“Jesus the Son of God is our great High Priest who has gone to heaven itself to help us; therefore let us never stop trusting Him. This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, since He had the same temptations we do, though He never once gave way to them and sinned. So let us come boldly to the very throne of God and stay there to receive mercy and to find grace to help us in our times of need.
Hebrews 4:14-16 (Living Bible)
Prayer can become routine. But when our health and life are threatened by cancer, we learn to value prayer in a new way.
Our prayers, at times, may become more urgent and more passionate. We understand our desperate need and our powerlessness. We are thrown on God’s mercy with new intensity.
At other times we may find ourselves unable to pray. This can be a disorienting and discouraging experience. It might be helpful to know that not being able to pray is a common experience for people in crisis. When we cannot pray because we are too ill or too weak or too depressed, we can ask others to pray for us. And in those times we can remember that Jesus prays for us.
Prayer is acknowledging our dependence on our Maker. It is asking for God’s help and care. In the process of asking for help in prayer something happens to us. Our attention becomes focused on God.
As we focus our attention on God we are changed. Prayer, which begins as a response to God’s invitation, often leads us to an experience of God which changes us. Prayer is then a place of transformation. Here is how Henri Nouwen describes the process:
“The pains and struggles we encounter in prayer thus become the way to hope, because our hope is not based on something that will happen after our sufferings are over, but on the real presence of God’s healing Spirit in the midst of these sufferings.
The discipline of prayer allows us gradually to come in touch with this hopeful presence of God in our lives, and allows us also to taste even now the beginnings of the joy and peace which belong to the new heaven and the new earth.”
(Nouwen, Making All Things New).
Questions for Discussion – Session 1
1. When has it been especially difficult for you to pray?
2. When has prayer been especially meaningful for you?
3. How have your prayers changed since your journey with cancer began?
Questions for Discussion – Session 2
1. What feelings have you expressed to God this week?
2. What image of God comes to mind when you pray?
3. Write a prayer, expressing whatever you are feeling right now to God.