photo: Phalinn Ooi on flickr

photo: Phalinn Ooi on flickr

Dear Meli,

I have a friend who is dying. He’s been sick for a long time, so it’s actually a relief. But here’s the thing. One of our mutual friends is not accepting that he’s going. She’s insisting that we need to pray more about it. Lately, she’s been getting really angry at me for suggesting that this might be the best thing. She’s accusing me of not having faith. I’d be really curious to hear your thoughts on this – about prayer and healing and faith and all that.

All About Acceptance


Dear Acceptance,

Oh dear, oh dear. This sounds very difficult indeed.

First, let me say that I am so sorry to hear that you’re in the midst of this. It sounds very difficult.

In the very best of circumstances, when everyone is on the same page, losing a friend to death is an emotion-filled journey. And emotion-filled journeys are not always where people shine their best selves. So, good for you for asking the question and reaching out for support.

And I do believe in prayer! As well I should, given that I’m a minister. I believe in the power of prayer! And many a miracle, including many a physical healing, have occurred because of prayer. That’s for sure.

That said, I also know that each of us will go through the dying process, physically anyway. I don’t think physical death is the end. But it will be the end of this version, this phase, of our soul’s journey. And I most certainly do not believe that when this time comes, it means we didn’t pray well enough, or have enough faith!

One challenge about this, of course, is that sometimes we can feel confused about what exactly to pray for. The way I handle this is to pray for the very highest healing and greatest good. That way, I’m open to Spirit outdoing my expectations. And if this means someone going more quickly, with less suffering, Amen to that.

But your feisty friend might not be ready for this. She might be too afraid of losing her friend. And you can’t hurry her experience along. You can let her know that you are praying for your mutual friend. And you can add her to your prayers as well, which I would recommend.

Her lashing out may be the evidence of her fear. She may be crying out for help, even if she doesn’t know it. It may be that you are ahead of her in the process of imagining a life without your friend, and that she simply cannot go there yet. She’s anxious about it, and this anxiety is coming out as anger at you.

The more compassionate and understanding you can be with her, the more of a blessing you will be. This is the greatest gift you have to give…the gift of your compassion. This goes for giving this to yourself too, if you ever find yourself resisting what’s happening.

Everyone gets behind sometimes. Life moves fast. It can be challenging to keep living at the speed of life. Being gentle with ourselves, and one another (to the best of our abilities), is the greatest gift. It can also be the greatest challenge.

But the rewards are endless!

You bless your self. You bless your feisty friend. You bless your dying friend. …and on and on it goes…

May you allow yourself the gift of compassion in your frustration with her anger. Compassion is like great fertilizer. The more you spread it around, the greater the harvest. (Yes. I just made that up.)

Hugs to you in this time, and always.

With gentleness and blessings,


What has been your approach to prayer and illness? Share your comments below!

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