There was no one on the planet like Phil Pratt. Phil was my second cousin and mentor. Phil was the kind of guy who you could listen to for hours. He had a story about everything. From explaining the housing market crash, to the time that as a young man, he poisoned a guy’s brownies with laxatives (funniest story I have ever heard), to explaining how the Holy Spirit showed him on a map where Osama Bin Laden was hiding at one point (INSANE STORY) the man was truly remarkable. Fifteen years ago, after having a massive stroke, through the persistent prayers of his daughter, Phil made a full recovery. From then on, Phil was forever changed and on fire for God. He had a healing and deliverance ministry that literally helped thousands of people. My first encounter with the healing power of God was through him as he prayed for my back and it was healed. At the time, this lukewarm barely interested church gower had never seen anything like it.
When we went to the Super Bowl for the 2013 season, I noticed Phil wasn’t moving like he normally was. A few months later in June of 2014, we learned that he had stage four liver cancer. I was crushed.
This man had made more of an impact on me in my walk with Jesus than anyone. I got to see his life poured out as an offering to everyone he came in contact with. From talking to strangers as we walked the streets of Jerusalem together, to our closest family members, Phil was always on call. I would reach out to him at all hours of the night to vent my disappointments and he would always gracefully listen and encourage. If there was anyone like Jesus, it was Phil Pratt.
On Father’s Day, Phil went home to be with the Lord after a two year battle with cancer. I think it is so serendipitous that we lost him on Father’s Day because he was a father to so many.
As our family grieved, laughed, and recounted on a man’s life that was so full, I realized a few things in how to move through losing a loved one, well.
- Let yourself grieve
You were created by God with emotions. I don’t believe emotions are either good or bad, they just tell us what is going on in the inside. Wounds that you never allow yourself to express and grieve will never be healed. Hunker down and allow yourself to cry and let it all out. That means not trying to escape through alcohol, drugs, food, porn, etc. When you do that, you repress the process and kick the can down the road. You also need to tell God how you feel. God is a big boy and he can handle your feelings. Tell him your exact feelings. Not what you think you should say to him.
Give thanks for the life they lived and for the time you had with them. It’s impossible to be stuck in disappointment when you’re exercising gratitude. In fact, all of the peak performance experts also say that it’s the gateway to “getting in the zone” when it comes to your craft. Seems like the Apostle Paul knew what he was saying when he wrote in 1 Thessalonians 5:18 “in everything, give thanks.” What i’m not saying is be happy for the situation. Be grateful for their presence in your life.
- Use your gifting
All of us have been given gifts and talents. Life is full of ups and downs that are out of our control. It’s important even through the darkest of valleys, to continue to refine your craft. I think the greatest way we can honor those men and women who have shaped us is to continue to practice our talents. In a way, our heroes live on through us as we refine our giftings we bring to the world.
- Nourish your soul
The Apostle John said in 3 John 2 “I pray that you may prosper in all things…just as your soul prospers.” The richness of the human soul is important to God. What are some things that feed you? That bring joy and rest to you? Be kind to yourself by giving a gift to someone that God thinks is essential to this world.