A Prayer For My Father
Lord, I know I'm not telling You anything You don't already know but the last few weeks have been tough. Filled with uncertainty. With heavy hearts. Shock. Some anxiety. It's been wrough on all of us. Especially mom and dad. First, it was bloody urine, then a hurry-up surgery, a doctor in the recovery saying, 'the tumor was much larger than we thought.' Then a long quiet week waiting on pathology. When the report did come in, we heart words like, 'lymphovascular invasion is present.' Meaning? 'The margins aren't clear,' ' we need to go back in and remove all of it,' and 'this surgery will be much longer.' 'High rate of complications.' 'Very aggressive disease.' 'Suggest chemo prior to surgery for improved mortality.' 'Recovery 8-10 weeks.' Followed by, 'You'll require a bag for the rest of your life but we'll show you how to use it and it doesn't really leak much -- except at night.' They followed all that with a bit of a pause, 'Even if we do all this, there is still the chance that...'
Lord, this is my dad we're talking about. Lymphovascular invasion can kiss my...
This whole thing reminds me of Senacherib marching on Jerusalem while Your servant Hezekiah was King. Senacherib, King of Syria, sent a letter, which said, in short, I have defeated every other kingdom on earth and I'm am going to do to you what I've done to all them. I'm going to wipe you off the map. Scorched earth. Chaos and mayhem. Hezekiah tore his clothes and then brought that letter before You. Carried it into Your temple and laid it before You where he said, "Lord, this is what Your enemy is saying he is going to do to Your people." I feel like that. I feel that those diagnoses and those pathology reports are nothing but Senacherib's letter.
I'd like to bring it into Your presence and lay it before You.
Whatever is in my dad's body, is not from You. Cancer is the devil's work. Not Yours. I understand we live in a fallen world and that You allow it. When satan came to you and asked You for Job, You gave him permission. You let down the hedge. I don't understand that but Your ways are higher than mine so I trust you. But cancer is not found in the blessing of Abraham, whom You blessed in all things. Satan is a defeated punk. You saw him cast down like lightning. Cancer is his doing and it is an argument that exalts itself against You.
Lord, I'm not naive. We live in a fallen world. The dragon is at war with the children of the woman. He has been given a measure of dominion. I get it. We all die. But, when you walked this earth, You healed with a Word. You spoke a Word and Lazarus, four days dead and stinking, walked out of that stone grave. Shuffling like the mummy he was. With that same word, You healed the multitudes. People tugged on your shirt tail and were healed. You were the same God then and You're the same God now. You were on the throne then and you're on it today. Will be tomorrow. And the next day. You healed then and you can and do heal now. Whatever happens with dad doesn't change that.
And that same Word, which You spoke then, You are speaking today. I don't think I or we have to just sit here and take it and accept the mindset, "Oh well, it's cancer. What can you do." That's crap! I am not in agreement with that. What I am in total agreement with is Your Word. I'd like to push back against Senacherib's letter by echoing that same Word throughout this universe. Sort of like, "I hear what you're saying about my dad. And I realize we have some decisions to make, but before we get bent sideways with what might happen, let me pause just a second and tell you who my God is:"
"...I am the LORD who heals you." (Ex 15:26)
"He sent His word and healed them, And delivered them from their destructions." (Ps 107:20)
"O LORD my God, I cried out to You, And You healed me." (Ps 30:2)
"Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases." (Ps 103:3)
"Heal me, O LORD, and I shall be healed; Save me, and I shall be saved, For You are my praise." (Jer 17:14)
"But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed." (Is 53:5)
"Then His fame went throughout all Syria; and they brought to Him all sick people who were afflicted with various diseases and torments, and those who were demon-possessed, epileptics, and paralytics; and He healed them." (Mt 4:24)
"The centurion answered and said, "Lord, I am not worthy that You should come under my roof. But only speak a word, and my servant will be healed." (Mt 8:8)
"When evening had come, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed. And He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were sick." (Mt 8:16)
"And when Jesus went out He saw a great multitude; and He was moved with compassion for them, and healed their sick." (Mt 14:14)
"Then great multitudes came to Him, having with them the lame, blind, mute, maimed, and many others; and they laid them down at Jesus' feet, and He healed them." (Mt 15:30)
"When the sun was setting, all those who had any that were sick with various diseases brought them to Him; and He laid His hands on every one of them and healed them." (Lk 4:40)
"And He came down with them and stood on a level place with a crowd of His disciples and a great multitude of people from all Judea and Jerusalem, and from the seacoast of Tyre and Sidon, who came to hear Him and be healed of their diseases,  as well as those who were tormented with unclean spirits. And they were healed.  And the whole multitude sought to touch Him, for power went out from Him and healed them all." (Lk 6:17-19)
"And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son." (Jn 14:13)
"He has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds;  who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high." (Hebrews 1:2-3)
Lord, those Words describe You. They are True. You, in ways I don't understand and never will, uphold ALL THINGS by the Word of Your power. You are my God and I take comfort in You.
