In November 2016, I met a new client who was battling a very aggressive form of prostate cancer. He was told by his doctors he had a year to live. He met with me to do his Will.
He was on an experimental drug, but the sample size of patients in his group kept on shrinking: two had dropped out for health reasons, and the one who was on the placebo had to drop out because of health complications.
At the end of our meeting, I asked my client whether he prayed. He said he was raised as a Catholic but that he did not pray anymore. I said “would you be open to it?” To which he responded casually, “yeah, sure.” And then I said “may I say a prayer for you now?” And he said “yes”. So we both made the sign of the cross, and he looked down and closed his eyes. I said “God, please heal this man of any and all ailments he has, in the name of Jesus. Amen.” And He said “in the name of Jesus. Amen,” and we both made the sign of the cross.
We met again in December to sign his Will. As a Wills and Estates lawyer, I deal with death all day. I advise people who are close to death, leading up to it, in contemplation of it, or after having suffered the death of a loved one. I enquired as to how his health was. He answered, “I got my results back yesterday, and the cancer is completely gone.” I said “really?” He said “yes. My initial tests showed my cancer cell “score” was double the threshold level that could be cured, so they had given me one year to live. They test me regularly while I’m on this experimental drug. On my next test, my cancer cell score shot up even higher. So I made my Will. And yesterday, the cancer is gone completely.” The factor that had changed in his experimental treatment was that he had begun to pray.
Modern medicine is one of God’s many ways of healing us. He busies His creatures with healing themselves by their God-given ingenuity and their discoveries of God’s creation. The question is not merely about the qualities of the treatments themselves, but also whether the treatments we have developed will be received by the body in the right way, so as to cure it. And I believe prayer and faith in God can close the chasm between treatments and the way the body receives them, so as to permit the treatments to work. It is like my friend, who was cured of mouth cancer after going through radiation treatment, deep anxiety and deep prayer. After the treatment had been successful, her doctor introduced her to another doctor, saying “voici l’œuvre de Dieu,” or “behold, God’s work.”
And what about those who pray and who are not cured? Despair not for God’s Kingdom is great. Death has not the last word, but life in Christ in the Heavenly Kingdom. “Unless you see signs and wonders, you will not believe!” (John 4:48).
Some are healed when they pray, for God is waiting to come in and rescue them. He stands outside our door, respectful of our autonomy. He faithfully waits for our permission to let Him in, through our prayers, so that He can heal us, His children, that we may stand as examples of His healing grace and mercy to others who have not yet opened the door of their hearts to Him.
Others are not healed even though they pray, and this we must accept as God’s will, Who calls them up to take the room Christ has prepared for them in our Father’s House. But pray, in case God is waiting for you to turn the key and unlock the door to let Him in. With God the Father, as in hockey, you miss every shot you don’t take.
Pray when you are in trouble. Pray when you are in pain. And pray especially when times are good, that you may show your Heavenly Father that you depend on Him and love Him always. What more does a father want? Show Him that you walk beside Him faithfully, and not just when times are bad.