Saturday, January 28, 2012

This week's theme ...

Several times this week I've found myself in conversations about prayer.

On Thursday night, our Remit Study group discussed the 20 Articles of Faith of the United Church and actually spent some time focused on the Article of Faith "On Prayer."

We discussed the calming effect of prayer, the power it has to offer hope, and the impact it has on our lives whether we're conscious of it or not.

Today when I signed into Facebook I found a prayer request from my cousin, asking for prayers for a friend of her's who is entering hospice and preparing to die from breast cancer ... it's a hard request to read and consider, and I have no doubt it is even harder to make. Yet, I have no qualms offering prayers for a too young woman I have never met, and for her circle of family and friends in this difficult time.

As I replied to the posting I got thinking about the place and power of prayer in our lives and our world, and the many ways in which prayer has left a legacy in my faith journey.

I thought about the Christmas Eve in Bella Coola when we gathered in prayer to pray for a community in the Southern US where a family had experienced a housefire and several little boys had tragically perished ... as we prayed on the remote west coast I would later learn that community prayed for us ... that year, we had two of our members dying of cancer (one, a young mom, would be gone before January rolled into February), and we had a community member home from the burn unit in Vancouver to spend the holidays with their family.

The journey home for that recovering burn victim was one of prayer too ... when his accident happened, I immediately put a prayer request out on the old ECUNET internet system that we used extensively at the time. I quickly received replies from ALL over the world. I remember one coming from a research station at the South Pole, and another from a small Norwegian village. It was TRULY remarkable to consider how many prayers were offered from ALL over the world - such is the strength of the digital mediums we have around us.

I had printed and shared each of the prayers as they came with the family, and they in turn read them over and over and over to their beloved husband, father, grandfather and friend ... in time, he himself would say tht his recovery was BECAUSE of the prayers from his family, his friends, his community and from countless strangers around the world who took time to pray and care.

Today, this young woman may be beyond a recovery of her physical body, but the gift of prayer offers much for those who accompany her on this journey. Prayer brings peace. Prayer brings comfort. Prayer brings strength and courage. And most of all, prayer brings the knowledge that we are never alone. In the moment when we are remembered in prayer, we are connected with the circle of humanity who care for and care about us, and we are reminded of our connection with God.

Prayer is a gift ... and this week I've been reminded of what a marvelous gift it is.

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