Our community has faced much adversity and while in many cases adversity may cause division; here it seems to unite us. Perhaps that is unique to smaller communities, or perhaps it is unique to these wonderful people. But regardless, I know that in times of need – we bind together as one. We truly become “the body of Christ,” his hands, feet, arms reaching out in action and love.
There have been life altering accidents, families stricken with devastating illnesses, and children, too many children have fallen victim to cancer. In each and every case, the rally cry is sounded; Pray for —– ! And the prayers rise up in unity. I am reminded of Chapter 4 of Nehemiah as he leads the remnant in the reconstruction of the city walls while battling the naysayers and the outsiders seeking to destroy not only their confidence but their faith.
We too face a daily battle of naysayers, the lies of the Enemy who seeks to destroy our faith by using adversity to taunt and tease us. He must be unaware that our strength comes from the Lord, who empowers us to rise above these temptations – especially when we are bound together in unity. God gave Nehemiah a practical strategy to protect his workers and families from fear and distraction all while leading to the completion of the wall. It is a pattern that also allows us to complete God’s work in the same manner. Look briefly at these verses from Chapter 4 of Nehemiah;
8 They all plotted together to come and fight against Jerusalem and stir up trouble again it.9 But we prayed to God and posted a guard day and night to meet this threat. . . . 13 Therefore, I stationed some of the people behind the lowest points of the wall at the exposed places, posting them by families with their swords, spears, and bows. 14 After I looked things over, I stood up and said to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people, “Don’t be afraid of them. remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for you brothers, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes.” . . . 16 From that day on, half of my men did the work, while the other half were equipped with spears, shields, bows and armor. 18 . . and each of the builders wore his sword at his side as he worked.
Nehemiah recognized God as their protection, yet he also realized God had equipped them with what they needed to accomplish the work and overcome the enemy. The key was in unity; supporting on another always armed for battle. Today we are armed for battle with the sword of the spirit, the shield of faith and the full armor of God. Just as the Greek armies became almost indefensible when they assembled together, linking their shields together and forming a protective barrier around with weak or wounded; we too have that power as we unit in faith through prayer.
I think that is what makes this community so special. We pray in unity.
Two weeks ago, my home church hosted a prayer service for very special little girl that will shortly be turning five years old. Only a few weeks ago her life was happy, carefree and totally fun. Within the span of a week she was diagnosed with a somewhat rare and aggressive form of cancer, underwent surgery to remove a kidney and was preparing for chemo treatments. It has been a whirlwind of emotion for her family. A Facebook page, Pray for Elli, was established and the outpourings of love, hope and generosity have been nothing short of amazing.
The prayer service was open to all and MANY responded. Those that were ill or had any contact with someone ill were requested to remain at home and join in prayer from there. Many prayers were offered but one special prayer was lifted on behalf of Elli based upon specific matters that her mother requested we address. Below I share that prayer in hopes that 1) you too will join us in praying for Elli; 2) that it will bring you comfort in a time of need; 3) that is will guide you as you pray for others facing similar issues; 4) because God nudged me along to share this with you.
A Prayer for Elli based upon Psalm 23
Father, we praise you O God, for you are Holy. You are mighty. You are our Creator, Sustainer, Redeemer, Provider, the One Who Sees, the One Who Goes Before and Our Mighty Fortress. We love you LORD, and thank you that you hear our prayers.
Gracious and merciful Father, we come to you with repentant hearts asking that you search our hearts and cleanse us of all impurity within us. We confess that we have sinned, sometimes not even recognizing it and at other times, pretending that it is trivial and does not matter. But LORD, we desire to be righteous in your sight and it is the sacrifice of your Son, Jesus, that brings us into righteous fellowship with you. It is His blood that cleansed us, makes us acceptable in your sight and allows us the privilege of approaching your throne. So on behalf of your precious child, Elli, LORD we come to you; united, believing, faithful, full of hope and expectation. Hear our petitions on her behalf, O LORD!
The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.
LORD, you are Elli’s Shepherd; her guide, her protection, her provider. Just as a faithful shepherd guards, protects, feeds, waters and tends to every need of his flock in order that they may thrive; we know that you are Elli’s constant companion. You guide not only her, but her mother as she makes decisions for her, as she advocates for Elli’s welfare and treatment options. You guide her physicians and treatment team as they work together to determine the best course of action to defeat the enemy, cancer. Elli, shall not be in want nor in a need that YOU, the Great I AM, her very Creator cannot provide. There is nothing impossible for you. We ask that you provide physical protection for Elli’s heart. That her heart will remain strong regardless of the possible side effects of her treatments and therapies. In fact, we ask that her heart not only retains its current functioning but actually improves over the course of her treatment. Strengthen her physical heart, just as you strengthen her spiritual heart. Allow her to truly feel your presence. You are Elli’s shepherd, she shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul.
