Prayer for the Dying

Last weekend my wife, Kim, joined some elders from our church to pray for a friend with stage four cancer. At her request, they anointed her with oil (James 5:14-16) then prayed. Most prayers were the usual petition for healing.

Kim prayed differently.

She asked Christ to grant her friend the grace to say the things that need to be said before death. She asked the Lord to grant courage to this dear woman; courage to live fully despite the cancer.

In truth, crises tend to put all of us on edge. Small comments become major hurts. Insignificant actions (at any other time) can spawn surprising hostility. All is not well. Our bodies or minds may be suffering, but so do our souls. Tension prevails. In moments of stress or panic we easily forget what matters most. We aim to survive, not thrive.

A healing would be welcome. A job would be great. An answer from heaven would be wonderful. But in the meantime, extra grace is required.

Have you been in such a place yourself?

After Kim and I chatted about her Sunday morning prayer experience, it dawned on me. Her prayer for the dying is also the model prayer for the living. It’s the prayer I need, daily.

We live with such a sense of invincibility and physical immortality that we commonly fail to speak words of love and affirmation to those around us. We let emotional wounds fester. We let busyness or tiredness usurp the conversations that really build life. We can easily neglect what matters most.

I don’t have stage four cancer. But I need Kim’s prayer, today and each day. Her prayer for the dying is the perfect prayer for me and for each of us.

May you have the grace today to speak blessings and the courage to live fully. And let Christ hold tomorrow in His hands.

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22 Responses to Prayer for the Dying

  1. Debbie Heim says:

    Hi David, thanks for your message…I need Kim’s prayer in my life too. And in keeping with the message, thank you for all you do and the words you write so beautifully and faithfully. Love, Debbie Heim

  2. Tim Ross says:

    My step-mother just went to heaven a few weeks ago after suffering from cancer. I flew back last July to be with her and my dad. She gave me a real blessing. As more of my relatives and friends leave this earth, it makes me more focused on living the words that Jesus spoke. It makes me more intentional to love others like Jesus loves me, to forgive, to give and expect nothing in return, and to be a blessing to others no matter where they are with God. Our lives are short. Thank you for the words of encouragement.

  3. RG says:

    AMEN, David, AMEN.

  4. David Edgar says:

    Wonderful thoughts…. Thank you.
    Your wife is indeed wise as you are too.

  5. Cheri says:

    Thank you for reminding me of what’s important and real. May I remember Kim’s prayer each day, especially when I grow weary as a caregiver. Those things which are the most difficult are often our greatest blessings. Let us love as Jesus loved while there is still time.

  6. erinambrose says:

    Your wife’s prayer is beautiful, simple, and needed in my life. Thank you for sharing it.

  7. Mark Wilson says:

    Thanks David really appreciated these words. Last week one of our Pastors passed after a 5 year battle with cancer and the memoral celebration service was yesterday. His name was Peter who was a Pastor in 5 of our Baptist Churches and served God as a missionary in Indonesia ( he started a movement of churches with an unreached people now with over 15 000 members) and in the Philippines. Kim’s prayer was exactly what he did and a great reminded for how I need to leave each day. I am deeply sad that he is not with us, but incredibly greatful for knowing him and how he lived – loving God and loving people. Blessings, Mark

    • David Timms says:

      Mark, thanks for sharing that story. People who live well do indeed inspire us! It sounds like Peter’s legacy will be larger than he may have ever imagined. Love to you and Karen!

  8. Elaine Wilson says:

    Thank you, Dave. My colleagues and I often ask God to enable us to help our palliative patients to ‘die well’. It can seem an unusual phrase, yet aligns beautifully with the words you have written. None of us knows when that day will arrive in our own lives. I wholeheartedly agree, Kim’s prayer is a critical daily prayer for life, keeping us close to the One who gives us life to the fullest.
    So looking forward to sitting ‘face to face’ and sharing family time with you guys in a few short weeks!

  9. Bunny Sharp says:

    Hi David, Your messages so often come just as I need them. When you wrote “She Lies Dying”, we had just completed a study in our senior class about dying. As the Pastor who teaches our PrimeTime Class on Sunday morning said we should be better able at our age to comfort as we have experienced more final goodbyes. Our Worship Pastor had just lost their 14 year old daughter and our whole church was grieving. I actually sent that article to our Pastor who teaches our Prime Time class and he was impressed with your gift of putting feelings into print. Then just this morning I had been crying at my desk as I read a message from my Anne Ford (my doctor and more like family to us) that a dear friend’s husband will probably make it through Christmas, but she doesn’t know how much after that. His wife, Mary Jo Shaffer, is the other doctor who has gone on the mission trips to Kenya with us. Her husband has stage 4 cancer as well. I loved Kim’s prayer and I loved your prayer at the end. I will save this message as I did the one previously mentioned.

    Thank You – and give my love to all the family. Oh, have to tell you that Tammy, Tom, Kim and I went to see Michael W. Smith’s Christmas concert the other night and we couldn’t believe it, but Steve and Helen had seats right next to Tammy. A great night with special friends!

    Bunny Sharp 714-337-5147

    Don’t tell God how big your storm is, instead tell the storm how BIG your GOD is!

  10. Carol Mack says:

    Thank you. Very encouraging… PER usual!

  11. Phil McKinley says:

    Amen. We were reading from Luke this week after the temptation of Jesus when Satan left to wait for another opportunity to tempt Jesus. When we forget prayers for daily courage, Satan will be waiting. Thanks for the thoughts.

    • David Timms says:

      Thanks, Phil. I had a young guy define courage recently as “willing to walk to the gates of Hell for the cause of Heaven.” May we all have a dose of that kind of Holy Spirit courage!

  12. Ralph Crain says:

    I enjoy reading each message you post.
    My mother will celebrate her 100th birthday on the 15th of January is she is still alive. The doctor thought that she was going to die on the 8th of November, or there abouts. Obviously she hasn’t witnessed to all the people to whom God wants her to witness. She is ready to go be with the Lord whenever He chooses to stop her heart. My prayer is that God give her the grace to continue witnessing until He takes her home.

  13. David Timms says:

    100! That’s remarkable. Nice to hear from you, Ralph. I hope you’re doing well. Blessings.

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