A Prayer Guide for the Difficulties Cancer Brings
Here’s a practical guide of prayer starters that will help you pray confidently while living through cancer. Cancer patients as well as family members and loved ones will find hope and encouragement through prayers that cover times such as diagnosis, treatment, and recovery as well as tough topics like doubts, pain, fear, and anger. Nearly 50 topics include more than 400 heartfelt prayers that will jump-start your prayer life during this difficult time. Each section opens with a short devotional thought and applicable scripture. Great as a ministry resource, an encouraging gift, or personal use, Prayers for Difficult Times: Breast Cancer is a must-have resource for anyone searching for an anchor in the storm.
|Publisher:||Barbour Publishing, Incorporated|
|Product dimensions:||4.20(w) x 6.60(h) x 0.70(d)|
About the Author
Ellyn Sanna is the author of more than thirty books. She is also the executive editor at Harding House Publishing Service, where she has helped to create hundreds of educational books for young adults. She and her family (along with assorted animals) make their home in upstate New York.
Read an Excerpt
Jesus spoke to them at once. "Don't be afraid," he said. "Take courage! I am here!" MARK 6:50 NLT
Caught in heavy winds at sea, the disciples look out in the darkness and see the shape of a man coming toward them. They're not sure what's going on, but they sense that something's wrong — and they're terrified. But then they hear a familiar voice calling to them. At the very moment when they're most afraid, they find themselves in the presence of the Lord. Then Jesus climbs into the boat with them, and the winds die down.
Facing the threat of cancer is a little like what the disciples experienced. We're not sure what's coming toward us — and we're terrified. But Jesus calls to us, saying, "Don't be scared. I'm here." He climbs into the situation with us — and the winds die down. No matter what comes next, He will be with us.
I'm not sure what's wrong, God. I'm not even sure if anything is wrong. Maybe it will all prove to be a false alarm. But whatever happens, don't leave me. Stay close by. I can't do this without You.
Jesus, You know how scared I feel about this situation. I want to be like Peter, though — brave enough to even walk on water if that's what You ask of me. I've never been in a situation quite like this before, and everything inside me is saying it's not right. But You can empower me to do things I never thought I could. Help me keep my eyes fixed on You so I won't sink and be overwhelmed.
Fearing the Worst
You will live in constant suspense, filled with dread both night and day, never sure of your life. In the morning you will say, "If only it were evening!" and in the evening, "If only it were morning!" — because of the terror that will fill your hearts. DEUTERONOMY 28:66–67 NIV
When we face the threat of cancer, our minds toss back and forth between hope and dread. We feel sick from the suspense — and there's no relief from these feelings. No one can say anything to take them away, and no matter what we're doing, they're always there, lurking at the back of our minds. When fear is constant, then constant prayer is the only way to cope. "If you can worry," Rick Warren wrote, "you can meditate, for worry is negative meditation."
Each time you feel that nagging, sick sense of dread, let it be a reminder to turn your attention to God in prayer. Let your fear be the voice of God calling to you.
My thoughts can find nowhere to rest, Lord. When I'm working, I wish I were free to do nothing but worry. Then when I'm not working, I long for something to distract me. I want to be with people — and then I just want to be alone. The sense of suspense, the anxiety that my worst fears will become reality, feels like something inside me, gnawing on my insides. O God, please help me!
Is that You, God? Are You here with me? Come closer, I beg You. Let me feel Your hand. Wrap me up in Your love. Take this terrible fear from me, I pray.
I can't seem to make the fear go away — so I'll give it to You. Please take it into Your hands. Thank You, heavenly Father, that You can use even fear to Your glory.
Waiting for Answer
Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD. PSALM 27:14 NIV
Once all the tests have been done, there's nothing left to do until we get the results. Will it be good news — or bad? All we can do is wait. We wish we could do something — but there's nothing we can do to change the results. We feel completely helpless.
Millennia ago, the psalmist experienced these same emotions, and he reminded himself to "be strong and take heart." What's more, he turned around the situation, so that instead of waiting for the world to hand him an end to his pain, he shifted his attention to God — and then he was waiting for his Lord.
Don't panic if darkness seems to hide God's presence from you. Just wait for Him. In that moment when you get your answers, God will be there, too.
Beloved God, I'm waiting for You. Be real to me today. Make Your presence known to me. In the midst of my worry, may I see You so clearly that You drive away all other thoughts.
Give peace, I pray, to all the others who are worrying and waiting with me. Lead us all through this journey, singing songs of hope. Quiet our souls, quell our fears, and fill us with Your everlasting love.
Lord Jesus, when I lie in bed, unable to sleep because of the fear that grips my mind, may I feel You with me. May the peace of Your presence lie over me like a blanket. Remind me of all the ways You've helped me in the past. Help me dwell on those things rather than my anxiety.
Hold me close at this time of uncertainty, dear Lord. Remind me of Your promises. Sharpen my ears so that I hear Your Spirit whispering words of love. Quiet my mind so I can rest while I wait.
Let prayer be my strong lifeline, tying me to the One who will never move, regardless of what the future holds.
