A Prayer for a friend with cancer

Published: May 2, 2007 | 6141st good news item since 2003

I get lots of e-mails from sick people and from the friends and families of sick people asking me to pray for them, and I always do. They are strangers to me but they are not strangers to God. Perhaps that is why praying for strangers does not seem foolish or odd or difficult to me. Really I am just praying for a friend of my friend. I just received such a request from my daughter Mara, whom I always call Moochie. Henry is a friend of Moochie’s who has been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. It may be treatable, but he does not know yet. This is my prayer for Henry.

Dear Henry,

I am praying for you, and I thought I might tell you what I am praying so that you could add it to your prayers—or so that, even if you stop praying for yourself, you know that I am among the many people who will not stop. I am praying for you to get well and become whole again.

I pray that your doctors might be the hands of God. They are not the only way that healing may come to you, but they are a good and proven way. I am praying that your doctors might find a treatment for your cancer—forever or for a little while. I am also praying that you might have the hope and courage to be their partner in the work of healing you. Hope mixed with medicine makes both the medicine and the hope stronger.

Henry, I am praying that you use your fear rather than submitting to your fear. Those who tell you not to be afraid are well-meaning fools. It is natural and normal for you to be afraid now. However, I pray that you might find a way to transform your fear into fuel for your fight. You are not a victim and you are not condemned. You are a living man who is deeply loved, and you can fight this thing with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. Use your fear now to fight for your life.

And finally Henry, I am praying that you might smell the scent of water. Job (14:7) wrote about the hope he saw even in a felled tree. “If its roots are deep in the earth, at the first scent of water it will send forth new green shoots and grow again.” I pray that you will be like that tree, Henry. I pray that despite your prognosis, you will walk again soon on the beach with nothing on your mind except the colors of the water and the feeling of the wind on your face and the sand between your toes. Henry, you can do this. You can beat this. You can find strength of spirit and a resolute courage to fight this disease within you. What I have learned from the sick people who have been my teachers is that such strength and such courage looks more like hope than anger, more like serenity than combativeness. The secret of this fight is to know the feeling of being rooted in the love of family and friends and, for some, God. I am praying for you Henry. I am praying that beyond the smell of antiseptic and crappy hospital food that you might catch a whiff of something fine and bracing and beseeching and incantatory. I am praying that you can catch a scent of water. No matter what tomorrow might bring, Henry, I pray that today your new leaves will begin to sprout.

May God bless you and heal you,
Marc Gellman (Newsweek)

Published in Prayer
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