Then from heaven, your dwelling place, hear their prayer and their prayer and their plea, and upload their cause.
(1 King 8:49,NIV)
F.B Meyer said, “The greatest tragedy of life is not unanswered prayer, but unoffered prayer.” As a medical student, I learned that even talking about prayer can be therapeutic.
“Mr. Jones” was an elderly and simple male with prostate cancer. His treatments had failed, and the cancer had spread throughout his body –even to the point of multiple, visible masses throughout his spine. We admitted him to the hospital to try to control his severe pain.
Mr. Jones’s wife, Mrs. Jones, was in denial.
In conversations, she couldn’t — or wouldn’t –recognize the gravity of her husband’s illness. Her comments included contradictory statements such as, “There ain’t nothin’ wrong with him,” and “Y’all better figure out how to fix him.” Somehow, she managed to simultaneously imply that he was faking it, and that we were incompetent in failing to fix whatever was wrong with him.
As the situation progressed, and he required more and more medication for his pain, it became clear that Mr. Jones was facing his last few days on earth. After hours of medical consultation, after attempts to educate Mrs. Jones on her husband’s prognosis, and after multiple unproductive family conferences, we became concerned that he would pass away without her recognition of what was happening.
At that point, I met quietly with Mrs. Jones. I told her, “I would like to pray with you, for your husband. What would you like me to pray for?”
She burst into tears.
Sobbing at first, she eventually caught her breath. I wasn’t sure what was happening, so I waited. After a while, she finally said, “Pray that he don’t suffer. Jus’ pray that he don’t hurt.”
So we did.
– Tait Stevens, LLUSM class of 2000