I have, at times, kept a journal. It was suggested to me that it would be helpful to write down those things that I find puzzling, disturbing or insightful in order that I might make a little more sense of them.

There was always a pattern to this exercise. I would take the suggestion, embrace it enthusiastically and commit to doing it. Then, I would find an appropriate blank notebook in which to record these thoughts.

After a few entries, however, the enthusiasm faded; and I found something else to which I could turn my ever-so-short attention span.

But when I did keep a journal, I found it made a difference. I have gone back to those journals, re-reading my entries that did help in sorting out the problems and challenges of life.

While I haven’t written in a journal for some time, it recently occurred to me that I have been journaling quite regularly. Instead of writing down my thoughts in a notebook and putting it on a shelf, now I write down my thoughts and publish them twice a month in The Message, always focusing on stewardship.

In the past few months, I have been just overwhelmed with good friends revealing to me some very, very serious health issues they have been facing. These are end-of-life kinds of issues. Cancers of various kinds. Pneumonia. Ventilators. Hospitals. Radiation. Chemotherapy. Stuff so serious and so prevalent in my small circle of friends, that it just does not seem real or even possible because that stuff only happens to other people.

Yet there it was; and in each case, there was a friend in need of prayer.

I know about the power and efficacy of prayer on a very personal level. I know that it is a humbling experience to have others intercede with God on one’s behalf. I also know that it is the most important thing we can do to support those we love who are suffering.

These friends are quite happy to have prayers offered for them, as they are all faithful people. Another quality they all share is that of longanimity, a disposition to bear injuries patiently. They are not afraid of their condition or their treatment, and they have faith that things will work out. That doesn’t mean they are naïve about their odds of survival, or unrealistic in their assessment of the seriousness of their diagnosis.

It just means they trust in God.

I have said before that stewardship calls us to acknowledge that everything comes from God, both good and bad. In the Book of Job, Job says to his wife “We accept good things from God; should we not accept evil?” (Job 2:10).

It is one of life’s great mysteries as to why a loving and merciful God would allow for such suffering as my friends are bearing, and I certainly don’t have any insight into the answer. I do, however, know that my friends need my prayers to support them in their troubles.

So in this journal entry, I am asking you, dear reader, for a favor. If you find it in your heart, would you join me in praying for my friends? I won’t list their names here in the interest of their privacy, but just call them “Matt’s friends.”

If you or your friends are in need of prayer, let me know and I will pray for them as well.

Dear Jesus, bring healing to those we love who are suffering from illness and disease. Allow their faith in you to grow even as their hardships deepen, for in you is true healing and true peace. We ask this in Your name, amen.

There’s my journal entry for today. As always, thanks for reading. I would love to hear from you. Write to me at [email protected]. Check out our blog at