Mid Week Prayer
Part four, the final instalment, of Rev Derek Akker’s Prayers from my Teens. Prayers for Life was Derek’s first prayer book – a book that offered adventure, a radical departure from the prayers he was used to hearing… read on for this final instalment.
In his own inimitable style Michel Quoist faces the hard reality of death and he is not shy about bringing his raw feelings or confronting the Lord in prayer. He begins his prayer entitled ‘My friend died last night, Lord’ with a simple statement that ‘It is God’s will that each of his children is born, lives and dies. But we should all die a ‘natural’ death at the end of our lives. Premature death from accidents or illness are not God’s doing, nor are they ‘the will of God’ any more that just a matter of luck,’ He sees these premature deaths as a consequence of how we exercise our freedom and how we exercise our responsibility of ourselves and others. Incurable illnesses are often down to how we treat our own bodies and the lack of cures is down to the need to divert monies, intelligence and energy from ‘inventing way of killing each other to finding ways ….to protect life and bring it to its full potential’. A point reinforced by Bill Gates in an interview with the BBC broadcast on Easter Day morning. Bill Gates warned 5 years ago that the world was not in a good position to face a pandemic and was critical at the funding of military resources and the lack of funding of research to protect the world from pandemics.
The prayer starts with the words:
‘My friend died last night, Lord’. In a short sentence Quoist refers to a life ebbing away from him and his friend’s fight against cancer and the care of his family and medical team.
Quoist then prays:
I’m not saying, Lord:
since that is what you wanted,
may your will be done;
and still less am I saying:
may your holy will be done.
But I’m telling you,
very quietly, very quietly,
because so many people will never understand.
I’m telling you, Lord, that my friend died . . .
And you could do nothing about it;
you couldn’t do what I so desperately longed for,
you couldn’t do what I foolishly hoped for.
Then Michel Quoist has a conversation with the Lord in which he recognises the influences for friends and his own faith journey;
that the Lord:
wants life not death
and that because you love more
You suffer more than any of us
when you see so many of children dying before their time.
. . .
I understood that because of your respect and love for us
you never wanted to take our place
in the battle against illness,
but always offered to suffer with us
and to struggle with us.
Michel Quoist describes his friend’s approach to his terminal cancer. He desired that his medical team strive for a cure. He asked for the courage to suffer, to accept treatments ‘so that others after him might suffer less and even be cured some day.’ ‘He asked for everyone … the joy of living.’
Lord, my friend didn’t offer up his suffering
Because he used to say that suffering is evil
and God does not like suffering.
He offered his long and painful battle
My friend, Lord
didn’t give in to his suffering,
but like you,
Oh my Saviour Jesus,
he gave his life
that we might live.
My friend died last night, Lord,
and I am weeping
but my heart is at peace
because my friend died last night,
but with you,
he gave me life.
(Keeping Hope’ – Kindle edition )
As we deal with the questions of death and life caused by COVID 19 may we see suffering for what it is, let us NEVER forget that Jesus, the Risen Lord, is there in the suffering.
May we do whatever we can to encourage research for a cure and vaccination for Coronavirus / COVID 19
In moments of stillness let us prayerfully remember
All the key workers who work and care for our neighbourhood
Those in hospital with Coronavirus / COVID 19
Those recovering from Coronavirus / COVID 19
Those in social isolation who live alone.
Those with mental health issues
For our church family
For family and friends
You may choose to close this time with the Lord’s Prayer and
May the God who raised our Saviour Christ to life
Give us strength to face to days ahead,
knowing that we are loved and precious in the eyes of our Lord.
And the blessing of our Lord Jesus Chris
and Lord of God
and fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
As Easter People let us keep hope