Father in heaven, When we read through the gospels, we cannot help but marvel at the tender compassion Jesus always had for those who were sick. It was as if He was never pressed for time. Nothing was more urgent than the person who stood before Him: the blind, the lame, and the parents who came desperately on behalf of their children. You tell us through Your Word that Your Son was moved by compassion. Tell us, Father: How is it that You can feel our concerns, that there is a grief You absorb into Yourself when You consider those who hurt and grieve themselves? How do you stoop to such levels of gentle, loving condescension? But how good it is to know and love a God like you, Who is so unlike the other gods our worlds put forward: they are implacable, unreachable. The god of self-sufficiency, the god of financial gain, the gods of beauty and youth and success: where are they when we are ill? weak? in need? But You, Father, demonstrate a love that never abandons, never gives up.
Today, for the mothers who themselves struggle with a chronic illness or a devastating diagnosis, we pray for You to grant healing. It is always within Your power to do so. We know, Father, that You have made the human body and have the ability to repair it when it is broken. We know that healing is part of the announcement of the coming of the kingdom. In your mercy, heal women with chronic fatigue, chronic depression, migraines, multiple sclerosis, hypertension, diabetes, and many other debilitating illnesses. For the ways that they are psychologically impacted by their illness and often have to fight depression, grant them a sustaining hope. Surround them with the loving support of their family, friends, and church communities - those who will be prompted by Your Spirit to give and serve in the ways that are most helpful. When these women feel the weight of all that they cannot do for their children, when they are tempted to give the voice of the accuser far too much airtime, remind them that You are sufficient for all families, that You are strong in all of our weakness. Care for their children, Father, when they cannot. And for the women who face a troubling diagnosis and a future that seems unclear, help them to live the concerns of today without the worries of tomorrow. Anchor them strongly in hope rather than fear, peace rather than inner turmoil.
Today, for the mothers who watch their children suffer from illness, we ask for Your tender mercy. Again, we come to you asking for healing on their behalf. Father, lay Your Hands on children with cancer, asthma, diabetes, and many other chronic diseases. Grant help to children suffer from disorders like autism, aspergers, bi-polar, ADD and ADHD. For the children with psychological and physical and cognitive impairment, which impedes their movement and communication and socialization, intervene that they may make progress in each of their areas of delay. For all the doctors and therapists who work with sick children, gift them with tenderness and a sympathetic understanding of the fears children face. For the financial burdens that arise when treating all of these conditions, provide by Your endless supply. For the time required to make appointments, consult with specialists, and attend therapy sessions, provide patience, even meaningful interaction between these children and their parents. For the strain it is on a marriage when children are sick, protect the love between husbands and wives. And when darkness descends and faith feels impossible at the bedside of a sick child, even then, Father, draw near and make Your presence known.
When we are sick and when our children are sick, we are reminded of our mortality. As much as we live to deny it, it is true that we will all one day die. But how strong our hope in Your Son, Jesus Christ, who was crucified, buried, and then three days later, walked out of the grave! He has taught us that death is not the final chapter for those who believe in Him. He is the Resurrection and the Life, and in Him, we have a song to sing. Today let it be sung: O Death, where is your victory? O Death, where is your sting?