Chicago Sun-Times
...with Jesus, doctors and common sense

I'm Feeling Weaker And It's All My Fault. I'm Getting A Whipping.

| 5 Comments | No TrackBacks

God bless you.

As I wait for my new heart, I am blessed to still be alive, blessed to not be

in ongoing pain and blessed to have competent, affordable, group-insured health


As a Christian and preacher, I am a man of faith. I believe in God and I trust

Him to continue healing me with or without the aid of modern medicine.

But as a formally-educated, veteran, newspaper reporter, I am also a man of

fact, a realist dedicated to doing his best and trusting God for the rest.

Whenever I got sick, I prayed. But I also sought help from doctors and also

used my common sense and took initiative to be an active participant in the

process of my recovery. I studied my illnesses, the medicines I was taking and their

side effects. I also got in closer tune with my body, listened to it and did what I

needed to do, as best I could, to help myself instead of calling the doctor every

time I didn't feel good.

It's alright to pray for God to feed you. But don't expect God to drop meat and

bread down from the sky into your lap or onto your dinner table without you

working to earn and acquire the money to buy food. And when you get the food,

you have to cook it, if necessary. Then you have to feed yourself or be fed by

body else to be nourished.

It's alright to pray to God for a job. But make an effort to prepare and look for

that job. Don't expect that job to look for you, make you accept it and force you to

come to work and perform.

It's alright to pray for God to heal you when you are sick. But I believe it is

foolish, cruel and even in-human for people to deny them or their loved ones life-

saving professional medical care under the excuse that all you have to do is pray

for it. Poor, innocent children have been tortured and murdered with that kind

of ignorance, arrogance and insensitivity. That's just the devil. I hate him.

My health challenges have been excruciating at times. I've already

undergone and survived three critical operations in nine years where doctors had

to saw my chest apart. I've been on life support four times. I've battled and still

am battling prostate cancer and a benign tumor on my brain. I've undergone

back surgery and hernia surgery. I've undergone life-saving defibrillation of my


But the fact I'm still here is really no credit to me. I thank and praise the

Lord for me coming this far by faith.

Needing a new heart and being on the Mayo Clinic's heart transplant list

means that my chest will have to be sawed apart at least a fourth time. It also

means that I will be on life-support again with a breathing tube jammed down

my throat. It also means I will have to have a lot of needles pushed into my

small veins, which nurses claim are too small. So they often have to stick me again

and again, claiming also that I have "rolling veins." That's not something I'll enjoy


But I want to live more. Don't you? And I don't believe I'm being greedy still

wanting to live at the age of 67. I love this thing of breathing in and out. I love

touching, feeling, tasting, thinking and hearing. For me, on the whole, life is good.

Nevertheless, I'm sure there's not many of you reading this blog who

would love to change your health for my health. A few of you, who are in pain

and have been told you are much closer to death, would gladly change. But the

great majority of you would not. And I'm very happy about that. I pray the best for

you all. I pray that you get better before I do and also better if I don't.

When my grandchildren were last brought to the hospital to see me while I

lay in a coma with that breathing tube coming out of my mouth, it scared them half

to death. And when I got well enough to come home, my youngest grandkids were

too scared to give me a hug or have me touch them. That hurt. Only after the older

ones, bless their little hearts, had touched me without being harmed did the

younger ones feel brave enough to do so, and even then reluctantly.

Now, I'm going to be honest with y'all. I feel my strength and courage

weakening a little because I am fighting other problems than health problems.

They are taking their toll. My humanity and mortality are being exposed to my utter

embarrassment and shame.

But, thank God, I know how to address that. I'm going to have to pray harder

and pray more to Him. I know that I have not been praying as hard as I should and

could. I need the Lord to increase my faith. If I don't have even a mustard seed-size

portion of faith, all the prayers in the world will avail little.

I preach to people again and again that it pays to serve Jesus and that they

should have faith in God for anything. I must do a better job of practicing what I

preach. Thanks for loaning me your shoulders to cry on a little bit. But I'll be alright

because I know the Lord is still in the prayer-hearing and prayer-answering

business. Otherwise, I would have been dead and gone long, long ago.

Yes, I'm presently getting a whipping. But I'm not whipped and, by God's grace

and mercy and my faith in Him, I won't be.

God bless you.