Remind me to smile today, Jesus. Let me not be so preoccupied that I miss out on the blessings You are still sending my way, even now.
Help me, loving God, to live one moment at a time. Give me strength to trust that no matter what comes, You do all things well. I surrender to Your will.
They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord. PSALM 112:7 NIV
Now we know. The thing we feared most has been confirmed. This is our new reality, a reality that forces us to step back from the life we've been living up until now. Suddenly, everything that seemed so important — our endless to-do lists, our small worries and preoccupations — has fallen away, leaving an emptiness that's filled only with the enormous, looming shape of cancer.
But take a deep breath. This diagnosis is not a death sentence. Life still lies ahead, life in this world and eternal life as well. And God is with us here, in this new reality. He has things to teach us if we are willing to learn. He even has ways He wants to use us. As we trust in Him, He will give us a new ministry, right here, right now — a new way of carrying His love into the world.
Father, I want to trust You — but I feel too wobbly to be "steadfast." Please steady my heart and mind.
Jesus, on the night before Your death, You must have felt a little like this — sick with anxiety, terrified of the pain and death that had drawn so near. I know You understand. Please use this time to draw me closer to You.
Be with us, Lord, as my family and I go through this time. May we not be too scared to hear Your voice.
I know that we'll have to make many decisions in the days ahead. We'll have to think about treatment plans and what they will mean. We'll also need to sort out all the ordinary business of life — how this diagnosis will affect jobs and family and our daily lives. It all seems so overwhelming, especially right now. Draw me closer to Your heart, dear Lord. I know that when my heart is close to Yours, I will be better able to deal with whatever comes next.
Remind me, God, that this diagnosis affects not only me but others as well. Help me be sensitive to their needs. Use me as You see fit to speak Your words of wisdom and comfort.
I am so bewildered I cannot hear, so terrified I cannot see. My mind reels, horror overwhelms me. ISAIAH 21:3–4 NASB
Fear is a normal and healthy biological reaction that alerts us to danger. By flooding our bodies with adrenaline, making our heartbeat increase and our breath come faster, fear was designed to prepare our bodies either to run away or take action. But when facing the reality of cancer, we can do neither of those things. We can't run away; we don't know how to take action. We feel helpless. We find ourselves frozen with terror — unable to hear, see, speak, or think.
That reaction is normal. As we move forward on this new path, the terror will retreat. But for now, simply know that God is still present. He is still our refuge. He is big enough to hold our fear, and He will never leave us.
You are my light and salvation, Lord. You are my stronghold, so why should I fear anything — even cancer? (Psalm 27:1).
You are with me, Lord, so I won't be afraid. What can cancer do to me when I have You? (Psalm 118:6).
You didn't give me a terrified spirit, God, but a spirit of power, of love, and of self-discipline (2 Timothy 1:7).
Send Your angel to encamp around me, loving Lord. Deliver me (Psalm 34:7).
Heavenly Father, I know You don't want me to be in bondage to fear. And because Your Spirit has adopted me, I can cry, "Daddy! Father" — and I know You'll hear me! (Romans 8:15).
Help me hear Your voice saying to me, "Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine" (Isaiah 43:1).
Lord, You are my light and my salvation. Whom shall I fear? You are the strength of my life. Of whom shall I be afraid? When my enemies attack me, they'll stumble and fall. Though an entire army of fears comes against me, my heart will be strong. Even facing the reality of cancer, I can be confident in You, because I ask You for only one thing: that I may dwell in Your house all the days of my life, seeing Your beauty. For I know that now, in this time of trouble, You will hide me in Your pavilion. You'll tuck me away in a secret nook inside Your tabernacle; You'll set me on a rock where I'll be safe, where I can lift up my head and see beyond this illness. And that's why, Lord, I sing to You with joy — even now! (Psalm 27:1–6).
When we heard the diagnosis, our hearts melted in fear and everyone's courage failed. But we know that the Lord our God is God in heaven above and on the earth below. So I pray, dear Lord, that You will show kindness to my family. Give me confidence that You will be with us all — parents, grandparents, children, brothers, and sisters — and all who care about us — and that You will save us from death (Joshua 2:11–12).
Jesus, I hear Your voice telling me not to be afraid. "Look!" You say. "I'll care for everyone who travels with you on this journey. So take courage." I believe You, Jesus. I trust that it will happen just as You say (Acts 27:24–25).
Ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit. 1 PETER 1:22 KJV
Refusing to acknowledge that something is wrong is a normal way to cope with anything that puts our sense of control at risk —including a serious illness that threatens ourselves or those we love. A short period of denial can be helpful because it gives us time to absorb this new reality at a pace that won't send us into a tailspin.
But we can't linger in denial. Instead, we have to move on and face the truth, no matter how painful and terrifying it may be. Remember, though, God's Spirit dwells even here, in this truth we so desperately wish we could avoid. As we allow ourselves to become obedient to it, He will purify our souls.
Clear my thoughts, Lord, so I can focus on You. You know I don't want to accept this — but I believe You can use even this to Your glory.
