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Praying For Yourself & Making Excuses

Mark Driscoll posted an interesting Twitter update that went like this:

Too many pastors are good pastors at the expense of being good husbands, fathers, neighbors, and the like.

Of course you know I’m going to swing it back to John Piper, but this made me remember something Piper wrote in one of his books about his prayer life. Basically Piper said he always started his prayers with prayers for himself instead of others or his family. Piper went on to explain that is supplications for other went in a circular fashion. First he prayed for himself, then his wife, then his children, then his family, then his close friends, then friends and so on and so forth.

His reasoning was that if he didn’t have control over his own life, then he’d scarcely be a help to anyone else. Driscoll is sort of driving home the same point.

It’s sort of a frightening thing really. An aunt of mine was diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer. She was only 49. I won’t get into how to grade & stage tumors, but the only reason she didn’t have stage 4 is that it hadn’t metasticized to other areas of her body and was still confined to her breast tissue and her lymph nodes. There was so much nodal involvement that it was the highest stage 3 you could get to.

Luckily for her, they were able to do a radical mastectomy and the cancer was gone. She went through her course of chemotherapy and that was that. She was going to have her breasts redone given the brutality of the the mastectomy, but when she went in, she was going to have a breast lift on her good breast so the symmetry was there between both breasts.

Unfortunately, there is now cancer in her other breast. She found out on New Year’s Day.

It’s a scary time for her. More scary than the first time I think. When my mother initially told me about the diagnosis 2-year prior, I looked into the literature and it said that she only had a 10% chance to live for 10 more years. That means she’s only have a 1 in 10 shot to ever see the age of 59. After everything she went through, it really did seem like she beat it and she was going to be one of the 10%.

Instead, she might still be in for the fight of her life. The good news is that the surgeon told her that if not for the breast lift, the cancer probably wouldn’t have shown up for another year or two and then it would have probably been too late to do anything about it. The bad news is that now my aunt is pretty much defeated and isn’t sure if she can survive another round of chemotherapy.

My point is that I don’t know how much I’ve really prayed for her over the last 2-years. With medical school everything seems to be such a blur and I oftentimes feel like I can barely pray for myself enough let alone take the time to pray for others.

On the one hand I think about what Piper said and think that how can I be of help to anyone if I’m not helping myself.

Then again, maybe I’m just making excuses.

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January 2, 2010 - Posted by | Christianity

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