This post is actually not about breast cancer, it is about praying.



Someone who is very close to me told me she was diagnosed with breast cancer when she went for her last check up. (Let’s refer to her as Pamela, to make this easy.)  She had some issues with her one breast that had continued for some time, and at the time she and the doctor felt it was related to breastfeeding.

She had stopped breastfeeding, and had gone back to the hospital, and the hospital had run tests.

She told me she had been diagnosed with breast cancer about two weeks ago.  The doctors were running a battery of other tests to see what the severity was of the problem, and she needed to return to hospital yesterday for those tests results, and go through another set which would assist them to decide on the best treatment for her.

I was devastated for her.  She is a mom, and she needs to work.  She cannot be ill, and not earn an income.  But more importantly she cannot die.  I wondered to myself why is this happening to her —– for crying out loud.

I have never tested positive for cancer, so have no idea how it must feel to have someone across the table from you confirm your worst nightmare.  I have no idea how that feels.

I had to have something cut out of an area right next to my eye – which my dermatologist was concerned might be cancer.  Tiny little spot, minor surgery to take it out and send it for a biopsy.  I still sat and thought to myself “is this how it starts, you get a small spot somewhere which turns out to be a cancer that has already spread, and there you are staring at your spot going, it’s only a spot…”

Either way my totally inconsequential spot really scared me, because the word “cancer” had been used.

It turned out to be an inconsequential spot.

Pamela had an appointment yesterday to return to the hospital for her results, and then for them to run more tests and make a decision how aggressively to proceed.

I held her in my thoughts all day.

I have always admired her for the strong, controlled woman she is -and the way she deals with the punches that life throws at her.  She does not fall down in a wet heap, but works through it, stands up, dusts herself off and comes out of the corner with her fists up.

This post is actually not about breast cancer, it is about praying.

I thought to myself yesterday, is it enough to keep Pamela in my thoughts, or is it important that I pray for her?  Or ask other people to pray for her, say via Facebook?

I am agnostic, so praying is already a bit of an issue for me.

I wondered, that if God does exists, in which ever form he/she may be  (I am just going to use he, as this is going to get cumbersome) – and knows everything and is all powerful, then surely he would know the fight that Pamela is going through already, and he would make a decision whether to assist Pamela or not to.

Would praying change the outcome for Pamela — would God be swayed by prayers?

Is he like a cricket umpire who makes a decision, and only reconsiders his decision when the players run up into his face screaming OUT or what ever they scream.  Or does he stand there unmoved, because his decision is his decisions, and he is the umpire?

It started to remind me of IDOLS or America’s Got Talent, and that a person could only move forward if enough people phoned-in in support of that person.  Is the concept of praying sort of the same?

What if no one prayed for Pamela?   Would God still assist her as much or as little as he was going to do anyway, and it was irrelevant whether 1 person prayed for her or 1000 people prayed for her?

There I sat yesterday wrestling with this beast called religion —– and prayer.

I started at one point to reason, what if I prayed for Pamela, even if I technically did not believe in a god, surely then I would still be praying and well that would be good for Pamela.

I reverted back to my proposition that if God was all seeing and all knowing, then he would recognise an insincere request from someone who is not sure whether he exists or not.  Would that count against how he had already decided how Pamela’s results were going to go?

I am not sure.  I really am not.

Pamela had a full day of testing, and the results though still breast cancer, were not as disastrous as she had initially been told.  She is booked for a biopsy on the other breast, so that they can decide on the treatment and do it all at once.

I am not sure how prayer works.

I am not sure how life and the universe works either.

I do like the power that can emanate from people who are collectively thinking the same thing, or hoping for the same thing ….. and no I am not sure how that works either.

If you want to bear Pamela in mind for the 17 November when she has her biopsy please do.




Leave a comment


  1. Alexandra

     /  October 27, 2014

    I believe in healing thoughts or sending good vibes. I try not to get into the science of it.

  2. Heather

     /  October 24, 2014

    I think that thinking about someone is one form of prayer. God sees your love for your friend beyond all of this and that’s the most important. I do believe in the power of prayer it has helped me. Other times I have prayed and not gotten any answers. But that’s life sometimes, we don’t have all the solutions, but I do believe there is something beyond all of this.

  3. Interesting topic. I have a group of friends and we are all on a Whatsapp group. Not a week goes by when somebody isn’t asking us all to pray for someone, be it themselves, family, friends or even total strangers. Then there is a chorus of “I’ll be praying for them”, “I’ll put them in my prayer book” etc etc. My response, if at all, is usually that I’m thinking of them and wish them strength. Or just ‘xxx’.

    I am not going to go into my beliefs too much (or lack of them) but I do believe a little in the power of positive energy, be it prayer or something else. I do agree though if God was this all powerful, all knowing being then he will already know. Maybe the more people pray for you, the more he sees what a good person you are and decides to step in?

    IMHO I reckon if he exists and is so very powerful then he is a bit of a bastard because how can he possibly allow all the suffering that goes on in the world? I would rather believe that maybe he does exist but is not really so powerful as people imagine but is just there to offer comfort to those who need it in which case whomever you believe in is God to you.

  4. I guess as an atheist I do not believe in God or prayer, or even positive thoughts of one person helping another. The only thing I can really offer is love, and support, and hope for the best.

  5. I see myself as a Christian but I grapple with the exact same questions.

  6. i love this piece. i am a Buddhist and i still have moments where i wonder the VERY same thing. prayers are like meditation and ‘sending out’ a good thought to someone who is need of some good thoughts. but no matter what religion or belief system you follow, isn’t the “outcome’ already cast in stone? if you believe in God then surely God has already decided which way things will go? or if you don’t believe in God then one would assume your path is already carved out for you.. and how you deal with it is really the only outcome you have control over? with that in mind, i hope that your friends outcome is positive!

  7. OK. You know me, ever an opinion. I’m a work in Progress Christian. I believe in prayer. And I only say this from experience. I totally understand all your above questions, in fact I still constantly ask them. But from experience, prayer IS helpful, it can work miracles. I’ve experienced them. Does God hear them? Yes. Does he “grant your wish”? If he feels like it I guess and if it’s the right thing in the whole scheme of things. Who knows?

    But I have a friend who I sometimes ask to pray for me in a situation. I tell you not a word of a lie…but I can feel her praying for me. I swear. and it comforts me. Sometimes it works quickly. Sometimes it takes longer.

    But it’s a comfort.

    I can write pages and pages about this, but I don’t want to hog your Blog Post.

    But PRAY as much as you can. No-one has all the answers.

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