I recently drove to North Carolina to sit with an old friend during the end times of her life. Connie was an active member of Zoar United Church of Christ where I served as pastor many years ago and I became close friends with her and her entire family. Not too long ago she moved south to live near her daughter and son as she battled cancer.
We are all aware of the difficulties of watching a friend or family member struggle at the end of their life. We want to help in some fashion but the time comes when it seems there is little we can do except be present. However, I believe, there is always something that helps – prayer! Honest and heart-felt prayer brings a sense of peace and calmness, especially when we are in a situation we cannot control. Jesus often went off by himself to pray to gather strength to deal with the next situation in his life.
Prayer isn't magic. We can pray for healing or a miracle – and that is okay – but ultimately life is in God’s hands. Prayer isn't so much about changing a situation as it is about gaining the strength to handle it. Prayer is a faith event. We will not always like or understand the results of our prayers, especially when dealing with illness, but we need to remember that those who are part of God’s family, will always be a part of God’s family – in this life or some future life. In faith we offer prayers to God and then we trust.
One of the positive experiences I had after sitting with my old friend was what happened after I returned. I went on Facebook and asked for prayers. For those of you who do not understand what I am talking about, Facebook is like writing a letter. Only it is done electronically and is received instantaneously, not several days later. A Facebook message goes to everyone who is a Facebook friend.
After I asked for prayers, within a few hours 25 people from all over the country offered their prayer support and many others even made comments of concern. These were close friends, acquaintances, school friends, church friends and family members. It was like a church prayer circle where people are called on the phone to pray, except it is faster and touches more lives.
As we rejoice in the resurrection of our Lord Jesus we also need to rejoice in the fact that when we want to communicate our hopes, dreams, fears and frustrations with the Lord, he is always just a prayer away. May the days of your life be filled with peace and joy and may you always find time for prayer.