No TrackBacks

TrackBack URL:


Rev Banks
Your honesty is amazing. I know when humans are going through trials, heartaches and tribulations, its only natural to question your faith. I'm glad you shared your feelings with the readers, to let us know, you're only a man, and you have spiritual weakness also. You may be a minister, ordained by God, but you too are living in human flesh. The flesh is weak, and whether you're a minister or not, you still have the same ills and problems as ordinary believers. I know ministers are held in higher esteem, but they too err as humans. They are not without sin, and they are not perfect. Thanks for sharing the human side of divinity. You have enlightened a flock of believers with your straight forward approach to your own mortality. Each has his own journey here on earth, your journey is not mine. I will continue to lift you up in prayer, for the fervert prayers of the righteous availeth much. Be Blessed!

BANKS' RESPONSE: Yes, Shara, the bible tells us the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. And we don't have to live too long to find out that is so, so true. I never want to front or play people. I never want to put myself on any pedestal. The people do that too much already with ministers in every religion under the sun. They get so carried away with a preacher's style, eloquence, good looks and style that they praise the preacher or priest or rabbi more than they praise God. And preachers are most vulnerable when they get so much praise and prosperity from their churches. They even feel they are above the law and can do, and many actually do, whatever they please. Yes, I promised to be honest in my blog. I promised to give you inside information even when that information doesn't make me look like I'm all that grand. I promised to keep you up to date with my health progress, my health setbacks, my times of fragile weakness and my times of great strength. I know I'm talk to REAL people, and REAL people can read fake people easily. Thank goodness, because fake people, especially fake friends, can mess you up something awful. That's why we should also focus on God, focus on Jesus, the hope of all glory, and focus on God's Holy Ghost, who indwells and seals us for the raptured day of redemption. Oh, I will be so glad when our Savior, King Jesus, returns for us. He can't come any too soon, as far as I'm concerned. But no man knoweth the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh. But when He does come, He will come as a thief and a robber by night. So, be ye also ready. I really get the solid feeling, Shara, that you are ready for Him. I feel you have your spiritual house in order. I know you encounter struggles like the rest of us. But you have your house in order and that is an encouragement to us all. Day by day, I feast on the encouraging prayers of saints like you. God bless you and I thank you.

Hey Rev., Hold on Old Soldier, Hold on! You've come too far. Marie

BANKS' RESPONSE: I'm going to hold onto God's unchanging hand, come what may from day to day. Please, fear not my faith. Though I sometimes feel weary, I won't despair about what God has done, is doing and will do. It's no harm to get weary every now and then. That's human. But, I, too, know the lord has not brought me this far to leave me in full view of all of you.

Hi Lacy!

Your answer to Marie's comment made me smile. I like the phrase "God's unchanging hand..." In my own faith, I'm often struck by how constant and consistent the Truth is. God is God, no matter what we do or say or fight or cry about it. Well put, friend.

I think about prayer a lot, because I believe that God doesn't need prayer. But we do. Remember the quote: "Prayer doesn't change God; it changes the one who prays"? I've been taught to pray in gratitude not for Love's sake for being what it is, but for my sake, that I may remember all of what I've been given. I believe the way is there, but I may not see until I pray. The artist Amos Ferguson said: "I paint not by sight but by faith. Faith gives you sight." Ain't it the truth?

I was struck by the drama of your story. It reminds me again that the bad things are loud and take up so much attention, but all the million good things are quiet and easy - they do not demand their own way. A lot like God.

You've come such a long way on this journey. Just up over the next ridge is the promised land of renewed health and more human life. Keep walking.

