Prayer is a pretty incredible gift! The last several years for a Lenten practice instead of giving something up, I have decided to take something on. Now I realize that I pray every day...or at least I try to....but often the days have gotten long and I find myself quickly getting the words out. But every Lent for the last two-three years as I have prayed through my friends list, I have realized how focused it makes me and how incredibly powerful it can be to pray for others in my life. It truly reminds me of the communion of saints gathered here and around the world!
There is something incredibly awesome and holy about being let into that "holy space." I have been asked to pray for friends who have family members suffering an illness. I have been asked to pray for friends as they have tried to start their own families. I have been asked to simply enter into these "holy spaces" and to pray for my friends and family. I hold each prayer with delicateness and pure grace as I lift each one of them before God. "Let my prayers rise up like incense..."
And by entering into these "holy spaces," I have watched as God has answered these prayers. God hasn't always answered them in the time or the places that I have prayed for or that my friends and family have specifically asked for but I truly believe God has heard my prayers and hears all of our prayers. I have rejoiced with friends as they have finally been able to take their child home with them. I have mourned with friends as someone they have loved is no longer suffering and no longer in pain but has left this Earth. I have found peace in the midst of a friends troubled relationship because they have finally found peace.
Prayer has taught me so much about what it means to trust in this One who calls and claims each and every one of us as God's children. God promises that God will never leave us or forsake us. I realize that isn't easy to trust in because life happens but the promise is that God will always be with us. And because God is always with us, we can ALWAYS turn to him in prayer. I'll admit there are days when I want to be selfish and pray for myself...pray for silly things. Yes, there are times when I truly do need to turn to God in prayer for healing, for wholeness, for peace for myself but the gift is when I let go and pray for those around me, I begin to see God answering prayers that I have repeatedly said to God for myself.
In praying for others, I have been asked several times by my friends how they can pray for me? I know that there is a whole community of faith in Dilworth, MN who hold me in their hearts and pray for me to find my Mr. Right, to start a family, etc. I know that there is a community of Diaconal Ministry colleagues who daily pray for me. I also know that there is a community of faith right here in Minot ND who daily pray for me too. And there are people scattered throughout the United States and even around the world who know my heart and soul and continually pray for my prayers to be answered. And knowing that is enough!
"Ask, and it will be given you; search and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks the door will be opened (Matthew 7:7-8)."