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Prayers Help Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter Face Cancer Head-On, With Ease

( [email protected] ) Nov 11, 2015 05:31 PM EST
Weapons against cancer for former U.S. President Jimmy Carter include prayers and faith-based support. After a serious medical diagnosis this summer, Carter on Nov. 10 said he received good news from his Winship Cancer Institute doctors. Recent tests show there is no evidence of new malignancy, and his original problem is responding well to treatment, according to a Carter Center press release.
Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter arrives to speak during an event honoring former U.S. Vice President Walter Mondale hosted by the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota in Washington October 20, 2015. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

Weapons against cancer for former U.S. President Jimmy Carter include prayers and faith-based support. After a serious medical diagnosis this summer, Carter on Nov. 10 said he received good news from his Winship Cancer Institute doctors. Recent tests show there is no evidence of new malignancy, and his original problem is responding well to treatment, according to a Carter Center press release.

This positive bit of news from Carter's medical team garnered more than 20,200 likes within 22 hours on his public Facebook page. It also prompted an outpouring of personalized, online prayers, such as one from Gaye Ruff Slak, of Pueblo, Col., who stated, "Gentle God our healer, thank you for this hopeful news. We continue to ask for healing for the President and wisdom for his medical team. And, God? We need a cure for cancer. Thank you. Amen."

Carter, 91, had a small mass removed from his liver on Aug. 3, and communicated in an Aug. 12 statement the surgery revealed he had cancer in other parts of his body. By Aug. 20, Carter held a press conference in Atlanta to announce his doctors had found four spots of melanoma on his brain and that he would start radiation therapy treatment that same day at Emory Healthcare in Georgia.

Upon facing the health challenge, Carter immediately said his future "is in the hands of God, whom I worship."

His optimistic acceptance of his prognosis seems fueled by his devout Christian belief, as he pledged at his August press conference to continue teaching Sunday school as long as he is physically and mentally able at his hometown place of worship, Maranatha Baptist Church in Plains, Ga. He hosts up to 300 people in his class each time, with overflow viewing on a computer monitor in the church fellowship hall. His remaining Sunday school classes for 2015 are scheduled for Nov. 22 and 29, as well as Dec. 6, 13, 20, and 27. He said hundreds of visitors come to the church "to see the curiosity of a politician teaching the Bible."

"I do have deep religious faith, which I'm very grateful for, and I was pleasantly surprised that I didn't go into an attitude of despair or anger or anything like that. I was just completely at ease," Carter conveyed at the August conference.

"I'm ready for anything, and looking forward to a new adventure."

Among the first persons to issue public support to Carter was an administrator of DemocraticUnderground.com, an online community for politically liberal people, who on Aug. 20 posted:  "Sarcasm based, 'Smart' or otherwise unnecessary comments outside of offering Prayers, Good Wishes, Thoughts on POTUS Carter or his Cancer will be removed from this thread. This is a serious battle POTUS Carter and his Family is facing and as Democrats, he should have our 150% support."

However, the former president and Nobel Peace Prize awardee also received hundreds of faith-based remarks from people across the United States. Carmen Clayton, of Republic, Mo., stated online Nov. 10:  "We all are praising the Lord for this good news. There is power in prayer! God bless you, Mr. President!"

Another online supporter identified as Renee Crampton Carter posted:  "You are a wonderful Christian man, husband, father, grandfather, humanitarian, volunteer, naval officer, President, and much more. I love and appreciate you and thank our God for every remembrance of you and your wife and family. Health to You and Yours, Amen."

Jimmy Carter was the 39th president of the United States from 1977 to 1981. He often is described as the most religious person to hold the office of the U.S. presidency. He was raised a Southern Baptist, attends church in cities where he travels, prays every day and performed missionary work as an adult. He maintains that Plains (Georgia) and his "little church there," remain his family's most important haven.