Advice About Praying

Dear ThriftyFun Community:

Some weeks back I wrote. So many bad things had happened to my family then my mother was diagnosed with cancer. I thought God had forsaken us and I asked for advice about praying. So many of you responded with words of encouragement. You sent your prayers. My mom and I were so touched.

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Well, here's what happened: the doctor operated on mom expecting to find worst -- pancreatic cancer, one of the least curable. Instead, it was lymphoma, the most curable. Mom has had one session of chemotherapy and already the tumor, which was the size of a baseball, has shrunk so small the doctor can't feel it anymore! Mom needs a few more treatments and her doctor feels she will be cured. Mom has some great doctors and state of the art treatment but I believe with all my heart the biggest medicine was answered prayers. I don't know how to thank you except to say that I will always keep you in my prayers. God Bless you all.

Joan from Chesapeake VA

Editor's Note: Joan's original post and the overwhelming support she received is all gathered together as one feedback. You can read it all by scrolling down.

August 6, 20070 found this helpful

I haven't been a member of the ThriftyFun community long, but I know already what a caring and insightful group you are. You've always come through for me. Please help again for I am desperate. Ever since I was little I have prayed to God, Jesus, and the Angels. Why haven't any of my prayers been answered? I don't mean frivolous stuff. I prayed and prayed for my father to be healed but he died after long, miserable struggle with diabetes. Now the doctor thinks my beautiful mother has kidney cancer. She gets her results Wednesday. She's taking it well but I'm about to fall apart. On top of that, I'm probably going to be homeless soon. Why has God forsaken us? Is my family being punished for something I did? Is there a "right" way to pray -- am I doing it wrong? Is it wrong to pray for money? Without Divine Intervention I can't help my mother. God Bless you all.

Joan from Chesapeake, VA

Answers:

RE: Advice About Praying

God does answer our prayers although at times it may not be evident to us. He is not vengeful. He loves us very much. God has a plan for all of us and has reasons for what happens to us. I would like to urge you to find a minister to talk to and ask him some questions. I will be praying for you and your mother too and I am sure many others on this site will be praying. Linda (06/26/2007)

By Linda

RE: Advice About Praying

This is a hard subject, but I'll try to tackle it. I'm sorry for the loss of your father and your mother's illness. I want you to know, though, that God hears every prayer you have made. And God does answer prayer. Sometimes it's not the way we want Him to answer, but He does hear us and He answers in His own way and His own time. You asked God to heal your father, and you say this didn't happen. If your father was a Christian, He has been healed. He is now in heaven with a new body, and how wonderful is that! No more suffering here on Earth. It's hard for those people he has left behind, but how glorious it is for him to be in his Father's presence forever and ever! No more heartache, no more pain, no more tears. God knows what He is doing. He is in control of everything. He wants us to trust Him with everything. In Jeremiah 29:11 God says, "I know the plans I have for you, plans of good and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope." This is one of my favorite Bible verses, because it shows that God is in control and He has our best interest at heart. A lot of things we won't understand until we get to heaven, but we are to trust God that He is in control. The best thing for you to do is to keep praying. The Bible says to "pray without ceasing." The next best thing you should do is read your Bible and memorize some verses so that when you feel down, just start quoting those verses in your mind. You would be surprised at how well this works. My favorite is Proverbs 3:5-6, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not unto your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths."

The Bible is God's inerrant (no errors) Word and was God-breathed, so everything in the Bible comes straight from God. It is Him talking to you. God bless you, and I'll be praying for you and your mother.

(06/26/2007)

By Linda in Alabama

RE: Advice About Praying

My Dear Joan,

Your pain is evident in your words. I don't know where to begin to offer you comfort. I wish I could just throw my arms around you and find a way to reassure you. You haven't done ANYTHING wrong.

God loves us, and does not seek to punish us; He just doesn't operate that way! I have always believed that He allows us to struggle so that we will learn to seek Him, to lean on Him, and put our lives in HIS hands, rather than try to control things on our own. I have been guilty of this over and over in my life. It's human nature to want to fix things, and to figure everything out. But we don't have to!

There is no "wrong" way to pray. Speaking to God is as simple as telling your troubles (or your victories) to a loving friend. He hears us no matter where we are.

As hard as it is to lose your loved one, dying is simply a part of living. We are ALL going, it's part of the deal, and the "when" has already been decided; it's not up to us. Our lives are a gift, and the ones we love are on loan to us, for they have always, always belonged to God first.

I am sure there are those who believe it's wrong to pray for money...I say God already knows exactly what you need. I know that God wants to take care of us; this is what He said: I WILL SUPPLY YOUR EVERY NEED. If we have faith, and simply get out of the way and let Him work in our lives, amazing things begin to happen.

Joan, I am sorry that you are feeling so sad and overwhelmed. I hope that you are able to put EVERYTHING into God's capable hands and trust Him to sort it all out.

REMEMBER THIS: God answers all our prayers. But sometimes, the answer is no.

Take good care, and try to get some rest. (06/26/2007)

By MissouriMom

Sharon,Ky

When I lost my wonderful christian dad I too wondered why.Dad wasn't in really bad health,and at that same time period my brother's precious little 9 year old son,Dad's pride and joy had been diagnosed with a brain tumor.They lived next door and Ryan came nearly every day to play checkers or watch tv with dad.We never really let Dad know how bad his diagnosis was and he never really pushed the issue of knowing the facts.He just sat in his easy chair and prayed for Ryan to be healed.Between surgeries,Ryan would still come and sit with Dad and play checkers.As sick as he was,Ryan wanted to be where Dad was,and Dad felt an equal bond of love. We buried my Dad 40 days before Ryan.There was no OBVIOUS reason for Dad going first,but in my heart I have always felt that my Dad prayed to God to take HIM first and God honored his prayers.He was that kind of a person,and Grandparent who would do that.Following their deaths,I still had young children still at home ,and I was raising them by myself,and I sunk into depression.I felt so bitter thinking HOW could a merciful God take TWO from our family? I would get my kids off to school and go to bed,unable to face the hurt I felt.

