Praying for Cancer

Photo by Marik Elikishvili on

Tomorrow afternoon, one of my father’s lymph nodes is being biopsied. He will be placed under general anesthesia. The entire procedure should take a little over one hour. The biopsy will likely show what an earlier bone marrow test revealed. In other words, small-cell lymphoma is the good news we hope to receive. The irony I confront tonight is this; I’m praying for his cancer, as it stands, to remain as initially diagnosed. (You might ask why I, a pastor, am not praying for miraculous healing. I’ve been doing this too long and have seen too many sick people, whom I’m not related to, die while praying for miracles. I’m praying at a pace I can handle. God will work at God’s speed.) What a strange thing for which to pray. As the oncologists and hematologists first confirmed, to pray that cancer is “just this one cancer” is as unsettling a prayer request as I’ve ever considered. It’s certainly not one I anticipated praying for. Humans pray for all manner of physical, material, and immaterial things. I guess this is my thing now. In the name of the Father, Son, the Holy Spirit (and the eternally disconcerting uncomfortable present). Amen.

–Richard Bryant

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