That’s a term I have heard used in Christian circles my entire life. For some reason, I was never very impressed with the term. Warriors were supposed to be big, strong people who kicked butt like the action heroes in movies. But as an adult, I am more impressed with these kinds of people than I know how to say.
The Bible calls us to “pray without ceasing.” This is something I have found harder to do as I get older. It’s not because I don’t believe in God or what He can do or how important prayer is. It’s because I let myself get distracted with so much of the day-to-day, that I am go-go-go and not always praying as I do it. Honestly, in high school, I was someone who prayed all the time. In between classes, on my drive to and from school, during some classes, in practices…I just found myself having little chats with God about all the things going on in my life or in my day. Now, I’m not so good about it. I’m trying to improve that area of my spiritual life. I want to be the kind of person who says, “I’ll pray for you” and actually do it. And do it more than once or twice. But do it constantly so that as soon as I see you again, it’s the first thing I ask about. Or so that I don’t even wait until I see you again to ask.
Tonight, I’ve been seeing a lot of prayer warriors online. I follow Promise Tangeman‘s blog. She’s a Christian and an artist and photographer in Phoenix, Arizona, and she has some friends, the McRaes, who are just going through tremendous heartache right now. They’re facing something that it seems more and more people are facing-cancer. More specifically, their middle child, six-year-0ld Kate, has a brain tumor that is very aggressive and cannot be removed completely with surgery because it is wrapped around a blood vessel feeding blood to her brain. I don’t need to tell any of you how horrifying that is, because we have seen the myriad of ways cancer can come in and destroy. Holly and Aaron McRae found out about Kate’s tumor about 6 months ago, and of course, it has turned their entire family dynamic upside down. Aaron is a preacher, and Holly was helping him start a plan for a new church when this struck. I’ve been following them for months now, and it’s been a jumpstart to my prayer life. I feel so attached to this little girl I’ve never met.
However awful their experience has been, they are determined to use it to the glory of God. They immediately set up prayer support with friends through as many means possible. They hold online chat room prayers when significant milestones in her journey arrive. Dr. Phil even found out about Kate and requested to interview her parents and to go meet Kate and her sister, 7.5 year old Olivia, and brother, 5 year old Will. Then Christian author Karen Kingsbury decided she wanted to help by raising money for Kate through her Forever in Fiction writing. Holly, Aaron, and their kids decided to use Kate’s new fame by helping others as well as for asking for prayer. So this year, they asked that anyone who could donate toys to please send them to be given out to the oncology floor at Kate’s hospital. Presents poured in from people all over the world and from 48 of the 50 states in the US. There were so many that they had enough to give to every toy room in the hospital, every oncology child in two hospitals, and the other pediatric units in her hospital. They said it was emotional simply to see the number of toys representing the sheer number of prayers being sent up all over the world for this one little girl.
It has been rough. Today they got another MRI scan showing the tumor has shrunk, barely, and that it is still inoperable at this point. But it hasn’t spread. And it’s getting smaller. They’re trying to focus on the good things. And they held another live online prayer vigil for Kate tonight. It was amazing to see the volume of prayers and praises to God being lifted up in chatroom as Kate’s dad and Promise’s husband talked about their prayer requests and led the prayers and worship music. I felt like I could see an army forming in front of Kate, all strong warriors, ready to stand between her and this disease and pray to the only One who can truly decide her fate. It is exhausting to pray and pray for the same thing for a long, long time. And honestly, 6 months isn’t all that long when it comes to cancer. This will be a concern for the rest of her life, even if she is declared to be in remission. She’ll have scans continually. But these pray warriors were taking up that fight on her account.
If you feel led to pray for her, here are some specific requests of the family. Pray for the McRaes to continue to have an uplifted spirit and the ability to fight. Pray for Kate’s hearing and her kidneys, which can be affected by the chemo, as well as for her body’s right side functionality, as it was affected during the first surgery to remove part of the tumor. Pray for Holly and Aaron, as they spend countless nights stressed out, tired, and apart from one another, as one of them is always with Kate. Pray for Olivia and Will to continue to feel loved and cared about and to not live in fear while their sister is going through this difficult time. Pray for the doctors and for Holly and Aaron to make wise decisions concerning Kate’s health.
And above all, just Pray for Kate.