LORD, as Elli proceeds with her treatments, surround her with a sense of refuge, a quieting of her spirit, anxiety and fear. We know, Father, that this is a scary time and hospitals can be a frightening place especially for one so young. But we praise you LORD, that you have already provided Elli with such a wonderful hospital and loving, devoted caretakers. As Elli faces these next days and weeks of treatments, lead her calmly and securely through it by minimizing any discomfort. We boldly ask LORD, that the previous issues with constipation will be gone! That it will no longer be a problem. She has experienced many unanticipated side effects and complications from earlier treatments, so LORD, we ask that you bring to her mind and body the peace that she discovers as she walks through your beautiful creation; the stillness that calms her as she sees the miracle and wonder of nature; revive her just as she is refreshed in the waters of a stream. Restore her spirit, mind, and body with the living water you offered to the woman at the well.
He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Father, we confess that we do not understand why things happen, especially as they negatively impact those we love. But we trust you, LORD. We know that your plans are always for good, that your love for us is beyond our comprehension. And we believe that in this, yes – even in Elli’s cancer, that this will glorify your name. Tonight as we gather together as the church, the body and the bride of Christ, your beloved children; we come in faith believing that this very moment glorifies your name. LORD, use Elli and Carla as instruments of faith. As Elli and Carla walk this path, grant them the grace to keep their eyes on you, trusting in you, acknowledging that all things are possible through you and because of you. May their every word and deed be a living testimony to the glory and power of God Almighty.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for you are with me; your rod and staff, they comfort me.
LORD, it is not the valley that frightens us. It is the shadows that lurk within it, shadows that seem to taunt us, question us; shadows that appear larger and more overwhelming than their true substance is in reality. But you have spoken, Father. A shadow cannot harm us! It is a deception, one that the evil one sends to distract us from our very source of our protection and comfort. Even when that shadow IS the shadow of death, Christ reminds us that HE has conquered death! “O death, where is your sting?” We approach your throne, O merciful and mighty God, confident that you walk before Elli, beside Elli and even behind Elli; hemming her in with protection, assurance of your love, and comfort. Father, just as the the rod and staff were tools the shepherd used to protect and care for his flock, may your Spirit guide and protect Elli as she journeys through these dark times. And in name of the One that conquered death, the sacred and Holy name of Jesus Christ, we declare a long, healthy, Spirit-filled life for Elli. May her life be a living testimonial of your power, strength and love.
Father, Elli faces a difficult treatment, one whose very name hints of the Evil One. When this shadow falls upon this family, may your Holy Spirit rise up in glory, light their path and cast these shadows away. We ask your protection from any further ill effects of her treatments. We ask that doctors be amazed at her progress. We pray for such limited side effects that there is no need for blood transfusions and if the transfusions are essential; protect her from any blood borne pathogens. As Carla and Elli walk through this valley filled with shadows, protect them and comfort them.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Father we thank you for the assurance you give us that we can be secure in your love, protection and redemption, even in the midst of the darkest circumstances – you are with us. Your presence is so deep and abiding that we may rest, truly rest in the knowledge that you alone are our provision, our security, our healing, and our blessing. And it is in this confidence that we ask that Elli truly feast at your table of provision. We ask you to stimulate her appetite, stir up within her a desire to eat, allow her body to crave those foods that will provide her the nutrition her body needs to fight this battle successfully. Anoint Elli with your healing oil, whether through modern medicine or your divine hand’s direct touch. We ask you to anoint her with healing ridding her body of every trace of cancer or any infectious disease. Restore her to a whole condition one that overflows with energy and zest for life; a wholeness that exceeds any that we could ask our imagine. Pour out your healing to overflowing.
Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
LORD, it is in the confidence of your faithfulness to us in the past that we have hope for the future. Your love for Elli is as sure and steadfast today as it was on the day you began to knit and form her together. Your love for her is unchanging. Father, we ask that you grant our petitions for Elli, not out of our righteousness, but out of your righteousness and great mercy. We pray that her life will be long, healthy, happy and wholly devoted to serving YOU, the one true God. Hear our prayers, LORD. Hear our prayers.
In Jesus Name we Pray.
Blessing to you all, Mimi
“The thief only comes to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10