Somebody’s prayin’ for…us

Last weekend the striking Mrs.Burchett accompanied me to Nashville to visit eldest son and his lovely bride. We spent Saturday night with a few hundred of our closest friends enjoying a Valentine Concert with Ricky Skaggs and the Nashville Symphony. The venue was the spectacular new Schermerhorn Symphony Center in Nashville. This facility is one more reason to love Nashville and if you have a chance, check it out. What a beautiful hall and the acoustics are amazing!

Ricky Skaggs was also amazing along with his band Kentucky Thunder. Ricky sells t-shirts that proclaim that “Bluegrass Rules” and he is spot on. If you have a pulse you will be tappin’ your foot during his music. But the song that stuck with me days later was not a toe-tappin’ bluegrass tune. It was a moving ballad that Skaggs sang as an encore. Perhaps the song resonated with me because of the recent journey that Joni and I have been traveling. The song is called Somebody’s Prayin’ and here is a snippet of the lyrics.

Well, I’ve walked through barren wilderness
When my pillow was a stone
And I’ve been through the darkest caverns
Where no light had ever shown.
Still I went on ’cause there was someone
Who was down on their knees
And Lord. I thank you for those people
Prayin’ all this time for me.

Joni and I want to humbly and gratefully thank you for praying for us.

Somebody’s prayin’, I can feel it
Somebody’s prayin’ for me
Mighty hands are guiding me
To protect me from what I can’t see
Lord I believe, Lord I believe
Somebody’s prayin’ for me…

Regular readers of these humble ramblings know that I am a bit cynical. So I have to confess that it surprises me a bit that I can feel the prayers of so many people praying for us.

Her almost one year long battle with breast cancer has been tough. We look back on the year and marvel at how well we have weathered this storm. I would be less than honest if I said we have not had down times. But God’s grace and the comfort of His Holy Spirit has been sufficient for the trial. Here is an excerpt from a blog I wrote  about a study done on the effects of prayer just before Joni began chemotherapy.

God is in control. He has a plan. We don’t know what that plan is. But whatever it is we believed that He will give us strength and grace for the journey ahead.

Then we told God our desires.

We desired that Joni would be completely healed. We desired that God would use our journey to help others. We desired that we not “Waste our Cancer” but that He would be glorified through us in the process.

And then we accepted our bottom line.

We are not in control. We have confidence in the One who is. And we prayed like Jesus did in the garden. Okay…it was a loose imitation but we prayed the same kind of prayer. We wish this cup could be removed but not our will but Yours God be done.

So here is my conclusion. You can not quantify such a complicated theological and spiritual process. If I tell some scientists that I felt the prayers of Christians they would think I was looney tunes. If I tell a researcher that I am praying not just for healing but for God’s will that doesn’t fit into a neat little study category. How can a scientific study divvy up people into groups? We don’t know the mind of God and His plan for any of the people in the study. It was a lovely idea but I don’t need a bunch of labcoats to verify what I felt on Monday. Sorry. Maybe I am looney tunes. But I have something that you can’t measure, dissect, or research.

The peace that passes all understanding.

Many friends and family have prayed for Joni and for me. I guess you kind of expect that. Or at least hope that will be the case. What has touched and blessed us is that people all over the world are praying that don’t even know us personally. Some are praying because of this blog. Some because of prayer requests posted at churches and ministries around the country. It has been an incredible demonstration of the body of Christ at it’s best. We see the not so flattering aspects of the church at times and I don’t shy away from that reality. But the fellowship and unity in Christ that we have experienced through Joni’s cancer has been inspiring and healing.

Thank you. We have a big day coming up in March when we reach the one year mark in the journey. Joni will have the full array of scans and tests to see if the cancer is gone. We would be grateful if you remembered that as well. We praise God for each one of you who has brought us before the throne of grace. It has helped. And we can feel it. And if we may paraphrase the Apostle Paul and his words to the believers at Ephesus.

We have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in our prayers. We keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.  Eph 1 NIV