Posted by: Jonathan Stepp | January 19, 2009

Prayer in the face of Death

Death came close again last night. Not to me personally, but to friends I know and love. While visiting with a friend whose elderly brother had died Saturday morning I got a text telling me that the friend of a friend was near death in a nursing home. So, I went from the funeral home to the nursing home and found my friend sitting with her dying friend.

In both cases the person who died and the person who was nearing death were unknown to me personally. What could I say or pray or even think in such circumstances? I had no personal stories to share or personal relationship to draw on.

One thing I do know, though: the Father loves both of these people more than I can understand. He loves them so much that he has included them in his life forever [Col. 1:20]. He sent his Son to adopt them into his life and make them his own children forever [Eph. 1:5]. And Jesus has baptized them in his Holy Spirit, so that even in the face of death they can experience an un-earthly assurance [Acts 2:17]. And I also know that Jesus has conquered death and he has shared that victory with humanity, so that we have all been raised up in his resurrection [1 Cor. 15:22, Eph. 2:6]. One day the full glory of that reality will be revealed to us [Col. 3:3-4].

So, when I prayed with and for my friends I prayed from this certain knowledge of the good news about humanity in Christ. I prayed with the certain knowledge that all those I prayed for – the living, the dead, and the dying – are liked, loved, and included in the joyous and eternal life of God the Father, Son, and Spirit.



  1. Hi Jonathan,

    In realizing that all humanity is included in the embrace of the Father, the Son and the Spirit, we have the corresponding realization that we never really meet a stranger. Every human being is loved and eternally provided for by the Triune God. Every human is our brother or sister in Christ.

    This realization cannot help but impact the way in which we relate to others, even those we have not met before. Inclusion in the Triune life is the breaking down of all barriers. There is no longer any ingroup-outgroup dichotomy. All are one in Christ Jesus.

    Part of our task as preachers, teahcers and writers is to find a way to articulate the implications of inclusion in politics, economics, art and culture, etc., and particularly in regard to intimate moments such as a bedside visit to a “dying” brother or sister. You have articulated that reality today. Keep it up brother.

    Martin M. Davis

  2. Thanks for the encouragement!

  3. Thank you. I needed that.
    My wife and I had a problem with our daughter this morning. She is so sweet. Then the “devil” comes out! 😉

    But a line here struck me and got my attention.
    “He doesn’t tell us to “just snap out of it”. He doesn’t tell us we need to fix ourselves. He simply encourages us…”

    I sent the link to my wife so I can share it with her.

    Thank you Jonathan and thank you Papa!


  4. Thanks, Boyd, glad it was helpful and thanks for reading!

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