One morning I went to bed and I prayed and asked God to show me what I needed to know,I just couldn't live with the depression any longer.That very morning I had a dream.In it I met my Dad and he looked young and healthy,not the old man we had lost to death.I said"Daddy,what are you doing here?" And he replied,"I just came to get these kids off to school."And I woke myself up sobbing.Dad was our Guardian Angel and he was no doubt watching over Ryan AND our family.The only answer I can give you is that there is healing in death,of this I am certain.And He and Ryan no longer suffer.It is a painful experience to watch a loved one leave this world.But there is a better life beyond death,and when we release them into God's hands,HE can heal them.God bless you.I'll be praying for you. (06/26/2007)

By Heather, Ky

RE: Advice About Praying

When I lost my wonderful Christian Dad I too questioned why.Dad was an old man,no OBVIOUS reasons why he died...I thought.At that same period of time my Brother had a precious 9 year old boy Ryan,who was diagnosed with a brain tumor.They lived next door to mom and dad and every afternoon Ryan came to play checkers or watch tv with dad.They shared a bond of love.Ryan looked out for Dad and dad in return encouraged Ryan.Even throughout numerous surgeries,Ryan continued to visit .We never really told Dad the extent of Ryan's problem and unable to leave the house,Dad sat in his easy chair and prayed for Ryan.We buried my Dad exactly 40 days before Ryan.I have always felt in my heart that my loving,unselfish Dad asked God to take him before his Grandson and I believe that God honored his prayers. However,my story is not finished..I was a single mother of three and the devestation of it all caused me to go into a deep depression.How could a merciful God take TWO of our family members?I chose to sleep to avoid the pain I felt inside.One afternoon I laid down while my children were in school and I prayed and asked God to SHOW me what I needed to know,because I was unable to overcome the hurt I felt.I went to sleep and had a dream. In it I saw my Dad--not the old man in a wheelchair --but the younger healthier person from years past. I remember saying<"Dad what are you doing here?" And he replied,"I just came to get the kids off to school."I woke myself up SOBBING! This was God's way of showing me Dad was now healthy and he was my family's Guardian Angel watching over not only us but Ryan as well.There is healing in death,of this I now am certain.Dad and Ryan are in God's hands and with a new and healthy body.When we release our loved ones to God's care--HE does the healing.God bless you.I'll be praying for you. (06/26/2007)

By Heather, Ky

RE: Advice About Praying

Dear Joan,

I know you and your family are suffering. I personally have not had the experiences you are facing, but have met and comforted many who have. You are facing so many questions right now, questions that affect your view of God, your faith, and your future. The people who have responded to your questions want to help you, God wants to help you. You may be asking why is he waiting if he wants to help? Why is he letting us suffer? There are a few points that all have to do with one main reason that answer your questions. I would like to help you find the answers, but not just by going on what others tell you, but by searching in Gods own word the Bible. Its where I have found the answer to all of these questions. Why does God permit suffering? How did suffering begin and what is He going to do about it? One good example that helps us see part of the answer is Job. In the book of Job, the Devil calims that Job is obedient to God only because of God's blessings on him, and when the Devil persecutes him, he remains faithful. Today the Devil is saying the same thing about everyone who worships God: that if tested, we will fail. Its all about the same issue that was raised with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Satan deceived them both, implying that they didn't have to obey God, that God is a liar, that he doesn't know best. God lets our suffering continue on to prove that Satan is a liar, thus showing that His own way of ruling is best. (Genesis 3:1-6 , Job1: 6-12 , Prov 27:11) Another thing about our suffering is to remember that God is not the cause. As a parent yourself, can you imagine anything your child could ever do to bring such a horrible punishment on himself. Surely not! And your love for your children is not perfect like Gods. So how much less could God punish us with sufferings? And your other question about praying has answers. This is what the bible says about prayer: That it is to God alone we should pray(matthew6:9) That we should pray through Jesus as a mediator(John14:6) and that we don't need to be in a special position or use things like a cross or rosary to pray. That is Never mentioned in the bible not even once. But the most important thing is to have faith. Hebrews11:6 God has been listening to you and wants to help you. you need to know in what ways to expect the help, though. Please feel free to write me, my name is Cherri. I have been studying the bible and finding answers. If you want to talk, or have any questions, or just want someone to listen to you, please write me. cherrimerrymuffin AT hotmail . com (06/26/2007)

By cherri

RE: Advice About Praying

Dear Joan, I cannot seem to type fast enough to be able to post this, and I have tried three times. So, instead of saying all that I had said, I will say this. God is listening. He will help you, but you have to know in what ways he will help you. If someone approaches you with the intent of sharing something from the bible with you, please don't turn them away, even if they are Jehovah's Witnesses. Ask them your questions. If they cannot answer them within a week or so, ask someone else who claims to teach the bible. Ask until they can satisfy your questions FROM THE BIBLE. Make them prove it to you. Don't give up. Please feel free to write me if you have any questions, or just want someone to talk to, or listen. My name is Cherri cherrimerrymuffin @ hotmail . com (06/26/2007)

By cherri

RE: Advice About Praying

Dear Joan,

Please don't think the Lord is punishing you and your family. Long before we are born, our destiny is decided. I believe my God is a loving God. If you ask it from your heart, God answers your prayers. For me, whenever I am overwhelmed, I just say "I can't deal with this Father. I'm letting you take control". And He does.

When my 22 year old son committed suicide I wanted to die too. I prayed and prayed. Finally, God sent me many messages. And, after a while, I recognized them as such. The Lord will be with you no matter what. His agenda doesn't always follow our agenda. So, please, ask Him to take over and then, let Him guide you. Be aware of His signs as they may be subtle.

I will pray for Him to guide you. God bless you and your family.

May you rest in the white light.

