How to Pray in Times of Trouble

Battling this cancer together with my husband reminds me of the story in 2 Chronicles 20 when the vast armies of the Moabites and Ammonites joined forces to defeat King Jehoshaphat and the nation of Israel. Shocked, outnumbered, overwhelmed, Jehoshaphat assembled the people of Judah at the temple, prayed to the Lord and  beseeched him for guidance. Through a prophet, the Lord encouraged them with these now famous words: “Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army, for the battle is not yours, but God’s.”  He then gave them the specific military strategy about how to overcome and the very next day Israel defeated her enemies.

This cancer not only shocked us, but as we slowly came to grips what we were facing, it felt like a menacing, malevolent enemy advancing to destroy us.  Desperate, we have turned to the Lord for guidance and He has given us strategy to overcome, including specific doctors, treatments, nutrition regimes, spiritual disciplines, and community support.  Daily, we give Him our thanks and praise for all He is doing, believing that we, too, will defeat our enemy and prevail.  I share some of these strategies He has given me here: 

1.  Prayer Therapy
Just this week, the Spirit revealed to me that ongoing prayer is as important to my husband’s healing as his medical treatments– in fact, we’re to think of it “prayer therapy.”  This includes daily times of individual prayer and weekly times of prayer with others.  Recently, we packed 20 friends in our living room and 10 others called in from other parts of the country on a prearranged 800 number so we could all pray together.  It was amazing!  I’ve also organized a weekly prayer time exactly one hour before each of my husband’s treatments so they are exceedingly effective.  You can get creative about how you do this, but just keep the prayers coming!

2.  Private Moments with God
There have been times when God has awakened me at 2, 3 or 4 in the morning.  I’ve learned to get up and enter into a time of prayer when He does this, knowing there is a special message He has for me that needs my undivided attention. Every time, He has revealed some spiritual encouragement, urged me to pray for someone or prepared for a challenge that lay ahead.  I’ve kept a journal of these insights and instructions and they have served me well as I’ve faced tough times.

3.  Fresh Strategies for Overcoming
Each new trial will require fresh spiritual strategies if we are to endure and overcome.  In the face of this unexpected illness, I have found myself embracing the discipline of fasting more seriously than ever before.  It is helping me be more sensitive to God’s leading, and Scriptures promise that demons are cast out and strongholds torn down through fasting and prayer.  I’m counting on it!

4.  Weapons of Worship and Praise
The call to praising God is found throughout Scriptures because He is magnificent and worthy of our worship.  But, in times of trouble, praise and worship are also mighty weapons used to defeat the enemy.  In one of the most astounding historical accounts of military strategy, Jehoshaphat sent a choir ahead of his armies. As they went into battle they sang to the Lord and praised him for “the splendor of his holiness.”  No human mind would devise such a strategy– it was clearly divine– and it worked!  As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against the attacking armies and the enemies of Israel ended up slaughtering each other!

Two weeks from now, we are hosting a “worship party” with dozens of our musician friends and prayer warriors. It will be a time of singing, praising, worshiping God  followed by an extended time of deep prayer and intercession. We know that God “inhabits the praise of his people” (Psalm 22:3) and that  “the weapons we fight with are not the weapons of this world; on the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds”  (2 Corinthians 10:4).  We are trusting that, once again, our weapons of praise and worship will help defeat the enemy.

5.  Soul vs. Spirit
I used to be utterly perplexed by the verses in  James 1:2-3, “Consider it pure joy whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.”  When one is in agonizing pain, how on earth are we expected to be joyful?  It sounded masochistic.  God finally showed me that while our soul may be weighed down with anguish, our spirit can choose to focus on Him, soar like an eagle, truly experience the “peace that surpasses all understanding” (Philipians 4:7) and how “the joy of the Lord is our strength.” (Nehemiah 8:10)

6.  God Is Our Healer
While we are doing everything that we can medically, nutritionally and spiritually to overcome this cancer, we know that “unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain.” (Psalm 127).   So, we look to Him to help guide us through this process for, at the end of the day, all healing comes from Him, however He wishes to do it, whether by divine intervention, praise and worship, or through doctors and treatments.  Whichever way He chooses, we long for the day when we can say, “Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy.” (Psalm 126:5)

Below please find useful links for the journey.  Do you have a story, thought or question?   I look forward to your comments below. God bless.





  1. Thanks for sharing! I love that verse that talks about how He strengthens those who wait upon the Lord.

    • Such a great reminder of where our strength comes from when we are weary from the battle. Your insights are always a blessing, Jean!
      God bless you!

  2. Very inspiring words. Thanks for sharing your struggles and using your gifts in this way.

    • Thank you so much for your ongoing love and support in our lives and work. We cherish your friendship!

  3. After reading this post, I realize that it is Friday morning.
    i join you in prayer as Russell goes for another round
    of treatment. Blessings.

  4. As I finished reading your post, I realized that it is Friday morning.
    Russ goes in for his ongoing treatment as I write this. You are both
    in my prayers. Love and blessings.

    • So wonderful to know! Thank you from both us for your amazing prayers!
      Love you back!

  5. A very powerful testimony from both of you, and thank you for sharing what was shown to you from scripture. I’ll leave with this thought in mind “But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it. And in the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groaning’s too deep for words; and He who searches the heart knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God” (Romans 8:26-27). “And by His scourging we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5) (Matthew 4:23-24) (Luke 9:11)

    Love and Blessings

    • Thank you, Michael, for that great encouragement and outpouring of faith. The Spirit is, indeed, our Counselor and Scriptures a daily light to our path. “I lift my eyes to the hills. Where does my help come from? My help comes for the Lord, the Maker of Heaven and Earth.” Thank you for being on this journey with us!

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