16 May 2013

Why Pray?

If God is omniscient and truly knows our needs better than we do, then what is the point of prayer? I thought about this because of an email I received from a church family member and the many responses to it.  The email was addressed to five of us.  It was about one of our parishioners - a sweet woman that we all think of fondly.  This woman is a regular at church but she is a private person.  Some of us had noticed her absence on Sundays, and the email that I received was about that.   "Has anyone heard from Rose?  I heard that she's not well.  If any of you have her phone number, please let me know.  Let's keep her in our prayers."

Between the next few hours that passed after receiving the initial email, each recipient wrote in.  Whatever information any of us knew was shared with one another.  Her phone number.  When they had spoken to her last.  Someone wrote that she was going for treatment.  And each of us said we would pray for her.   Not one of us, however, asked what type of treatment, or what illness she was suffering from.   I really love this about our church family.  The need for acquiring information is not to use as a source of gossip, but out of genuine concern.    You ask someone to pray for you, and they do.  It doesn't matter if the reason for the prayer is shared with you.  It doesn't even matter that you know the person's name.  God knows all of that.  All we have to do is keep them elevated in our consciousness and amazing things happen through God's love.

The mere act of praying for someone bringstheir needs - instead of ours -- into focus. And when we know that someone is in need, we act on it.  In Rose's case, some  reported back that they had spoken to  her and relayed her progress.  Another had run into her in the market and shared with her that we missed her and were praying for her.  And what I really appreciated was one of the email responses brought into perspective that Rose is a private person, and asked that we please keep this in mind and not "share" any personal news about her with others but to just keep praying.  Incidentally, I did change Rose's name out of respect for her privacy.

The answer to the question, "Why pray?" is this:  Because it elevates our souls into acting out of love for one another - by reaching out, calling, visiting, caring for that person and in so doing - really doing God's commandment to love one another.  Praying is for US - to help us focus; to remember that all things are possible through God's love.  There is a specialness in belonging to this type of family.

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