By Darlene

RE: Advice About Praying

I used to wonder that when I was younger (never gone to church and my family was a TOTAL mess.) I didn't understand why God didn't answer my prayers for me, my mother, and other things, until the day I left for college out of state, then met my future husband, and even now....None of the great things in my Life would have happened if it went the way I thought it should (what I thought was praying.) Now, when I come across a hard time, I vent my frustrations, then ask God (or the Saints for me) Please do Your will. 90% of the time, something happens, which may be small to some, but made a big difference in my situation. Like yesterday! I had no money for my son's meds, then my husband came in and told me our neighbor paid us back, and it was enough for them. (my son has epilepsy.) Granted, I am still broke, but God provides when we let him do his Will and we take the time to learn from it and our own actions/mistakes. I don't think He is punishing you, He may be preparing you (or someone) for a great lesson or path. Remember the Serenity Prayer and Our Lord's prayer!

God, grant me the Serenity to Accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, and the Wisdom to know the difference!

PS, unfortunately, due to many factors, I have not physically attended services in a long time...but I pray multiple times per day (especially just to give Thanks!) I'll keep you and your family in mine, too! (06/27/2007)

By camo_angels

RE: Advice About Praying

Dear Joan,

Please visit GTY.org. It's a website called Grace To You. My husband and I have been through some terrible trials over the past several years and with no relief as of yet, but the Lord has blessed us greatly through this ministry. We will be praying for you.

By Donna

RE: Advice About Praying

Joan,

I am about to tell you to do something that is going to be hard, but do it regardless how you feel.

Start THANKING God for the lost of your father. Say "Thank you Lord for taking my father", and thank God for your mothers illness. "Thank you Lord for my Mom;s illness". Start Thanking God for each situation, even if in your heart you really do not feel that way. You will be amazed at the miracles that take place. If you do not think you can do that, quote Phil 4:13. Begin Thanking the Lord for all the things good and bad in your life. You will be amazed...God is still in Control, and is waiting for you with open arms....He loves you...now start Thanking Him.

Praying for you. imberly, Chesapeake, VA (06/27/2007)

By kac4219

RE: Advice About Praying

Hi Joan,

Pray with expectation. It was the topic of our Sunday sermon. Surprising as it may seem, we pray but tend to not expect an answer. My husband and I have received many miracles from God. He is drawing you close to Him. Let Him wrap His arms around you while all of us keep you in our prayers. (06/27/2007)

By Tedebear

RE: Advice About Praying

Hello, Joan

I have lost both of my parents at an early age. My dad was 50 and my mom was 59. This may sound weird, but I asked God to take them. They were both ill and I felt they had suffered enough. I prayed that if they couldn't be healed, then please, God, take them so that they could be healthy in heaven.

Others have said this but I will repeat it, God DOES hear your prayers.

You may not get the answer you want but he will answer. Remember, sometimes the answer is NO.

Some cancers can be beaten and if the kind that your mom may have isn't one of them, may I suggest that you change your prayer to one asking for her to have comfort and little pain.

As for your being homeless, since I don't know the circumstances surrounding that, I can't really offer any advice to you. Praying is one way but a lot of times we have to remember that God helps those who help themselves. I know that sounds cruel but it is true.

I hope this helps somewhat. Remember God does love all his children and that includes YOU! (06/27/2007)

By Darlene in Mississauga

RE: Advice About Praying

I am not a religious person as in any organized religion but do have faith that things are going as they should, no matter how much it seems otherwise and try to find the blessings in every situation. I do believe there is an intelligent source in the universe, whether you call that God, All That Is or some kind of Infinite Intelligence.

You've been given a lot to handle. I've had times like that and the best advice I can give you is to take good care of yourself, let your mother know how much you love her and have faith that this too will pass.

As much as we would like to keep those we love with us, everyone has their time to go. One of the contracts that we have with life is that we will be born, we will live and we will die and so will everyone we know.

For every door that closes, another opens. Try to keep a positive thought that in time, it will get better and do what you can to help that to happen. Just keep walking forward. Being paralyzed with grief and fear will not be helpful to your mother, nor to yourself. Please don't beat yourself up, there are many that care and you are being heard.

I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.

(06/27/2007)

By Macie

RE: Advice About Praying

Joan, I, too, want to encourage you. I really think it would be helpful to you to actually talk to someone in person. I want to share the phone number of a church in Chesapeake that I know can help. My sister and her husband were on staff of this church before they became missionaries to South Africa. The name of the church is Great Hope, and the number is 757-482-1177. They can help you to find the hope that comes from a personal relationship with Jesus. (06/27/2007)

By glowgirl

RE: Advice About Praying

I think that "asking" God for something is not what praying is all about. It is for the strength to get through the troubles you are having in your life. (06/27/2007)

By Donna

RE: Advice About Praying

When God closes a door he opens a window. If God brings you to it he will carry you throught it. Don't give up. (06/27/2007)

By Mary Ann

RE: Advice About Praying

Hello dear Joan -

These things I know to be solid and true:

1. God is soooo crazy about you, he loves you far beyond what we can know here on earth.

2. He's not a vending machine, we can't make him do things, but he is like a parent, he has wisdom and will do things we ask when they are best for us, in fact he just loves to do things for us.

3. When we leave this earth, in one split second, we will be completely satisfied about everything on earth. I know that makes no sense now, but Jesus' death on the cross is more than we can understand even though we understand quite a bit. Yes, we will feel "Ohhhh, okay, that makes sense, the whole plan fit together, yes, I'm satisfied that God turned every bit of evil around into good." That's a lot to ask, because the evil we see is so huge (so huge!).

4. If you read your Bible, day after day and week after week, then over the weeks and months, you will feel more peaceful. Makes no sense, reading about how some boy named David smacked a big guy down, or how some woman named Esther fed a king, it has nothing to do with you, but this effect will come like a white wool blanket around your shoulders, so light you don't notice it a long time.

