If Asked, Who Would You or Wouldn’t You Pray For?

If Asked, Who Would You or Wouldn’t You Pray For? November 12, 2023

If Asked, Who Would You or Wouldn’t You Pray For?

To be one of the best at what you do is very good. No… check that… it is GREAT! And it can be devastating when that’s taken from you.

Once, there was a performer who worked on the world stage. He sang and acted in some of the best theaters on the globe. Europe, the Americas, China… he would jet from city to city and country to country.

Life can change in a heartbeat.

One day, at a dental visit, he found out he had life-threatening cancer. He and his family’s lives were about to change. First, his career was over. The treatment he would go through would be drastic. He would have a large part of an organ removed and reconstructive surgery over 12 hours. Then, he would undergo substantial doses of chemo and over a month’s worth of daily pin-point radiation. As his oncologist put it, “We are going to take you to the brink of death—actually, just past—to kill the cancer, then help you to come back. But I’m not going to lie: you’ll go through hell. It’ll be up to you and God to come out the other side.”

How would you react to a situation like this?

Well, he stopped everything and called friends, family, and organizations he was in—giving them the news. Then, he did something that had the most significant effect. He asked for prayers. He knew that he wouldn’t have the strength, endurance, or ability to make it through without.

Waking in Hell.

The surgery happened, the chemo happened, and the radiation began. There were many, many hiccups along the way. A feeding tube became dislodged; a trach-tube reinsertion was botched, causing him to mentally pray as he was fading away to unconsciousness, “Into Your hands, Lord, I commend my spirit.”

He was burnt beyond belief. Heat would radiate off his skin like he spent the day uncovered in the desert. He was sleeping 18 hours a day and couldn’t remember the simplest facts. He mentally missed Thanksgiving, Christmas, and his 25th wedding anniversary. He was ready to give up. With six excruciating days of radiation to go, he mentally said, “That’s it. I’m done. Lord, I can’t pray for myself anymore. I’ll pray for others, but I’m done. Do with me what you want.”

Turning Over.

That’s when it happened. As soon as his heart and mind fully realized what he’d prayed, what he’d turned over, all the weight he’d been carrying lifted. There was an actual feeling of being “lifted.” He felt lighter. The phrase “lifted in prayer” is just an old cliché to many people. But to him, it was very real, physical, visceral. He could feel the prayers from friends, family, parishes, abbeys, monasteries, and convents around the world—literally lifting him up! He still felt every open sore, every burn mark, every blister. But he was now able to bear it all—with a smile.

Doctors Can’t Explain It.

As his case progressed, doctors—not two or three—but five, all declared they had never seen anything like his progress. They stated phrases in his file, “something supernatural… It’s completely unexplainable…  it resembles a miraculous (unexplainable) occurrence…”

It all came down to giving over to prayer. Not just any prayer but prayer from others, specifically intercessory prayer.

Fast Forward.

Public Domain
“Hello, God, I know you’re there…”

Today is day 1532since I had over one-half of my tongue removed and a part of my wrist put in its place. In the four years and one month since my surgery, I have sung Schubert’s Ave Maria in the Grotto at Lourdes, France—twice. I’ve had three award-winning books published by a great publishing house and restarted my path in the Permanent Diaconate in the Kansas City–St. Joseph Diocese.

I now KNOW, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the effects of prayer…are real.

Do you?

About Ben Bongers KM
Ben Bongers was an international operatic tenor and practicing sommelier for 30 years based in San Francisco, CA, and Europe. He has written monthly articles for trade magazines in both wine and singing over a long and lustrous career. After becoming a semi-full-time caretaker for his parents, he earned an MA in Gerontology (the study of aging and care) and was asked to publish in an eldercare textbook that came out in 2020. He has written several books, all published by EnRoute Books and Media. His first novel THE SAINT NICHOLAS SOCIETY has won many awards, and his other two, TRUE LOVE—12 Christmas Stories My True Love Gave to Me, and THE FARMER, THE MINER, THE ARTISAN (a children’s book) are up for awards. Ben is a Knight in the Order of Malta and helped start an overnight homeless shelter at his parish in San Francisco, CA., and today is a Permanent Diaconate Candidate in Kansas City, MO. You can read more about the author here.

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