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I will pray for you….

November 16, 2017

“I will pray for you….”

How often do you hear that phrase? Do you feel comforted by it or do you wonder the value of it? As a Chaplain, as a Christian, I truly welcome time of prayer. I pray constantly. When I wake, when I drive, when I have a non-chaotic moment, when I have a chaotic moment, when I eat, when I see my husband and my family, when I sit next to one who has lost a loved one or who has been delivered a very difficult hand, when I lay down at night, and because I know my brain fails to shut off, I am convinced I pray as I sleep. I am not a very good verbal prayer person, ironic for a Police Chaplain and non-profit founder, I know. I have had officers ask me if I was going to pray as we were about to walk up to a house to deliver a death notice, I told them I have been the entire time! I have said a prayer for a retiring officer that left the room questioning whether he was dead or retiring, even the retiring officer himself wondered whether he had heard his retirement prayer or eulogy.  I have uttered words in stutter, stumble and inept sentences. I have tried and failed to pray out loud, but know I have prayed for you, and countless, in silence and with passion.

There are a few times in my life that I have passionately and vivaciously prayed for one need, one cause, one request harder and more fervently than I pray for anything: when my father battled cancer; when a dear friend was at death’s door; and recently when my husband was thrust into his battle. I understand prayer and my relationship with God, it doesn’t mean that when I ask I get; this is not a Christmas List, this is life. My prayers may not have been answered in the way I would have written the answer, yet I know they were heard because life, love, and healing flowed forward. We live in a world that is of freedom of choice, a world where the devil walks, a world that though we may do good we may not feel favored.

This morning, honestly though the night and the many nights before, I was talking to God, again. We were to meet with the surgeon today and I needed to let God know, just one more time, that though I “wanted” one outcome, I understood that another may be our destiny and though I wish my husband wouldn’t have to suffer anymore than he has, if he was to, I prayed for strength, tenacity and endurance for the path we would walk, no matter what.

So many have texted, called, emailed, Facebook messaged and commented telling us you are praying. Some say it as a knee-jerk reflex because it is “what we are supposed to say”.   Honest it is work to pray. It is work to converse, and prayer is a conversation. It isn’t just saying words upwards it is sitting and being and listening and feeling. When you say you will pray you might as well say you’re going to come help and wash the windows.

A few years ago, as Terry and I drove toward Nashville for the birth of our second grandchild we received a text, there was distress at birth she was in danger.  We drove the remainder of the journey in painful silence. I texted my pastor friends. I prayed silently and fervently. I did what I had control of, and I did it with all I had to offer. When we arrived at the hospital, we learned that our granddaughter was able to battle through and recover (she is a happy healthy 3 year old fireball of energy). The night of her birth when we were laying in bed and Terry said to me “What happens to those who don’t have that prayer? Are those who don’t have an army to pray for them sunk?” Wow. What an astute question and feeling. I answered no. God hears the prayers before they are said and He sees the needs as they are presented. He is not sitting up in Heaven playing chess- rook for your queen; Baby A has 498 prayers offered thus saved, Baby B no prayers, come on home to heaven; Man named Joe has had a hard life I’ll spare him this battle, Woman named Jane needs to be seasoned a bit more she can handle this challenge.

God is not a God of games.

God is a God of grace.

We are a people of free will, free choice and walking in a world that is not Heaven.

Life is not fair.

We are not here for eternity; we are here hoping to earn our path to eternity.

As the martyrs and saints will tells us, some will be spared torture, some will enter heaven before us having suffered.

Jesus himself asked to be spared.

Does prayer matter?

My completely unprofessional and yet seasoned opinion: yes. Unequivocally, yes.

My father and my husband felt strength in your prayers. You cared to offer yourself to them. You cared to take the time to stop and talk to God about them. You invested passion and relationship into their battles. You were a part of this difficult chapter. You paused life for a moment and talked to God on their behalf.

Whether it ends in a blaze of glory or a crash and burn, those that are prayed for feel the strength of more than themselves and their God, they feel you present with them in the battle.

Today my husband was told he is cancer free. He didn’t earn it by a wild card, or an easy journey. He had a choice of three paths, he choose the hardest path because the outcome seemed to be the best option, if he survived the battle. He underwent a massive radical surgery that even the most skilled surgeon admitted today he does not like doing (yet he did it with such expertise and confidence). He battled through pain that I ached and was heartbroken to witness him struggle through. He has suffered physical repercussions and scars that will may not go away, but he was told today he was not being sentenced to more combat, but just to continue to heal from the battle he had ensued.

I cried. And I stopped to pray and thank God for the moment.

Did prayer heal him or free him from more suffering? I say it helped his spirit, it helped him feel stronger through the battle and the recovery, but I also tell you that we caught his cancer early. We didn’t sit back and let God “move” him, we moved leaning on prayer to guide us to the right persons and right path. He will tell you his wife drug him into the doctor on the first complaint of symptoms and drug him through at least 7 more doctor visits as we rode a roller coaster of indecision, surgery, and questions begetting questions. We found few who gave us solace and solid direction, and through all I prayed. At the cusp of decision, my husband was presented with three choices: let whatever happens happen, choose a path of a 10 week radiation treatment that might cause more damage to your body, or undergo the most radical and dangerous surgery option possible to scoop out everything in your mouth and neck possible hoping remove all trace of the cancer, if this doesn’t get it all, you will still have to do the radiation.

He chose the most difficult road. He gambled. Life is a gamble. The end result is death or life to continue for more gambling, more choices to be made. May our source of confidence and strength in our choices be the God who understands that we don’t know what the future holds we only have control over putting our feet on a path and walking it with confidence, asking Him to be by our side. He put his feet on the path towards being cancer free and walked it like a warrior, and today exited the Cancer Center hearing the words “You’re cancer free”.

As we walked out I looked at every patient in the waiting area and saw those who have obviously been through more than a battle, and who are far from the end of their battle, they are waging a war. I wondered, and hoped that they were wearing the armor of prayer. Though it may not spare them the scars it surely will strengthen them through the battle.

I have seen that to be true.

Thank you for strength, thank you for your prayers.

Continue to offer that armor, support, compassion and faith to all walking wounded. May you know the power of prayer, and if you need to know it may you be surrounded by it because then, and only then, will you be able to speak of it’s value and potency.

“Our prayers may be awkward. Our attempts may be feeble. But since the power of prayer is in the one who hears it and not in the one who says it, our prayers do make a difference.” ~ Max Lucado

Wishing you peace, love, strength and many many prayers,

Terri

Terri O’Neill-Borders

terri@hopeandfriendshipfoundation.com

www.hopeandfriendshipfoundatio.com

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