Posted by: AMcGowan | 11/28/2011

Living on a Prayer

In my last blog, I posted that people with chronic illness or pain have been through the gamut of trying to find ‘the thing’ that will heal them and how it can be hurtful when others try and force their ‘cure’ on them.

Let me be clear—I’m not speaking about people that want to come alongside the hurting and help. I’ve had many loving suggestions from caring friends. Most of those conversations were respectful and kind. I don’t know of anyone who takes offense at loving suggestions. I can tell they are loving because when I respectfully decline they say, “Okay.” And the suggestions stop.

If you fall into that loving category—thank you very much. And especially, thank you for the following: The most valuable comfort in my time of illness has been the friends and family who come and sit beside me in this trial to pray. And to listen. I can’t tell you how wonderful it is just to have someone listen and empathize.

Prayer. Seems simple enough. Unfortunately in our culture, it’s often the last ditch effort. We are doers and fixers. You’ve got a problem, they’ve got the solution. But, when the solution doesn’t work…well, you might have heard the following: “I can’t do anything for you so I’ll pray.”

It’s been said that God doesn’t often change our circumstances, but He does change our hearts in those circumstances. It’s so true. When I submit myself to Him, He gives me strength for that moment. I’ve often been in tears from exhaustion early on in the day. I’ve lost count of the times I’ve cried out and said, “God, I just need to get the laundry done, please help me.” Soon after, I’ll have the strength to do the laundry. Now…if you would have told me twenty years ago that I would be praying for the ability to do laundry (which I hate to do as much as the dishes), I would have laughed in your face. But today, it’s a different story! Taking care of my family is part of who I am, and not being able to do rudimentary things, like laundry, wears me down mentally and spiritually.

Prayer isn’t a magical incantation, and it isn’t manipulation of God wherein we say just the right thing at the right time in the right way in order to make God change His mind and do what we wish. Rather, it is powerful because of the One who answers according to His good will and purpose for our lives. And that’s what I desire: God’s will and the strength and wisdom to endure whatever it is I’m going through.

When you offer prayer in times of trial and a listening ear, you are the hands and feet of our Lord. I’m so grateful for those around me who have been there, praying and listening as we go through our trials. Thank you!

Philippians 4:6-7 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Full text here.)


  1. Wonderful blog article. So true. 🙂

  2. So very true!..It often feels like we go to prayer as a last resort..instead of the first. I have also found I covet others prayers so much more since illness has come into my life…At first I also felt funny about asking God for strength to do laundry etc. Now it is an every day conversation I have with Him. Thank you for being one of those friends who prays and listens:)

    • Thank you too, Billie Jo. You’ve inspired me more times that you know!

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