Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A to Z Blogging Challenge "Lifting Up in Prayer"

Lifting Up in Prayer
By Shelly Burke, Editor and Publisher, Nebraska Family Times

As I read through my prayer list this morning, I noticed how long the list has gotten over the last few months. It’s just one of those times in life where it seems I know a lot of people who are experiencing heartache, stress, or sorrow of one kind or another. Whether I know them personally or not, I feel sadness for their circumstances and what they are experiencing. 

My prayers are for a wide variety of people—some I’ve known for years and some I have never met but know of their need for healing through others. They include:

An 11 month-old with leukemia who just had a stem-cell transplant.

A 7th grader, diagnosed in November with bone cancer, who is facing an extensive surgery to remove the tumor from his leg, and then a long recovery.

The brother of a friend, who, after four years fighting cancer, recently had a stem-cell transplant.

One of our pastors who has been unable to work for several months due to various health issues.

A friend’s daughter, whose progressive disease is taking more and more of her abilities from her.

A lady who is facing the death of her mother, and a couple facing the loss of their son.

Another friend whose father is experiencing many health problems.

My elderly grandparents, who, after many years of good health, have experienced broken bones, surgeries, and other serious health issues in the last year.

And then I looked at my list of those for whom I pray God’s peace and comfort. Their situations are all very different…yet they are all grieving.

A friend whose daughter was killed in an accident just a few months after her mother died.

Another friend whose husband was killed in an accident.  

Two more friends whose husbands died very unexpectedly.

A friend whose sister and grandmother died within just a few months of each other.

The families of my private-duty nursing patients. My patients were both very disabled and died within days of each other a year ago this month.

Several families who experienced the death of a loved one recently, after long battles with various diseases.

A family who, within a few days, lost two loved ones; one death was expected and one was very sudden and unexpected. One friend lost his brother and his wife.

Some on my list will experience the full restoration of their health, through God’s grace and healing. Although I am confident God can provide full healing to anyone, according to His will, it seems that some I pray for are nearing the end of their earthly lives, and will only be healed in heaven.

Several of those who have experienced the death of a loved one have shared how God has comforted them; some are comforted in knowing that their loved ones are out of pain and in the presence of God now. But the loss of a loved one leaves a hole in many lives no matter what the circumstances.

I have been praying with a feeling of sadness for those on my list who are facing long recoveries or will not be healed and for those who are learning to live without a loved one and facing other challenges and heartaches.  

This morning, though, I realized that none of us will ever experience full health, or total happiness, while here on earth. From the moment sin entered the world, the perfection of God’s creation was gone. As Romans 6:23 tells us, “The wages of sin is death.” As sad and hopeless as that sounds, the verse goes on to say, “but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

What a blessing! What reassurance! Anyone who accepts God’s offer of eternal life—including every single person on my prayer list who has accepted His offer of forgiveness—will experience full healing, complete health, and total comfort from every heartache when they get to heaven!

In Philippians, Paul tells us, “Our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, Who, by the power that enables Him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like His glorious body.” (Phil. 3:20-21). So even if the ones we pray for are not healed on earth, they will be transformed in heaven!

And Revelation tells us that in heaven, God “will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain…” (Rev. 21:4) With our glorious, perfect bodies, we will also be completely filled with joy!

What wonderful reassurance that is, to all of us who believe—especially those who are sick, or mourning or in pain. Here on earth we will never be free of all illness or sorrow…but we know that in heaven each and every one of us will be free from all illness, pain and sorrow.

Lord, I continue to pray for healing and comfort for those I know who are sick or suffering in body, mind, or spirit. I thank You so much for Your reassurance of the joy and perfection that awaits us in heaven, and pray that You will remind everyone – on my prayer list, and on every prayer list! – of Your love and promises!

I’m also blogging at Home is Where the Mom Is
Today my post is titled “Family Shorthand—How R U?”