21 Days of Prayer for Your Friend with Cancer

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.

- John 14:27 (ESV)

What do you do when you want to support a friend? What if you aren’t close enough to do the do-ing things you long to do?

My friend with cancer headed to a treatment center yesterday for 21 days of immunotherapy. She is filled with hope and that makes me happy. But she is not near me and that does not make me happy.

I spent a few days discussing this with my friend Jesus. All the things. In the end, he guided my heart towards prayer. Prayer to trust him with my friend and her care. Prayer to wait with hope. And prayer for HER.

How many times have I gone to Jesus with my personal angst only to have him turn my focus ever-so-gently off of me and towards my friends? Directing me to dwell on God’s never-changing character of love. Helping me trade my worry for his peace. So many times.

Sometimes, I wear myself out venting all my emotions to Jesus. Grace tells me it’s ok to vent. My verbal processing is how God wired me to leave the heaviness of my heart at his feet. Getting it all out and opening my hands in release frees me to accept his peace. I cannot seem to hold them both, heaviness and peace, at the same time. My hands can grasp only one thing at a time. My mind is plagued with the same problem. So I vent my emotions. I release my worry. Then I accept his peace.

Vent. Release. Accept. My formula for finding peace in the midst of pain.

There are other ways to deal with pain. My family will tell you that the kitchen is never cleaner than when I’m boiling over on the inside. The closets get tidy. The Goodwill pile grows taller. Cleaning and organizing are my mad coping skills. But I’ll tell you something: cleaning doesn’t move me any closer to real peace. It just gives me a tidier place to worry in.

Are you a cleaner/organizer? When your friend tells you she has cancer, do you scrub the tub? Or are you the type to grab the pint of Rocky Road ice cream out of the freezer for some stress relief? Do you go out for a spontaneous 5 mile run to sweat the stress out of your system? There are so many ways to cope with pain. But let me ask you the question I had to ask myself: which coping method actually brings real peace?

The last year and half of recovering physically and emotionally from the trauma of my lung bleeds have hammered home this lesson: The only place I find true peace is in the presence of God. This is true when the pain is coming from my own health issues and it’s true when the pain comes from my friend’s health issues. It doesn’t matter what the source of the pain is, the formula is the same. Vent. Release. Accept.

So, here I am, 21 days away from seeing my friend again, filled with a new burden to pray for her. I have vented and released my selfish desires to Jesus. They have been left at his feet. I opened my hands and my heart to accept his peace, peace that comes from knowing that he is in control of my friend’s situation and is with her even when I am not. Now it is time to focus on her. To lift her up in my newly opened hands to the One who knows and loves her best. How do you pray for a friend with cancer or Lyme or another illness? With hope and confidence, I am going to pray the words that have the most power, words spoken from the breath of God. I wrote out 21 verses that I will pray, one verse for each day my friend will be away. Will you join me?

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