5. Have you tried praying not for God to do what you want, but for you to do what God wants? Ask him to help you know what He wants you to do, and for the strength to do it. Lately I'm carrying around this bit of truth: "Obey God's directions and let Him handle all the consequences." Wild ride!

6. We are all praying for your sanity out here. Glad you put up a very worthwhile post.

7. Call your nearest several churches, and put the question straight between the eyes of their pastors. Let them have time to get the answer ready for you, and let them defend their God. They're supposed to speak for Him, right?

8. It's okay to be angry at God, truly furious. Part of a parent's love is to allow a child to express anger toward the parent. Go ahead, keep asking God WHY? he does love you! Everyone asks God that question at one time or another, right?

love, Kim

(06/27/2007)

By kimhis

RE: Advice About Praying

God is faithful to answer our prayers. He loves us and brings us to him by His love. When my adult son died three years ago, God answered my prayers by giving me peace, compassion and the strength to go through the grieving process. I depended on God. I was blessed by His people who came in many forms. Friends, family, a professional counselor and Jehovah Witnesses who knocked on my door to share scripture and their experience. I am so encouraged by the concern and compassion of those who wrote to you. (06/27/2007)

By Glory

RE: Advice About Praying

Dear Joan,

I just prayed for you and will continue to do so.

I'd like to recommend some books that have helped me a lot in suffering:

Rose from Briar, by Amy Carmichael

A Grief Observed, by C.S. Lewis (The movie Shadowlands is taken from this book; it is Lewis' struggle as he watches his wife dying of cancer.)

Mourning into Dancing, by Walter Wangerin

I'm reminded of a chorus from a song we used to sing (a long time ago!)

And Jesus said, "Come to the waters, stand by my side,

I know you are thirsty, you won't be denied.

I've felt every teardrop when in darkness you cried,

And I strove to remind you that for those tears I died."

You are not alone. We are with you and so is He!

06/27/2007)

By Cantate

RE: Advice About Praying

Joan,

First of all let me say how sorry I am for the loss of your father and for your mother's health problem. It was so interesting to read this post of yours because today I too was wondering about unanswered prayers. Sometimes it is hard to see the answerer of a problem that is your own. It reminded me that our will and God's will are not always the same. It is always hard to cope with death when we should be celebrating. To be with Jesus is heaven is to be truly healed and whole. As far as prayer goes there is no wrong way to pray. God knows our hearts and answers all prayers even if we don't agree with that answer. When you prayed for healing for your Dad you meant for him to live without sickness. What happened instead was he was healed eternally through Jesus through death. A prayer for money is not always met with an abundance of cash but may simply be "just enough". Put your faith in God and surrender your will to him and you will see a difference in your life. I know I have. Thank you for reminding me to have faith. God bless you and be with you. (06/27/2007)

By tthompson

RE: Advice About Praying

Don't ever give up or doubt God, try to keep your faith, If you can pick up Joel Osteens book or he is also on TV. great man feels like he is speaking right to me sometimes. God bless you !!!!!! (06/27/2007)

By shelly

RE: Advice About Praying

In Christ, there is a purpose for everything. Sometimes we have trouble accepting things, but that may be why we are facing tribulation. I wept as I read the responses to your request, because they so reminded me of my own life. My mother inherited cardiomyopathy from her father. She passed it along to my youngest brother and to me. One night she and Dad were having prayer together. She told Dad, "I want you to pray that the Lord either heals me or takes me home." He chose to take her home the very next morning. For years afterward, Dad would say, "Yes, your mother left me and ran off with that Jesus fellow." We knew that he understood, and that he would join her one day. My mother's strength has come to me with her weak heart. I can face this because she did, and because I will be with her again one day. Yes, I live with severe pain. And I have asked for healing which did not come. I know now that He is God. He is not a genie in a bottle. And he knows the long view. I can only see today. Because of my mother's heritage, my children now have a guaranteed place in heaven, and so have my grandchildren. Because of my ability to hold up under fire, some of my friends have seen Christ in me. We take this life one day at a time. But one day it will be all together and we'll understand it. When my dear friend Sharon died after a seven year fight with non-Hodgkins lymphoma, another friend was awakened at the very same hour. She heard music, and saw a mass of swirling color and heard bells and other wonderful sounds. Although it was three a.m., she knew without being told that it was Sharon saying goodbye. Ruth said the overall emotion was pure, unadulterated joy. She was free at last! Her pain and suffering were ended, and Jesus was smiling at her where she could see him. There is a happy ending for all of us who believe Christ died for our sins. In love, Coreen (06/27/2007)

By coreenhart

RE: Advice About Praying

There is a wonderful internet site www.his-forever.com You don't have to become a member or anything, they post your prayers. They not only have prayers, but Christian messages, etc. The site is run by a lady named Peggy and her husband. Anyway, I go to this site quite frequently, and I love it. My older brother died of liver cancer three weeks ago and I was totally devastated. I emailed Peggy to let her know that he had been given less than 24 hours to live and she emailed me back right away with words of comfort. Less than an hour later I got the word that 1500 miles away in a hospital ICU room, the vigil was over and my beloved brother had slipped away. Once again I emailed Peggy and she got right back to me. It is truly a wonderful site and no, they won't send you any unwanted email. When you post your prayer requests, you have thousands of people praying for you and with you. (06/27/2007)

By lovethosehounds

RE: Advice About Praying

Hi Joan

I too am sorry for all you are dealing with right now. I really can't add any more to what others have written here. But I wanted to let you know that I live in Virginia Beach, and go to a wonderful church that has many avenues that can probably help you. If you'd like to email me, I can share all that information with you. dellajo55 AT yahoo.com

Be blessed

(06/27/2007)

By Della

RE: Advice About Praying

Just about all has been said, and well. I can only add..... In times of heavy stress and burden, I don't think I know what needs to be done but He does. I ask God that HIS will be done.

I'll be praying with you. (06/27/2007)

By 2oma

RE: Advice About Praying

Hi Joan!

