Praying for healing for a child who is battling a life-threatening infection or disease can be a heart breaking challenge. Here are some words of help and wisdom on how to pray when a child is seriously ill from inspirational writer David Shelton.
1. Express your feelings of helplessness and anguish to God.
Here in the stillness of the night I sit at my trusty laptop and write these words to you as two parents watch their outgoing daughter in the fourth grade battle for her life after contracting a life threatening case of E Coli. Can you imagine being these parents rushing to the Emergency Room because your daughter is not getting over the stomach virus the doctor previously thought she had. Subsequent tests now show E Coli and things just went from bad to worse as her body went into shut-down mode to battle the invading disease.
Have you stood in that room? Have you stood by that bed and held the hand of that child as they battle for their life? Have you been so exhausted that you’re not sure what day it is because there are too many days to number since you entered the ER pleading for someone to help your child? I’ve been there, because I was once the child in the bed.
My mom was the mother running into the ER asking for anyone to help her baby who was barely conscious and near death. My dad recounts a story of going into my room and picking me up from the crib. He said that it was a terrible experience because I was blue, and he wasn’t sure I was still alive. I was alive, but barely.
One doctor told my mom that I would not live past age five. My mom gave me to God and asked that my life be spared. After I turned five and became sick again, she spent many sleepless nights wondering if that particular night was my last night.
I spent my share of time in the hospital in which the doctors were finally able to reach the conclusion that I was hypoglycemic. I would blow through all of my energy and my body would give out. From infancy to my pre-teen years I battled this unknown condition, and spent many nights in a hospital bed with doctors speculating as to the cause. When I burn through carbohydrates, my body goes into a reboot mode. I get nauseous, and then I want to go to sleep. A sports rehydration drink has enough electrolytes to help the reboot and get me back to normal. To this day I still have to be aware of eating enough replacement carbs to keep me at “normal”.
My parents have been through long hours in the ER and hospital visits not knowing what was wrong with me. I’m sure that if you had asked them, mom and dad would have voted to skip those particular experiences in their lives.
2. Expect to have your faith tested as you cling to God’s promises.
How could God let this happen? Is your brain screaming to the heavens in hopes that your prayer makes it past the ceiling tiles, and some benevolent, all-powerful being will grant your wish? That’s not God. That’s not the God of the Bible. That’s not the God who loves you above all the rest of His creation.
Jehovah Raphe is the God who heals. His Son, Jesus, healed many while He ministered on this earth. Because of this we don’t give up…we glorify God. We call on Him.
“Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.” (James 5:14. ESV)
“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases,” (Psalm 103:2-3, ESV)
“O Lord my God, I cried to you for help, and you have healed me.” (Psalm 30:2, ESV)
“If you will diligently listen to the voice of the Lord your God, and do that which is right in his eyes, and give ear to his commandments and keep all his statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you that I put on the Egyptians, for I am the Lord, your healer.” (Exodus 15:26, ESV)
3. Ask God to help you find an outcome that sees some unexpected blessing from the unexpected trial.
You might be reading this and think, “What good can come from all of this disease and suffering?” I’ll let a mom who is in the thick of it right now speak directly to you in her own words:
When all of this is said and done, I hope that my daughters will have learned what it means to bless others. I pray they will look for opportunities of service throughout the course of their lives, and that they will always remember what it’s like to be on the receiving end. I pray they will be gracious and kind just as you have all been to us. I know I have learned a lot myself these past few weeks, and I am forever changed. “As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” 1 Peter 4:10
4. Join the Community of Believers in prayer.
The community of Believers around the world have joined together to pray for this little girl and her family. Would you join us? Would you pray for this little girl who is battling for her life? Maybe this prayer is needed for someone you know. I invite you to pray this prayer and then for others that you know. Maybe this is a prayer you need for your life.
“Father, we lift up this precious girl to you. All of these things have gone wrong inside of her body to cause her to be so sick. Your people come before you to lift her up and ask that You extend Your mighty hand and heal her from this disease that has attacked and ravaged her organs and blood. We know that You are “Jehovah Raphe”, the God who heals. We bless Your name, and remember You. We remember what You have done, how You have healed nations; and You have healed people. We cry to You for Your help.
In all the work that is done by the doctors and nurses, in all the medicines that are used, in all of the lives that she and her family will touch with this story, in all the prayer that is being lifted to Your ears by Your children, may Your name be glorified. May we reflect Your majesty. May Your mercy and grace be abounding. May this life be a witness and testimony of who You are and what You have, and will do. For the beauty of Your name we pray, amen.”
Jesus cares for sick children everywhere, just as He cares for you. It’s why He came to earth to die and rise again.
“But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5, ESV)
Copyright David Shelton 2012. All rights reserved.