BANKS' RESPONSE: Men ought always pray and not faint. Pray without ceasing. That is my challenge and my wholehearted aspiration now. I need prayer and prayer FOR me always starts with pray BY me. I must pray, pray, pray and then pray some more. Oh what peace we often forfeit, oh what needless pains we bear. All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer. Once upon a time, I prayed more often, prayer much longer, prayed more passionately, prayed more selflessly, prayed more lovingly, prayed more mercifully, prayed more faithfully, prayed more loudly, prayed more painfully until it hurt, my knees hurt, my back hurt, my leg felt dead, my hands got tired, my neck starting cramping. Those were some of my greatest prayers. Likewise, some of my greatest prayers were also short, quite, to-the-point and sweet. God is not hard of hearing. God is not forgetful. God knows what we will pray before we pray. And the Holy Ghost, who indwells us, runs down a checklist on His own sort of clip board so that when we pray He pitches in to fill in the blanks for things we need but know not, Then when our prayers reach God's feet, they are full, sweet and complete. That partly why we so often receive blessing we know we did not ask for but blessings we so sorely needed. Yes, John, prayer doesn't change God. He is too omnipotent, omniscient, eternal, infinite and perfect. Perfection doesn't need to change, anyway, if it is to be and remain perfect. We redeemed mortals are reaching for perfection. We try our best to achieve perfection. But whereas the spirit indeed is willing the flesh is weak. Weak flesh has broken up love affairs, ruined marriages, destroyed families, caused sickness, unemployment, robbery, assault, rape, murder, war, destruction of material property and destruction of one's self. That's why every time I would do good, evil is ever present with me. Pray! Pray! Pray! Matter of fact.....right now!!!.....yeah, right now John, Marie, Gwen, Maria, Connie, Carolyn, Bettye, George, Marcia and the rest of us, It's prayer time. Shall we pray? Most holy, all-powerful, most loving and merciful God, thank You! Thank You for the breath, the soul, the faith, the mind and the fingers and palms I'm using to pray. Thank you, Lord God, for all that You have done, all that You are doing and all You're going to do for our good. Thank You, Lord, for the mercy You have had upon us in the past. Thank You for moving us through Your Holy Ghost to pray. But since then, Lord, we have sinned again. So we need some mo' mercy. Please, sir, have mercy upon us. We have not done all that we should have done and we still don't Lord, have mercy upon us struggling sinners. Please Lord. We believe You for being God. We thank and praise, admire and adore You for being God. Your Godship is supreme, unprecedented, genuine and divine. Thank you, Lord, for making us and predestining us to be redeemed by the Blood of Jesus Christ. Thank You for love. Thank you for the ability and desire to love and be love. Increase our faith in Thee, Lord. Make us do a better job of walking by faith and not by sight, talking by faith and not by voice, tasting by faith and not by tongue, hearing by faith and not by ears. Use us, Lord, as instruments of You divine glory to make this world a better world and to bring all humanity closer together in spirit, love, brotherhood, allegiance to Thee and understanding. We pray that You defend the causes of righteousness, defend the innocent more and tilt that tables of our judicial systems more in favor of the needy do-gooders and less toward the greedy and the naughty. Lord, deliver us from all evil--the evil first with us, the evil within others around us and the evil everywhere in this wide, wide world. Lord bless the speaking, the hearing, the writing, the singing, the prophecying, philosophying, the dramatizing, the preaching and teaching and, most of all, the doing of Your Word. heal us, Lord, of all illnesses, in Jesus' name. Increase in us the joy of our salvation in Jesus' name. Protect us from our enemies and other evildoers, in Jesus' name. Bless our husbands and wives, bless our children and grandchildren, bless our sisters and brothers and their families, bless out mothers and fathers, bless our grandparents, bless our friends, bless our neighbors and caregivers, bless our doctor and surgeons, police, firemen, government representatives, preachers, rabbi, priests, nuns, missionaries, and skilled and unskilled laborers all around the world. Bless those suffering in need all around the world deliver them from starvation, disease, evil warlords, bandits and bullies, in Jesus' name. Help us to present ourselves as willing instruments to bring about the ease of suffering and the end of war, in Jesus' names. For friends in need, friend for whom we promised to pray, we pray for them now, oh Lord, in Jesus' name. Bless them. Heal them. Rescue them. Feed and clothe them, in Jesus' name. Defend and avenge the innocent, Lord, in Jesus' name. Bless those of us here in America, those of us who are called by Your name so that we will continue to humble ourselves, pray, seek You Face and turn from our wicked, wicked ways of Lord, in Jesus' name. All other blessing that we standing in need of to better serve your kingdom, to make this world better for everybody and to enjoy our bodies and lives with which You are blessing us, grant them all and do them all and give them all, Lord, in Jesus' name we pray. amen.

Thanks Rev Banks for your Prayer of faith! What a mighty annointing God has on your life. I'm humbled by your humbleness. I'm awed by your awesomeness, and inspired by your courage. I love reading your blogs and comments, and look forward to hearing a word from the man of God. Keep looking to the hills from whence cometh your help! God has a Blessing in store for you, and you will be able to tell the world of the wondrous miracles God is performing in the lives of those who dilligently seek Him. Keep Praying, from dusk to dawn, Meditate on His word, and allow Him to be the beacon of light in your life.

