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.