My pastor, Father Jim, himself a cancer patient now in remission, encourages cancer patients to pray for God’s help. But his answer to the question, how can prayer help cancer patients, might surprise you. Father Jim says:
- Of course ask God for support; don’t be afraid to ask him for anything you need to fight and deal with your situation;
- Then be silent; surrender yourself to God; listen for God’s answers.
- Doctors listen to your heart and lungs, use fingers and hands to palpate and percuss, more listening.
- If doctors do all that, surely God is listening to our prayers when we need him.
- If we are willing to listen to God’s answers and accept them, prayer can help us through our treatment and recovery, through whatever stage of cancer we are experiencing.
Powerful words. We live in a culture of instant gratification. We are eager for things to happen: fix it now, Doc; get me better sooner than later, God.
Father Jim knows that cancer patients often have to step back and wait. The answer to their prayers might be a new plateau of health, not perfect, but still purposeful living.
Often cancer patients renew their intent to praise life, ever thankful for each day, hopeful for more time. Maybe this therapy will work. Maybe I will achieve a new normal.
Prayer can become an intimate part of a cancer patient’s life—if, as Father Jim says, you can let your prayer go up to God and then patiently live, waiting and listening for God’s answer. It’s a skill that can serve us well in our physical and spiritual lives.