BANKS' RESPONSE: God bless you, Shara. Please pardon me, everybody, for the profuse errors in my last response entry. I was too lazy to proof-read. Yes, lazy Lacy here. From time to time, I get carried away. I get long, passionate and, unfortunately, messy. I write "pray" when I meant "prayer" or "prayer" when I meant "pray." I write something in past tense that is in present tense. I get carried away largely because every comment I get from y'all moves me. I admit, through the Spirit of God, some of you move me more than others. Some of you move me when I'm in the mood to be moved. Some of you move me when I need to be moved. Some of you move me when I'm just about to run out of gas and become stranded on the highway of life. I don't have to mention names. I have found a special spiritual connection with so many of you. It's food for my faith, substance for my soul, honey for my heart and medicine for my mind. Understandably, the connections are strongest with those who reach out to me the most often and write things that assure me that you had to dig deep, deep down into your souls, and reach very, very high until you appear to be scraping the ceiling of your cerebellum to write what you write. And your comment doesn't have to be long. Just concrete. Just real. Just Spirit-filled. That's right. There are some you who allow me to feel your very soul with the fingers of my own. That's what God does for us, to us and through us. He reaches out, He touches us and He empowers us to reach the remotest realms of reality. I love each of you fellow redeemed and beloveds. I can say that I love every single one of you. But that's only by God's grace, God's mercy and His Holy Ghost. Flesh is selfish. Flesh is greedy. Flesh is often shiftless, savage and sinister. Flesh can be bloodthirsty. That's why, in the end, flesh and blood will not glory in the presence of God. That's why we MUST be changed, Shara. Changed from mortal to immortal, changed from temporary to timeless, changed from finite to infinite. Changed in the twinkling of an eye. And once we are changed, Shara, John, Marie, Maria and the rest of y'all. Once we are changed, and not one nanosecond earlier, then we shall behold Him. We shall behold God in his glory, His majesty and His magnificence. We shall behold Him. He who created us. He who so loved us that He gave us His only begotten Son. And not only shall we behold God, we shall behold His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ. We shall behold Jesus in His resurrected glory. Perhaps, He may even let us see and touch the scars on His Brow, His arms, His side and His feet. His body was wounded for our transgression, bruised for our iniquity. The chastisement of our peace was upon Him. And by HIS stripes, we are healed. I'm healed today, Shara. I am healed. I may be striped with my 17 scars, 15 of them the surgical handiwork of God-blessed doctors. Nevertheless, I am healed. My body has not yet totally caught up with it, yet. But in due season, all my scar, internal and external, will melt away into the sea of anonymity. Meantime, I count my scars as stars. Ladies and gentlemen of earth's jury, I present my scars to you all as exhibit A, that God is still in the prayer-hearing, prayer-answering business. God bless you, Shara. May the Good Lord bless you real, real, real good.

My all time favorite prayer, Thank You Lord! I was so busy wiping tears so I could read it I barely noticed any typos. When the Holy Ghost moves, just hold on and move with Him.

BANKS' RESPONSE: Thanks, Marie, my 1,002nd commenter. Your prayers and comments are making this a must-read blog. I am told that for every one person who posts a comment, there are 99 others who want to but don't. I like that ratio.

Leave a comment

Lacy J. Banks

Lacy J. Banks, 67, has been a Sun-Times sportswriter/columnist for 38 years and a Baptist preacher for 58 years. He has preached at more than 100 different churches in the Chicago area. A native of Lyon, Miss., Banks graduated from the University of Kansas with a B.A. in French and he served three years in the Vietnam War as a U.S. Naval officer. Lacy and wife, Joyce, have been married 42 years and have three daughters and five grandchildren. Among beats Banks has covered for the Sun-Times are the Bulls, Fire, defunct Sting, Blackhawks, Wolves, Cubs, defunct Hussle, Rush, Sky, college football and basketball and pro boxing.



About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Lacy Banks published on September 28, 2010 4:51 PM.

I'm Three Patients Away From A New Heart And My Prostate Cancer Is On Its last Legs was the previous entry in this blog.

We're Closing In On My Sheherazade. Thanks. God Bless You. is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.