Doesn’t Anyone Have a Sick Friend We Can Pray For?

November 18, 2009

Does your church open the floor on Sunday morning for prayer requests?

What’s the most requested prayer?

My guess is most people want to pray for healing.

Every Sunday we open the floor to prayer requests. Sure, we get a sprinkling of other concerns. But I can always count on the old standby “someone I know is sick” prayer. I almost don’t know if I could give a prayer in front of my church without “lifting someone up” and asking that “healing hand” of the “Great Physician” would “be upon them.”

And yet I dread it when that’s all we have to pray about. It’s apparent why we make health related prayers the most. Being sick is the most obvious problem a person probably has. But I hate just praying for recovery. I want people to know that suffering can glorify God. It’s in the Bible.

This may sound terrible, but when poor old Pope John Paul II was at the end of his very long life, and the Parkinson’s he had suffered with for a long time had made him a shell of his former self, and the biggest mercy he could recieve would be to die and see the Lord, I was appalled to see people on TV saying they were just saying a little prayer that his life would be extended. While you’re at it, go ahead and say a little prayer that poor old Dick Clark does one more heartbreaking New Year’s special.

Sure, those medical prayers are easy to make because health problems are easy to see. For some reason, it’s taboo to point out in a prayer request that someone is raising their kids all wrong, or coveting his neighbor’s maidservant, or has remained spiritually immature for the last 17 ½ years.

Church would get pretty interesting if we started making prayer requests that really needed to be voiced. Maybe if I had a “joys and concerns” card and a golf pencil handy, I’d feel comfortable dropping a really heavy, wonderfully anonymous prayer in the offering plate.

Thus it is with the feeling of being an extreme cliché that I do something for the very first time on this blog. I have never asked you for prayer before. And the first one I’m asking for is a medical prayer. Hear me out though, because there’s more to it than that.

My Dad is the pastor who taught me what it means to be a pastor – what it means to make big sacrifices, to do the right thing, and to love people in spite of their flaws.

My old man isn’t in the best health, and it worries me. He’s got lots of stuff going on. This morning, the surgeons will repair part of his painful arthritis-damaged spine by replacing several pieces of his neck bones with bones from a deceased donor. It’s amazing how connected your neck is to the rest of your health. He’ll be incapacitated for six weeks. We’re just a little concerned about him.

But I wouldn’t be telling you if that were all of it.

My dad has a zeal for Africa, specifically the physically and spiritually impoverished people of Sudan. He made a solo trip to Sudan a few years ago to preach. His burden for those people has spread to me and many others.

He desperately wants to go back, and we’re convinced he has lots of work to do there. We want to send him to cities, markets, arenas, churches and remote villages to preach to 100,000 people. He will also begin the process of building a school for children who have no place to learn. Our house church is financing and directing his trip as well as the school construction. We’ve even opened a non-profit group just to manage the campaign. The link is at the top of this site.

My dad is planning to go to Africa in February. In fact, he quit his job in order to go. Then the doctor said they need to fix his neck. His recovery time will go right up until February.

So you see, a lot of dreams, our church’s purpose, 100,000 Africans and a school sort of rest in the hands of a doctor this morning.

As your blogging friend for over a year, can I ask you to say just a three-second prayer for Phil?

Even better, could you leave a little prayer comment? I’d love to go to the hospital this afternoon and show him all the people who are “lifting him up.”

If you did that, I’d be very much obliged to you. And I’ll let you know how it goes.