If you realize that God is the Eternal Energy of the Universe and that the Eternal Energy of the Universe is God, you will understand that everything is energy and that we Homo Sapiens are small entities of conscious energy forms within the eternal energy of the universe.

Energy changes, Joan, and all life on Earth changes in some way each and every day, for better and for worse. Go with the flow and learn to do your best.

Do try to change what you can for the better and accept what you can't change, even if it leads to death. P.S. Death does not hurt! What hurts is the fear of death and the fear of losing someone you love. You are not alone, Joan. Keep writing. (06/27/2007)

By human4us

RE: Advice About Praying

#1 - Thank God for all the blessings in your life. If you really think about it, there have been many, including having your parents in your life as long as they were. Then ask that His will be done and that He will give you the strength to handle His answer to your prayer, cuz it might not be the answer you want. I watched my mother suffer for months so I understand - my father also. God is good, His will is the best, and we have to find it in our hearts to accept that and accept that He will help us through anything if we only come to him and ask. (06/27/2007)

By Marlene

RE: Advice About Praying

Sweetie, if praying makes you feel better than you do it...but don't count on it to actually help, because it won't. The world is full of too many people who sit back on their knees and wait for an unknown being to help. Pray and feel better and do all you can do externally, that is all you can do (06/28/2007)

RE: Advice About Praying

There is no wrong way to pray, but it is helpful to understand that God is not like a genie in a bottle who gives us everything we desire. He sees past our momentary human desires to provide for our deepest needs. He knows and understands our needs before we do.

One need we have is salvation. Salvation means a home in heaven with God when we die, and a relationship with Him during our time on earth. God wants us to know Him and talk with Him like we would with a friend, and he has provided a way for us to do that. Here is more about God's plan for salvation:

http://www.zoe-ministries.org/message_salvation.html

The prayer mentioned there isn't some sort of ritual prayer that must be prayed, it's just an example. God knows our heart even if we can't find the words to express what we mean.

You may want to start spending time each day reading the Bible. biblegateway.com has several versions online. The Bible is God's word, and it contains many truths. For example, the Bible tells us that while Jesus was God's Son, He was also God Himself. Jesus and God are one and the same, so it isn't necessary to stress out about covering all your bases and praying to Jesus and God--they're the same. Also, the Bible says that angels are God's messengers and helpers, kind of like assistants, but God is the one in charge. So, God is the one to have a relationship with and pray to.

Don't worry about doing things wrong. I used to worry about that a lot--that if I didn't figure out exactly, precisely what God wanted me to do and do it, that God would leave me and my life would be miserable and difficult. But my husband reminded me that God is always faithful. After I got that through my head and stopped worrying so much about what I was doing, I began to grow closer to God through daily prayer and bible reading and I now have confidence that if I step out in faith and do what I think God wants me to do, He is pleased. And I also know that even if I mess up, God will still be there for me. In fact, God expects us to mess up--if you check out the link I mentioned earlier, you'll see that--and He has a plan when we do.

A few people mentioned churches in your area that could help--I want to encourage you to visit those churches and learn more about God's love for you and His plan for your life. (06/28/2007)

By Allison

RE: Advice About Praying

You have gotten a lot of good advice here. trust GOD. I live in pain everyday, and it has gotten worse but I still trust GOD. Live here is so short compared to eternity. I have friends come to know GOD because of my pain. I was told there must be something about GOD that you can praise HIM and you live in pain. Some answers will have to wait until we go home to heaven. Don't give up on GOD cause HE will never give up on you. HE does love you (06/28/2007)

By lefftylucy

RE: Advice About Praying

Don't think for a minute that God hasn't answered you . . . "No" is an answer. It may not be the one that you want but it is still an answer.

Our time here is so short. It's like being a kid in high school waiting for what seems like forever to get to graduation and finally be finished! Our lives are the same. When we finish this race, we will look back on what seemed an eternity and giggle at how silly we were.

Only God knows what we truly need. We can pray as hard as we want for the healing and deliverance from illness or bad finances or whatever our troubles are. If it isn't in His plan, it isn't going to happen.

Pray for strength for yourself, peace and comfort for your Mother and ask that it be in His will for these things to come to pass.

Whatever you do - don't give up. Job didn't. (06/28/2007)

By Karen

RE: Advice About Praying

Hey Joan. sandy sheep1 @yahoo.com here. God is full of grace and mercy. please don't give up on Him. I didn't read all of the responses you got but please attend a Bible believing God preaching church that is the first thing. 2nd please email me. I would love to talk with you. I see someone said no is an answer. sometimes in fact many times God does not answer a request the way we want, but it is an answer.

read the Scriptures. Psalms are wonderful. Read them out loud then you hear it and you also are seeing it. (06/28/2007)

By sandy63

RE: Advice About Praying

God hear us when we pray. God answers prayer. God does not always answer our prayers the way we want Him to.

Jesus gave us a model for prayer. It is the Lord's Prayer. Its a good one. It says, "thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven." When I pray, I tell God what it is that I want, but then I always end with Thy will be done. Because God knows what is best for us better than we can know.

I suggest you keep a prayer journal. List what you have prayed for and later you can list how your prayers were answered. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.

Go to church. Be with people. Church is the place to go when you need help. Talk to the minister or priest. Ask him the questions you want to ask.

Life is good. God is good and he is always with us.

God Bless (06/28/2007)

By Carol in PA

RE: Advice About Praying

Joan,

My heart goes out to you. The one thing that you need to remember is God does answers prayers!!! The answers we might not understand or even see. But God has a wonderful way of working things out and helping us IF we let him. I understand that you think God was not there for your father-He was. And that if your mother has cancer that God has not answered your prayers-- HE HAS. We can earn a lot though suffering. Most people think that we are put on this earth to have a long and happy, joyful, healthy life- that would be nice. But sometimes we have to go through very rough times and God is there with us the entire time. Watching us grow and learn and experience and learn. Jesus was even put to the test in desert.