On the night before Your death, Jesus, You prayed, "Let this cup pass from Me." But in the end, You faced what lay before You. You accepted the will of Your Father. Give me strength, I pray, to do the same.
I know that when I am weak, dear Christ, You are still strong. Please renew my strength so that I can face the facts. May Your Spirit sing songs of hope within my soul. Awaken my heart, I pray, so that I may accept the truth.
I struggle to think clearly, God — so I depend upon Your Spirit to illumine my mind. I am afraid to face the darkness I sense gathering — so I look to You for light. I don't want to accept this heavy load — so I will give the burden to You. I wonder if I am strong enough to take what lies ahead —so I will rest for now in Your love and peace.
Bargaining with God
"Far be it from you to do such a thing! ... Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?" GENESIS 18:25 NIV
Psychologists recognize bargaining as another way that we come to terms with a new and frightening reality. When we pray, "Dear God, if You'll only make this go away, I'll do this ...," we are being completely normal. And we're not alone; even the great heroes of the Bible tried to bargain with God.
Bargaining doesn't change reality. There's nothing we can give to God that will make this diagnosis go away. But God understands, and He listens. We can be confident enough in His love that we dare to say to Him whatever we feel. We can even say, "God, don't do this! Why would You let this happen? You know it's not right — so make it go away!" We don't need to hesitate to come to God with whatever is in our hearts.
How can I bear this, God? It's too much. I can't do it. Please, God, please don't make me face this.
Draw near to me, my loving Lord. Be with me as I twist and turn, trying to escape this diagnosis. Touch me. Hold me steady. Stand between me and whatever lies ahead.
Dear Jesus, I am throwing myself on You. I'm pleading with You to send Your healing, as You did with the crowds who followed You when You walked this earth. I know I don't need to persuade You to love me more than You already do. I don't have to bribe You to have my best interests always in mind. Your lovingkindness is already with me, each step of the way.
Wake up, O Lord! Why do you sleep? Get up! Do not reject us forever. Why do you look the other way? Why do you ignore our suffering and oppression? ... Rise up! Help us! PSALM 44:23–24, 26 NLT
Modern Christianity doesn't talk much about being angry with God. We act as though our faith is supposed to be so great that it takes away our normal human reactions to terrible things like cancer. So when we find ourselves feeling angry with God because of cancer, we may think we need to pretend our anger isn't there. We may feel guilty voicing it.
But the psalmist had no problem venting all his rage into God's listening ears. And like him, we do not rage as if we have no promise of eternal justice. Our anger is contained by hope.
Lord Jesus, I have to confess that I feel angry with You. Why are You doing this to my family? Why won't You take this away from us? And Lord — thank You that You are big enough to handle my anger.
God, I'm mad at You! Why did You let this happen? I know I should calm down and trust You — but my anger is just too big. I can't give You praise right now. I can't sing worship songs. The only thing I have to offer You is my anger. So here it is. I put it in Your hand.
Loving Father, I feel as though being so angry with You has separated me from You. Remind me that that's a lie. Nothing can separate me from Your love — even my anger.
God, I know You are all-powerful. You are strong enough to deal with my anger. You can get me through this.
God, You are all-knowing. You love me completely, and You know what's best for me. You will never leave me, and You will meet each and every need I have — even if You do it in ways I don't expect.
When I hear the whisper that You are doing this to punish me, because You are not really a God of love after all, reassure me that this whisper comes not from Your Spirit but from Satan, the father of lies.
There is so much anger and confusion inside of me, Jesus. I don't know what to think. I can't focus on anything. Please heal me. Strengthen me for whatever comes next.
Jesus, as I say with You, "My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?" (Matthew 27:46) — may I also be able to pray, "Father, into Your hands I commend my spirit" (Luke 23:46).
In the end, God, You have not destined me for anger but to obtain salvation through my Lord Jesus Christ, who died for me so that whether I am awake or asleep, alive in this world or in the next world, I might live with Him. Therefore, help me encourage my friends and family who are also struggling now. May we build up one another (1 Thessalonians 5:9–11).
Excerpted from "Prayers for Difficult Times Cancer"
Copyright © 2017 Barbour Publishing, Inc..
Excerpted by permission of Barbour Publishing, Inc.
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Table of Contents
Fearing the Worst,
Waiting for Answers,
Bargaining with God,
Feelings of Doubt,
Prayers for My Friends,
Prayers for My Family,
Prayers for My Spouse,
Prayers for My Children,
Prayers for My Medical Team,
Emotional and Spiritual Pain,
Isolation and Loneliness,
Help Me Relax, Lord!,
Praise in the Midst of the Worst,
When Others Don't Know What to Say,
When It's Time to Fight,
Feeling Bad Isn't Giving Up,
Will I Ever Feel Normal Again?,
When All Seems Hopeless,
When I Feel Helpless,
Recovery from Surgery,
Dealing with the Side Effects,
Emotional and Spiritual Weakness,
Crying Out to God,
Asking Others for Help,
Taking Care of Myself,
Loving My Body,