James 5:16b says:
The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.
James the apostle is speaking of confessing our sins one to another in order that healing may come to a person. This healing is, of course, the healing of a broken fellowship with God Himself. He is concerned, as the apostles rightly were, that people in general had a correct relationship the Lord first and then to each other.
But there may be further meaning to these words. Let me have some liberty with these words in this post. No, this liberty is not exegetical but eisegetical in nature. I am taking these few words to possibly bring comfort to those who read this blog. I am certainly writing these words and explaining what I am doing mostly for the comfort of my family during this most difficult time.
My twin sister, Denise Fiama Yambra, is in the process of dying. She is hurting physically from pain caused by a neuroendocrine cancer of which she was diagnosed last year. She has valiantly fought against this. In fact, she told me last year, “Den, I’m going to kick cancer in the butt!” Well, she has seen some victory this year and some would say that she is facing defeat. I beg to differ! Denise is facing ultimate victory. She is going to see Jesus Christ face-to-face. This is what those of us who know Him as Lord and Savior long for. But now my twin sister is tired. Her little body is closing down. Do not get me wrong! She’s still fighting the cancer.
None of us like this by any stretch of the imagination. I would not wish this disease on my worst enemy; none of us would wish this. The reality is that death is imminent according to the doctors. She was told this past week that she has between two weeks and two months to live. I suspect that the Lord will take her home within the next few days or possibly next week. Whatever the case may be, I am with my twin sister no matter what. I only have so many hours or days with her.
Each of us is grieving in our own way. Part of my grieving process is typing out my thoughts on my blog (of which you are reading). It is an escape for me. I find respite in sharing with others what we are facing and how we are handling it praying all the while that these posts have ministered in some way. And I find that Denise, too, is still ministering to people who call, text, email or come by to see her. She even started to dance a bit when she was using her walker to get to her recliner. It was the most beautiful dance I have ever seen. When she arrived at her destination, she sat down, in pain, and just smiled at us knowing that she ministered to us through her humor.
My Dad and Mom are here. It is nice to see them together ministering to their “baby girl.” They both have told me at separate times, “I am praying that the Lord will take her home soon so she’s no longer in pain.” I, too, am praying for a peaceful passing.
My Mom asked me the question last week while Denise was in the hospital for the last time, “Is it alright that I’m asking God to take her home?” She melted in my arms with tears streaming down her cheeks. I answered, “Mom, that is the most beautiful prayer a mother can pray for her child.” That seemed to reassure her that it is alright to pray this way. “After all,” I said, “where else would you want her to go?”
James says that “the effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.” I am going to apply these few words to my Dad and Mom in this way: “The effective prayers of a righteous father and mother can accomplish much.” You see, for over 47 years my parents have prayed for my twin sister–and for Dina, David, Dathan, Richard and me. In fact, they have prayed for my siblings for as long as they have been alive and even when they were conceived. That is a long time to pray for someone and they have prayed for us.
They have prayed that each of us would have health. Each of us have had issues now and then. Denise is facing the ugliest of issues in this life but she is facing the victory that is around the corner from us. Even when we were young, I remember going to my grandparents house and hearing their prayers for us when we were sick. Healing took place many times. This time, the prayer is that Denise is able to go home soon. That, too, is healing–ultimate healing.
They have prayed that each of us would be successful in life. My sisters are both successful teachers. Dina has taught severely handicapped children for years and Denise has been a second grade teacher. David is incredible in his management and administrative skills. He worked for a famed hotel in Dallas as a bellman and worked his way to the head comptroller spot within a couple of years. Dathan is successful at whatever he chooses to do. Whether he works for someone or he starts his own business, he just has a knack at being successful. Richard has worked overseas and around the Country in IT departments for years. It is amazing to see how he does because he gives so much away to others in need. I am starting my thirtieth year of ministry. My parents prayed for our success.
They have prayed for our children, their grandchildren. Each by name, my Dad and Mom have prayed that each grandchild would have health, success and happiness. And they have prayed mostly that each of them would trust Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior as well. They have prayed for their spouses even before they have found them just as they did with my siblings and me.
Prayers have been answered. God continues to hear the prayers of my Dad and Mom. My prayer for them is that their new prayer for my twin sister is answered sooner than later. “The effective prayer of a righteous father and mother can accomplish much.”