Prayer items for Day of Prayer

Posted in From Al & Libbie, Prayer Requests at 7:53 am by Al

First of all, let me say that I am deeply touched by Westminster setting aside this day to pray for me. For those of you that cannot be there, here are the words I will share this morning:

How to Pray for the Groves Family
Al Groves, April 26, 2006

The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me;
your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever.
Do not forsake the work of your hands. [Psalm 138:8]

In a forthcoming book on suffering, my friend David Powlison says that it is the King of the universe who leads us into fiery trials with the purpose of meeting us there. His leading is not without love and purpose. God is Father as well as King. In all that he does he always acts with gracious and loving purposefulness. That includes suffering. He leads us into suffering, even through the valley of the shadow of death, for his purpose in our lives—a kind, gracious, living, and high purpose. God, the Father, meets us in our suffering. God, the Son, comes along side us as fellow sufferer, one who has faced death and defeated it. God, the Spirit, fills us with the power that raised Jesus from the dead and reminds of the glorious inheritance we have in Christ. God addresses our hearts and draws us to himself.

How to pray for me and my family:

Yesterday, we learned that the treatments seem to be working so far. The disease is currently “stable.” There are no new tumors and there is no evidence that the tumors themselves have grown. This is good news and we are encouraged.

Lest people jump to the wrong conclusions from this news, let me fill out the bigger picture that it is part of. Stage 4 melanoma leaves no survivors. It is incurable. The median survival for someone with multiple tumors from melanoma in their lungs is 11 months—and we didn’t discover the tumors until January and so we are uncertain just how long the clock has been ticking. (Other lung cancers have other kinds of survival statistics.) The drugs I take are designed to slow down or even arrest, for a time, the progress of the disease, recognizing that it will eventually start up again and follow its course to its conclusion. Yesterday’s news that the cancer is “stable” seems to indicate that the drugs may be working and that they may provide some months of life extension before the disease takes its course. So, this is why we are encouraged by the latest news—indeed, it’s an answer to prayer.

Psalm 138:8 has been a great encouragement about God’s grace in my life (and every life). He will fulfill his purpose for me precisely because his faithful love endures forever. I think and talk about it by saying that I am not in the hand of odds, but rather I am in the hands of God. [Interesting to note that John Piper has used the same rhyme in a similar fashion.]

God can heal. God ALONE heals. He will choose what he will do for his gracious purpose. As a sufferer once told Jesus, “If you are willing you can heal me.” There is no question that God can heal me, but I can’t presume that he will choose to. I do know that He will do what he knows is best out of his faithful love. (The song, Blessed Be the Name of the Lord, has been significant for us in this context.)

Pray for healing. Pray boldly for complete healing, for his glory. Pray that I will trust him in his wisdom in whatever he chooses to do. Pray most of all that I can glorify God in this time. Pray Psalm 138:8 with us.

The Roman centurion who came to Jesus to ask him for healing for his servant did not ask Jesus to come under his roof, but only to speak the word. This example of faith has guided me—the people of God are praying for me; Jesus can respond and speak a word from heaven and I will be healed. By whatever means he chooses—medical or otherwise. In his wisdom and mercy, he may choose otherwise for his purpose and glory. I accept this.

It is not being healed from cancer in this life in which I ultimately hope. Rather, it is in Christ now and forever that I find my hope. I have been healed and raised in that ultimate sense by all that Christ has done.
Blessed Be the Name of the Lord

1. Blessed be Your name

In the land that is plentiful

Where Your streams of abundance flow

Blessed be Your name
2. Blessed be Your name

When I’m found in the desert place

Though I walked through the wilderness

Blessed be Your name
Every blessing you pour out

I’ll turn back to praise

And when the darkness closes in Lord

Still I will say
Blessed be the name of the Lord

Blessed be Your name

Blessed be the name of the Lord

Blessed be Your glorious name
3. Blessed be Your name

When the sun’s shining down on me

When the world’s all as it should be

Blessed be Your name
4. Blessed be Your name

On the road marked with suffering

Though there’s pain in the offering

Blessed be Your name
Every blessing you pour out

I’ll turn back to praise

And when the darkness closes in Lord

Still I will say
Chorus (2x)
Blessed be the name of the Lord

Blessed be Your name

Blessed be the name of the Lord

Blessed be Your glorious name
Bridge (3x)
You give and take away

You give and take away

My heart will choose to say

Lord, blessed be your name
Chorus (2x)
Blessed be the name of the Lord

Blessed be Your name

Blessed be the name of the Lord

Blessed be Your glorious name


  1. Kristen Getz said,

    April 26, 2006 at 11:50 am

    Hi guys,
    Just want you to know you are much in my thoughts and prayers–each of you. Thank you for sharing all God is showing you in this time-it is part of how he redeems our suffering, I think, when we can point others to him in the midst of it. Thank you for that.
    much love

  2. barbara finlay said,

    April 27, 2006 at 4:57 pm

    Dear Al,

    Am encouraged that results of scan showed the cancer was at least stable, and will keep praying for God’s healing touch for His Glory. I certainly will be praying psalm 138:8 for you, thank you so much for all you are sharing from God’s word through all your suffering, its such a blessing and encouragement. Am continuing to pray daily Phil4:7 for you as a family.

    much love

  3. md said,

    April 27, 2006 at 5:47 pm

    I am greatly encouraged to continue praying Hebrews chapters 1 through 6 for you and your family. Particular emphasis on parts of chapter 2. Thankyou for pointing us all to Jesus.