One of the things I love about Your life as told in the gospels is the number of times it says, "All diseases." It doesn't say, "some," or even "most." It says, "All." These words make me want to fist-pump and knuckle-bump.
And I'm not waving these words around like a magic wand. I am not in the camp of the name-it-and-claim-it prosperity gospel. BUT, these Words are true. And they are what You have given us. You spoke them and we cling to them. "Your Words were found by me and I ate them they became my Joy and the delight of my dancing." (Jeremiah) "I have considered the Words of Your mouth more valuable than my necessary food." (Job) "I have hidden Your Word in my heart so that I might not sin against you." (David) "The grass withers and the flowers fade but the Word of Our God stands forever." (Isaiah/Peter) "Man can not live on bread along but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of the Father." (You)
Whether You heal dad here, or You heal him in heaven, Your words are true. I want to go on record, sending this Word throughout the universe. And I want to do that in spite of an enemy that is sending letters through Your gates. Banging on the door of my soul with a declaration of death and destruction and a life that's less than to-the-full. "I will not die but live and declare the works of The Lord." (Psalms)
Lord, Your Word is more true than my fear. Period. I want to say that again. Doing so feels like fighting back. Your Word is more true than my fear.
As soon as I say that, in the back of my mind, my inner ear, I can feel a tap on my shoulder, hear a whisper, "Did God say?" It's the same deceiving lie that cursed serpent has been whispering since the Garden. The same whisper he spoke to You on the temple. I'd like to respond that lie with Your words. I want to tell him the same thing You did, "Away with you, satan. For it is written, You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve."
Lord, I, we, my family, my dad, all of us, worship You and serve You and You alone.
Lord, I'd like You to consider my dad. Bring a few things to your attention. Think about it -- I don't have a problem with You because my dad has loved me. To this day, when I see him, he hugs me and kisses me on the cheek. I know the affection of a father, look forward to it, treasure it, have experienced and continue to experience it, and because of that I don't have some deep father wound. The place in me where You reside isn't scarred and wounded, impenetrable, covered up with shoe leather. And my dad, your servant, did that. He loved me so I have some idea of what it's like to be loved by You. Is he perfect? No. Never has been. Just ask my mom. But nowhere in Your Word is our healing or our deliverance dependent upon our perfection. We can't work our way to healing no more than we can work our way to salvation. And, we can't deserve our way to healing. It's dependent upon You and what You already did. What you purchased. Lord, Your Word tells me that without Faith it is impossible to please You. Well, I have total Faith that you can heal dad.
Now I know this whole line of thinking can go sideways and this whole thought about faith and healing has been abused ad nauseam. The church has a pretty bad track record of communicating something along the lines of, 'If we just have enough faith we'll get healed,' and all that foolishness. Lord, I'm not getting caught up in all that. What I am saying is this -- I have Faith in You. I know you can. I know of no scintilla of doubt in me to the contrary. But, in the event that there is unbelief in me, please help me with my unbelief.
Your Word promises long life to those that honor their mother and father. Is 83 long life? I don't know but I do know that I saw my dad honor his mother and father. I've also seen him tithe -- faithfully, before taxes, for my entire life. I've seen him love my mom -- for 47 years. I've experienced his love for his children in my ways than I can't count. I also know Your Word says, "I've never seen the righteous forsaken."
