Building a Personal Prayer 4: Where Are You?

Creating God, Everlasting Mother/Father,

Patient, persistent, pursuing Lover.

You are an awesome God,
an all-encompassing,
all-embracing Presence,

And you are here,
with me and in me, now.

It is in you that I live and move and have my being
and apart from you I have no life at all.

When I knew I had cancer, I was scared. First was the call after my mammogram. Then was an ultrasound with a needle biopsy. “You need to make an appointment with the surgeon,” they said while doing the biopsy, “even if this test is negative. We may not be drawing the right tissue.”

That made my angry. Why go through that if you have to have surgery anyway? Why drag it out? If I have breast cancer again and they want to do a needle biopsy, I will strongly object. Maybe they have a good reason, but I’m skeptical!

The next stage was a wire excision biopsy. In that, they put my diseased breast into the mammogram machine and used that image to direct a wire into the tumor, which was too small to be seen with the naked eye or even felt in a manual exam. Then I was sent to the OR with the wire sticking out of me. Getting to the OR involved going outside to another building. What a strange experience!

The surgery was done with a local anesthetic and the nurses kept me distracted and talking while the doctor did his work. Then I went home.

Waiting for a pathology report is excruciatingly hard. Did I really have the “big C?” When would I know?

As I lay in bed in the dark at night, I became conscious of the sound of my blood in my ears and the beating of my pulse throughout my body. God was – and always has been – keeping me alive! I remembered Acts 17:28:

For in him we live and move and have our being.

That verse became a mantra during this stressful time of waiting. This was months before I began a daily discipline of meditation and journaling; months before the process of building my personal prayer. It was probably the first step.

Consider: When you pray, where do you locate yourself? This experience taught me to locate myself in God.


About Nancy Smith

Nancy Smith has 20 years’ experience in technical writing and management in software companies. She also has more than 20 years in Christian ministry as an educator, course designer, retreat leader, spiritual director, pastor, and coach. A United Methodist Deacon, Smith has her M.Div. from Boston University. She is a graduate of the Guild for Spiritual Guidance, and is certified in Spiritual Direction and Retreat Leadership from Boston College.
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