Last year on January 1st I committed publicly that I would choose one person and pray every single day for all aspects of that person’s life. Little did I know how a global pandemic and breast cancer would influence that commitment. How often do we tell people, “yes, I’ll pray for you,” and then we send up a quick prayer to fulfill our promise? Or, we go about our daily life and forget to pray as we promised? I decided to use a prayer journal to hold me accountable to pray a prayer a day. When I prayed about who that one person to pray over would be, I also asked God to impress on my heart the need to follow through and not quit as the weeks and months passed by. Then the pandemic entered the scene.
You would think that being told to “shelter in place” would allow more time to pray. It did to some extent, but it also meant there was much more to pray about. Securing supplies from local stores became a major undertaking (think toilet paper, hand sanitizer, etc.). There were many more people to pray for, job losses, small businesses (including our own), struggling to keep going, and church attendance went virtual. Having chosen the “one,” I was then cut off from seeing her each week. I maintained my commitment and the blank pages started filling with earnest prayer over a precious lady. She had no idea I was lifting her and her family up to the Lord, day after day. That thought made me chuckle. How surprised she would be next January. In spite of the virus chaos, I found joy in my prayers for her. Then breast cancer entered my life.
Mid-year, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. That proclamation began a flurry of tests, treatments, and turmoil, as I dealt with side effects, surgery, and subsequent healing. There were days I couldn’t imagine I’d have strength to pray for myself, let alone for someone else. Times prevailed when my numb fingertips barely held a pen and my fingernails felt as though they were being pried off. The blessing came when the Holy Spirit took over and gave me power to pray through pain. I found joy as I prayed for this friend, not knowing if she was in pain, or whether she was dealing with lack of finances as I experienced. When joy overflowed onto the pages of that journal, my pain diminished.
Keeping a written prayer journal was something I’ve done through the years, but not for one specific person. Doing it for my friend changed me on the inside. I owe that to God. When we pray for others it’s nearly impossible to feel sorry for self! I’m a people person, a hugger, and I hate being stuck at home because a virus is rampant and my immune system can’t fight strong right now. But, praying like I did, all year for this special lady, enveloped my heart and allowed me to get outside myself to encourage others.
I am now cancer free, although my immune system is still low and trying to recover from the 23 radiation treatments which ended on December 18th. I firmly feel that God allowed me to go through this so I can be someone else’s encouragement when they experience a life-changing event such as breast cancer. I found joy in my cancer journey…and God has prompted me to write a breast cancer devotional. I look forward to seeing what He does with it.
I am excited to hear from my friend after she receives her prayer journal in the mail and discovers she is the “one” I chose to pray for, a prayer a day.