During Lent, I have asked the members of Oak Grove to pray for people in the communities that surround the church. Each Wednesday, we we will have a brief prayer service. I first thought I would find readings and devotionals to share at those services. Then I began to think about what I wanted to share about prayer. So my plan is to share a brief note on prayer at the service on Wednesday and then post it here the next day. Yes, I'm already a day behind in the first week. Sigh.
Below you will find this week's reflection on praying for others:
“I’ll pray for you.” What does it mean when we say that? For some it rolls off the tongue as easy as “How are you?” and sometimes with equal lack of interest or intent. For others the thought of uttering those words is frightening. What are we committing to? How often do we need to pray? What words will we use? Will it even make a difference? What on earth does Pastor Liz want us to do when she asks us to pray for our community?
These are questions that used to bug me (well not that last one). I worried that I might not pray for the right things, or it might not “work” or I might forget, or not have time or…or…or… Then as I began to read some of those books on prayer that filled my shelves, I began to realize that I didn’t have to have all the right words or even know what to pray for. If I prayed for God’s presence and God’s will in the lives of my friends and even in the lives of strangers that was enough. If I didn’t have time to sit down and write a whole list, I could simply pray for folks as I went through my day. I didn’t even have to use words at all. I could imagine holding each person in my heart and before God. Praying for others became much more a way of life than something else on my “to do” list.
During this season of Lent, I invite you to join me in holding those around us in our hearts and before the Lord. Pray for specific needs, pray for God’s will, or simply pray for God’s presence. Pray with words or pictures or with your whole body. Pray while you meditate. Pray while you walk or exercise. Pray while you drive. Pray while you wash dishes or do laundry or bathe children. Pray in thanksgiving. Pray in hope. Pray in faith.