When Cancer keeps you awake

A prayer based on Psalm 77


“I cried out to God for help;

I cried out to God to hear me.

When I was in distress, I sought the Lord;

at night I stretched out untiring hands,

and I would not be comforted.”1


I can’t sleep, God. I keep thinking about Cancer.

I keep thinking about You. And then again about Cancer.

Cancer with it scary ‘unknown unknowns’,

like the shadows that hide the corners of my room.


I recall the words I was told about You in the childhood songs.

You “love the little children of the world”

and that they are all “precious in your sight”.

Am I precious, God? Am I precious to You?

I’m no longer little, and there is so much I still haven’t done.


“Will the Lord reject forever?

Will he never show his favour again?

Has his unfailing love vanished forever?

Has his promise failed for all time?”2


Is this it then, God? Is this our life now?

Are we to live with Cancer like some kind of lead weight holding us down?

Are our dreams forever changed? Will we ever get to Australia?

Or protest the pipeline alongside the Sioux nation?

Will I ever get to drink iced tea on the back porch with my momma again?


“Then I thought, ‘To this I will appeal:

the years when the Most High stretched out his right hand.

I will remember the deeds of the Lord;

yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.

I will consider all your works;

and meditate on all your mighty deeds.’”3


But then, we have been here before.

Ah, yes, loads of times I’ve found myself wondering if things would ever get better again, and they did – slowly sometimes. Some things still hurt a bit, but life moves on.

And You taught me how to fly again.

Just not yet.

We may still see Australia.

Just not this year.


“You are the God who performs miracles;

you display your power among the peoples.”4


God, you have a knack for making a way when others can’t.

You parted the waters for Moses and his mates.  And you’ve helped us in so many ways.

Likewise you have guided the hands of scientists and doctors to finding treatments and cures that twenty years ago would have been unthinkable. We may not be able to prove you were there, but I believe you were.


“Your path led through the sea,

your way through the mighty waters,

though your footprints were not seen.

You led your people like a flock

by the hand of Moses and Aaron.”5


God, lead me through the stormy waters

of anxiety and doubt,

of fear and regret.

Hold them back, God, and lead me on

to follow You wherever You may lead.

Help me to trust you with the wolves

and to count my blessings,

like the sleepless count sheep.

Lead me to shalom,

peace, rest

in You.




1 Psalm 77:1-2 NIV

2 Psalm 77:7-8 NIV

3 Psalm 77:10-12 NIV

4 Psalm 77:14 NIV

5 Psalm 77:19-20 NIV


One thought on “When Cancer keeps you awake

  1. You oh Lord are our ever present help in times of trouble.
    When we talk to others, we tell them of your mighty dreads.
    When you walked this earth you healed all who came to you.
    You oh Jesus who commanded the wind and the waves, who rebuked
    The disciples for lack of faith.
    Rebuke this desease with your mighty voice.
    Walk with my friends, show them your grace,
    Grant them the Faith to believe and heal them.
    I as this Father in our Lord Jesus precious name.

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