In my prayers

I keep a lot of stories on my personal prayer chain.

There is a woman who is in the hospital being treated for viral meningitis. She will be in the hospital for about 10 more days. In the past two years, her husband had a two week hospital stay following an ATV accident and she had a hospital stay of over a month following brain surgery.

There is a man who leaves in less than a month for five weeks of radiation treatment. The doctors say his prognosis for effective treatment is very good, but there is a bit of lingering doubt in his mind simply because the last two treatment regimens that were prescribed by doctors did not achieve the expected results.

There is a family trying to make sense out of the death from suicide of their 24-yuear-old son. He had a brand new baby. He had good prospects for a successful career. They didn’t recognize that there was a big problem coming. They were shocked and they are still reeling. And while they are struggling with this they are trying to find the right resources to support two other sons, both teens, who were the ones who discovered their brother’s body and who are really having a hard time with his death.

There is a 59 year old, suddenly unemployed due to the closure of the business where he worked. He had nearly 20 years with the company and that is over. He is working hard to find a new job, but there are doubts in his mind. Some days it just feels like he is missing out on jobs because he is too old. Early retirement wasn’t in his plans.

There is a woman who has moved into a senior retirement center and who feels so trapped by her new home. She feels like she was just forced to move into a holding tank where people just wait to die. She doesn’t want to sit and wait, and she has trouble thinking about what her purpose in life might be.

There is a teenager who had a cancer in the lining of her skull. It did not penetrate into her brain and the surgery was said to be successful. They just took a biopsy from her lung and she is really scared. She has to wait through the next weekend before they reveal the results of the biopsy. It feels like every clock in her life just stopped.

There is a man who had wonderfully successful treatment for his cancer, but the chemotherapy left him with some disability. It may be permanent. He feels it was worth the risk and worth the price, but still, he grieves not being able to do the things he could do before he was diagnosed.

There is another who is three months into chemotherapy for a type of cancer from which most patients die in the first 5 months after diagnosis. He has lost his hair. He walks with a cane. He feels very old. He wonders if the decision to go with the aggressive chemotherapy was the right decision.

I am not writing the names. God knows them and doesn’t need me to provide a reminder. Their stories have been told to me, but I don’t have permission to broadcast those stories.

There is a mother of two preschool children for whom every conversation with her husband turns into an argument. She desperately wants to improve their marriage, but she doesn’t know how to do it. She lies awake at night wondering if he will leave her. She rises in the morning without a clue of what she will do if he does. A divorce would force them both to leave the house for which they planned and worked for so many years.

There is the man who had hitchhiked from New York state to South Dakota and will board a bus soon to complete his journey home because getting this far meant he has enough money for the bus fare. He still doesn’t know how he will buy food on the 52 hour bus ride that remains. He won’t have any cash once he buys the bus ticket. A kind person in Rapid City helped him get some medicine. He wonders if there will be other kind strangers.

There is a heroin addict who has been trading days of wishing he was dead for a few brief moments of a chemically-induced high. He thinks of suicide often, and knows that the odds of him dying by an overdose are very high. Sometimes he thinks about getting into treatment. Most of the time it feels like it is too late.

There is a woman whose children were removed from her home. She feels guilty for the circumstances by which she lost them. She is trying to get her act together so that she can get them back. She is pregnant again.

I pray for people from all around the world. I pray for people whom I have not met face-to-face, but whose stories have been told to me my other faithful people who are expanding the number of people praying. When you are all alone and you can’t find the right words for your prayer it helps to know that you aren’t the only one praying.

There is the man who is nearing the end third month of hospitalization for a syndrome that suddenly struck him. His team says he’ll require another month of in-patient rehabilitation and at least two months of out-patient rehabilitation before he can return to work. That seems like forever to him. Some nights he wonders if it will ever come to an end.

I don’t pray to tell God about the needs of others. God knows. I don’t pray to influence God’s response to those prayers. God doesn’t need my advice. I don’t pray to magically change the laws of physics or biology. I don’t pry to fix the world’s broken places and broken people. I pray to stand with those who sit on the margins of the community and to recognize the presence of Christ in their situations.

There are many others for whom I pray.

There are many others for whom I need to pray.

Copyright (c) 2019 by Ted E. Huffman. I wrote this. If you would like to share it, please direct your friends to my web site. If you'd like permission to copy, please send me an email. Thanks!