  4. Mark A. Stone said,

    April 27, 2006 at 5:48 pm

    I am pleased to hear that the cancer has arrested. This allows an extended period of time to minister and testify for His glory. I appreciated knowing how to pray for you and your family and am humbled by your perspective. Your perspective is both convicting and encouraging. Thank you. You remain in my prayers.

  5. Rita and Paul said,

    April 27, 2006 at 7:09 pm

    Dear Libbie, Al, and family,

    Thanks for keeping us up to date on your status through this web site.

    It is so good to hear that the scan showed the disease is stable at this time, with no new tumors and no further growth of those there.

    You all continue in our thoughts and prayers. We would love to see you when you feel up to it. Is there anything we can do at this time (besides continuing to pray, of course)?

    Rita and Paul

  6. Craig Combs said,

    April 28, 2006 at 8:32 am

    Brother Al, I continue to pray for you. And I continue to draw sweet encouragement by the things shared on your blog.
    You have long had a ministry of pointing others to Christ. Now the Lord has increased the potency of that ministry.
    Here is what I mean: we who ove you are all watching intently as you look to Christ with renewed vigor and in unadorned simiplicity; we are all praying for you to see Christ and find him satisfying and sustaining and sufficient; and in the process, we are seeing Christ more clearly and leaning on him more urgently ourselves.
    So I write this to encourage you. One aspect at least of God’s purpose in all of this is already plain to see — he is accomplishing your sanctification, he is doing it in full view, and through this gracious work he is moving us along in our sanctification, too.
    I am grateful.
    May the Lord be praised in you, and do a mighty work yet in surprising ways, for Jesus’ sake.
    Always yours,

  7. David Covington said,

    April 28, 2006 at 1:33 pm

    Dear Al and Libbie, Alden and Eowyn, Alisdair and Rebeccah,
    We love you each and all; our hearts and prayers are with you today and every day.
    I am realizing more recently how closely linked my heart is to my body; when my body is tired or sick my heart seems to get something not far from tunnel vision, sometimes approaching spiritual attitudes that don’t form a part of my normal daily vision. I guess it may be the same with each of you, and in various ways. Yet I know that God gives special grace for special needs, and that each of you certainly knows this aspect of His goodness as well. We’ll pray for you in this, that your hearts may receive the sweet comfort of trusting him when emotional/physiological hardship weighs us down so heavily. These graces are ineffably sweet, aren’t they? I’ve recently been encouraged in singing William Cowper’s “God Moves in a Mysterious Way,” Trinity Hymnal # 128. A certain compassion rises at the reflection that he who wrote these words suffered severe depressions. Surely he who knew the clouds of dread with such bitter clarity would also have known the goodness of God in deeper measure.
    2 Cor 1:3-7 speaks of a direct correlation between our sufferings and our comfort in Christ. God give us grace to receive this!

    More later; all love in Jesus now and always, from both of us,


  8. Jeff Singletary said,

    April 29, 2006 at 9:21 pm

    I’d been wondering, as I’ve been praying for you, just how to pray. I come to your blog and here it is! You’ve had significant input into my life at a couple key times. Here is another. Thank you.


  9. Al Mawhinney said,

    April 30, 2006 at 4:55 pm

    Dear Al,
    Our dear brother Dennis Johnson let me know about your challenges. Be assured that my name is now added to those who are bringing you and your family before our faithful Father. This morning I prayed, “Father, I thank you for your kindness and wisdom in giving Al and his gifts to your church and to Westminister. Knowing everything that I know I can think of nothing that would bring more honor and glory to your name and nothing that would bring more joy to Al and his family than for you to graciously touch his body and grant us all the gift of his healing. And so,Father, it is with the boldness and confidence of your child that I ask in Jesus name for you to amaze all who hear the word of Al’s restoration. Father if my vision is too short-sighted, if my knowledge is too fragmented, then please don’t limit your answer to my paltry words. Grant Al and his family your richest blessing and exalt your name in ways that I can’t imagine. As you child I rest in you for this as for everything else.” My brother I will continue to pray.

    Al Mawhinney

  10. Phil Stebbins said,

    April 30, 2006 at 4:56 pm

    Dear Al,

    I just spent this weekend with you and was thrilled you looked so well. God’s blessing I am sure. When I read you, hear you, see you, I read and hear and see Jesus. What a wonderful blessing you are! I love you brother.


  11. PJ said,

    May 1, 2006 at 9:07 pm

    You have my prayers!

  12. Kathi said,

    May 5, 2006 at 11:31 am

    Just came across your blog via Chaplain Luken, and wanted to say that I will add you and your family to my prayers. And you may have already come across this? But in 2001 a pastor friend of my sister’s was diagnosed with malignant melanoma. He went home to be with the Lord on March 20,2003,but he had journaled while he was fighting cancer and his journal entries were compiled into a book.His website is here.


  13. MGembola said,

    May 7, 2006 at 7:27 pm

    Dear Dr. Groves,
    I was with a group of guys (most from Bob Jones University) who visited Westminster this past summer, and you were very gracious to give us more than an hour and a half of your time. You probably could have left the office and gone home since it was well after 5, but you answered many questions and helped us along the way in our search to determine what seminary God would have us attend. When you told us about all the projects you were working on in addition to your duties as a teacher, I kept thinking, “What is he doing spending his valuable time talking with us?” But I appreciated it and wanted to say thank you.
    Sam Sutter told me yesterday of your illness, and I wanted you to know that you have my prayers, and that I will share your request for prayer with my friends who visited WTS with me.
    I am praying specifically for your continued confidence–in the sovereign purposes of God and because of the identity you have in Christ.

    “He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, whom God made our wisdom and our righteousness and sanctification and redemption.”
    2 Corinthians 1:30

    May the Holy Spirit’s presence be a comfort to you at all times, brother.

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