My mother was hurt in a car accident 35 years ago when I was no quit 4 years old. She was left to live in a nursing home and never fully recovered. She was stuck back in 1972 (the year of the wreck). She did not know what was going on around her. I grew up praying that she get well so that we could be a family again. She was not at my high school or college graduation, wedding, or the births of my children. She missed all the mother- daughter things that you have shared your live with your beautiful mother, that is not wasted time or memories. I did not get that with her.

She passed away 35 years and 12 days after her accident. She lived the majority of her life in a nursing home, being cared for by other people and not knowing her children or 13 grandchildren. At her funeral people never quit coming in. People that she know from 35 years ago were there to pay their respects. Joan I cried many a night for her to be better and did not understand why God had to take her from me, why could I not have my mother.

She had people from the nursing home come to say good bye. They had wonderful stories about my mother that I NEVER knew. She touched people in ways I could not have dreamed of.

Joan it was GOD"S plan not mine. And looking back it was a beautiful plan. I would rather spend eternity with her than a few very short years here with her. We are not made for this life on earth but for the eternal life. Don't give up. Find some good in what is going on TODAY not later but today. Hang in there HE is holding you up even though you don't realize it. God bless you and your mother. (06/28/2007)

By Nancy

RE: Advice About Praying

Psalms 83:18 shows us that God has a name. It is mentioned over 7,000 times in the orginal Hebrew scriptures, and that name is more wonderful than any other. Gods name is Jehovah. Pray to him using his name and through his son Jesus Christ. Pray for guidance and I promise you he will help you cope with the problems we all face each day. (06/28/2007)

By shannon

RE: Advice About Praying

Why Doesn't God Heal Us? By Marianne Holbrook

I stood in the doorway of Mother's nursing home room and wept quietly. She couldn't see me. She sat in the chair beside her bed with her head on her knees, a few small pillows wedged behind her back and a pink shawl pulled across her frail and bony shoulders. She was moaning softly, "Dear God, help me. Please, God, help me."

Tears ran in rivulets down my face as I asked God again, "Why? Why is this dear saint of God suffering so? She's 96 years old. She's suffered with unrelenting pain all her life. And if that wasn't enough, why did she have to break her leg walking down the hall and lie in agony for many weeks in a cast with the leg never properly healing? Please help me understand the problem of pain. Please."

One very early morning before sunrise, God in His mercy took Mother Home to be with Him. Her two daughters who lived near the nursing center watched as she was placed in a body bag and carried out. From their exhaustion in overseeing her care for several years, they cried in their grief but thankful that her long battle with unending pain was finally over.

That was nine years ago. I am just now beginning to understand the problem of pain because I live with it. I wish I had understood it while Mother was still living. I could have empathized more and ministered to her better. Before, I was an observer of pain. Now I am a participant, however reluctantly.

I have watched televangelists declare healing to precious believers who are brought en masse to their meetings. I have seen crutches being tossed carelessly aside, wheel chairs pushed against the walls as invalids were encouraged to walk or run across the platform to the applause and shouting of thousands in the audience. I pray many were healed instantly but what of those who were not? Did they return home in abject, total disappointment with God, still not understanding the reason for their pain? Did they continue to declare healing when none was forthcoming? Worst of all, did they begin to lose their faith in the One who had saved them?

As evangelical Christians, we are taught early that there is healing in the atonement. "By his stripes we are healed." (Isaiah 53:3) And "He Himself took our infirmities and bore our sicknesses. (Matthew 8:17) We reason, "If we can trust Christ for our salvation, can we not also trust Him for our healing? God never turns away one soul who confesses his sin and asks for forgiveness through the atoning blood of Jesus. Why does He seem to be capricious and selective in choosing those who will be healed from their sickness and those who will not?"

Theologians have battled this discussion for centuries and have yet to come up with compelling reasons for pain that fully satisfy those who are hurting.

But for me, it has been reduced to one simple explanation: healing is temporal but grace is eternal. Given a choice, I will take grace every time.

Grace has been defined as "the free and unmerited favor or beneficence of God" or "Gods love and favor to the undeserving."

The same God who has saved me from my sins, who has promised me eternal life, can be trusted to know what I need to do to be more like His Son, Jesus. He decides how much of the boiling cauldron I need to endure, not only for my benefit but for those watching my life. In His divine wisdom, He determines who is selected to share in "the fellowship of His suffering." (Philippians 3:10)

Should we pray for a divine touch of healing on those who suffer?

Yes. And we should pray earnestly and without ceasing, exercising faith and holding onto the promises of God. But never should we pile guilt on the infirmed by declaring that their lack of faith is the sole reason for their not being healed.

My friend, Edith, was stricken with polio and paralyzed from the chest down. She was approached by a member of her church who challenged her to get up out of her wheelchair by faith and walk. She couldn't and he berated her. She wiped away her tears and kept her faith and trust in the Saviour of her soul. It wasn't in God's plan to heal her on earth but He gave her a sterling Christian testimony that defined her for years until God called her Home. We are encouraged by God to pray for healing; we do not have the freedom to insist on healing by demand..

My mother's extended family watched her suffering all her life, but they remember most of all her unfailing faith. Her walk with God was not uneven; it was consistent. Her testimony was positioned there permanently as a standard against which the rest of us measured our lives. Her "problem of pain" was no accident; it was not indifference by God to her anguish and travail. God used her pain for a reason: it was to refine her and to give her a lasting testimony to the grace of God under pressure, tremendous pressure. Even in her tears and suffering, she knew she might not understand God's ways, but she could trust His loving heart.

When I was in college, our Old Testament professor, Rev. Harold Freligh, drew a large circle on the blackboard. He placed a dot in the center. Under it he wrote in large letters:

"In the center of the circle of the will of God I stand.

There can come no second causes,

All must come through His dear hand."

