Today, millions of Christians around the world are uniting in prayer for cancer patients with the belief that "true healing comes from God."
On the 10th Anniversary of Worldwide Cancer Prayer Day, ministers will be praying for healing for people who have cancer, prevention for people who do not have cancer, comfort for people who have lost someone to cancer and wisdom for cancer researchers, physicians and nurses, according to Daniel Kennedy, the organizer and co-founder of the annual prayer day.
Churches and ministries in the United States, Mexico, Brazil, the Philippines and South Korea are participating.
About 7 million people die from cancer each year, according to the World Cancer Research Fund.
And with an estimated 12 million people now living with cancer in the United States alone, and over 10 million cancer patients around the world being diagnosed each year; cancer remains one of the most feared diseases despite recent advancement made in the field of medicine. The organizers believe prayer is one of the most important keys to overcoming the disease.
Among the participants will be Dr. Francisco Contreras, a noted oncologist and the president of Oasis of Hope, who said, "I believe that God will answer this prayer, and though the glory for the cure for cancer may be given to a researcher in some university, I know that it will be God who will give the enlightenment to that researcher."
Kennedy, who is also the CEO of Oasis of Hope Hospital, was encouraged to begin a prayer movement for cancer patients after his father, David, survived a diagnosis in 1995 of renal cancer.
"At that time, the hospital could attend to only 600 patients per month, but through prayer we could touch millions of people," he said.
Kennedy later co-founded the prayer day with Dr. Robert A. Schuller, son of renowned evangelist Robert H. Schuller. The Oasis of Hope funded the first Day of Prayer in 1998, which was broadcast internationally.
Over the years, participants in Worldwide Cancer Prayer Day have represented some 160 countries. Kennedy said he receives prayer requests all year from as far away as Kuwait, South Africa and China via the event's Web site.
He has compiled the requests into a book, which has about 25,000 names in it, and has carried it to the prayer spiral at the Crystal Cathedral in southern California, the prayer tower at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Okla., the prayer mountain in Seoul, South Korea, and the Western Wall in Jerusalem in observation of Worldwide Cancer Prayer Day.
Participating ministers from different parts of the world will include Daniel Nunez, Sara Nossa Terra church, Brasilia, Brazil; Aurelio Arrache, Amistad Familiar church, Mexicali, Mexico; Tommy Mascarinas, Agape Christian Fellowship, Iligan City, Phillippines; and Nelson Kim, Yoido Full Gospel Church in Seoul, South Korea.
Dr. Richard Shakarian, international president of Full Gospel Business Men's Fellowship International, will preside over a service at the organization's headquarters in Irvine, Calif.
On the Web: www.cancerprayerday.com