Bert Michel is a long-time friend. He and I were in the same class in highschool, more than 40 years ago. He shared with us his story of love as experienced with his wife, Mary. As they struggled with the cancer in her body, they learned and suffered and loved.

When another suffers, we want to understand and to help. Bert pointed out the danger of platitudes. They are worth nothing more than being stomped upon and thrown away.

We can pray. The following are his and Mary's suggestions, along with several added by the group as we gathered a few evenings ago.

*How to Pray for Those on the Cancer Journey. *

  1. Pray as God leads you to pray. Before you pray, ask him to show you what to pray. Get quiet before Him for a while before you pray. Then pray what He leads you to pray.

  2. Pray for attitudes to be right. Things like thankfulness, joyfulness, patience, and trusting dependence. By nature we are so much more prone to complaint, sadness, impulsive demands and worry. To come through this journey healed in body but sick in spirit is no victory at all.

  3. Pray the third petition of the Disciple’s Prayer. “Your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.” His will, whether it be healing or heaven. His will, as we interact with people. His will as we interact with each other. His will, to joyfully be our will (like Jesus, who set joy before Himself when he went to the cross, when his agonized prayer had been, “Not my will.”)

  4. Pray for courage. We are called to fight for life. It is a gift, and diseases like cancer are against our “design.” Cancer is an enemy. There will be temptations to fear.

  5. Pray for love to flourish in the home. Between us and our children and grandchildren. Between ourselves and God. Between us and other people we meet on the cancer road.

  6. Pray for our children. Pray the whole story would be one that leads them closer to God and helps them grow in Him. Pray for their reactions, their thoughts, their fears, their priorities and their faith.

  7. Pray for our God-story to be real, transparent and powerful in the lives we touch. There’s a bigger story here than someone having cancer. There’s a story he is writing.

  8. Pray for our focus. It is easy to be distracted and to let thoughts run way ahead of themselves. Pray we’d focus on today, on what is at hand. Daily work. Daily devotions. Daily bread. Daily steps. Daily love. Daily prayer.

  9. Pray for wisdom. I’m sure there will be many things we have to decide about treatments, priorities, things to ask, what to accept and what to fight. We need God’s wisdom.

  10. Pray for navigation. We enter the cancer clinic this Tuesday, March 29. It’s a system that is probably not entirely people-friendly. Even our Doctor said people can tend to get “lost” in the process. Pray that God would guard our path, and make it straight.

  11. Pray for our doctors. They know so much, but Mary’s cancer is really “her” cancer, not anyone else’s. Pray they’d know how to prescribe things that really are right for her.

  12. Pray for her healing, if that is what would just make God look “good” to our world.

The next eight requests are the result of the round-table discussion in Edmonton on March 14, 2014.

  1. Pray the prayers of the New Testament, i.e., that we would learn things like patience, joy, obedience to God, holiness and knowledge of God’s will.

  2. Pray for direction in other possible treatments, that we would know what is right for her.

  3. Pray for comfort and strength from God.

  4. Pray for God’s light to shine in our hearts. Depression can be common among cancer patients. Pray we would rise above that.

  5. Pray for the emotional space around us to be honest, allowing us to feel whatever we feel without being judged.

  6. Pray for the ability to live in the present, so that our family continues to make good memories.

  7. Pray for peace, God’s shalom to be real in light of the stresses brought on by cancer.

  8. Pray for rest, both in heart, and actual physical rest to be given to us.How to Pray for Those on the Cancer Journey.