

I’ve seen it. I’ve lived it. The fear that brings shadows to an otherwise-bright day. The self-doubt that keeps us from embracing a promising opportunity. The pain from the past that makes the future seem bleak. If you find yourself trapped by fear, if someone you love can’t seem to “just get over it,” if it’s taking you too long to do what you know you must do, then this prayer’s for you and the people you love: Father, today I lift up those who need to push past their fears. Whether they recognize it or not, fear has a choke-hold on their lives. It tightens its grip on their hopes and threatens to strangle their dreams. It’s ugly. It’s awful. And it’s wrong. You tell us in your word, Lord, that you have not given us a spirit of fear but of power, love, and a sound mind. So these we claim today as we cling always and only to you. We may have every earthly reason to fear. But we know that you are greater, greater than any inability, insufficiency, or lack. Stronger than any problem. Bigger than any battle. Deeper than any wound. Higher than any obstacle. Wider than any gap. Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly. Come to us in our insufficiency, in our trembling, in our fear. Come to these who are weak and weary. Bring them all of your power and might. Bring them all of your grace and mercy. Bring them all of yourself. Bring them an overwhelming measure of faith, for faith counters fear. Bring them a perfect view of yourself so their faith becomes the sight that allows them to move forward. Thank you in advance for the courage you will bring, the mountains you will move, and the darkness you will cast out. Thank you for the victories that will be won, not because of this prayer, but because of your perfect faithfulness. It is in that faithfulness and in your name that we pray today. Amen.    Is there someone specific who needs this prayer? Feel free to let me know via a comment here or on other social media or through the “Contact” link at the top of the page. As always, it is my privilege to hold others before Him in...

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