No, this is not the promised guest post from the Raving Atheist—that'll come later—and it's not a joke.
A Christian reader of the Raving Atheist's blog who goes by the name Prayer Tulip has put out the request for prayers for the salvation of her dying 20-year-old son, Matt. RA has posted her request on his blog, closing the comments section to prevent inappropriate postings. He is also approaching Christian blogs and asking them to ask readers to pray for Matt.
RA's atheist credentials are still intact, as far as I know, and I give him a lot of credit for spreading Prayer Tulip's request. If one of my favorite readers wrote to me and told me that an atheist's wish for her dying son would be fulfilled if only I would post her claim that there is no God, I don't think I could do it.
The following is the request in Prayer Tulip's own words, taken directly from RA's blog. (I've made a minor grammatical correction and changed "Rehab" to "Rahab," as I believe that's whom she meant.) James writes, "The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much." When we pray, that righteous Man—Jesus, through his Holy Spirit— prays with us.
Prayer Tulip writes:
As I sit here beside my son in this hospital, Lord, I know Your strength is made perfect in our weakness. You said in Your Word that the effectual fervent prayer of a rightous man/woman avails much. I know I, will never be perfect, while on this earth, and I know that when you see me you don't see my sin, you see The One who died for me, Jesus, and that makes me perfect in Your eyes. Please, Lord show me what you would like me to see/learn through all of these hard days of my son's sickness. I am holding him not tightly only loosely because he belongs to you. Show yourself strong Lord. You have made many promises and you do not lie. Please spare my son and allow him to use this for your kingdom, and give me strength to endure.
The purpose of these updates is for prayer for Matt's salvation. I believe that as long as there is breath in someone, that there is always hope. So far prayers have been answered in that Matt has death to think about right now. He has become resistant to Vancomycin AND is running a high fever. The doctor has changed his antibiotics and now he is on 3 different kinds all hours of the day and night. He stays nauseated. His blood cultures are all coming back positive.
As his mom [I] cannot just say, "He has made his choice to reject God", and just go on about my business. I do not know how anyone could do that, even in the face of his sin. There was hope for Saul, Rahab, Jacob, etc. Do we wrestle with flesh and blood? NO. When I see sin in someone's life, it's like watching a drunk on skid row moving slowly in the face of a Mac truck not realizing that he will be killed if he does not get up and get out of the way. Do I tell him the truth? Yes. Do I abandon him? NO. Do I fervently pray for him? YES. And, like David did for his son, I will stay on my face for Matt constantly until there is no breath in him, then and only then will I know that I did all that I could do. One of those things that I do is ask other people to pray.