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TIJUANA, Mexico, April 29, 2008 – Worldwide Cancer Prayer Day will be observed for the 10th time June 5 when Daniel Kennedy takes a prayer book including tens of thousands of names to the Western Wall in Jerusalem.
It began in a much more private venue – his sister’s home in San Diego in 1995. As the family sat down to Thanksgiving dinner, his father, David, broke the news that he had been diagnosed with renal cancer.
Cancer is not a stranger in the Kennedy household. Daniel Kennedy is the CEO of Oasis of Hope Hospital, a leader in integrative medical treatment of cancer, which combines the best of orthodox and alternative therapies. He has been counseling patients there since 1993.
But when tragedy seemed to strike so close to home, no one touched their food. His sister left the room to cry. Daniel Kennedy prayed, acknowledging God’s sovereignty but also asking for help.
“God, I am not married, I have no children,” he said. “You already took my mother when I was only 11. Please heal my father so that when I have children, they can get to know one of their grandparents.”
David Kennedy had surgery the following week. Daniel Kennedy married a year later and a year after that, his first daughter was born. “My father was there to hold her,” he said. “I began to weep and thank God for healing my father.”
“That is when I decided that we had to help more cancer patients. At that time, the hospital could only attend 600 patients per month, but through prayer we could touch millions of people.”
His uncle, Dr. Francisco Contreras, a noted oncologist and the president of Oasis of Hope, funded the first Day of Prayer in 1998, which was broadcast internationally. Dr. Robert A. Schuller, who succeeded his father as senior pastor of the Crystal Cathedral, was also one of the co-founders.
According to the American Cancer Society, 7.6 million people around the world died from cancer in 2007. Contreras said he plans to pray for a breakthrough in research.
“I do believe God heals people, and I believe that He can prevent the occurrence of cancer in people, but I have a very special prayer that I lift up every year. I pray, ‘God, please grant wisdom to the doctors and scientists and help them find the cure for cancer,’” he 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.”
Today, participants in the Worldwide Cancer Prayer Day represent more than 150 countries. Daniel Kennedy said he receives prayer requests all year from as far away as Kuwait, South Africa and Hong Kong via the event’s Web site. The petitions are compiled into a book, which he has carried to the prayer spiral at the Crystal Cathedral, the prayer tower at Oral Roberts University and the prayer mountain in Seoul, Korea.
To date, there are some 60 thousand names in the book. “But my vision was to pray over 1 million names so we are far away from achieving this goal,” he said.
To petition for prayer, visit www.CancerPrayerDay.org.
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NOTE TO EDITORS: To arrange an interview with Daniel Kennedy or Dr. Francisco Contreras, please contact Steve Yount of A. Larry Ross Communications at 972.267.1111 or [email protected].
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