Please don't hear me as coming down on or knocking dad's doctors. I'm not. Dad's got great doctors. I thank You for all of them. I'm not anti-doctor. I'm not anti-medicine. But even they are looking at dad's clipboard, raising an eyebrow and asking You to intervene. Please bless them, bless the works of their hands, give them wisdom. If you want to use them to heal dad, great. I don't care how you do it. Either way, I'll hug their necks and then give You credit.
I also know my dad's not the only one who could use a prayer like this. There are a lot of other people, who if they were to read this, would be nodding their heads. Right now, they're struggling for the strength to simply sit up, to read a story to their kids, and just eat breakfast with their wife. Some of them are watching the hair fall out in chunks, hugging a toilet, or heaving over a bucket as chemo ravages their system. Right this very second, there are folks dying because of this stuff. My heart hurts for them. Jesus, please let this cover them, too. Tell them this prayer is theirs. Let them make this their own. Cut. Copy. Paste. Plagiarize. Hang it on their wall so I pray they post this letter on the door to their heart. We have an enemy who has come to kill, steal and destroy and when he shows up with words of death and destruction, I want him to have to come through this letter echoing with Your words. Because, the truth is, when he encounters Your Word, he must flee in terror.
You fashioned us out of the dust and then pressed Your lips to ours and breathed life into us making us living beings so I figure You are big enough to handle one and all. The Cross proved that. I'm also reminded of this: "If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land." (2 Chron 7:14) Lord, we're all broken. All wicked. All sinners. Please let this prayer be seen as our turning, our seeking Your Face. Please hear. Please forgive. Please heal.
Lord, I don't know how this will all turn out. You do. I don't. That's why You're God and I'm not. I rest in that. Whether you choose to heal my dad or not, I ask this: On the other side of this, I want to be able to turn around and say You won. Your Glory shone through. Your kingdom came and invaded earth. I am not equating Your victory with my dad's healing, so if any of this prayer doesn't honor You, forgive me. It's a prayer for my father. And I know You love Your Father so I imagine You understand.
As Your child, and before I close this, I want my response this day to be like Hezekiah's. I want to post this on the wall of my heart so that any time a whisper to the contrary tries to enter, it has to go through this Truth: "And Hezekiah received the letter from the hand of the messengers, and read it; and Hezekiah went up to the house of the LORD, and spread it before the LORD.  Then Hezekiah prayed before the LORD, and said: "O LORD God of Israel, the One who dwells between the cherubim, You are God, You alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth.  Incline Your ear, O LORD, and hear; open Your eyes, O LORD, and see; and hear the words of Sennacherib, which he has sent to reproach the living God.  Truly, LORD, the kings of Assyria have laid waste the nations and their lands,  and have cast their gods into the fire; for they were not gods, but the work of men's hands-wood and stone. Therefore they destroyed them.  Now therefore, O LORD our God, I pray, save us from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that You are the LORD God, You alone." (2 Kings 19:14-19)
Lord, I trust You with my dad. Out-right and completely. Whether here with us or there with You. I trust You. Your will toward us is good. We are heirs and sons and daughters and You have lavished great love upon us. Nothing about all of this changes that. If You'll allow, I'd like to nail one more declaration to the wall of my heart. To hold up Your Word. To remind You. To be in agreement with You. To send it forth. To blanket it out across the universe. For I know that it will not return void.
"Therefore thus says the LORD concerning the king of Assyria: 'He shall not come into this city, Nor shoot an arrow there, Nor come before it with shield, Nor build a siege mound against it.  By the way that he came, By the same shall he return; And he shall not come into this city,' Says the LORD.  'For I will defend this city, to save it For My own sake and for My servant David's sake. And it came to pass on a certain night that the angel of the LORD went out, and killed in the camp of the Assyrians one hundred and eighty-five thousand; and when people arose early in the morning, there were the corpses-all dead." (2 Kings 19:32-35)
I pray this in the magnificent and matchless name of Jesus, the name that is above every other name, at whose name every knee will bow, and every tongue confess, and by His precious blood...Amen.