As I was looking over my Facebook posts for some reason there were a lot of people asking for prayer today either for themselves or a loved one. Three years ago I had a day like this and decided to be intentional about praying for people. I created a prayer wall where I would take post-it notes, write down the persons request and put it on my newly formed sacred space. Over time, it became thickly layered with multi colored notes. Most nights before I went to bed I would lift up the names and situations to God. At one point I realized I was thanking God more than praying because prayers had indeed been answered in the affirmative. This wall turned into a prayer and praise wall.
When I moved to Haverhill, I did not put those post-it notes in the trash. I put them in a special box because they bear witness to God’s presence. They also remind me of the power of prayer. One night I realized that asking for and offering prayer evokes the best part of who we are and how interconnected we truly are with one another.
Last year I made a private family page so that my family around the country could pray for my Dad who was diagnosed with cancer of the throat and a few months earlier a pastor friend of mine was given a devastating diagnosis on Good Friday that she had Stage 4 Cancer and preached her last sermon on Easter Sunday. She unabashedly shared her journey and asked for prayer and was offered prayer often today, both are still here. My Dad got a great last report and my friend has been an inspiration as she continues to battle and live each day to the fullest with Cancer. She has even managed to write a book! Another friend is using Facebook as a journal as she goes through chemo. A mother with a child who has a severe chronic illness uses her Facebook page as a support. She celebrates milestones and her sorrows as only a mother can who loves their children. A few weeks ago a friend from High School asked for prayer for a very serious surgery she was going to have to undergo. She shared her fears leading up to the day and she shared the angst of the physical suffering afterwards and the hope as she began to experience healing.
In all these stories there is an asking for prayer and an offering to pray. Today someone asked for prayer for a missing loved one. Over the past year Facebook friends have lost parents and spouses. They posted regularly as they stood vigil asking for prayer. When it was over they posted the moment of loss and then pictures and memories and their Facebook friends compassionately responded. Just yesterday a dear friend said good bye to their husband of 31 years as he passed on at 12:23 PM. Their prayer requests came through private message. The announcement on their page created a huge response of love and compassion.
I find it amazing but I am not surprised that so many ask friends to pray in deep times of need. I believe when we ask people to pray for them or their loved ones, the asking is an act of faith. The response is also an act of faith, if one really stops and actually says a prayer and not just lip service.
Sometimes we hear our neighbor ask for prayer and it causes us to life our eyes towards God maybe for the first time. Unfortunately, many doubt God even hears them because they do things that they shouldn’t do and don’t do things that they should do. They may think maybe God would hear someone else instead of them, so they ask.
Now I know that it seems God does not answer all prayers. God is eternal and we are temporal. God’s answers or apparent silence may not make sense to us, so we come away angry. Why do we get angry? If we are really honest with ourselves this relationship is often on sided. I sincerely believe God desires for all of us to come into the deepest understanding of our belonging to God and to each other. So to all my Face Book Friends and theirs, keep praying it has power to reveal God’s presence in our world. It helps us realize our need for God and each other. Finally, it brings out the best in us. I have started a new wall. So if you have a prayer request let me know. It would be an honor to pray for you.