Rev. Freligh did something else that has sustained me, especially now as I deal with my own pain. He drew a long horizontal line on the blackboard and explained, "This represents a shelf. On it I place all my questions for which I have no answer. When I get to Heaven, God will patiently explain each one to my full and complete satisfaction."

And so it is with pain. I don't know why a dear six-year-old boy who loves Jesus is battling leukemia in an Illinois hospital today. I don't know why my younger Christian friend in Tennessee spends 22 out of 24 hours of every day in bed, weakened and ravaged by Multiple Sclerosis. I can't explain why my lovely friend in Arizona struggles with the insidious and devastating pain of Sarcoidosis for which there is no adequate treatment and no medical cure.

I have placed each one of these friends on my "shelf," confident that their pain is not in vain, knowing that they haven't been forgotten by God or overlooked in His scheme of things. Each one is ministering every day of their lives to the wonderful grace of Jesus, that eternal principle which makes their pain meaningful and their testimonies so enduring.

Mariane Holbrook is a retired teacher, an author of two books, a musician and artist.

She lives with her husband on coastal North Carolina. She maintains a personal website

www.marianholbrook.com and welcomes your Emails at Mariane777@bellsouth.net

God Bless You, Sheila in Titusville, FL (06/28/2007)

By GrammySheila

RE: Advice About Praying

Dear Joan,

After reading the posts you received I am amazed at the responses to your question.

That alone I hope has encouraged you to not give up on yourself or your faith.

There are many people who have reached out and wrapped their arms around you , so know that you are not alone you have many who care about you and will keep you and your Mom in their prayers and thoughts.

It always warms my heart to know that there are so many people who will open up their hearts to encourage someone they don't know.....Bless all of you!

Joan you are in my prayers too

(06/28/2007)

By Jan

RE: Advice About Praying

Joan

God loves you and your family as much as he loved his own son Jesus Christ. He did not defeat his sons enemies, because he wanted people to witness the love and miracles of Christ. Even when he walked this earth he did not heal everyone, he did not save everyone, he did not even take his own son down from the cross when he called out to him.

There is a reason for everything, and Gods love is the only constant thing in a world that does not make sense. There was suffering for God's own son, he grieved as his son passed, even though he knew that we all would be saved when he died for our sins.

Please know that God has not forsaken you, and he did not forsake his son, you are his daughter and he loves you. Life is full of trials and tribulations, but if we have accepted Christ as our savior then we know that one day we will walk with healed bodies, we will celebrate for eternity with those that have died and we miss, and we will see God face to face.

So although you don't understand all that is going on in your life, you are not being punished. WE live in a fallen world, we live with pain, and hurt and disappointment and illness and we can't understand the reason for it all. But we also live with blessings, and family, and friends, and opportunity to reach out to others, we live with love, and grace, and faith, and a strength that surpasses anything we think we can endure when we lean on God to get us through.

so please, don't let anything that your family or friends or yourself has had to endure separate you from the love of God. WE have blessings everyday.

Sometimes we just need to focus on what we do have, and what we can do, and reach out to others to allow them to be Jesus with skin on. You have done that hear, I hope God shows you in a tangible way, his love, his care and his provision.

What ever we endure builds character, and impacts others; my prayer is that you can feel Gods love for you even in the worst of circumstances.

praying for you and your family! Tinah (06/29/2007)

By Tinah

Dove On Screen?

I asked the ThriftyFun community for advice about prayer. I am overwhelmed by your response. Your well wishes, encouragement, and prayers have sustained me. And I am touched that so many of you shared your personal stories. I can never thank you enough. All I can say is you will always be in my prayers. I want to ask another question and some of you may think this is crazy but I believe it really happened. My mother's diagnosis was worse than expected. I spent hours on the computer visiting prayer sites but deep down inside I felt I was wasting my time: I felt you were all wrong and that God had turned his back on me and my family once again. Later, as I walked past the computer room I glanced at the monitor and I'm sure I saw a white dove on the screen. It disappeared instantly. There is nothing on the screensaver that remotely resembles a dove (I've asked people to look at my screen and they agree). I took this to be a sign from God. Is this possible? What does it mean? Healing? Death? Hallucinating from stress? Everyone thinks it is a positive sign. I told my mother about this and it seemed to give her a great deal of comfort? Am I hoping against hope? Please -- your opinions. God Bless.

Joan from Chesapeake, VA

(06/29/2007)

RE: Advice About Praying

Every time you are faced with more problems, use the magic phrase, out loud or muttered under your breath.

"I can do this."

Seems to re-program the brain to de-stress and deal with the task at hand.

Do not ever ask, "What next?" because this triggers more problems.

You could also read, "When Bad Things Happen To Good People," by Harold S. Kushner. It is comforting. I included an amazon.com link.

http:/?tag=thrif06-20

RE: Advice About Praying

Seeing 'signs' everywhere is natural. Especially during hard times.

Truth be told, when I wiped the lint out of my dryer's lint catcher, I saw a dove. Should've kept it and framed the picture. Thought of doing it as I was gathering the particles. Too late. It's the closest I'll ever come to creating a work of art.

Why don't you see if you can improve your mother's diet? Hospital food isn't appealing. See if you can bring her some organic home made veggies (those are the cancer fighters) in many dark colors. (06/29/2007)

By cookwie

RE: Advice About Praying

A dove is a sign of hope. I always loved watching the show touched by an angel. it was so comforting . I was sad when they took it off. they too always released white doves on the show (06/29/2007)

By imaqt1962

RE: Advice About Praying

Hi Joan. First of all I want to say I'm sorry to hear about all the pain you must be feeling! I am going to echo Carol in PA a bit. I found this devotion on another website and thought it was just right. Christ taught us how believers should pray in Matthew 6. I hope and pray it will give you the answers you are seeking. In Christ, Tricia

Here is the devotion:

Lord's Prayer - A Devotion Based on Christ's Model in Matthew 6

The Lord's Prayer

"Our Father in heaven" -- We need to always acknowledge first and foremost who we are talking to. He (God) is our heavenly Father. We address Him with respect just as we should address our earthly father with respect. He is the only true God who created all things in this universe, including ourselves. He loves us and we need to show our love for Him.

