About three years ago I lost my brother Allen to cancer. Long before his illness Allen worked daily to achieve the mind of Christ. Directly following his diagnosis a massive prayer effort developed. A daily prayer with relevant scripture was sent via email to thousands…this internet prayer movement was the forerunner to the current Stepping Stones Daily devotional.
When a loved one falls gravely ill, it’s a natural response to pray for their healing…at times I almost demanded his healing from God, citing scripture about Jesus the healer…about ask and you shall receive. For the entire 22 months he battled this awful disease, Allen and his family believed he would be healed. We were pounding prayers to heaven requesting Allen’s healing.
I know we missed the mark with our prayers for Allen.
How presumptuous we were. We actually believed we could change God’s mind/plan for Allen. I believe now, based on my learning, growth, and the perspective of other Christians, we should have been praying to align ourselves with the will of God. To pray for God’s wisdom and peace for Allen and his family…and for ourselves. To pray that we lessen our grip on Allen and strengthen our grip on our Lord…to release Allen into God’s care and keeping.
While Allen agonized over leaving his wife and 5 children here on earth, in the end Allen was excited about meeting his Lord and God…if not ready, he certainly was as prepared as anyone could be to meet his Father, the Creator.
The prayer movement took on a life of it’s own. Bringing prayer and the Word of God to so many who had never prayed, truly changed lives. People actually came to accept Christ as a result of the daily prayers. Allen would love to read the responses that came in from the prayer group. Allen said before he died; “If somehow my illness delivers even one soul to God…it’s all worth it. And it was. Click here to share with us your experience or struggles in praying for someone who is/was seriously ill or injured.
Dear Father God,
I pray today for all the sick and injured loved ones and friends of this Stepping Stones prayer community. I pray that you infuse the sick with Your Holy Spirit to give them hope and strength. I pray Father that they seek to understand and align their thoughts and prayers with Your Will and Your timing…for Your timing is perfect Father. I pray that You will reveal to those suffering, as well as their caregivers, the meaning and purpose of these trials. I pray Father that You guide the minds and hands of all the medical professionals so that they do Your work as they apply their skills to the sick and injured. Help those who are terminally ill to understand that Your healing for them may in fact be delivered on the other side of this temporal life. Help them and all of us believe in You so that we will see Your glory. I pray this in the name of our healing savior Jesus Christ, and all God’s people said, – AMEN!
Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?”
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
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What an incredibly powerful message! I agree that praying for the wisdom to accept His will is what we need to focus on and practice. It can be easy to accept that we pray to understand God's will when the seas are smooth; but as soon as something bad happens to someone we are close to and love we; as weak mortals, fall back to our ways which can include praying for what we want and what we need. When I lost both of my parents and when my wife was struck with cancer and my son had a horrible accident I immediately fell back to old habits; I NEED……I realized that God is the one who truly knows what I need and that the more I focused on being Christ-like in my thinking and my prayers the more calm and reassured I felt that He would fulfill his will and I felt that I could accept his will, no matter what it was. This Stepping Stone; in my opinion, is one of the most powerful messages you have written to date. I appreciate so much the time you put into this and the messages you bring to me and so many others each day. Thank you so much
Thank you for this message today. I know that I need to pray to be more like our Lord and that it is not our will but His. I was widowed at a very young age, my husband died unexpectedly in a car accident and since then I have struggled through the loss of my grandmother, two aunts, and most recently the death of my father. It has been so difficult but throughout all of these trials I have found that the only way I can survive is through my faith in God. It is so comforting to know He is with me every step of the way. Even when I stumble (which is often) He is there. Thank you very much. Peace & Blessings to you.
What an eye opener this message was for me. Thank you for your insight and for sharing with us such a personal and painful experience. Everyone of us are struggling with a loved one who is sick or who has passed recently. Let us all begin to align ourselves with God's will. Let us all fall under His Word. Let His Will and Holy Spirit unclog our spiritual arteries. I thank the Stepping Stones writters – God is clearly working through you. God bless you.
This was a very inspirational message for me, even though my experience with losing a loved one due to illness was quite different. When my brother was infected with the AIDs virus in the 80's, he did not know it at the time. There was very little information about the disease, and he was young, and young people are always impervious to sickness, right?
He finally got tested when he could feel his health decline. When I hugged him, after he told me that he had it, he still was the strong, 6 foot 4 young man who lifted weights and worked out. Watching him waste away was extremely painful. What was worse was so much negativity was preached about people who deserved AIDS, that I did not feel comfortable sharing with anyone that he had this disease. A well-meaning preacher reduced me to tears one day when he casualy blurted out, "Why do we research this disease, anyway, when so many awful sinners catch it? They are going to die anyway."
Looking back I can see that God's grace has been sufficient for me, to steer me away from complacency about people in real, raw, emotional pain. AIDs is a horrible thing to experience, but so is spiritual complaceny. On some level I believe they are equally dangerous to anyone. Thannk you to the Lighthouse writers for this wonderfully positive devotional.
I want to thank all of you for your great comments and contributions re today's devotional.
Specifically to the writer who lost a brother to AIDS: How sad and how primitive our society can be…even well meaning preachers. I share your concern about spiritual complacency; it's as deadly as the AIDS virus. I hope many get to read your comments. Thank you for your openess.
I love this devotional but I don';t think you missed the mark in asking, pleading, begging for healing… as a recovering fundamental conservative believer I treasure opportunites to see God do what only God can do. As Steve Brown from Reformed Theological seminary has said something to the effect of "When praying with and for other's I want to be surropunded by Presbyterians – but if I get cancer call in the charismatics."
I do want my will alligned with God – but I do want to ask and seek him to do big things – spent to much time not expecting anything from a Him…who gives good gifts.
This has been a very interesting discussion, I look forward to more of these. I know I read a story in one of Catherine Marshall's books about how she gathered her entire family around her to pray, for days and weeks, for her sick baby grandchild. It was heartbreaking for her to have to let the child go, after praying so hard. Losing an infant cannot compare to losing an adult, I realize that. My older brother was in the prime of life when he died. It is hard to lose someone, whether they are a tiny child with a whole life ahead, a young man full of promise, a young man with a family, and so on.
But I think that praying and calling out to God for healing can be profoundly supportive for everyone involved. I would not discount an attempt to pray for someone who is dying. I think this story has a positive ending. All the prayers and emails brought God's love to those who might not otherwise have heard about it. I know it is important to pray to line up with God's will. Watching a loved one die a slow death is a pain that does not fit any human expectation. Thank you for your sharing this story with us.