Family Matters: A prayer for the sick
True confession: With the exception of the man I’m married to, I avoid doctors like the plague.
Sure, I faithfully showed up for all my prenatal visits back in the day. And I’ve been pretty good about taking my kids in for regular check-ups and immunizations.
And our big, active brood has certainly done plenty time in the emergency room with more than our fair share of broken bones. Most recently last Christmas, the day after our 8-year-old Abby got her first pair of roller blades. She had to wear an arm splint/ cast/ brace for that break until Valentine’s Day.
But when it comes to submitting to routine screenings and well-woman checks myself, I stall for as long as I possibly can. Which explains why, until last week, I hadn’t seen my OB-GYN in nearly nine years – since right after my last baby was born.
This, despite the fact I could have really benefited from his expertise. I’ll spare you the gory details. While I suspected the problem I was experiencing was benign, I was certain it would require major, possibly life-altering surgery to resolve.
But that fear was completely unfounded.
You’d think I would have learned something from my grandfather’s experience. Convinced he was eaten up with lung-cancer, he refused to see his doctor too. He ended up dying from what would’ve been an easily treatable case of pneumonia.
Don’t follow that example!
Long story short, I finally bit the bullet and went in last week. Mainly because my husband took a day off work so he could escort me to my appointment (and make sure I didn’t squirm out of it). After pronouncing me healthy in every other respect, my doctor scheduled a 15-minute, minimally-invasive surgical procedure that completely took care of my presenting problem. Easy-peasy.
Of course, I realize not all doctor’s visits have such happy endings. Sometimes your fears are confirmed. And sometimes the diagnosis is worse than you expected. Sometimes you are completely blindsided by test results or lab findings.
But isn’t it better to know what you’re actually dealing with, either way? That way, you don’t have to wonder. You can meet the problem head-on. And you can pray about it intelligently.
Maybe, like me, you have a clean bill of health, but you know friends who are walking through difficult physical trials. I’d urge you to reach out to them. Take them a meal. Lend a listening ear. And lift them up in prayer.
What follows is an acrostic prayer guide I designed to use when interceding for the sick. If you don’t know how to best help your friends who are afflicted, PRAYER is always a good place to start:
P is for Peace
Pray that God would calm their heart, quiet their fears, and grant them a peace that passes understanding. Ask Him to carry them through this trial and comfort them with His presence. Pray that they’d find complete rest in Him, casting their burdens at the foot of the cross and leaving them there. (Psalm 56:3, Philippians 4:7, Matthew 11:28, 2 Corinthians 1:3-4, Exodus 33:14, Psalm 68:19-20)
R is for Relationships
Pray that God would use this illness first and foremost to draw others unto Himself. Pray that relationships to family and friends would also be strengthened, that any past offenses would be freely forgiven, and that sincere words of love and affirmation would be spoken. (John 6:44, Exodus 20:12, 1 John 4:20, Proverbs 17:17, John 15:12, Ephesians 4:15)
A is for Assurance
Ask God to assure them of His great love and faithfulness. Pray that He would remind them that He has a purpose and a plan, that He is in control, that He can work all things together for their good and His glory, and that He is committed to continuing His work in their hearts until it is completed. (Psalm 117:2, Jeremiah 29:11, Psalm 103:19, Romans 8:28, Philippians 1:6)
Y is for Yielding
Pray that the afflicted would yield themselves completely to God and place their full trust in His Son, Jesus Christ. Pray that they would boldly approach the throne of grace to make their requests known to God, yet would still be able to say with all sincerity, “Not my will, but Yours be done.” (Joshua 24:23, Proverbs 3:5-6, Romans 10:9, Hebrews 4:16, Philippians 4:6, Luke 22:42)
E is for Endurance
Ask God to strengthen and uphold them in the days ahead. Pray for their physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual endurance. Pray that God would give them grace as they walk through this trial and protect them against weariness and despair. Ask Him to bear their burdens and put a song of deep and abiding joy in their heart. (Isaiah 41:10, James 1:2-3, James 4:6, Isaiah 40:31, 2 Corinthians 4:8, Psalm 55:22, Isaiah 49:13)
R is for Restored Health
Pray that the Lord would mercifully and miraculously restore the one who is sick to health. Pray that He would heal them, body and soul, and would receive all the glory for having done so. Ask Him to prolong their life, and pray that they’d live out the remainder of their days in grateful service to Him. (James 5:15-16, Matthew 8:17, Luke 4:40, 1Timothy 1:7, Psalm 91:15-16, 1 Samuel 12:24)
Jennifer Flanders is a firm believer in the power of prayer. To download free, pretty, printable versions of all her prayer guides, please visit https://bit.ly/prayerprintables .