"Hallowed be your name" -- We must see Him as being holy, sanctified, consecrated; worthy of praise, honor and glory!

"Your kingdom come" - We acknowledge His coming kingdom. We pray that Christ will soon return and establish His earthly kingdom where we will reign with Him for eternity.

"Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven" -- We need to be praying for His will to be done in our lives, so that we might bring glory to Him here on earth as He is also glorified in heaven. We need to do things His way, instead of selfishly doing our own things to satisfy our own desires.

"Give us today our daily bread" -- We should ask our Father each day to provide for our needs, just as He promised in His Holy Word. His Word says that we don't have, because we don't ask. Of course, we must first know God through His Son, our personal Lord and Savior. If we don't know Christ, God won't acknowledge this request for daily provision.

"Forgive us our debts (or transgressions) as we also have forgiven our debtors (transgressors)" -- This speaks about forgiveness among our associates, neighbors, friends, family and loved ones. Any and all persons in our lives that we come in contact with in social or business situations are included as well. If we can't forgive others, how can we expect our heavenly Father to forgive us?

"Lead us not into temptation" -- We need to ask our heavenly Father to help us recognize every evil thing, every temptation before us. We need help to stay focused on our Father and see the evil that we might fall into, for what it is really is, a trap set by Satan to bring us down to his level.

"But deliver us from the evil one" -- Help us, dear Father, to steer clear of that liar and deceiver. Let us see clearly the path that you want each of us to walk. By the power of the Holy Spirit that dwells within us, may we never stray from your will and way...

Lord's Prayer - A Glorious Ending. Some commentators believe that the end of the Lord's Prayer - "For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever" - was added by someone other than the original writer. Whether that's true or not, this last phrase simply emphasizes more praise and glory to God the Father - so it's absolutely biblical a glorious ending to a model prayer to God!

(06/29/2007)

By ImTrish

RE: Advice About Praying

I am so sorry to hear of your family's suffering

God does answer prayers but...not always the way we want them answered. You see, he has the full knowledge and understanding that us mere Humans lack. A wise soul once told me that God answers prayers 3 ways (yes, wait and I have something better in mind). And while the death of a loved one may be hard to bear...that is really something better if they are a believer in Jesus Christ and end up in heaven. Read 1 Thessalonian s 5:16-18 where we are commanded to give thanks in ALL Things (try it, it is amazing!) God hears the prayers of those that speak to him on a regular basis. Be sure you are in a good bible teaching church, read your bible and pray regularly (giving thanks, praising God and then offering up your request to Him) He wants to give you the desires of your heart and he DOES when your desires are aligned with his will! God bless you as you draw closer to Him. (06/29/2007)

By Diana

RE: Advice About Praying

Joan,

I believe the dove you saw was a symbol of peace. I believe God wants you and your Mother to be at peace. There is a poem I love:

Broken Dreams

As children bring their broken toys with tears for us to mend, I brought my broken dreams to God because he was my friend.

But instead of leaving Him in peace so He could work alone, I stuck around and tried to help in ways that were my own.

Suddenly, I snatched them back, and said, "How can you be so slow?"

He said, "My child, what could I do? You never did let go."

Let go, and let God.

I also have found help in reading Habakkuk. He didn't like what God was telling him was going to happen to his people. But God told him to walk above it all (like a mountain goat). Many a time I have had to walk above the things life has dealt me and it has gotten me though a lot.

I did say a prayer for you and your Mother. Can a church or some organization help you before you become homeless? May God continue to bless you. (06/30/2007)

By Sandy from WI

RE: Advice About Praying

"Stand firm now and persevere, even if the hardship is great.

God has already planned the moment when He will help you."

~ Unknown (07/01/2007)

By Carol Churchill

RE: Advice About Praying

I've been away and am catching up but maybe you'll get this anyway. I hope so. After 55 years of telling God what I wanted (and a few times getting what I wanted and having it turn out to be a big mistake), I finally gave up and gave him the control. I just don't worry anymore. In my prayers I give thanks for everything I have, ask for help for other people, but not for me. At the end of my prayer, I just say, "Thy will be done, in the name of Jesus Christ". Joan, it's been amazing! Just recently I had a financial blow. I didn't worry. I figured he'd take care of it and he did. Suddenly I got a completely unexpected pay raise in my part-time job and they added two more small jobs for me to do. It completely covered the money I was going to have to put out each month. There have been many (and more dramatic) things that have happened but space doesn't allow. That old saying, "When one door closes, God opens another" is so true. Trust him and let him do the work for you. Yes, some bad things will happen but he sees ahead, you can't. You cannot help what happens to your family, that's so tragic. but you can help what happens to you - trust him to do what's best for you. You'll be amazed. (07/05/2007)

By Linda

RE: Advice About Praying

I hope your mother is doing well. About the prayer thing---God loves you TREMEMDOUSLY. The bad stuff comes from the other guy. Sometimes we don't get what we ask for because God has something better in store for us. Sometimes He wants to drive home the issue of devoting ourselves to Him for the long haul instead of just for the nice things. In the next life, there will be no more sorrow, suffering, trials, or (more importantly) separation--from Him or our saved loved ones. The important thing is ALWAYS to love and trust Him. He never hurts us. Keep praying and keep trusting! (07/08/2007)

By crazypete

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August 7, 20070 found this helpful

Praise God for helping your Mother! How are the other things going in your life? Have you become homeless? I am believing that didn't come to pass.

I just prayed for you again. Sometimes, I think God prefers to answer other people's prayers for us to answering our own prayers for ourselves.

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August 8, 20070 found this helpful

Joan, this is wonderful news. I hope things continue to get better for your mom and for you. Lots of us know how hard life can be, and when you write God Bless You, it's really appreciated. Those are powerful words.

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