Saying and Praying for Others

I have been so blessed this week being a part of our church’s Vacation Bible School.  I have been blessed for several reasons.  One is that it is so uplifting to see several hundred children singing their hearts out for God – because, as St. Augustine said, singing is praying twice!  It is always so moving to see young people as crew leaders of these children, taking the initiative to share their laughter, their affection, and their faith with the kids.  But most of all, I have been blessed by the amazing moms that have been volunteering their time, giving up their children, and sharing their faith.

Praying handsBeing with all of these amazing people this week – women who I have been friends with for years, women who I only know in passing through our children, and women who I was just fortunate to meet – has truly brought me closer to God.  It has been so heart-warming to feel a fellowship with women who struggle with the same problems I do – trying to fulfill our vocations as wives and mothers, figuring out how best to parent our children, trying to juggle home-life, activities and faith life.  But we are all praying for our families and wanting the best for them.  With that in my thoughts, I am reminded how we are a community of pray-ers and we all lift each other up in prayer.  Now, you likely don’t go immediately home and get down on your knees and pray for the friend that you visit with who is struggling with a willful child or the family member who is battling with poor health.  But I do try to add these loved ones to my mental prayer list.  The only way that I can make the time to pray for them is if I pray for them in an immediate sense.  Whenever my thoughts dwell on my friends or family, whether they are in dire need of prayers or just having a rough day, I try to offer them up right then – lift them up to God.  Sometimes, I don’t even know what to say or what they need so I just offer them up and let the Holy Spirit who knows everyone’s hearts and needs make the petition to God’s altar of mercy.

But I’ve come to realize that while this is definitely a worthy and worthwhile type of prayer, I need to take that praying one step further.  If I offer prayers for someone, they may never know that prayers are being whispered on their behalf.  And that is fine and good.  I don’t need any credit – I am not worthy of that goodness.  But to actually tell them – to actually tell a person that they are in your prayers or that you will be praying for them – enriches not only their life but your life too.  Knowing that someone is thinking of you, loving you and praying for you gives you a spiritual boost.  Perhaps the God’s grace can more fully permeate your life when you know that someone is praying for you.  Perhaps, even though praying hands2grace was present in your life, you can just feel it all the more when you know prayers are being offered for you.  And when you tell someone you will pray for them, you are reaping great benefits as well.  Although it may not be obvious, I am a bit shy about sharing my faith.  I am not the first to step forward and preach about God.  And coming to the point where I can genuinely tell someone that I will keep them in my prayers has been a difficult journey.  To put oneself “out there” in a vulnerable situation, showing your faith – well, it has definitely made me feel more humble.  In addition, when someone has a greater need, like an illness or a death in the family, knowing that I am just one of many people praying for one intention has made me feel more connected to the larger community of pray-ers.

So step out there!  Put yourself on the line and find your faith increased by prayers of others and for others!  You yourself will feel the blessing of God’s grace all the more.  And if you happen to have the time, whisper a short little prayer for me and know that I am doing the same for you!

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